by Carie Broecker
Sue Campbell grew up with Beagles. She’s almost always had a Beagle in her life, and during the short times that she was without a Beagle, she was looking for one to adopt.
Around Thanksgiving in 2010, Sue and her husband, Jason, found themselves Beagle-less after losing their beloved Beagle, Yo Yo At the same time, there was a media story making headlines about some Beagles who had spent seven years being used for testing in laboratories. Sue’s friends and family suggested she and Jason adopt a laboratory Beagle.
Sue mentioned her desire to provide a loving home for a rescued lab Beagle to a co-worker who knew someone with connections to lab Beagle adoptions. Arrangements were made for Sue and Jason to adopt one of 16 Beagles who were being adopted out after a twelve-month stint in a lab. Sue was asked to sign a waiver stating she would not reveal the name of the laboratory.
Where do these dogs come from? How do they end up being tested in a lab? That part is not a secret. The research facilities purchase Beagles from Marshall BioResources. Their website states “Marshall BioResources provides purpose-bred research animals and related services for biomedical research. Within our federally regulated and inspected facilities in Upstate New York, we maintain breeding colonies of beagles, mongrel/hound dogs, ferrets, and Gottingen Minipigs. Marshall Beagles are also raised at locations in Italy and China.”
Dog number 16, the dog Sue and Jason adopted, was raised at Marshall Farms. At the age of six months, he was sold to the research facility and spent the next six months living in a cage being repeatedly injected with a drug for research purposes. The name of the drug was not revealed to the Campbells. All they know is that the lab was researching how quickly the drug was metabolized over time. When most young dogs are out exploring their world, making friends, and snuggling with their favorite human at night, Zach was huddled in a lab, deprived of the social interactions dogs crave and thrive on.
Sue and Jason loved him at first sight and named him Zachary. Zach has been healthy since the day they brought him home, almost three years ago. Fortunately, he does not seem to have any adverse physical affects from being a research subject.
A few of the obstacles they did have to overcome after bringing Zach home were potty training and getting him used to new sights and sounds. The potty training didn’t take long. With a regular routine and patience, he was completely house trained in less than a month.
Getting him used to the sights and sounds of living in a house and in a neighborhood took a little longer. Sue got out early every morning before the streets were hustling and bustling with cars to get Zach used to the outside world. To Zach, the garbage truck was a formidable monster, but he was able to gain his confidence and overcome that fear. The first time he was exposed to the TV, Zach panicked. He had no understanding of the noise and bright lights. But again, with his family’s love and patience, in time he was able to overcome his fear and accept the TV.
He also took his cues from his big brother, Sampson and big sister, Loosey. Sampson has since passed away, but Sampson and Loosey were ideal role models for young Zach. Sampson seemed to let Zach know right away that this was home. Zach was calmed by Sampson’s mellow demeanor, as if Sampson were telling him, “You’ve got it good now, brother. This is your place and you are safe. Settle in and enjoy it.”
Zach now enjoys a full life. Sue and Jason take him on backpacking trips in places like the Sierra and the Ventana Wilderness. He hikes six to ten miles a day with them, then they set up camp out in the great outdoors. During their latest trip to Pioneer Basin, they slept with their tent door open so they could see the expansive horizon. Sue woke up in the middle of the night, and Zach was sitting in the doorway, gazing out at the beauty of the night. She likes to think he was contemplating the awe of it all and counting his blessings.
Sue remembers watching Zach run for the first time. They took him to the beach and he started to take off, but he was clumsy at first. His back legs weren’t communicating with his front legs—but then he got it! Yippee! He was running big circles, ears flapping in the breeze. Zach found his bliss!
For more information about adopting a Beagle, visit www.norcalbeagles.com.