A BEAGLE is the hero of a tiny koala joey after it followed its nose to where the abandoned critter lay dying.
Fleagle the beagle, owned by Leslie Higgins, has now proudly given his name to the fragile joey which is being cared for by staff at Port Macquarie’s Koala Hospital.
Last Thursday, Mr Higgins and his faithful canine set out for a walk, from their Savoy Street home, to the reserve in Narani Crescent.
According to the Dog Breed Info website, Beagles are curious and have a tendency to follow their noses – sometimes not even hearing you call them back once they have the scent of something.
Fleagle was true to his breed and followed his nose to where the icy cold female joey lay in the grass.
“He was sniffing the ground and stuck his nose on it [the joey] and I heard this squeak,” Mr Higgins said.
“I went over to him and this little arm came up and grabbed Fleagle on the nose.
“It was real cold so I put it up under my shirt, took Fleagle back home and went to the Koala Hospital.”
When he arrived at the hospital Mr Higgins said he told the woman at the kiosk he had something they might be interested in.
“She said where, and I pulled my shirt up and she saw the koala and went to find help.”
Hospital supervisor Cheyne Flanagan said she took the joey from Mr Higgins and put it under her own shirt to keep it warm while they set up the humidicrib, where it lay all day.
“It was still very cold and it was touch and go whether we could get its temperature up to normal,” Ms Flanagan said.
Staff usually name koalas brought into the hospital after the street where they are found, and the person who found it.
In this instance, however, the joey was named Narani Fleagle, after Mr Higgins’ pet beagle.
Volunteer team leader Yon Veenstra took Narani Fleegle to her home in Wauchope on Friday, as it will need feeding with marsupial formula every two hours until it weighs about 500g.
Ms Flanagan said the joey is about four and a half months old and, when photographed on Tuesday, was doing well.
If you are wondering how Fleagle the beagle got his name, Mr Higgins said he was a fan of The Banana Splits show when he was young.
The US show featured live action and animation and a fictional rock band made up of animal characters, one of which was a beagle named Fleegle.
Apparently this Fleagle makes a habit of saving critters, as last year he sniffed out an injured possum which Mr Higgins took to a vet.
But his owner said the 6-year-old pet has had his own share of troubles.
“I nearly lost him in a dog attack when we were out at Rawdon Island a few years back,” Mr Higgins said.
Luckily for Narani Fleagle, Fleagle the beagle survived to be a hero another day.
The Koala Hospital will host an Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea to raise money for Cancer Council NSW on Thursday from 10am until 11.30am.
“It costs $5 to enter and those who attend might get to catch a glimpse of Narani Fleagle if she is well enough to come in,” hospital spokesperson Helen Meers said.