Plants and Dogs

The Genus Beagle

Beagle Starlet Levine

You thought I'd post a blog about Beagles and not show you mine? Hear the radio story she helped me write. Ketzel Levine hide caption

itoggle caption Ketzel Levine

We're not talking plants today, we're talking dogs, on account of Uno — praise be his name — the first beagle to win Westminster.

So of course beagle lovers rejoiced coast-to-coast. Then, a pack of them got down to business. Including Denise Sproul of Cascade Beagle Rescue, who leads the Pacific Northwest effort to corral dumped and unwanted strays and get them into beagle-savvy homes.

(Let me say, straight away, that not only am I a member of Cascade Beagle Rescue, but CBR vice-president Susan O'Brien — with addtional animal wrangling by Denise Sproul — is looking after my oh-so-low maintenance Starlet for the entire month, while I'm here in D.C.)

"We had a Board of Directors meeting the morning after Westminster," she told me, "and after the first wave of excitement, the question was, how long before we start seeing them show up in beagle rescue? We could hear the puppy mill people popping champagne corks, as people race to pet stores looking for puppy Uno."

I'm going to take it for granted you're hip to the puppy mill crisis in North America. Here's a detached overview from a 2006 piece published in the New York Times Magazine.

But Denise Sproul also saw Uno's win as an opportunity to educate a now-curious public about the right way to go about researching and acquiring a beagle — or for that matter, any dog. While I imagine you could have written this advice yourself, perhaps you could help her pass it along (and send any beagle-curious people her way):

If you're wanting a beagle, and you're not going to adopt one from a breed-specific rescue organization, at least talk to someone in beagle rescue — whether in your area, or any region of the country — and get information about the breed before getting one. Otherwise, you're going to be in for a big surprise!!

I've had lots of surprises over the years with my beagles, and I can only hope my life will continue to be filled with more. What about you? Am curious about your take on beagles, breeding, pet shops, Westminster, and the U.S. as a humane place to be a dog...

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

I admit to being anything, but a dog fan. I have thought them dirty, smelly, noisy, prone to shed and chew shoes, jump and nip, and they are impossible to house train. Of course, I had never had a dog, didn't have one growing up, and my exposure was limited to dogs whose owners were not adequate to caring for them.

Last year, after a year of considered research on breed and a careful examination of my lifestyle, my quiet single life was happily changed by an apricot toy poodle puppy. Having no experience did not matter when it came to housebreaking. I had no idea, but did my pup as I had my kids, just keep working at it patiently and taking her out every 1-1/2 to 2 hours. It took just under 3 weeks to have a reliable habit.

She doesn't shed, as poodles don't. She doesn't smell because I bathe her regularly. She doesn't bark much because I have worked with her. (She may bark at a cat in the yard, but not at the neighbors.) I gave her appropriate things to chew and NONE of my shoes have been chewed. The dog is a darling companion, but I have made her that way. Like children, they are malleable and you start as you mean to go on with love, patience and kindness.

I have that quintessential adorable, soft, sweet, lovable and affectionate dog. That is down to my efforts, she didn't come that way!

I wish people would understand the work that a dog is and the patience it takes to work with them to make them a wonderful pet. You need to carefully choose a breed based on your needs, not the look of the dog. I have never liked dogs, much less poodles, but my poodle was the perfect breed for me and it has worked out extremely well. I can't say I am a dog person yet, but I adore mine and I am warming up to them all.

Sent by Lyndia Williams | 6:56 AM | 2-14-2008

We got our 5 year-old Beagle from a local rescue 4 years. Despite warnings from friends and relatives, we got her because it was love at first sight for our then 5 and 7 year-old boys. She hardly ever barks but did run away a few times in the first year we had her. Now, she's an indispensable part of the family. With companionship and lots of love, most dogs can be wonderful additions to all of our lives.

