Noel's future was in doubt.
The victim of a hit-and-run driver, the elderly beagle faced uncertain days because of what was believed to be a broken leg.
After a full examination, one bit of good news emerged. The leg wasn't broken, but damage had been done to the muscles and ligaments. Following a period of rest, veterinarians expected her to be as good as new.
Noel faced a much more serious problem: She was homeless. However, thanks to the giving hearts of many people, she has found refuge with a Saline County couple.
The accident in which she suffered her injuries took place in Tennessee.
Noel, believed to be about 12, was a stray. An area animal shelter had taken her in, but the prospects of her being adopted were slim.
Finding homes for elderly animals with medical issues is difficult. Treatments costs are usually more than most prospective owners are willing accept, so Noel was placed on the list to be euthanized if no one adopted her.
Noel's plight caught the attention of two groups that specialize in rescuing animals that are set for termination in shelters around the country.
Evelyn and Art Taylor of Just Us Beagles & Friends Inc. in Bryant heard of Noel through contacts Evelyn has and through information on her Facebook page. "We wanted to do what we could to help Noel," Evelyn said.
Also learning about Noel was Jim Carney, a retired pilot for Northwest Airlines, who contacted the Taylors to offer his assistance.
Carney is a volunteer with Pilots N Paws, an online meeting place for pilots and other volunteers who transport rescue animals by air. Arrangements were made to fly Noel to the Saline County airport in Bryant on Saturday, Dec. 22.
When the small plane piloted by Carney landed at 3 p.m., it was greeted by the Taylors. After some gentle coaxing, Noel emerged from the craft. Her right rear leg was bandaged, but after a few moments with the couple, Noel's tail was wagging.
Art Taylor said this type of scenario is familiar to Just Us Beagles and Friends. Each week he travels to the Northeast to deliver animals he and Evelyn have rescued and are being adopted into new homes.
"Our van is getting too small," he said. "We have a motor home that we are gutting so that we can carry more animals."
Evelyn explained more about the couple's mission.
"Our goal is to rescue homeless and unwanted beagles and other dogs as space permits," she said. "We vaccinate every animal and spay or neuter them. We work to find secure, happy new homes for as many of the resident dogs as possible."
The Taylors' facility on Samples Road in Bryant also provides lifetime shelter and care to any rescued dog that is not adopted.
Carney is an experienced rescue pilot. "I'm approaching 1,000 flights like this one." he said Saturday. "All our pilots are volunteers."
Carney said he has been flying such missions for more than four years. "We are always looking for new pilots to join our organization. If anyone wants to join our group, go to www.pilotsnpaws.org and register. We are a nonprofit organization, and we can use all the help we can get."
The organization was established in 2008 and has expanded nationwide.
The Taylors, longtime animal advocates, feel that any animal should receive loving care.
"We believe that all beings have the ability to experience pleasure from life," Evelyn said. "In the case of dogs, we believe the circumstances providing pleasure in life include eating, drinking, going for walks or otherwise enjoying outdoor activities, interacting with other animals or reacting to play or other situations including receiving treats, praise for certain behaviors and interacting with people. We believe that any dog maintaining any combination of these pleasures in life still has the desire to live, and we will support that desire."
Noel clearly exhibited the will to live with the Taylors. She is happy in her her new surroundings, but she is available for adoption to the right home.
For more information about Just Us Beagles and Friends, visit the organization's website at www.justusbeaglesandfriends.com. For information about the Pilots N Paws program, go to www.pilotsnpaws.org.