If anyone had ever told me that buying something on Ebay would change my life, I wouldn't have believed them - but that's exactly what happened!
No, I didn't buy a Beagle on Ebay, but I did buy a Pedigree Reference Book from Eric Soltan, who is a member of the Beagle Club of Victoria. I had just lost my old boy, Beau, a tan and white Beagle who I had adopted from the RSPCA at 12 weeks of age, and who had been my constant companion for over 16 1/2 years. I happened to ask Eric if he knew of anyone who might be selling or rehousing a tan and white Beagle that was not a really young puppy - I didn't think I wanted to go through all the house breaking again after all those years. I wanted another "snuggle buddy" who came with some built-in manners, but still had lots of life in him or her to make me get out and walk every day. Eric said he was going to a meeting a couple of days later and would ask around, and pass on my details to anyone interested.
As luck would have it, Jean Godfrey and Faith Brawley were considering "down sizing" their packs, and thought I might be just the person for Jean's very special boy, Scot (Aust Ch. RUBISS Teviot Scot O'Lauderdale). We met up and took Scot, his sister Betsy, and his uncle Gary for a walk, to see how Scot and I got on together. When Scot got out of Jean and Faith's car, he put his feet straight up the front of me and gave me a big kiss, and that was that! He came home with me, settled himself in within minutes as if he had been here forever, and filled the gaping void that Beau had left behind him.
Jean had asked if I would mind if Scot went to a show in September (Scot came to me in June 2005), and I had no problem with this. I had no idea what dog showing was all about, and was looking forward to the new experience. Scot had been Runner Up Best In Show at the tender age of 10 months, in 2003, at the Beagle National Show, under UK Beagle Specialist judge Ann Phillips, and this show in 2005 was to be under another UK Beagle Specialist, Barbara Roderick. I kept Scot in tip-top condition, and on the day of the show, we arrived at KCC Park early, and Scot became very excited when I stopped the car and he realised where he was. I had never seen him on a show lead, and as soon as Jean put his gold chain on him he turned into a "show pony". I watched him go in the ring, and was thrilled when he won his class, and even more excited when he won the Dog Challenge. Getting Runner Up Best in Show for the second time in his life was pretty special, and I don't know who was more thrilled out of Jean and myself.
I realised that Scot really did enjoy the fun and excitement of the shows, and went to a few more with Jean and Faith to watch and learn. Finally I took the plunge and had a go myself, and Scot was a wonderful teacher. He does have the occasional day where he's just not interested, but mostly he loves to strutt his stuff in the ring, especially if it's indoors on hard ground. Outside, he isn't keen on dry, prickly grass, much preferring something nice and soft and green under his feet - but that seems to be a "tan and white thing", as I know that old Beau would avoid walking on nature strips if they weren't well cared for! Must be something to do with their pads being a little more sensitive, or maybe it's just a "blonde" thing!
Anyway, I was bitten by the bug, and found myself with a whole new interest, and a whole new life. We started with a "soft crate", which Scot loves, then came the "trolley", the umbrella, and eventually a change in car to fit everything in! We travelled to Sydney, then to Perth for the 2006 Beagle National, and we have been all over Victoria, to places I had never heard of "before Scot". I have heaps of new friends and acquaintances, and got to know so many different Beagles, many of whom I can pick out on sight - an achievement I never thought possible when I first started. Jean and Faith have been wonderful in the help they have given me since I met them, and they are always fun to go away with and spend time with. I have met a number of other people who have so much knowledge to impart, if only there was enough time to learn it all from them!
