I spent most of my life not even knowing how much I loved dogs. I didn’t grow up with a dog and I didn’t have many extended family members with dogs either. A few of my friends had dogs, but that’s about it. My mom didn’t want dog hair all over the house, and that was why we never really discussed getting a family dog.
In 2008 I ventured to the SPCA to take a look at the dogs. I was living with a room mate at the time and I’m not sure why, but something spoke to me and I immediately thought I needed a dog. The SPCA is a sad place to be … All sorts of dogs (and cats) in cages looking at you with gloomy eyes pleading with you, “Take me, please. Take me”. I saw the cutest little Jack Russell in a huge room at the end of the hall. The volunteer told me that this was Keiser and Keiser had the penthouse suite because he had been with them for months. Keiser had been left abandoned in an apartment when a family moved out and didn’t take him with them. He was an older dog (estimated as 10-12 years old) and I learned that it was really difficult to find people who want older dogs. They come with more vet bills, usually more damage and generally, they won’t last too long.
I decided right then and there that I was going to get this Jack Russell. I took him for a walk and he strutted past the other barking dogs without making a noise. I thought the no barking was a great thing, as I lived in an apartment. Keiser came home with me that day and I learned quickly that he had an anxiety disorder. He just couldn’t stop shaking! It was so sad to see him living in such fear. I also learned after a month or so that he did bark. I was starting to think his vocal cords had been snipped, but once he got more comfortable with me, he let me know how vocal he was!
After a few years, I was having a hard time committing to Keiser, with all my travels plus eventually living alone. I brought him to my parents for a few weeks during the Grand Prix season one fall, and he never came back home with me. My mom finally warmed up to the idea of having a dog and now Keiser is addicted to her. That’s right, Keiser is still alive. He is now estimated to be 19-20 years old! He can barely see anymore and is pretty much gone deaf, but he can smell and eat his food and still goes outside for small walks.
Time had passed and I was starting to desire getting another dog. I had to be more organized this time, with a dog-sitter, a dog-walker and a dog daycare for my busy days. As Bruno and I searched at shelters looking for the “perfect” dog, we stumbled upon a Beagle at the SCPA just outside of Ottawa. He was adorable and he big floppy ears and expressive eyes that won us over. He began researching Beagles, because we didn’t know much about these dogs except for Snoopy’s appearance on TV. We learned that Beagles are the number 1 dog used in animal testing laboratories because of their temperament and docile characters. I didn’t even know they used dogs to test drugs, cleaning products, make-up and the list goes on and on. I thought science was good enough to do this without torturing a living creature. (And it is … Many places around North America have now banned animal-testing and U.S. President Obama is pushing to make it law in the United States banning dogs in laboratory testing).
You can support cruelty-free products by looking for the logo of a flying rabbit, or simply an advertisement on the product that says “Cruelty-free” or “No animal-testing”. You’d be surprised at which of your favourite companies is using beagles to test their products and drugs on. I also suggest supporting the “Beagle Freedom Project” which does great work helping to save beagles from animal testing laboratories all around the World. I donate monthly to this great cause.
As soon as we learned about all of this, we decided there was no other dog to rescue but a Beagle. Theo was all the way in Ottawa, but we couldn’t find any other Beagle puppies at shelters around Montreal and I absolutely refuse to support Breeders when there are endless dogs in shelters just waiting for a loving home.
So we were off to Ottawa to meet and bring Theo home. We thought we were prepared but I don’t think we really thought this through. If any of you have ever had a puppy before, a beagle puppy to be exact, might know how difficult the training process was. At 7 months Theo had spent months going from shelter to shelter (We still don’t know his background of how he got there) and he didn’t know how to walk on a leash and he wasn’t house trained at all! It was quite the process to get Theo all cleaned up and “walkable” but we never once doubted bringing him into our home. He is full of love and too many cuddles and too much shady looks from his expressive eyes if we do something that doesn’t please him (Like leave the house every morning!)
We hired a dog walker that comes to the house everyday and takes Theo for a walk or to the park with a group of about 8-10 dogs. At the beginning we tried to crate train Theo. But one afternoon the dog walker called me and asked if it was normal that Theo wasn’t in his crate and that he was laying on the bed. I had put him in the crate in the morning and somehow this mischievous bugger found a way to escape! The dog walker put him back inside the crate and when I returned home for the day, he had escaped again! I think Theo is Houdini coming back in another life. We didn’t want to torture him anymore, so we removed the crate and began letting him have more freedom in the house.
I don’t know how much you know about Beagles, but they LOVE food. Theo always seems to be hungry and he knows exactly how to suck up enough to manage for us to give him every single treat out of his bag! Although Theo is not a vegan dog, he does eat healthy. We only buy the most natural foods and we give him sweet potato chunks for treats as well as quinoa sticks. He does love his peanut butter though so I enjoy making him homemade peanut butter treats that are not on vegan, but they are both human and dog friendly!
Peanut Butter Dog Treats
- 1 ½ cup of dried oats
- 1 large banana
- ½ cup of peanut butter
*I added 1 tablespoon of coconut oil because the were extremely dry
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and beginning preparing the cookies. In a bowl, beat together the peanut butter and banana until it is fairly smooth.
- Add the oats and mix more.
- Dust your counter surface with a little bit of flour (I used spelt flour) and roll out the dough to about ¼ inch thickness.
- Cut into the desired shape (I love my dog bone cookie cut out) and place them on a cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for about 15 minutes or until the edges start to go brown.
- Cool completely then store in an airtight container for up to one week.
I found the treats a little bit dry for my liking, but Theo seems to love them! He came back for seconds and thirds and forths …. And fifths …. And sixths …. Oh Beagles.
Do you have a great recipe or treat idea for your pup? Or even a great story about your dog?
Please share with me below!