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Friday, December 16, 2011

Beagles Rescued from Barcelona Testing Lab, November 2011

Video and description done by "butterfly031949". (This post and credit all goes to her and many thanks to her.) It is a beautifully moving video and her written description details how the rescue of the 72 Spanish Laboratory Beagles came to be. My precious foster baby, Zoomer--one of the most frightened of the all 72 is at minutes 1:34, 3:13, and 3:24. He was known as "Morgan Freeman" in Spain, but before that, he was known only by the number tattooed in his ear. My other precious foster baby, also formerly known only as a number, then by "Tom Hanks" and now his name is Scout; I didn't see him in the video. Please enjoy the video and read the description to find out how their freedom began:

Beagles rescued from Barcelona testing lab, November 2011.wmv
From: butterfly031949 | Dec 6, 2011 | 522 views
This is the story of 72 beagle dogs that had spent their entire lives living in cages in a laboratory in Barcelona, Spain. On 21st October Eve Allen and her partner Graham, who live near Alicante, were made aware of this particular laboratory closing. A two week deadline had been set to re-home these dogs before they would be euthanised. Eve and her vets Eva & Willie at CanisaX had decided to try and rescue 6 to 10 of the younger dogs in the hope of giving them a second chance at a normal life filled with love and trust.

Eve contacted Little Pod Foundation in the hope people would be able to help by either funding or re-homing some of these dogs. Messages soon came in from Spanish Stray Dogs and APAPA in Southern Spain advising they would try to help by taking some of the dogs. More volunteers offered to help and an association in Germany offered to take 10 more of the dogs.

Then a lady named Shannon Keith at the Beagle Freedom Project in Los Angeles, America said she would take all the dogs.There are 12 Beagles that are 1 - 1 & 1/2 years old - These have NOT been tested on. There are 60 Beagles that are 4 years old and these HAVE been tested on. All 72 dogs have received vaccinations, rabies injections and microchips.The laboratory advised they would help with funding for the re-homing of any of the dogs within Spain but not abroad. There were offers of homes in Spain for up to 40 beagles. The Beagle Freedom Project advised they would pay for their flights and the laboratory covered the extra cost of their travelling crates.

Eve was advised that all 72 beagles were male and un-neutered. The 12 younger dogs are healthy and have not been used for testing, the 60 older dogs have had tests done on them but none of the dogs carry anything contagious to animals or humans, these dogs have been used for human medical research but the dogs are all healthy and the lab does not foresee any adverse long term effects. The dogs have been kept singly in cages but with possibly 10 in a room.

Requests of help circulated the internet for bedding, blankets, food and the deadline for the dogs was drawing closer. Over the following days Eve and Teresa in Madrid worked endlessly to make the logistical arrangements for the release of the beagles, their transport, their temporary home and their flights to Los Angeles. Eve had offered up her own home and kennels to keep the dogs safe until they could be flown to L.A where the Beagle Freedom Project would meet them off the plane. On the 11th November 7 more dogs were released from the laboratory and were on their way to Phil Wren from APAPA in Ayamonte, Spain. The remaining 40 beagles in the laboratory would be released that weekend, 20 beagles would be released on Tuesday 15th November with the remaining 20 on Wednesday 16th November.

With the hard work and help of Teresa at AAH Veterinarian Services the first 20 dogs arrived healthy but were terrified. You could see the unknowing of what was happening to them in their eyes. The sign of the abuse they have been through is clear to see. They all have terrible scars on their paws from needles being constantly inserted and they all have very bad teeth. They had no idea what to do outside of a cage. They had never felt the ground below their feet and were reluctant to put their feet down on the new textures. They had never been in the open air or felt the warmth and love from a human being. But they were not underweight and were not hungry.

On the 22nd November all 40 beagles travelled up to Madrid Airport. From there they flew directly to Los Angeles in America where they were met by Shannon Keith and her team of volunteers. Andy Baker from Spanish Stray Dogs travelled to LA with the dogs. They all arrived well and safely, some are in foster homes while others have already been re-homed with their new permanent families.

