A year after they were released from the lab, Sravasti Datta listens to the heart warming stories from families that adopted beagles

In 2013, Maneka Gandhi and People for Animals secured the release of 102 beagles from a pharma laboratory in Bangalore. Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA) stepped in to look for homes for them. At the helm of affairs were animal lovers, Chinthana Gopinath, chief baker at Pupcake, and Sanjana Madappa of CUPA.

The duo worked hard to get the beagles adopted, actively reaching out to people in all possible ways, including Facebook. The beagles that underwent unimaginable cruelty for years in the lab, were all adopted.

Celebrating a year of freedom, some of the families that adopted the beagles, came together for a party, or more precisely ‘paw-rty’, at Aaskar Pet Resort, Varthur Road, on February 16. The mood at the paw-rty was indeed celebratory. There was laughter and happiness in abundance.

The adopters beamed with pride at having seeing their beagles befriending other dogs and people.

Ashok Chintala and his wife adopted Bruno, whose health was frail due to testing.

“I read about Speak for Sasha, Chinthana’s Facebook page. When we adopted Bruno, he had a stent in his body, his teeth were affected and he was scared of people. I started taking him out and he loved the sand in the beach. We also adopted Jaz, another lab beagle. Jaz taught Bruno everything. We started a blog everyonelovesabeagle and Bruno and Jaz got worldwide fans,” says Ashok.

Vidhya Murali adopted the oldest beagle, Kumki. “She’s 11 years old, she’s actually become younger,” says Vidhya.

Kumki and Vidhya’s other dog, Mickey get along well as is evident from the way the duo snuggle up against each other. A tumour in Kumki was removed before Vidhya adopted her.

“But I was clear that nothing should be injected into her. Initially, she used to find it difficult to climb stairs too.” With care and compassion, Kumki is fully healed.

Manasa Venkatesh adopted Halo and Hazel. “They have distinct personalities. DMPK studies were conducted on Halo and she was also debarked. Hazel is curious, energetic, and very naughty whereas Halo is calm. They have positively influenced each other to overcome their fears.”

On another end of the resort, husband-wife duo Raghuveer and Yamini Khanna attend to their three lovely dogs: Buck, Brandy and their dignified beagle, Bailey.

“We came to know of Bailey from Facebook. She was abandoned by her previous owners,” says Raghuveer. Yamini adds that Bailey was very frightened earlier. “She’s much better than before. After adopting Bailey, I have stopped using everything that is tested on animals.”

One couldn’t miss how the elegant Sasha kept going to Chinthana, who had adopted her. “She chose me,” says a smiling Chinthana. Speaking about the journey thus far of the beagles, Chinthana says that despite the trauma they went through in the lab, the beagles are deeply loving and trusting. “When they were released they had no normal, natural instinct and were full of fear. Their journey to recovery is all to their credit. They have so much to teach us.”

Sanjana says it was amazing to see the beagles adopted becoming healthy and happy. “The people who adopted them are some of the best families we have come across.”

Speaking about animal testing, Chinthana says that the laws for animal welfare in India are far more refined than in any other part of the world, but that follow-ups on animal testing are inadequate. “Why is it there is no serious implementation of them? Not enough is being done to rehabilitate dogs rescued from labs. And its time we don’t think of dogs as “research animals”, they are living beings with feelings and have a right to live and be happy.” Sanjana adds that if the same love were to be extended to other dogs living in shelters, it would make a whole world of a difference. “It would be great to see the same sympathy being shown for Indian dogs too.”