Sent by Raymond Yen, MD (Pasadena, CA) | 11:06 AM | 2-14-2008

We love our beagle, Seamus. We just wish we knew how to train him so that when we go for walks, he would look up and not just sniff every little thing along the walk. Is there hope?

Sent by Kathryn Hall | 12:31 PM | 2-14-2008

I was so excited to see Uno win. I have two beagle babies myself and I would have a hundred if I could. After hearing one broadcaster say "Now everyone wants a beagle", reality set in and the first thing that came to my mind was how many will end up in shelters or worst. After the movie 101 Dalmations came out there was a rush to get a Dalmation, which led to many being given up when they weren't "so cute anymore" or didn't fit into the household. Beagles are great companions and terrific with kids, but not perfect for all households. Please do research to see if a beagle will be compatible with your life style, if it seems to be I promise you'll have a new best friend for life.

Sent by L.Menor | 12:44 PM | 2-14-2008

Amen, Ketzel!!! I've had Beagles since I was 12 years old. My sixteen-year-old girl just passed away in May of last year. I now have two rescue Beagles. They DO require patience and a complete understanding of their strengths and shortcomings (don't we all?). I wouldn't have any other kind of dog, but Beags are admittedly not for everyone!

Sent by JudyWatts | 1:08 PM | 2-14-2008

The best -- and cutest -- dogs in the world!

http://www.merriewood.com

Sent by Mimi Kahn | 2:01 PM | 2-14-2008

I have had beagles in my life for over 20 years. I love them. But I always caution folks about adopting beagles because of their "special abilities". Right now, I have two beagles--Abbey and Mo. Abbey has lived with us for almost 5 years; we rescued her from an abuse situation, and though she has many issues, we wouldn't trade her for anything. Having said that, she would be a difficult dog for anyone to adopt. She does adore her brother, Mo. Mo has been in my life all of his life. He first lived with my brother and then with me when my brother died of pancreatic cancer in 1999. In an odd twist of fate, Mo is in the last stages of pancreatic cancer and may be joining my brother in the next few days. No matter the pain I'm going through right now over Mo's impending fate, I don't regret one minute with these special dogs, but urge everyone to make sure a beagle is the dog for you before committing to it. And when you commit to any pet, it's for the lifetime of that pet. So yes, my husband, my beagles, and I cheered for Uno, but I'm very glad that you are addressing the specialness of the beagle.

Sent by Tamara Hicks-Syron | 3:16 PM | 2-14-2008

Message to Katheryn: No there is no hope. When I take my son???s ten year old beagle, Harry,(AKA Bob Barker!) for his walk he sniffs everything, and has to leave his ???mark??? on every tree, mail box, pillar and post in the neighborhood. On one of our hour-long walks I counted the number of times he left his ???calling card???, forty three times! So just forget an energetic walk and let you hound enjoy himself

Sent by John W. | 3:51 PM | 2-14-2008

Arooooooo for Uno! (from Barney, my 6yo beagle)

Sent by Jeff Guenthner, volunteer, Tampa Bay Beagle Rescue | 4:57 PM | 2-14-2008

Beagles are wonderful dogs to have expecially around children. As an owner of three beagels (Jackson, Dutches, and Winston) I was extremly pleased to hear that A beagel had won. I can only imagine the widespread publicity that these affectionate K-9s will now recieve. Hats off to Uno, and to all beagles around the world!!!

AROO

Sent by Jonathan Moreno | 5:06 PM | 2-14-2008

my buttons is the diva of all beagles. not only does she howl and bay but she instinctively knows what she wants and knows how to get it. that said i would never trade her for the world. she is the most loveable and also the most mischevious hound that i heve ever met. i never really watched the Westminster Dog Show because none of the "regular" dogs ever won. i never was to interested in the "show" dogs and i was ecstatic that finally a "regular" dog won. Uno has put the beagle on the map just as Snoopy had done. Buttons is so adorable and cuddly that you wonder if a dog could be that loving. as she gets older (she just turned a year old on Super Bowl Sunday) she is finally starting to calm down and cuddle even more. well as Buttons would say "AH ROOO" to all