Beagles are very placid, this is why laboratories use this breed. They had just been known as a number tattoed inside their ears so they were each named after a male movie star before leaving Spain.

See more photos of the beagles who went to the US, read their foster families stories & marvel at how they're adapting. The Foster beagles Facebook group is

Video of dogs arriving at LAX
Photos of dogs in the US

14 minute video of beagles in Spain in the lead up to leaving for the US.

Finding new homes for these rescued beagles, see

Some text has been taken from (less info)

A Lot of People Have Asked Me: What Does a Foster Parent Do?

What is the job of a foster parent?  Most foster dogs, even foster children, are abused or neglected and suffered some type of emotional and/or physical trauma.  So, the first job is to commit, that no matter what their behavior issues are, that you will love them through to the other side--regardless as to the length of that road.  Second is to provide for their physical well-being:  Provide clean food and water in clean bowls and make sure they are clean and provide a safe place for them to den and to have a secure yard for them to get fresh air and to "use the facilities" at a moments notice.  Every one of them needs physical and mental stimulation so walking them on a secure leash, with their ID tags on at all times, is a requirement.  Walking a dog, to them, is like reading the morning paper !  It is how they not only get their exercise, but their mental stimulation as well and they find out what's happening in their neighborhood.

Then  there is their need for the emotional and physical comfort.  They need time to just chillax, with their foster pet parent, and be petted and spoke to kindly.  My favorite thing to say is "good dog" because my last dogs would always wag their tails when I would say that !  I also tell them I love them and I think the more we talk to them, the more it helps them to understand us !

They also need training.  Depending on the pet, they may vary on their skill level.  Positive reinforcement is a much better tool than negative...that's true for bipeds too !  Giving them firm, but gentle commands, like "Down", "No", "Sit", "Heel" are ideal, and the less words in each command, the better !  Sit, stay, heel, come, down, fetch, give, etc., are each great.  I'm not a trainer but I did read this many years ago and it made sense to me.

My foster dogs, via the Beagle Freedom Project, are still learning their names !  Further, they are learning what "No" and "Down" means because when they follow a command, I always tell them "Good dog" and/or I give them a treat.  It's the same with children, it is consistency that counts and even with kids, it can take many reminders before they finally get it right repeatedly.

The most important thing is component is time and that is a commitment.  But being a foster is very rewarding and helping anyone and seeing them grow, well the rewards can't be measured, they are that immense, in my experience.

As a foster mom of these two beagles, via the Beagle Freedom Project, I am certain that as much as I have helped them, they have benefited me that much I said, the rewards are so great, they simply can't be measured.

Further, most, if not all rescue groups, pay for the medical care.  They also sometimes pay for food and financial needs of the pet as well, so if you are considering fostering and if you don't have much money, don't let that stop you from inquiring !  It's the actual loving home and the time that is what you are too provide.

Most rescue groups, to my knowledge, barely break after via the adoption fee,  after they paid for the medical care and food. In the case of the Beagle Freedom Project, it's even more astounding because they paid, to my understanding, tens of thousands of dollars to get the 40 dogs from Spain to L.A. and all the beagles needed neuters, dentals and vaccinated, so it was very costly, in the tens of thousands of dollars to the group.   So donations are very much needed to help with the costs and to keep the project going!  The adoption fee is only $300.00 so this is clearly not for profit!!  But instead, these dogs are the faces of vivisection !

The beagles have been abused--because they were physically tortured via vivisection (medical tests on live animals), emotionally neglected--because they were denied any love and affection,  physically neglected--because they were denied basic medical care like dentals, neuters or even a bath every so often, and mentally neglected and abused, because they were denied any stimulation like toys, fresh air, sunshine, grass, etc., and in my view, they were like hit.  Both my fosters cower in fright when I go to pet them and they will run and hide when they see a human being they don't recognize.

