Wednesday, July 14, 2010
No Beagles Left Behind
Rescuers leap at the chance to help 118 test-lab beagles find new homes.
It was on a warm Fourth of July weekend when a group of animal welfare rescue groups finally resolved to rescue the 118 lab-tested beagles confined in plexiglass crates in Madison, New Jersey.
The dogs had spent years confined in solitary boxes with hardly any humane contact, when they were finally rescued by St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center. They'd spent the past few weeks living trapped in a bankrupt research facility, with animal caretakers climbing the fences just to provide food and water for them. Immediately after being freed, animal rescue groups, including Best Friends Animal Society, flew in staff members to help manage the assessments and temporary housing for the beagles.
Its hard to imagine the amazement these floppy-eared dogs felt when suddenly they were whisked away from their previous, isolated life in a climate-controlled facillity into the blazing heat at their temporary rescue facility. Best Friends' Anna Gonce, knowing the heat would be alarming to the beagles, got a tent, generators, air-conditioning units and fans to make them feel more comfortable.
Adapting to temperature variation was only the first of many adjustments the animals had to make as they took baby steps into normal life. The first time they saw actual sunlight was a stunning moment to many of them, along with having to confront grass. Most of the dogs were nervous about stepping on the long, green, waving turf, having lived on hard man-made surfaces their whole lives.
However, being like most cheerful beagles, the canines soon began to become excited about the new possibilities after just a few days. Even in the earliest hours after arrival, "none was unapproachable," says Gonce. They just didn't seem to expect or understand affection from people.
Once the temporary rescue center was open to public the beagles became incredibly friendly."They would race up to the front and wag their tails and lick when you'd stick your finger in." Says Gonce. Not only that, at about 6 p.m. they all would bark in unison for a few seconds, because that was the time the lights would normally go out in the lab where they lived.
"The beagles weren't trained or leash-trained but they were all in quite good health." Gonce says, "Although many need to have a great deal of dental work done on them."
Whatever troubles may have been in their past, there has been enormous interest from people eager to provide homes. Already, nearly every last one has been adopted and sent to good homes. Now the only problems these beagles will face is learning how to walk the stairs, take dog biscuits, and enjoy a soft chair or bed.
Posted by Animal Anthologies at 8:39 AM