When Marcy Beatty-Gray first met Ruby last year, the beagle couldn’t walk or even hold up her head. She thought there might be a neurological issue.
“Come to find out, she didn’t have muscles in her legs,” Beatty-Gray said.
With better food and visits to a chiropractor, the dog made strides and found a forever home with the New Carlisle woman. Ruby is just one of hundreds of beagles and other breeds that Beatty-Gray has fostered, transported or otherwise helped to rescue over the last four decades.
“It’s my passion and purpose in life,” she said.
Some dogs are terrified when she first meets them. Some have lived in rabbit hutches. Whatever their background, she house-trains them, socializes them and puts them up for adoption. And then, she said, she starts all over again.
Gail Downie said that if Southwest Ohio named a patron saint of beagles, it would be her long-time friend. Beatty-Gray opens her home and her wallet, helping hounds get healthy and find a family, she said.
Downie, of Dayton, also transports dogs for rescue and met her friend through their mutual endeavors to help animals. Beatty-Gray puts others before herself, and Downie called her efforts “a labor of love.”
Often the dogs are ill or traumatized, and she heals them until they are a good house pet, Downie said. Letting them go can be difficult.
“She’s got a great big heart, and she gets things done, too,” said Downie, who nominated Beatty-Gray as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem
Beatty-Gray, 62, now volunteers with two beagle rescue groups, and she both fosters dogs and transports the pups to their new homes. She has logged many miles driving to Zanesville, for example, to get a dog partway to a foster home in Pittsburgh, or to Indianapolis so the dog can get to Chicago. Almost every weekend she drives up to six hours, having transported about 1,000 dogs over the years.
The rescue work is busier than ever, Beatty-Gray said. She receives a call, text or email almost every day from a shelter, organization or individual asking for help. There isn’t room for every dog that needs it, which becomes clear when a foster-based rescue group simply has no open foster homes.
“The ones you turn away are the ones that haunt you,” she said.
Beatty-Gray helps as many as she can, caring for two dogs of her own – including Ruby – and fostering an additional one or two at any given time. She estimates that she has provided a temporary home to about 200 different dogs over the years.
Healthy dogs can find a permanent home within a month or so, but veterinary appointments and treatments can extend their time with her.
She works full-time, but her rescue work takes up enough hours to constitute nearly another full-time job. The work involves worry and sleepless nights, but she wants to do even more when she retires.
“We do what we can do, one dog at a time,” she said.