We can't know exactly what went on in that laboratory or any laboratory because the public is never allowed to see what is inside.  It's a secretive industry, devoid of windows.  Even a reporter, from Arizona, who did a report and met with the vivisector, in an article titled, "Screwing the Pooch" was not allowed in to the lab because of "germs".

And sadly, unless someone is going in undercover, and when they do, they find illegal animal abuse going on, like this example: we the public never gets to know where are tax dollars are going or how are 'dollars we spend' via our purchases.

Anyway, I digress.  Back to fostering.  It's amazing to see these dogs, whom were nothing more than laboratory test tools, transition to lovable, confident and happy dogs.  It just takes some time and lot of love but they are so worth it. 

My two fosters' are the most amazing, lovable, kind, gentle and lovable dogs ever.  And they couldn't get any cuter ! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How I Came to Be a Foster Mom

I heard about the Beagle Freedom Project's rescue via Facebook.  I've always been interested in pet rescue because I like helping animals and helping pets is really hands on and with tangible results.  I also became aware of the beagle breed because of how good they are with children.  I had always had smaller pets, like Yorkies and Silkys, but they are really too small, in my view, for kids.  Kids need a dog that is closer to their size and activity level.  So I must have "friended" (is that a word?) a group that led me to another group and so on.

I was on FB one morning -- a week or so before Thanksgiving, and lo and behold, I heard the story directly from the Beagle Freedom Project about the need for foster homes for these laboratory pets.  I had considered fostering a rescue pet for a quite a while, because of the stage we are at in our lives, as opposed to making the commitment to become a forever pet parent.  I had been putting off and putting off fostering until I heard about Beagle Freedom Project's amazing rescue of 40 laboratory beagles!

I am guessing I was the first foster application they received.  It's just a hunch but this called my name and I submitted my application as soon as I read the "comment".   Further, I have always been opposed to vivisection (animal testing on live animals) and actually meeting a laboratory animal, in person would be basically full circle for me.

To be able to help, to interact, to love, to help facilitate healing and to help transition them from laboratory test tool to family pet and to help an animal whom had essentially been tortured, was what I was meant to do.  I knew it.

I won't get into the debate on vivisection here but I can assure you, firsthand, that even if a reader supports testing on animals, these animals are trauma victims.  Their behavior indicates they have been tortured, day in and day out.   They have never been given love, seen the sunshine, breathed in fresh air, felt grass beneath their feet and the only touch they have received has been to somehow shackle them in a restraint so as to test on them via poking, prodding, inserting tubes, cutting them, making them inhale substances or inserting drugs into their bodies to test their reactions, making them ingest drano, shampoo, dishwasher soap, etc. 

But here is the first video I saw of the Beagle Freedom Projects second rescue.  It is heartwarming, uplifting and will make you smile and cry--TEARS OF JOY!  Beagle Freedom Project saves innocent lives.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Nip and Tuck for Zoomer and Scout

It was Saturday, November 26th, our third day together. Today they were going to the vet for their first exam, neuter and dental cleaning. We left about 8:45 a.m. to make the check-in of 9 a.m.

They were nervous about where they were going.  But nothing compared to when they arrived at the vet's office.  Zoomer was shaking and could not be consoled. Scout was shaking too. There was no way around this so we had to leave them.

We picked them up, from the vet, about 5 p.m. and when they got home, wearing those PITA E-collars, it wasn't fun for anyone. New sounds and even some sights still frightened them. When they bumped those collars against each other or against the wall it would make Scout jump.  Zoomer would run frantically both away from the sounds and in circles. After all they had been through in their lives, they were once again horribly confused and afraid.

Their den was was in our downstairs hallway.  We had a gate at both ends. Their beds and water were always in there as were a few toys.  We mostly keep the gate open when we are home,  and close it when we have to leave or sleep, (to help potty train them and help them feel safe). The hallway is in the middle of the downstairs so that is where they choose to relax even when the gate is open.  

