by Elizabeth Benzinger
I rescue beagles. Mostly beagles that are scheduled for euthanasia in animal control facilities. I tackle behavioral issues, broken bones, old age, shot gun pellets, heartworm, etc. No beagle is too down-and-out to find a good home.
There are a few shelters around the state that call me or e-mail me when they have a beagle they are going to euthanize. If I’m not already wall-to-wall with beagles, I pick up it up, have it spayed or neutered, deal with its other problems, and eventually place it as an indoor pet.
On a recent Saturday, I visited the Franklin County Animal Shelter. There were two adoption wards. Each room had about a dozen dogs in it; less than half of the cages were occupied. There were several other wards off-limits to the public. Wandering through them, I found scores of dogs. I found a beagle—upon closer inspection one eye was missing. My instinctive reaction of horror was cut short when the beagle rolled onto her back begging me to pet. Rubbing the little girl’s belly, it was apparent that I had found serious pet potential. I went to the front desk and gave the beagle’s number to the lady behind the window. She replied that she could only talk to me about the dogs in the adoption wards. I asked if I could reserve the beagle and she simply repeated herself. “OK, hypothetically how would one go about adopting one of those dogs?” Now I was told the veterinarian decided which animals were adoptable and those would be placed in the adoption ward. I didn’t expect this one-eyed beagle to pass muster. Asking if I could speak to the vet, I was told that the vet comes in and leaves before the facility opens, so no.
I slinked off and called everyone I knew who might know someone who could help me. I later received a message that the beagle would be in the adoption ward the next day, but no they couldn’t hold it for me. I took the day off work and adopted Winky that day. I usually identify myself as a rescue, but I didn’t this time because I had heard rumors that Franklin County won’t work with rescues.
The vet would have been correct to bypass Winky. She has socialization and housebreaking issues that a regular adoptive family might not be prepared to handle. As a rescue, I’m accustomed to these problems and know how to fix them. Aside from her lack of training, Winky is one of the lovingest dogs I’ve ever encountered. She loves to sit in my lap. She’d rather be with a human than do anything else. I can take her outside and she stays right with me and doesn’t run away. A little bit more work and I will place her as a children’s pet in a loving home. Then I will accept another beagle from a shelter somewhere and do it all over again.