Sent by rose | 5:18 PM | 2-14-2008

Having had several Beagles over the past Forty years, I agree wholeheartedly that they are not for everyone. They are stubborn, pretty much ignore you when their highly receptive nose is in use, many are barkers or bayers, and many are runners who cannot be trusted off lead. All that aside, they are the most loveable dogs I know of. There is a reason they are so cute, if they weren't, you would most certainly want to boot them out. I have two full Beagles and a beagle mix, two from shelters and I love them even with all their faults. Make sure it is what you want to let your self in for before getting one though. Beagle recues are almost always full and that is a crime. Oh, and Uno....way to go little guy, we are proud for you and all your kind.

Sent by Gary Stauber | 5:20 PM | 2-14-2008

Three cheers for Uno and three more for Cascade Beagle Rescue. We got our boy Bailey from CBR West last Fathers
Day and he too is all beagle. He's loud, rude and sometimes crude but we love just the same.

Sent by Russ S., Poulsbo, WA | 5:25 PM | 2-14-2008

I fell in love with a beagle 15 years ago and I will never be the same again. When I saw that a beagle had won Westminster, I cried for joy -- really, tears and tissues, sobs and sighs. When we first got our Snoopy 15 years ago I truly didn???t understand beagles. I told my husband, "My God, he's as dumb as a box of rocks!" But that was before I saw him in action. All he needed was a "food challenge" to motivate and inspire him. One day from the kitchen doorway, I watched as he pushed the chair close to the ironing board, climb on the chair and jump on the ironing board. Then making a running leap to the kitchen counter, he opened the pantry cabinet and pull down the butter-cream cake hidden there. He was on the floor and had the cake half eaten before I could cross the room to stop him. A FOOD GENIUS! He was eventually banned from the kitchen unless someone was there to watch him. He could get the frig open and pull the drawers to eat the lunchmeat, butter sticks, fruit, leftovers...if the dog had had a thumb no jar would have been safe and the rest of the family would have starved! We tried to scold him, but he would look up at you with those soft brown eyes and slowly inch his way closer to you until he was literally sitting on your feet, pleading with those eyes for forgiveness. Sigh...what's a girl to do! Yes, beagles are a handful. They don't come when called (unless you wave bologna and the scent carries his way). Nose to the ground, following where it will lead, that's a happy beagle. A good and faithful companion, cheery and funny, impish and stubborn - a beagle owner would have it no other way. Snoopy is gone now, and dearly missed, but every time I hear an ???arooooo??? my ear???s perk up and my heart rejoices. Good job, Uno, good boy! Aroooo to you too!

Sent by Katie Pope | 5:45 PM | 2-14-2008

I loved your article about the winning beagle and your advice to contact a rescue facility before obtaining any dog but I think you need to make sure you're dealing with a reputable rescue. I obtained a Great Dane from a rescue facility after my Great Dane passed away. Within days of the bringing him home, I discovered he had dog/cat and people aggression issues. After months of professional dog training for the dog and myself, I am still in the process of trying to change his behavior.

Sent by Carol | 6:55 PM | 2-14-2008

We have a 5-year-old beagle named Beggs who is the sweetest dog in the world. But she took a lot of patience to housetrain (actually took her about 4 years to get it) and on walks, her nose is to the ground the whole way and if that noise finds anything edible, she will eat it. You have to be careful not to overfeed beagles, too, as they will eat until the food is gone and get fat. That said, I love her dearly and would recommend one for a family pet as she adores babies and children.

Sent by Barbara | 7:10 PM | 2-14-2008

Ketzel, the moment I heard about Uno's win I thought of you and your beagles. After I heard your piece on NPR I also thought of Rick Bass - a wonderful writer from Montana via Texas. He wrote a beautiful book about his hunting dog Colter. In the forward and when he spoke at Powells he cautioned people not fall in love with his dog and run out and get one of their own. In his particular case he had a dog that needed lots and lots of exercise, mental activity and wide open spaces, or he would be miserable. Each breed, each dog, has a personality that needs to match his intended home and family. Makes me think of "Right plant, Right place" - same is true of pets - maybe even more so.

