At The Holidog Times, almost every day we cover stories about dogs or cats in captivity, some of whom are luckily freed in the end.
But it's not often that we actually see the "after", the return to normal life for these animals. Some of them, like these 42 beagles in Bangalore, India, have never had a normal life.
For animals growing up in normal conditions, all "first times" (first trip outside, first toy, first visit to the vet) take place in the first weeks of their lives. This is not the case for these 2-5-year-old dogs, who have never received any care nor education.
The beagles were set free last month, having been kept in laboratories in India and used for pharmaceutical testing for their whole lives.
They managed to escape from this hell thanks to an agreement between The Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA) and nearly 665 Indian laboratories, which states that dogs can no longer be used for testing for more than three years.
Being freed after three long years is not easy. The dogs have never been taken care of, never been educated and never had any affection. This presents a real challenge to the animal rights organisations who look after them when they leave, and make them fit for adoption.
The organisation CUPA (Compassion Unlimited Plus Action) is one of these brave groups in charge of their rehabilitation and introduction to freedom. In May, they took in 42 beagles who were finally out of the dark.
These dogs have lived in iron cages since they were born, and have never had any human relations apart from during testing. They were not given names, identified simply by numbers.
They are a bit behind on basic activities like going for walks on a lead, going upstairs, being petted, having a wash and so on...They have never taken a bath in their whole lives!
The CUPA volunteers had to get down to the delicate task of showing them how to wash. It wasn't exactly an enjoyable experience for the dogs, who were at first very reluctant to get in the water, and are still traumatised by their previous experiences with humans.
But once dry, wrapped in warm towels and cuddled, the freshly clean beagles finally seemed happy!
The next step is more of a challenge: finding them a forever home which can give them the patience and love which they so need.
Thanks to the incredible work of the volunteers, nearly twenty of them have already been adopted. That's what happened for the adorable Himalaya! Let's hope that the whole group will quickly find a new home and a new life, and will embrace their new start!
To help CUPA rehabilitate mistreated animals and help them save other lab dogs, you can make a donation here.