For a 1-year-old beagle, Cate is small for her age, and her white and brown spots are a blur as she darts across the wooden floors of her new home. Like most young dogs, she is a bundle of energy. However, the tattoo inside of her ear suggests that her upbringing was far from typical.
According to her new owners, the Brown family of Salem, she is still hesitant to trust strangers, but has come a long way from the shy, scared dog she was two weeks ago when they adopted her.
“Anytime you would go to pet her, she would cower. She would run away,” Angela Brown said of Cate. “She wanted nothing to do with us at first. She started coming around to the kids first.”
One of Cate’s new owners, Eva Brown, is a fifth grader at Fort Lewis Elementary School. The family has an older beagle named Buddy. After Angela, Eva’s mom, saw a segment about beagle testing on the evening news a little over a year ago, the family felt compelled to help.
Cate is a rescue dog. However, she wasn’t rescued from the pound, but from a laboratory where she and dozens of other beagles were subjected to daily animal testing. Thirty-eight beagles, including Cate, were rescued from multiple research facilities.
Angela says that beagles are the animal of choice for research laboratories because of their small size and gentle nature. Unfortunately, many of the beagles are killed after testing.
The Beagle Freedom Project is working to change that by rehoming the dogs. They are also fighting to make medical and product testing on beagles illegal in the United States. Angela says she put in an application to adopt a research beagle months ago, but was waiting for a rescue to happen near home. A couple of weeks ago, she got the call.
Cate is named after a woman from the Beagle Freedom Project, and is no longer identified by the number inside of her ear.
Eva has become particularly involved, especially with educating others. She tells everyone from classmates to people walking their dogs at the park about beagle testing. Angela says that most people just don’t realize that beagle testing happens. Eva and her classmates held a fundraiser last year for the organization. Eva’s fundraising has raised nearly $1,000.
The family cut out animal-tested products from their lives, a task which wasn’t easy to do. They use the Cruelty Cutter app, which is available through the Beagle Freedom Project, and allows them to quickly check which products are free of animal testing.
“It seems like everything was on the list, when I first looked around the house,” Angela said. “We have been making some major changes. You can do it, it just takes a little more research and finding the stores that offer it.”
After all of their work, adopting Cate finally allowed the Browns to witness the difference they are making in animals’ lives firsthand.
Eva says initially, when Cate would hide in her crate or behind the couch, she lured her out with the smell of SpaghettiOs. She also says Cate often seemed like she wanted to play, but would just sit in a corner wagging her tail. However, now Cate is becoming quite the soccer star.
“Soccer gets her all worked up,” Eva said, laughing.
To learn more about the project, or how to become involved, visit http://www.beaglefreedomproject.org/.