Sent by Kailla in Portland | 7:29 PM | 2-14-2008

My husband and I have 3 rescue beagles ourselves and wouldn't have it any other way. They are an incredibly special breed, once you get past their habit of following their nose anywhere it might take them. They are the most delghtful, wonderful, loving, kid-friendly dogs I have ever experienced. Our thirteen year old beagle girl(who we rescued when she was eight),Ruby, is special friends with our nephew, Brayden (who is nearly 2 now). Since he was only a few months old she was his constant protector and companion. She helped him learn to stand and walk, one of his first words was Wooooby, and now they trot through the house together getting into as much mischief as a dog and his boy can.

But I echo the sentiments of waiting for the other shoe to drop with the flood of beagles in shelters. The abandoned beagle problem here in Kentucky is just heartbreaking and I urge anyone thinking about an Uno for themselves to do the research and please please please check the shelters first. Our youngest, Copper, is full blood AKC certified and we got him because his original family moved. They are out there, please try to find one a good home because as much as we'd love to take them all there is no more room at my house for a fourth!

Sent by Lauren Norman Snider | 8:32 PM | 2-14-2008

I am so tired, tired, tired of poodles. They are nice enough dogs, but too many of them get too far at Westmister leaving a lot of other breeds with little or no chance of winning best in group.

Congrats to Uno a gorgeous dog who isn't a poodle.

Sent by Liz Lewis | 9:04 PM | 2-14-2008

As an unabashed 'dog' or genr'l animal person, I appreciated your comments re. the winning Beagle, but as a 25 year animal rescuer I am also deeply concerned with the potential over breeding of this dog by breeders and puppy mills. Thank you for your wise words on this issue. I hope others are listening to your warning.

Sent by Elaine Livesey-Fassel | 9:29 PM | 2-14-2008

We absolutely adore our 4 year old beagle, Lucky and he adores us! When we leave the house for a short time, he welcomes us with loud howling and he runs laps around the coffee table. You would think we had been gone for a week.Beagles are cute and sweet,but they take you for a walk instead of you taking them for a walk. Hurray to Uno!!!!!!!!!

Sent by Susan Dox | 10:08 PM | 2-14-2008

I have a lemon and white beagle that is a rescue beagle. She came from an abuse situation. She has been a challenge, but we have a great deal of love between us and I admire her intelligence and spirit. She continues to grow and develop. Then there is Bud from Kentucky, known as Kentucky Bud. He is pretty well-known on Whidbey Island for his personality and plain happiness and a few amazing feats such as climbing a leaning 35 foot tree. We've been together for 17 years. He has been a joy. He only barks when he's on a hunt, working up to a howl. My lemon and white beagle constantly converses. I love these dogs. I have two cats that share my feelings. But I hope there isn't a rush to acquire beagles after Uno's win. Beagles are working dogs (we live on a farm) and they definitely can be high maintenance.

Sent by Susan Crowell | 11:14 PM | 2-14-2008

I rescue Bloodhounds, pretty much a giant Beagle on steriods. Hounds make great family pets, if you do your research. With any scent hound, the nose goes down and they need a fenced yard. Visit your local shelter or rescue first. There are many in rescue.
Try: http://www.petfinder.com
to find one near you.
Thank-you,
Beri Bek
Director Sniffydogs Bloodhound Rescue
Michigan

Sent by Beri Bek | 11:47 PM | 2-14-2008

i was so excited and happy for uno! i myself grew-up with collies or labs and then my ex brought home our garett who was amixbeagle with so much personality to this day and its ben guite awhile since hes ben gone me and mygirls still miss and cant seem to replace him.

