My First Mistake

For Bea, The Story of the Beagle Who Changed My Life

I guess if I were really honest, I would have to admit that I wasn't exactly wild about the idea of keeping the dog. But I felt so sorry for her, and I wanted to make sure she had a decent life.

A wrestling match was going on inside me between my needs and hers. I wasn't capable of deciding the winner.

Finally, I decided to call the SPCA because, no matter what, I needed to know where the beagle belonged. I also decided that I would check out her home before giving her back. Only if the place seemed tolerable would I return her. If not... well, I didn't even want to think about it. Not unless I had to. This situation required taking just one apprehensive step at a time.

I sat in my white wicker rocking chair, took a deep breath to gather my wits, and dialed the SPCA. Once connected to the lost-and-found department, I explained that I had found a mother beagle with a tattoo and read the beagle's string of digits from my notepad.

"We don't have any ID number like that registered here." The woman on the phone sounded caring and sincere. "Your number is too long."

"She must belong to someone. What should I do?" I couldn't hide my disappointment.

"You might call the American Kennel Club in New York. They have records for dogs all over the U.S."

On the second ring, a woman at the AKC picked up the phone.

"That's not a regular ID number, lady," she said, her voice like flint. "It's not the kind that dog owners use."

"Then who uses this kind?" I asked.

"Research labs."

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Excerpt from For Bea, the Story of the Beagle Who Changed My Life Copyright © May 2003 Kristin Von Kreisler, Published by The Tarcher Publishing Group, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc., All Rights Reserved, Reprinted with Permission from the Publisher

 

 


My stomach lurched. "You mean this dog is an experimental animal?"

"That's my guess."

My thoughts were racing. This would instantly explain the beagle's heartbreaking condition and put the situation in a whole new league for me. She was no longer just a pathetic, lost dog. After surviving who-knows-what treatment, she'd somehow gotten loose in awful shape in an unfamiliar, terrifying world. More than ever, I had to help her.

"Labs use beagles a lot because they're sweet and friendly," the woman continued. "Beagles are gentle. They don't complain as much as other dogs if awful things are done to them."

I didn't want her to tell me more. I couldn't listen.

"Do you have any suggestions about what I should do with this beagle?" I asked.

"You could call around where you live and try to find out what lab she came from. You could give her back."

"I could never give her back."

"Then congratulations, lady. You've got yourself a new dog."


Excerpt from For Bea, the Story of the Beagle Who Changed My Life Copyright © May 2003 Kristin Von Kreisler, Published by The Tarcher Publishing Group, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc., All Rights Reserved, Reprinted with Permission from the Publisher

 

 


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