The Genus Beagle : Talking Plants Blog We're not talking plants today, we're talking dogs, on account of Uno -- praise be his name -- the first beagle to
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The Genus Beagle

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

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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...