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Why RescueBeagles?

 

by Teresa Bridgman

          “Why would you spend so much time rescuing Beagles?”  I’ve been asked that so many times I have a standard answer.  Most Beagles are worth it.

          Let’s face it…not all Beagles are show quality nor or they always good field dogs.  No matter how distinguished the pedigree there occasionally is one pup that just isn’t going to make the grade.  A reputable breeder will always be willing to find a home for that Beagle.  The Beagle becomes someone’s valued family pet.  Rescue organizations are faced with those Beagles that AREN’T produced by reputable breeders.  You know those folks who breed their Beagles for all sorts of reasons that simply contribute to the overpopulation of dogs in general and that often continue genetic defects in the process.  I’ve heard every reason imaginable for breeding a dog. Here are a few of my favorites:

  •      My Beagle is so wonderful we just HAVE to have a litter so our  friends    can have one just like ours.
  •      I want my children to have the experience of seeing an animal give birth.
  •      A female needs to have at least one litter of pups before she’s spay.
  •      I couldn’t do THAT to my male!
  •      I want to make a little money.

Enter a Rescue Organization

          After the friends have made several hundred excuses why they can’t have a dog, after the kids slept through the birth, after the female has had half a dozen pups that nobody wants, after that male has impregnated every female within a 5 mile radius, after the “breeder” has lost his/her shirt, where do these Beagles end up?  In a kill shelter. 

          That doesn’t even begin to explain where all Beagles in shelters come from.  They’ve been picked up by the animal warden running loose in the mountains and captured while eating out of trashcans in somebody’s yard.  They lack any sort of history.  Some are pregnant, some have old injuries that need treatment, some are literally skeletons and some have been so badly abused they cringe when a human comes within five feet of them. 10% (and growing) are HeartWorm positive. 90% have other parasitic diseases.  None, and I mean NOT ONE, are in any sort of respectable physical shape.  Many are so poorly bred I have to shake my head when I look at them (and I never guarantee grandpa wasn’t a coonhound or JRT).  My own rescue Beagle has a “flat” head.  Looks like someone hit him on top of the head with a frying pan.

          Then there’s the “I can’t keep the dog anymore” people.  They saw a lovely Beagle puppy and just had to have it.  The puppy then had the audacity to do what puppies do, grow.  They bought a Beagle without doing any research into what a “Beagle” is all about.  Now they have a dog (who isn’t so cute anymore) that won’t come when called, chews the furniture to shreds, follows every smell imaginable, flunks out of obedience class, isn’t house trained, on and on and on.  Right to the shelter where they’re just SURE someone who loves Beagles will show up to adopt this dog.  NOT!

          The question is: Do these dogs deserve to be euthanized because the humans involved were self-indulgent, greedy, or just plain stupid?  Rescue groups generally, and the rescue I’m affiliated with specifically, do not try to save every dog.  First, we can’t.  Second, not every dog should be in a rescue.  If a dog is aggressive they are not safe as family pets, period.  If the dog has been abused we will work with it.  We attempt to teach the Beagle trust, but sometimes they are never going to recover from the abuse.  They do not trust humans and can not be trusted by humans.  Some dogs are too sick and will simply not recover their health.  It’s a matter of the quality of life. 

          I rescue Beagles because it has made a difference in my life and the lives of the families that have adopted a Beagle.  Of the several hundred Beagles we’ve placed in family situations, only four have not worked out.  I know several hundred Beagles doesn’t sound like very many, but there are a number of children out there that are going to be able to grow up saying, “I had a Beagle when I was a kid”.  These Beagles are improving many lives.  They are making their humans happy. Maybe the Beagles I rescue can’t hunt or aren’t ever going to impress a judge in the show ring, so what?  The smile on the face of a six-year-old boy as he leaves my house with his Beagle happily trotting beside him is all I need.

          There are Beagle rescue groups scattered all over the United States.   I encourage all of you who love Beagles to give these groups your support.  They are great promoters and educators for the breed.

Rescue Story

          Arlie is a red Beagle found running loose in the woods of Louisa County, Virginia.  He’s a very young dog (6 to 8 months).  He had obviously been a stray for some time.  You could count every one of his ribs.  After two weeks at the local shelter he was listed for euthanization.  The shelter called a friend of mine in Charlottesville, Virginia and she took him from the shelter a day before he was scheduled to be destroyed.

          After bringing him into our rescue and having all the shots, neutering and heart worm testing done, Arlie came to live in my home.  What a puppy this guy is.  Being young, and obviously never having been in a house before, he was interested in everything.  He sat by the TV for hours trying to figure out where the noise was coming from.  He found himself in the reflection of the glass fireplace screen and barked at himself for two days.  He “collected” everything that wasn’t nailed down (fuzzy toys, blankets, sofa throws, pillows, a pair of jeans that were destine for the washing machine).  He learned house training very quickly, but remained crated during the day for the safety of the couch (very yummy for a puppy).  After three weeks a family came to meet Arlie, a nine-year-old boy and his mom.  The boy is very shy.  He is having problems socializing and making friends because of this “shyness”.  Then he met Arlie.  Arlie loves little boys and was immediately jumping up for him, running around him in circles, and licking his face.  It was truly love at first sight.

          Arlie went home with that little boy today.  He’ll be this child’s best friend and confidant.  Who better to listen to the hopes, fears and dreams of a nine-year-old boy than his Beagle?

          This is why I spend my time rescuing Beagles.

          NOTE FROM THE EDITOR:  Teresa is the Co-Director of BREW (Beagle Rescue, Education and Welfare of Northern Virginia, Inc.) and a cherished writer here at BEAGLES UNLIMITED. We are extremely proud of everything that Teresa and BREW are doing for many homeless Beagles and the happy families that get to adopt them. You can visit BREW on the web at http://www.beagles-on-the-web.com/brew.

Should you have a concern regarding the health of your Beagle(s), you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is presented solely for educational and informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving veterinary care for your Beagle(s).