|Elizabeth Harris, 11, and her foster Beagle Pixie, 9, take part in the third annual Beagle Mania in Oliver Community Park, 118 Street and 103 Avenue, Sunday September 16, 2012. (DAVID BLOOM/QMI AGENCY)
EDMONTON - Oodles of huggable hounds crowded downtown Edmonton Sunday afternoon during Beagle Mania — a pet-friendly charity fundraising event for the Beagle Paws Rescue Society.
The sun was shining as both the beagles and their owners enjoyed games and activities in Oliver Park while raising awareness about the beagle breed.
“It’s primarily a day for beagle-owners and their dogs. I think it’s gone really well,” said May Sutherland, spokesperson for the Edmonton chapter of Beagle Paws, as a beagle nudged her gumdrop nose against Sutherland’s ankle.
The Beagle Paws Rescue Society rescues neglected, abused and unwanted Beagles across Canada, explained Sutherland.
The Edmonton chapter currently has a dozen beagles in foster homes and they need help paying for their food and veterinary care until they can be housed permanently.
“Beagles are stubborn, strong-willed and independent. They’re hunting dogs,” said Sutherland.
“They have a mind of their own and not everybody is prepared for that. They take these cute dogs home and don’t realize it’s a challenge.”
With some work, beagle owners are rewarded with a pet that’s lovable and loyal, said Sutherland.
Rochelle Harris and her daughter Elizabeth, 11, came to the park Sunday with a rescue beagle named Pixie that the family has started to grow attached to.
“We like beagles, we like their size,” said Rochelle, as Pixie sat in the grass.
“We’re fostering her right now to see if it might be right for us or not. Fostering is a good way to find out because it’s a long-term commitment.”
Pet owners could learn more about local veterinary clinics, how therapy dogs are trained, City of Edmonton pet rules and regulations as well as bid on silent auction items and watch their hounds play doggie games like bobbing for hot dogs.
“This year’s (Beagle Mania) is better than last year,” said Elizabeth, who was delighted when Pixie won the Judges Choice competition as well as a game of musical mats — think musical chairs with dogs.
Beagle Paws is currently accepting gently used or new collars, leashes, and toys. The organization is also seeking anyone who would be willing to foster a rescue beagle as more and more dogs enter their care daily.
The Beagle Paws Rescue Society was founded in 2002 by Sheila Lewis to help stop the abuse and neglect of Beagles in Newfoundland. Beagle Paws has facilitated 1,508 adoptions in Canada since January 2003 with 160 adoptions in Edmonton.