Helping YOU to be your dog's best friend!

From Lab to Leash

He had no say in the matter. He had no voice. He would never have a toy, a soft cozy dog bed, or a gentle loving belly rub. A walk in the grass to stretch his body and stimulate his mind – that was not in the cards he was dealt. He was born into a litter that was intended for biomedical research. There was only one place he was going after he left his mom and littermates – a wire crate, a sterile room, tests day in and day out. For 6 ½ years, that was his existence - if you can call it that. He was, as they call them, a laboratory research dog. He gave his life to help medical research in order to help humans; the very ones that put him in the lab. To the researchers he was known as PAAA and 0ACI4. These were his identification codes that were tattooed on the inside of both of his ears. He was just a number to them. Just another “lab beagle” as they refer to them – a "wild dog" that could never be re-homed, house-trained or live with people.

After several years of negotiating, The Beagle Rescue League (formerly Cascade Beagle Rescue) received permission to legally release a group of beagles to them. In early fall 2006 PAAA was released from the laboratory! He was FREE! He was FREE! He was FREE! On September 30, 2006 PAAA was rescued by us! (Really, we were being rescued by this loving soul!) PAAA was affectionately named Sam. I knew at that moment that another great teacher has entered my life. My family and I are now the ones with tattoos. Tattoos of Sammy imprinted on our hearts. He is our hero!

There was a whole new world just waiting for Sammy. These dogs didn’t know what grass, toys, cars, children or a leash was. They were essentially puppies trapped in adult dog bodies. It was very stressful for him and the other beagles; but Sammy moved through the transition with grace and gratitude. In spite of all he had been through, Sammy displayed an astonishing level of trust.

That coupled with immense determination and a healthy measure of curiosity, he adjusted extremely well. It didn’t happen overnight; there were accidents, confusion and integrated humane training.

But with a lot of patience, love and understanding, Sammy proved them all wrong. Don’t tell him you can’t teach an old dog new tricks! He had a strong will to enjoy the life he had missed out on. He was able to live like a dog deserved to live. He beamed with love and excitement! He was nothing short of a diamond in the rough! Before our eyes Sammy became a very well adjusted, superbly mannerly dog! Funny thing, no one believes that he was a laboratory research dog but he has the tattoos to prove it! Sammy lives happily with our pack – another dog, a cat, a rabbit, a lizard and a bird. Out of all of them, he is the most polite!

Since Sammy’s adoption; over 100 beagles have been released from laboratories! These dogs otherwise have been euthanized. The Lab to Leash Adoption Division of The Beagle Rescue League is proud to continue its work with research facilities and hope to continue to broaden their working relationships with "labs" to accept research beagles for adoption.

Sammy has acquired many terms of endearments; but the one he hears most often is "Sammy Sage". What a wise sage being he is. He had not been given a fair chance at life and gave his life to help people like you and me. Sammy could’ve left the laboratory resentful, jaded and angry. He could’ve chosen to use the sharp teeth he has to bite. Instead, he left with joy, gratitude and endless love. Ironically, the name Sam means "God Heard". Oh, yes he did!