Sent by jenny rumsey | 11:55 PM | 2-14-2008

Seamus will almost never look up when he's on a walk, and that's a good thing. Seamus can out-smell almost every other breed, and he has a special sense that goes from his nose to his palate to his brain; that means when he smells something, he's registering it in his brain -- he's learning.

The more beagles smell, the more they learn, and the more they learn, the better they understand their pack and the cleverer they get with goofing around in that pack.

We have two rescued beagles, Booker (5) and Murphy (2). Both were rescued as pups. Booker was from someplace bad (we never knew -- there was a court case, the litter was seized, one was blind in one eye, and Booker had buckshot in him). Murphy's mother was a farm dog and had a litter out in the woods, and kept them out there. The pups had to be trapped when they were 5 months old, and were feral. Murphy was also born a dwarf, with some skeletal deformity (but she's fine). Whereas Booker was a bit of a basket case, afraid of all loud noises, wooden bridges, and feet, Murphy darted down groundhog dens, attacked snakes, and hunted praying mantises.

Here's an example of the cleverness: We trained Booker to bang a bell at the door whenever he needed to go out. He picked up on this pretty quickly, but then he picked up on something else; when he banged the bell, I'd get up, and my spot on the couch would be warm. So he started banging the bell and then taking my spot on the couch when I'd get up to let him out. These sorts of games go on all the time.

As stated above, beagles need loads of patience. Not because they're dull-witted or hyper, but because they're extremely clever and can be very willful. The key is to work with their strengths; let them be beagles, and they understand how to do that better than we do. Reward them when they do something correct, and give almost no attention when they do something you don't want them to do, just correct the behavior and move on. Getting angry, yelling, any kind of negative attention will likely lead into a spiral of negative behavior. If they don't get a response for a bad behavior and are simply corrected, they're less likely to repeat the behavior (and this can take time). They can be astonishingly loud, but they almost always have a good reason for it. My two beagles once chased someone who tried to break in to our place out the door and out to a highway (he got away); they alerted the entire apartment complex with their bays.

Beagles have been bred for thousands of years. There's talk of small hounds with loud voices in ancient Greek accounts. They're geared for tracking, making noise to let you know where they're at, and for living in packs. They're hardy trackers and can go all day. It's not a good idea to let them off-leash, because if they get on a scent, they're gone. Chasing them won't help, because they expect you to follow -- if you're running after them, they think everything is okay. If you ever get in that situation, best to run by their line of site, call them, and run another direction. They'll then most likely follow.

Since they learn so much through their noses, the more they get to smell, the more they learn, and the more they learn, the more interesting and generally well-behaved they get. They love to romp through the woods, but will roll in dead critters if they get the chance, and will bolt after rabbits and squirrels ??? if you're up for it, let them run and try keep up (hold on to that leash!).

Last thing: If you're going that route and want to run them around in the woods a lot, a harness rather than a leash might be a good idea. Leashes can pull their collars against their throats, and when they're tracking, they can really pull; after years of that, scar tissue can build up in a beagle's throat from the collar rubbing against the trachea. It probably varies from beagle to beagle, but a beagle's bay is one of its charms, and you wouldn't want your beagle to lose that.

Sent by J Wood | 1:53 AM | 2-15-2008

my beagles: sweet, cuddly, smart, houdini, relentless, hungry, still hungry, just ate but still hungry, playful, sleepy....some of the words that first come to mind. I would not be without a beagle again voluntarily, but if you have not lived with one before, please do your research. They are incredibly creative at getting to things they want - you have to be very vigilant. They are very smart - remember that they were bred to think for themselves (to make independent decisions in the field) - they don't sit back to wait for your instructions. They can be chewers, they can be noisy if you have only one dog and are gone a lot during the day. That said, they are great little dogs. Just be sure what you are getting is what you want.

