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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.


  1. What a fantastic account of Zoomer & Scout's life with you. With so many beagles to keep track of I get confused. Are you just fostering these or are you keeping them? I'd find it too difficult to let them leave.

    I've a friend in San Diego called Sherry Powers who's my age, 62. I must ask her if she knows about the beagle rescue. She must do as it's been all over the news.

    Janice White

  2. Hi Spanish Owner:

    There are a lot of beagles. I can't find Scout in too many pics or videos but Zoomer is easy because he was the most frightened so there are many pics and videos of him. Your question is an excellent one. I am fostering these and that was my intention. I informed my entire family, several times, before we took them home because many times--fostering becomes a failure. I wasn't ready to make the lifetime commitment at this point in our lives (so we did need to be strong to resist the incessant heart pulls) plus I figured if I could do this well, maybe I could foster more in the future.

    I will always love them. For any amount that I have helped them, they have helped me 1000x that amount. They have opened up my eyes and my heart to the depths of how they have suffered in the laboratory and the depths of how much they are capable of loving humans.

    It is true that the very qualities that these beagles possess that make them wonderful family pets, their gentleness,forgiving nature, their curiosity, intelligence and sweet temperament, is the very reason they are used in laboratories.