By: Michael Wlodarski
“When the Envigo Beagle story broke becoming both national and even international news (I saw it on BBC), I received multiple messages from friends and family with texts like “you have to see this!’ and this is “meant to be!”. I received these messages because I already had a sweet Envigo Beagle touch my life.
Back when I was a PA student while on a clinical rotation I was asked if I wanted to see the research facilities. Of course, being the curious person I am, I gave an enthusiastic yes! I toured the well- maintained facility and happened upon a cage of cute beagles playing around. Completely by chance they alerted me they had one dog that could be adopted out as she was no longer useful for research. While I pondered the prospect I kept thinking, “well my new shelter dog I had just adopted could definitely use a friend”, so I said yes.
I went through the extensive adoption process and enthusiastically brought the little beagle home. She was bewildered by the outside world; standing still and wide eyed being outside for the first time, feeling of grass on her feet and literally stunned by the concept of stairs.
I named her Scout after one of my favorite literary characters from the novel To Kill A Mockingbird. She quickly came out of her shell and developed her distinct adventurous personality. Much like the Scout she was named after. She became best friends with her new dog sister Dottie and slept next to her every night. Scout went on canoe trips and hikes in the mountains. She went camping in the Adirondacks and on beach trips to the coast. She was adorably sweet as most beagles are and I loved her, as did everyone else that met her.
Scout infused so much happiness into my life but unfortunately this past spring she started to slow down and lose weight. I knew the news wouldn’t be good; Scout developed cancer. She still liked to play and be the goofy loving dog she had grown to become but just not as often. As her health declined we were still able to get her to the beach one last time. We enjoyed walks on the beach, some photo sessions but most importantly, the ability to take some time aside from the busy life and just enjoy the moment. In late May I said my final goodbye to my Scout.
Scout was the first dog I ever had to say goodbye to as an adult. It was tough and sad but I had solitude in knowing that she had a great life that all of her brothers and sisters were not offered. It was only two months after her death I learned of the 4000 beagles being rescued from the Envigo facility. I had always known my Scout had been born at that facility and I knew I wanted to do something to help out her extended family. After researching how to help, I learned about Triangle Beagle Rescue of NC and emailed inquiring if I could help out in their rescue efforts for a batch of beagles. Luckily and almost as if blessed by fate, I was able to assist preparing 50 male beagles off a truck and out into the world for the first time to be fostered. I was tasked to remove the dogs from their individual cages, hold them, weigh them and read off their tattooed letters that had been placed for research. Each time I read the 6-letter tattoo from their inner ear, I was reminded of my Scout, her tattoo, and how I was helping these dogs have a better life.
At the end of the rescue effort that day I left with a new Envigo beagle in my life to foster named Blinker. He was just as bewildered and goofy as my Scout had been when I first brought her home…it was a full circle moment for me. I felt that Scout had left my life early to allow me the space to be there to help her extended beagle family. I’m very thankful to Triangle Beagle Rescue of NC in allowing me to honor my dog Scout’s life.”
Thank you Michael for volunteering with TBR and for being an awesome foster dad!