Sent by Dawn Eng | 9:32 AM | 2-15-2008

I rescued Honey, a beagle mix, 2 years ago next week. One thing beagle-eager folks concerned about certain traits should know is that rescues are often the perfect source for the perfect pet.
My partner had very aggressive dogs as a child, so when we decided to get a pup of our own we knew for his sake that it would have to be a passive and/or mellow one.
Honey had been neglected by humans in a backyard breeding program, and was rescued with her 9 puppies. As such, she was afraid of people and extremely submissive. Knowing that she would need a lot of training and TLC, we adopted her and worked with her consistently. She's now a tail-wagging, toy-fetching joy who meets all of our needs. Playful, passive, and bark-free. Only through a rescue and our commitment to training could we have found this exact mix of traits in an adorable adult beagle.

Sent by Leigh Guarinello | 9:48 AM | 2-15-2008

OK, now we need to be able to post pix of our beagles. I mean, REALLY. Who's up for that? If you don't flood me, I could format a few for my next post.
Feedback first, though, then I'll tell you what size to send. Thanks!

Sent by Ketzel Levine | 10:42 AM | 2-15-2008

Beagles are absolutely tremendous dogs. I have had a beagle or two for a majority of my life and can't imagine not having one. However, they are the most stubborn dogs to have walked the earth. William, the little guy that I have now, has perfected the "I know what you want me to do, but I don't feel like doing that unless you give me a treat" look. Anyone who is thinking of getting a beagle, please consider adopting one from a rescue organization. Not only does it help you avoid the puppy years (during which beagles tend to be little Tasmanian devils), you also are able to receive feedback from the rescue groups as to the beagle's personality and behavior. Also, beagles are often used for medical testing and those beagles are often in need of homes after the labs release them. If you're up for the challenge, you'll never own another type of dog again. Viva los beagles!

Sent by Laura | 12:52 PM | 2-15-2008

My 13-year-old beagle, Boyfriend, has been with me for nine years and has truly been the most remarkable companion. He picked me when I first went to the shelter, and I have felt blessed ever since. I cannot imagine life without him.

Sent by Steve Gruber | 1:07 PM | 2-15-2008

It's been great reading these comments! My heart is swelling, it's silly. Survey has been my buddy for over 8 years. Found her when she was probably 2 or 3 years old. Since I never knew her as a puppy, I feel like we began our relationship as two stubborn young adults. I didn't know a thing about beagles, but I had found her on the side of the road, no one ever claimed her, and I was absolutely in love.

I learned about beagles the hard way. Watched her climb a chain link fence like a ladder; chased her down the street numerous times; looked outside and saw her walk back and forth on a 6 foot brick wall; squeezed through a space she should not have been able to get through; chased a squirrel up a tree, climbed the tree...and caught the squirrel! Beagles were bred to hunt, never forget it. They're intelligent and need good mental challenges. They need nature and wide open spaces (which I can't always give her, unfortunately). They need discipline and patience.

However, Survey is so incredibly sweet. She's getting to be an old lady, but you'd never know it when you're playing with her. I can barely stand other people's dogs now that I have it so good.

And, yes, I would gladly post a pic of my dog. Sorry, everyone, but Survey is the pick of the litter and way cuter than Uno!

Sent by Nat X | 1:23 PM | 2-15-2008

oh beagle love!!!

our family is 2 parts beagle, a tri-colored female named lucy and a red and white male named puck. i have to say that beagles are VERY challenging the first year, but are SO worth the time and energy in the long run. they are independant, but loving, smart but not conniving (except when food is involved), and goofy as all get out. i can't imagine life without them (even though i was ready to give up on lucy the first year!).
be a patient and calm leader and they will bring you much joy.

Sent by bethany sumners | 1:30 PM | 2-15-2008

I have some pix of Booker and Murphy on Flickr that anyone can see. It's hard to get a clear shot of them, because if they're not sleeping, they're playing. The photos are at http://flickr.com/photos/18498574@N00/tags/beagles/.

(The photo of Booker with his head stuck through his bed needs explanation. He dug at that for a week, and when he got through, he got his head stuck. We were cooking dinner in the kitchen, and he came stumbling in whimpering. We happened to have the camera right there, so we snapped the moment.)