That night was the hardest because they were not easily consoled. We took them upstairs to our bedroom so we could keep an eye on them. It was even worse.  The extra space seem to confuse them and while Scout chose to lay in front of the sofa, Zoomer wouldn't relax and was running around and bumping Scout.  At one point, after being bumped my Zoomer's e-collar, Scout literally jumped a foot or so off the floor. This wasn't working. My husband took them back downstairs, to their den, and he lied down with them to get them to relax.  That seemed to work and they slept the rest of the night.

Sunday, Nov. 27 was better.  When we let them out or they were wandering around the house, outside of their den, we would take the e-collars off so they wouldn't bump them.   When they were resting in their den, we would have them wear them so they wouldn't lick or chew their sutures. Those collars are horrible, for any dog, let alone these dogs whom had suffered so much.

After they were neutered, it seemed to help the "marking" done by both dogs even though Scout was beginning to use the outdoors pretty well.  Zoomer was nervous outside and we normally had to stay out there with him for at least 15-20 minutes just to get him to pee.  He was still having accidents but that was because he was scared of the outside.

We didn't take them for a walk that day as we wanted them to take it easy.  We were becoming attached to them and realizing how blessed we were to be a part of this: The Beagle Freedom Project's endeavor and the feeling that this was something bigger than all of us was so amazing to me.

These dogs are miracles to me because they made it out alive of a laboratory.  Most do not. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Their First Official Day in San Diego

We all awoke and hugged and kissed the dogs. The kids petted them endlessly and they were inseparable. The dogs ate well. It was the day after Thanksgiving and we spent our day helping our new friends adjust to their home.
We hadn't named them #30 and #39 yet. We spent that day thinking of names that suited them.
When it was time to potty, we carried them both outside as they didn't know where they were supposed to "go". #30 did a portion of his business outside, then came back inside and marked all over. We cleaned it up. We have tile throughout the downstairs so it's pretty easily cleaned. Further, our last pets, all seniors, had incontinence, so accidents and incessant cleaning weren't anything new to us.
#39, was far more timid of everything, including the outside. He was nervous and didn't want to be out there so we could only keep him out there for brief intervals. It came to be an attempt just to get him accustomed to the outside. He would just circle the patio in counter-clockwise circles. It was hard to watch because I knew that he developed this pathology in his metal soothe himself. It was his coping mechanism. He is now free and learning to adjust to his new life but the trauma from his life, in what equates to a concentration camp, has clearly caused him so much mental anguish that it will be much harder for him to adapt.
We decided to take them for a walk. (#39 is on left, #30 on right.) Beagle Freedom Project sent #39 with a harness and provided long leashes for them both. I had another harness for #30. We gently leashed them up and they were horribly timid. They wouldn't proceed to the front door because they were afraid so we carried them there and then had to carry them outside and then had to carry them down the porch steps. If they got afraid or nervous, we would pick them up but we were off and it was grand. The whole family was there and the dogs did fantastic. It was a quiet and beautiful day in San Diego and the dogs were now excited, at times timidly excited. #39 rolled around in the grass as if to scratch his back. His bath will come later.

30 loved it and was smelling everything ! Every new bush, twig, post and pole. The other one, #39 was feeling pretty good too and we would all stop every few minutes and pet the dogs because we already loved them.

As I mentioned before, #39 walks in counter-clockwise circles in my yard but on the walk, he was walking mostly straight, although at times, he would walk counter-clockwise around me, wrapping me in his leash! I unleashed myself and we would start walking again. Everything was new to them: The fresh air, the sunshine, the flowers and grass, the noises and the smells. It was interesting that they didn't seem to notice the many birds, especially crows, that are around. It was as if they had never seen one before ! Oh wait, they had not. The walk went so well and after about an hour, it was time to head back home. I forgot to mention the innocuous noises around the home that seemed to frighten them: A drawer opens, the can opener, a spoon is set on the counter, a peanut is opened...every sound makes them jump as it is all new. This was driven home to me as we walked on the way home, I stepped on a large, dried palm frond and it crunched. They both jumped to the unusual and new sound. After we arrived home, carried them back up the steps and setting them down in the foyer, they drank, ate and rested.

