By Barrett Seaman—
Research scientists across the globe have a thing for Beagles. Because they are docile by nature and have physical characteristics (like their cardiovascular systems) that are similar to that of humans, they are the animal of choice for a wide range of medical experiments that for the most part leave no traces on otherwise healthy dogs. Each year, tens of thousands of them complete their laboratory servitude. The majority, sadly, are euthanized, but many healthy dogs are free to go.
Some 60 of them have been making an appearance this summer at the Tarrytown Sleepy Hollow TaSH Saturday farmers market, where an organization called the BeFreegle Foundation has been offering them up for adoption or foster care. Five of them, with handlers, set up shop at the midway point of the merchants row this weekend.
However smitten a passing family might be by these lively animals, they cannot simply write a check and take them home. Prospective adopters must fill out an application that is reviewed, after which, they can adopt them—for a fee of $400.
Adopters should know that their dogs have been spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped–but not yet house-trained. Every animal that comes through the BeFreegle system is first matched with a foster family. “Since we do not have a physical shelter,” the organiuzations web site explains “we rely heavily on our foster network to keep all of our dogs in foster care until they can be adopted into permanent loving homes.”
Those who do adopt through BeFreegle are the provided with “a lifetime of support,” including a liaison who advises on training issues. Carol Vinzant of Sleepy Hollow is currently fostering a dog named Andy, who just turned three. “Andy craves human attention. His favorite thing is being held like a baby. He’ll fall asleep in your arms. His biggest adjustment was learning to eat food from a bowl. At first he would knock the food on the ground and roll in it first. He still does it with high value foods like peanut butter.” Like many small breeds, Beagles have a relatively long life span—up to around 17 years.
Kate Aubry, president of BeFreegle Foundation, is quick to assure that the dogs are free of any ill effects from the medical experiments in which they took part. Some were given drugs to test their efficacy; others were given placebos.
BeFreegle will not be present at every Saturday TaSH market, though they will return again sometime in August. Those who missed meeting them in July but are interested in adopting a Beagle can find out more information and fill out an application at the foundation’s web site, https://befreeglefoundation.org/fargo/Read or leave a comment on this story...