Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Forty Beagles Rescued from a Barcelona, Spain laboratory.

A Happy Ending for a Tiny, Lost and Blind Chihuahua!
by Caroline Golon


Lab BeaglesThis week, Shannon Keith of Valley Village, CA is making preparations for some unusual Thanksgiving house guests. On November 23, forty beagles, rescued from a laboratory in Barcelona, Spain, will arrive at Shannon’s home en route to their new lives in loving, happy homes.

Shannon’s non-profit organization,
The Beagle Freedom Project, rescues beagles and other animals from laboratories, then fosters and re-homes them. This is the largest rescue mission they’ve undertaken since they founded in 2004.

Beagles are frequently bred for laboratory testing because of their easy going and “forgiving” nature, Shannon says. Most labs don’t release their test dogs to rescues when they’ve fulfilled their role. They meet a much sadder fate.

But thanks to Shannon and a small team of volunteers, these forty dogs will be placed with loving, forever families and spend the rest of their lives “just being dogs.”

Lab BeaglesShannon learned of the Spanish dogs’ plight on Facebook in early November. Through connections, she heard the laboratory was going out of business and was willing to release their dogs to a rescue….if one stepped up quickly. Shannon knew right away that she had to help.

In a whirlwind of outreach, donation requests and volunteer help, Shannon and her team arranged for the dogs to receive their shots and papers in Spain and be ready to board a commercial flight for the 12 hour and 40 minute trip to Los Angeles.

And when they arrive? “We’ll have volunteers and cargo vans waiting at the airport to bring them to my house,” Shannon says. Twenty foster parents stand ready to pick up their new charges and Shannon is confident she’ll have the rest in place soon.

lab beaglesWhile it’s not hard to find people willing to adopt the dogs she rescues, Shannon says it can be a challenge to find the right homes. “These are special needs dogs,” she says. “They need someone willing to be patient and caring. And, it’s important that there’s another dog living in the home. These dogs have spent their lives in cages; now they need to learn how to just be a dog,” she added.

Shannon interviews and screens each adoptive family personally to find the right match.

For Shannon, the most rewarding part of her work is watching the beagles as they see the sun for the first time, step onto the grass and discover the simple joys of playing with a toy or getting a treat.

“This has been the greatest experience of my life so far,” she says.

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