It was almost noon and it was bath-time. They smelled pretty badly and it made snuggling them more challenging I wanted to wash #39 first and we proceeded to the bathtub. I have a hand-held sprayer too which is really essential for bathing a dog. I set up all the supplies: Shampoo, brush, towel and blow dryer. I tested the water on my wrist and it was perfect...turned on the shower sprayer and realized that he was afraid of the sound of the sprayer so I turned it off and used a pitcher to wet his hair.

I came to realize that he had never seen water before ! It was as if this was his first experience getting a bath or even seeing running water. He checked out the water timidly, but curiously. He was by no means having fun but I proceeded to bathe him as quickly as possibly and he was pretty cooperative. His skin smelled very badly so I had to lather, rinse, repeat. I noticed that very little dirt came off his body and why would it? He had been in a metal cage in a laboratory so he wasn't dirty from the outside but I could feel his skin getting clean as I bathed him. When it was over, I towel dried him and turned on the hair dryer, which also frightened him. So he stood a few feet away, while my son brushed him, I held the dryer up and just let the air flow in his direction. He seemed to feel better, even grateful ! After his potty time, it was #30's bath time. It went pretty much identical, except, at the end, he smelled something on my bathroom counter and seriously tried to hop on top. I had to physically restrain him from jumping on top my bathroom counter !

Afterwards, they both rested, ate, drank and #39 continued to do the counter-clockwise circles when he was outside. It was horrible to watch because he clearly was afraid. However, inside he was feeling more calm around everyone and even began to be curious about the goings-on in the kitchen and would stand up on his hind legs to smell what was on the counters.

It was a nice end to a long day and we finally decided on their names.

#30 is to be called "Scout" because he's adventurous, curious and eager to learn and lead--just like a Scout! #39 is to be called Zoomer because he pretty much zooms around all the time, he zooms outside and he zooms around the kitchen checking out all the new smells !

Tomorrow, at the vet, they are to be snipped.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

An Unusual Thanksgiving for Dos Beagles and Their New Family

First, thank you to the Beagle Freedom Project for helping these laboratory dogs experience freedom for the first time in their lives. They had only been known as a number, never by a name.

We were so excited to welcome our new friends into our home that we decided to fore-go our traditional Thanksgiving celebration in order to make the trek to L.A. to pick up our two Spanish laboratory beagles from the Beagle Freedom Project.

My husband and son arrived at Shannon's home around 2 p.m. and were greeted by a reporter from the Daily News. We were seated in the yard while Shannon went to get our dogs. Most people usually foster just one, however, we currently had no pets so they felt it was best to have two dogs together so they could 'learn' from each other how to be dogs.

They brought out #30 and #39. We were told they had spent the entire day together. We were also told that #39 was the most timid and frightened dogs but BFP thought our family would be a good environment for him. He shook uncontrollably. We were told they were not debarked at the laboratory although neither had made a peep.

After arriving to our home, we decided the best place for them was in our hallway. We gated both sides to make their den and then we placed their doggy beds inside along with a few toys, food and water.

They received a lot of hugs that night and they both ate and drank. They were very afraid of us and wouldn't come to us, but instead, cowered or ran if we came to them. Their den made them feel the most safe.

That night, we didn't want them downstairs, alone, so we decided to move them upstairs to a large bathroom so we could hear them if they needed us.

They seemed content and it was clear they took comfort with each other. In the morning, we found several pee accidents in the bathroom and even one on one of their pet beds, but it was to be expected after all they had been through up to this point in their lives.