In July 2007, I birthed a beagle. Well, not so much “birthed” as adopted him from the Beagles of Arizona Rescue Club (BARC). I’ve always liked the tri-colors, playful attitudes, and intelligence of beagles. Before we took the plunge into dog ownership, we dog-sat for a neighbor who has a beagle. She was so cute and gentle and affectionate that it was hard to give her back after the weekend was over. (The beagle, not the neighbor.) And from then on, we were convinced that we would get one too.
I believe we found BARC from searching online. They are a rescue club of un-paid volunteers who love beagles and have dedicated a large amount of their time to saving dogs and helping them find “forever homes.” Each dog lives with a foster family who takes care of him/her and is able to get to know his/her disposition and personality. After a fairly lengthy application (BARC is not trying to unload these dogs onto just anyone to make a buck. They don’t make money for what they do. They want these dogs to go to the best home possible) a volunteer comes over to your house with one of their beagles so that you get the feeling of what it will be like have one in your house. The list of available dogs is online with a picture and description. If one catches your eye and sounds like a good fit, they will arrange a time to come back to your house with the dog.This is a good idea for both the person and the dog. It is important to have that connection and get the feeling that, Yes! This is the one for me.
After the application and home visit, we met with one dog at our house. She was beautiful and fun, but she wasn’t for us. I didn’t feel that “click.” We felt awful about not feeling the connection with her and laid in bed for hours wondering why we were such bad people. But we eventually understood that it was for the best. (She ended up going to a great family a week later.)
A few days later we met our boy. We liked his picture and everyone at BARC said what a good dog he was. We loved him from the minute we saw him, so handsome and calm. After talking with the volunteer for about 20 minutes, we knew we had a decision to make. We were petting him as he was sitting on our bed and we asked, “Do you want to be a part of our family?” and his big brown eyes looked up and he pawed at us. My heart melted and I knew he was mine. 15 months later, we got a second beagle. When we met her she sniffed around the backyard and rolled onto her back for a belly rub. We knew she was ours too. (I do the same thing when I meet new people.)
Since they are rescue dogs, they usually have sad pasts. My boy, Beau, was debarked at some point in his life. His bark sounds like a muted, strained choking. It breaks my heart that I will never be able to hear him “talk” and that some awful person took away from him something that was his. I joke that he is my “special needs” dog since I have to watch him a little more closely around other dogs, since he can’t growl or bark to protect himself.
My little girl, Lacey, was kept in a 3×3 chicken coop for over a year up in Prescott, AZ before Animal Protection came in and took her away. While I can’t confirm it for sure, I’m pretty sure she was abused as well. She is much better now than she was a year ago about loud noises or sudden movements but when we first got her, an upraised hand or even just reaching out to pet her caused her to cower and shut her eyes like she was bracing herself for pain. I had to approach her (and sometimes still do) with my hands down with my palms facing out so she doesn’t get frightened.
As sad as this may be, they have great lives now thanks to BARC. I’m grateful to them for their work and dedication. They led me to two of my most loyal and loving friends, and my life is better because of it.
Check out their website, donate a few dollars if you can, or get involved. They do good work.