12-Year-Old Beagle Arrives At Virginia Shelter With Her Favorite Sweaters, Toys, And A Portrait

“We see bringing her to the shelter with all of her favorite things as well as her detailed medical records as a kindness. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for anyone involved.”

The story of a 12-year-old beagle who recently found herself in a Virginia shelter is reminding people how quickly life can change. And, more importantly, not to judge.

Earlier this month, staff at Sanctuary Rescue in Midlothian came across a Facebook post about a senior dog named Abby who had been at a nearby shelter for a week. Even without knowing her backstory, it tugged on their heartstrings. 

“Our rescue’s longest benefactor was a lovely woman named Elizabeth Ratcliffe. Elizabeth had an adorable little beagle named Pepper. Along with Sanctuary Rescue, helping beagles was a passion for Elizabeth,” Adri Yancey, president of Sanctuary Rescue, Inc., told Southern Living.

Since Elizabeth’s unexpected passing this past spring, Sanctuary Rescue staff has found healing by honoring her memory “in a way we knew would make her smile.” So, they reached out to the shelter and made arrangements to pick Abby up the next day.  


Sanctuary Rescue

When rescuers arrived, they were handed Abby’s belongings, including her bed, toys, leashes, 12 years of vet records, two bags of her sweaters, and a framed, hand-drawn portrait. It was clear that her former family loved her dearly. 

“It is not our story to tell, so I will just say that the animal control officer that did Abby’s intake explained to us that her previous family had some major life changes and they weren’t in a position to keep Abby any longer,” Yancey said. “We see bringing her to the shelter with all of her favorite things as well as her detailed medical records as a kindness. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for anyone involved.” 

Abby Beagle Portrait

Sanctuary Rescue

The portrait was sent along with Abby to her foster home, but Sanctuary Rescue hopes to hang it in their office as a reminder.

“We’re thinking of hanging the dog’s portrait in our office to remind us to be humble, to give grace, to spend energy on loving instead of judging, and to always help where and when we can because you just never know what the future holds and what curveballs life might throw at you,” the rescue wrote in a now-viral Facebook post.

Yancey says that Abby is currently in “great hands” in her foster home, where she spent her first day trying out every single dog bed. Aside from some mild arthritis, she is healthy and rescuers believe she has a bright future ahead of her. She will likely become available for adoption in a couple of weeks. 

Abby Beagle

Sanctuary Rescue

While Abby’s story might seem tragic at first glance, Yancey hopes people see the opposite in it.  

“While we know a lot of people that saw Abby’s original post thought it was a sad story, we don’t see it that way at all,” she told Southern Living. “Although we are sure it was painful to have to surrender a beloved pet to the shelter, we think Abby’s former family would be relieved and happy to know that she quickly found a soft place to land and she will be comfortable and well taken care of in her favorite sweaters with her favorite toys, and that Abby has a guardian angel named Elizabeth.”

We’re not crying, you are! 

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