Once I had learned enough to show a dog, I decided maybe it was time to get Scot a buddy of his own, so he wasn't always alone while I'm at work. I also wanted to try showing a baby right from the start, and title a Beagle myself. Jean was having a litter from Donna (Aust Ch. Manloura Lady in Harmony) and Gary (Aust Ch. Teviotdale Wild Garnet), which was a litter she had waited a long time for, as previous tries at mating Donna had not been productive. Jean knew I was considering having a puppy to show, so she asked if I would like one from this litter, and I was thrilled to be able to pick whichever puppy I wanted from the litter. I saw the litter several times during their first 8 weeks, and the smallest girl took a liking to my lap, and curled up to sleep on me. On the day most of the puppies were to go to their new homes, I spent a couple of hours watching them, and finally came back to my original choice, Sally (now Aust Ch. Teviot Gracious Melody), although both Jean and Faith thought one of her sisters might be better, as Sally was still a little smaller than the others. Sally was known to Jean and Faith as the clockwork toy - she never seemed to give up, just kept playing like mad and then suddenly dropping off to sleep in an instant, just as though her spring had run down. Five minutes sleep, and she was all wound up and ready to go again! I liked Sally's spirit, she had plenty of attitude and spunk, and was a very pretty little girl to look at, so she came home to live with Scot and I, and her brother Logan, (now Aust Ch. Teviot Ambassador) stayed on with Jean and Faith.
Sally was a delight to have at home, her antics had me in fits of laughter, and she was a very affectionate little girl. She tried so hard to please me, and was never far from wherever I was as I moved around the house and garden. If I was out of sight for a few seconds, she would come trotting along to see what I was up to. Sally had some nice wins along the way to getting her title, which she got at just 18 months of age, including a Junior in Show on an extremely hot day, when all the other dogs were wilting, while she just got better and better (someone wound her spring up again!).
Sally's blood lines complimented those of Scot very nicely, and it wasn't too long before we start our own "Melodale" line.
In 2014, I did a remate of Sally and Scot and was looking forward to seeing the pups arrive. Following a break in at my home, in Cranbourne, (luckily while I was away with the dogs for a weekend of dog shows), robbers came back to my house a week later and tried to break into the back yard to steal the dogs. I came home from work to find the gate part way open, but luckily the thieves had not been able to break the heavy chain, and my dogs were all very much stressed around the back of the house. I discovered Scot trying to walk, but he couldn't get himself up properly and was really struggling. Local vets were unable to help me with a proper diagnosis for his condition, so I drove 3 hours to a vet in Bendigo who I knew would be able to help. Xrays showed that he had been injured (probably by being hit with a crow bar or similar heavy object that the robbers had used to try and break the chain) and there was damage to the vertebrae in his neck and spine. I think that maybe he had tried to protect the other dogs from the robbers, and that was why they had injured him. Acupuncture, pain relief, bowen therapy and other treatments were tried to help Scot, but after a couple of months it was clear that he wasn't getting better, and he was becoming very stressed because he couldn't walk, he couldn't even go out to the toilet by himself without help, or without pain. The weekend the pups were due, we went up to stay in Castlemaine where Scot had been born. The pups arrived, 3 tri colours, 2 boys and a girl, and Sally took care of them, however, they did not seem to be thriving. One of the boys died on the 3rd day, and the girl died on the 4th day. That was the day I took Scot to the vets again, and we decided it was time to let him go. He cried in pain as the vet tried to lift him to a standing position, so he lay back down in his bed on the back seat of the car, and went to sleep there while I held him. We took him back home so he could be laid to rest where he had been born, and that afternoon, the 3rd puppy lost his fight to live as well, so Scot and his children were all buried together. Sally mourned for her puppies and her partner for many months after that. It wasn't till we had our next litter that she finally picked up and took her place as the matriarch of the Melodale pack.
Dee Dee (Ch Melodale Drover's Delight) had her first litter, sired by Ch Boyhound Walk the Talk, and produced 4 lovely girls who became known as the Spice Girls. I kept Sugar from that litter (Melodale Sugar And Spice). Then Holly had her first litter, and I kept Jenny (Melodale Heart of Gold). Over the years since then I have had one or two litters most years, and kept a few lovely pups along the way. Since being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, I have slowed right down on showing the dogs, as I need the weekends to rest more at home, while working around 20 hours per week to be able to buy all the dog food! Our move to the country was the best thing for all of us, and it helped to put the trauma of the robbery behind us, although the loss of Scot will never cease to bring tears to my eyes, my soul mate was taken away far too young.
Elaine Soane - Melodale Beagles
Tarnagulla, VIC, Australia
Phone : 03 54387546
Email : [email protected]