Beagles are intelligent pack dogs who loves the company of other dogs and people. They are the happiest when they have company. Owing to their friendly nature, they often are experimented upon in laboratories 🙁
Obedience and selfless dedication has often proved fatal for my kindred friends, the Beagles. As a subject of lab tests for pharmaceutical or cosmetic products, they often end up having spent an entire lifetime in confinements. Imagine, the plight of a dog having never seen the open skies or the green pastures to roll on. Not even an iota of sunlight but syringes and chemicals.
The footage below from Animal Rescue Media Education (ARME) shows beagles that were rescued from a California university animal testing lab seeing sunlight and stepping on grass for the first time.
Closer home, we have Antorleena who adopted Muffin, the rescued beagle. In the trailing lines, we have her account of being a parent to a rescued beagle.
Rescuing laboratory Beagles in Bangalore
To get to the story let me talk a little about us. I and my husband Avishek have always been dog lovers…while I have had dogs at home in my childhood and had an opportunity to grow up with them Avishek had always longed for a pet since his childhood. He would see any animal on the road and think of adopting him/her. He would go for horse rides and think of adopting a horse…while none of his plans ever materialized, we finally got a lab puppy in 2012 February whom we named Rocco and then the journey of becoming a pet parent began. Rocco taught us lessons in patience and love.
Thanks to him we were compassionate than before and began to think about adopting animals in need and distress which earlier we never thought about or knew about. It was then that we came across a post in Facebook from CUPA (an NGO which helps animals in need), it read that 102 Beagles have been released from a Pharma lab in Bangalore and were now up for adoption. Considering their history and trauma, they needed to be handled in a totally different manner…lots of love, patience and care would be needed to help them teach how to live in a home.
Though they would not be puppies they would be like puppies, they would not be toilet trained, and would have absolutely no clue how to live in a house…plus there’s always a danger of possible health side-effects and illness which they would have owing to their body being subjected to tons of chemicals day in and day out.
See also: Meghan Markle’s rescue beagle
Muffin was no different… when Avishek picked her up the first day she was shivering in fear, she was fragile, weak and had a rough coat, she was stinking as she had never been given a bath before, and the worst part was that she was probably born in the cage and raised up there… it was an example of human cruelty where these wonderful dogs were treated as lab rats… and all sorts of testings and experimentation carried out on them from life-saving drugs to cosmetics to lifestyle products etc.
Then she came home. Rocco greeted her cheerfully. He was actually happy to get a companion…how typical of labs! Rocco taught her everything about living in a home, helped her to walk on a leash, getting toilet trained, eating home food and mostly he has made her one hyperactive lady…earlier Muffin was shy and scared to jump, get up on the sofa or getting cuddled. These dogs were not even confident to bark, some of them had their vocal cords snipped off in the laboratory when they screamed in pain…but thankfully Muffin had a voice…our joy knew no bounds when we heard Muffin barking…she now barks whenever she is excited(mostly bullying Rocco) and Rocco like a chivalrous male lets her be.
Its been almost 4 months that we brought Muffin home. She has indeed come a long way…now she looks like a beagle…she is happy, stress-free and gaining weight through those memories of the lab definitely come to haunt her now and then but she is a brave girl. She has taught us the meaning of love, patience and hanging on at the face of distress.
Recently we had a get together with all lab rescued beagles and their humans and other furry friends…they had a blast! It is heartening to see that after all the torture that these beagles go through, finally some of them are fortunate to have a loving home who would accept them as they are.
After having Muffin we are glad that she rescued us. Rescuing dogs actually make us humans better. They can’t speak of their trauma or bitter experiences but their eyes speak a lot…we can only guess what they might have gone through…let’s not ask them any questions…let’s help them forget the past with all our love and affection.
Beagle adoption in India
Until 2013, it was legal to test cosmetics on animals in India. Thanks to the efforts of animal welfare NGOs, India rolled out a set of new rules outlawing animal testing.
Most of these rescued beagles were born and bred in laboratories – having never been exposed to the outside world, the elements of nature – sunlight and grass. In 2015, Bangalore had first such adoptions – Freagles corresponding to freed beagles.
You can contact Freagles of India, a registered trust that rescues and rehabilitates Beagles rescued from laboratories. One has to fill out a form and go through a selection process including rigorous counselling.