Sent by J Wood | 2:03 PM | 2-15-2008

Ketz...YES on the pics. Beagle lovers always like to not only brag, but see everybody else's beags too. BTW, Star is doing great here at "Beagle Creek Spa".

Sent by Denise - Cascade Beagle Rescue | 3:06 PM | 2-15-2008

JWood - Love it. That's some hard work there. Thanks for the link.

Sent by Ketzel Levine | 3:39 PM | 2-15-2008

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! It was so refreshing to hear a story about the inevitable consequences of Unos win at Westminster. Weve seen it happen after 101 Dalmatians, Paris Hiltons chihuahua and so on. People inclined to own the new "flavor of the month" dog without any thought about the temperament or
behavior of the dog and how he/she will fit into the familys lifestyle. Too many dogs are dumped, abandoned or surrendered to then face death. Its a tragic consequence of pet "ownership" versus companionship.

Sent by Connie Graham | 3:51 PM | 2-15-2008

Starlet has such a sweet, sweet face! I read your blog, and I agree with liz lewis about the poodles. I don't have a dog, never had a dog, but i think they're wonderful. I like to watch dog shows, especially the westminster, because I learn a lot about the different breeds and i enjoy seeing them. I'm always talking to the tv to pick a "real" dog, but the judges seem to have a thing for those weirdly coifed poodles. i think the non-coifed poodles are much more appealing. my best friend's mom always had poodles when we were kids and whenever she'd leave the house, she would say "mother's mother's going to church" so the dog wouldn't be sad because he knew she'd be back soon! puh-leeeze!

good work!

Sent by Mary Kilgore | 4:01 PM | 2-15-2008

It is so good to hear information being given out about our wonderful canine friends. BUT I need to correct something you said. I have been working with a large rescue group in Hanover County, BARK, for over 4 years. We are totally a non-profit organization. We see everything. I am the shelter/volunteer coordinator. You mentioned how important it is for an adoption between man and dog to be a good fit. That is absolutely correct and we do strive to accomplish that. What is not correct is what was said about most of the dogs at the pound wind up there because their owners can not manage them, train them, coexist with them or whatever. That too is correct but it is not the primary reason. Most dogs at the pound are there because their families have divorced, moved away, decided they wanted a new puppy instead of their old timer, the dog has developed medical issues with which they dont want to be bothered, the dog was dumped and found by some good soul who turns it in, they are taken from abusive people, they had puppies and the puppies are not wanted (lots of times those puppies are drowned or thrown away. They never even make it to the pound), people die and/or go to nursing home..and have no one to take care of the dog, kids go off to college and the parents dont want the dog, once it grew up and the puppyness was gone the family decided to get another puppy and get rid of their long time family member....I could go on and on. I think you get the gist. ALSO, what owners of pets dont know is that if they turn their own pet into the pound - referred to as an owner turn in - and the dog pound is full or doesnt think that dog is adoptable, the pound can euthanize that dog right then and there.
Some animal Shelters still gas their dogs. Cant even imagine!! There is no waiting period since they do not have to take the time to seek the owner or wait for the owner to show and claim the dog. They know it is an unwanted dog. If it is cute and or pretty, it has a better chance of making it for 7-10 days on the adoption route. If it is a plain jane or joe, ordinary looking, just another lab mix - even though it has a heart full of love, a wagging tail, lots of kisses to give and anxious to have another family - it probably wont make it at the pound very long. We place over 709 dogs in
2007 and that was but a drop in the bucket considering the need in just this area alone. People need to understand that adopting a pet is a life time committment. They become a family member. They count on their human friends. They need us. We are the ones responsible for the 5 million homeless pets in the U.S. today. Ghandi said that, "the greatness of a nation and its moral values can be judged by the way they treat their animals..." or something like that.

Sorry, a lot said but I am so passionate about all this. We at BARK work endlessly to help the dogs that others discard. We wouldnt have so much to do if folks took better care of their animals. And with all the free and available spay/neuter clinics around owners have no excuse not to take better care of their canine friends.

Thanks for hearing me out.

Sent by Linda Lane | 4:07 PM | 2-15-2008

Linda..from one rescuer to another...beautifully said! One addition for "our breed"...strays are the #1 reason they end up in shelters. Chip and tag your beagles...repair those fences! CALL local shelters if your beagle is missing!

Sent by Denise S. - Cascade Beagle Rescue | 7:55 PM | 2-15-2008

This win for the beagle breed is a perfect opportunity to bring up vivesection (the practice of operating on living animals in order to gain knowledge of pathological or physiological processes). Beagles are the #1 pick for laboratories that conduct animal experimentation. Laboraties even have their own breeding programs. Why? Because beagles are the least aggressive of all breeds. A strange way to reward a good dog, don't you think? Please inquire about this issue further and voice your feelings about it. Be the voice for your beagle and all of the other misfortunate dogs.

Sent by Erika Hirsch | 2:59 PM | 2-19-2008

I, too, am hoping that if there's an increased interest in beagles that there will be a simultaneous interest in rescuing beagles (rather than an increase in puppy mill production).

Kathryn, we've been working with our beagle Bernie on paying a little more attention to us on walks. We'll call his name, and when he looks up, we give him a treat. He didn't look up at first, so I would say his name and pop a treat in his mouth. It took a while for him to make the connection, but now when I say his name, he looks up. It has to be the best treat in the world - in other words, able to compete with those amazing smells :). He still keeps his nose to the ground most of the time, but we get his attention now because he knows if he looks at us when we say his name, he'll get a treat. He'll never be like the German Shepherd we fostered this summer, who would walk by our side, gazing up at us adoringly, but we at least know Bernie's somewhat aware of our presence now when we're outdoors.

And, of course, I can't mention Bernie without showing him off: www.flickr.com/photos/megusmaximus

Sent by Megan U. | 4:02 PM | 2-20-2008

There are dogs; there are cats and there are Beagles (a combo)our family all agrees. Everyone who has been owned by a beagle shares the same stories. They seem dumb as a rock until you figure them out. Our Sparky lived with us from puppyhood to 14 years. He was our kids' most effective alarm clock every morning. Forget about taking a walk; his nose always was to the ground (except when eating) which even got him in trouble in our backyard. At dinner our family was ever alert for "creeeek" sound of a splintering fence slat as he tore it out so he could crawl through to visit our son's friend's female beagle. These were "party animals" who celebrated their birthdays with beagle appropriate food and party hats. Like the time he chased a gopher down a hole and caught the guy by the tail and stripped the fur off before it got away. I "treated" my music classes to a recording of his arias sung on the piano bench next to me or beneath the baby grand as I played and he chimed in with aaoooooo on several pitches. Kinda unnerving. When he became blind and feeble we "adopted" a "discarded" two-year old female Irish Setter who made Sparky suddenly interested in the world around him again. After he died (epilepsy) the Setter was our only dog for another 11 years. I grew up around Irish Setters and was familiar with their traits. While they have their quirks also and need adequate space to run, they are not the handful as Beagles. I agree with all the other comments that every dog owner needs to know beforehand what are the characteristics not only of Beagles but of each breed. They are, after all, family members.

Sent by Carola C. | 4:24 PM | 2-21-2008

Yea for CBR and Denise and Susan! Thanks to Denise we've rescued 2 adorable and perfect beagles....yes guys, we got the 2 perfect ones! Sadly Patches has passes on, but Judson is the love of our life. Who knows, he may be getting a little sister soon. Beagles have a way even in their naughtiness (Baxter!) to make their way into your heart.....

Sent by Joelle | 10:22 PM | 2-21-2008

that dog is so pretty i wish i had it

Sent by Aleah fleming | 9:55 AM | 3-2-2008