Forget Ford – Michigan is all about freed laboratory beagles! BFP’s first rescue in the Wolverine state came recently with the release of 4 sweet girls: Dani, Charity, River, and Gracie.

These lucky ladies were freed from an area lab in September. All are between 4-5 years of age are beginning their acclimation to freedom, love, and a normal home life. Some are having an easier go of it, but all are making progress.

Gracie is our petite little love bug. She is easy to cuddle and loves the affection. She is a low-key dog that is content being a couch dog (in true beagle fashion) but also gets along well with her canine cousins in the house. Walking on a leash is not her favorite past-time yet, but she is learning. Her foster family has reported that she lights up and her tail wags rapidly as people she recognizes (and trusts) approach her. No matter what they did to her body, her spirit has not been broken!

Dani is another sweetie. She loves everyone and everything. She plays gently with the other dogs and even the cats. She loves watching TV with her family and gets so excited about car rides. Her foster family said when she wags her tail he whole body shakes with enthusiasm. So much pent up excitement! She is finally living a real life. She spends her days in the backyard romping and sniffing everything she has ever missed in a cage.

River is our undercover lover… literally. She loves getting under the covers in the bed and having her belly rubbed… a far cry from the stainless steel cage that was her “bed” for 4 years. When outside her foster family cannot get a decent photo of her because she is always on the move. She is a blur… moving like the rapid currents of a river. She loves playing with her sibling dogs and is a tad mischievous. She is still learning how to go up and down stairs and does not particularly understand the texture of grass yet, but that will come. She has her whole life ahead of her.

Charity… she is the heart breaker. To say she is “timid” or “jumpy” is an understatement. This poor girl suffered through something profound… and violent. For the first week her whole body trembled. She is totally unaccustomed to hard food. Does not understand drinking from a bowl. She panics frequently when confused and going outside on a leash is still just too new for her. Little improvements are happening for her daily. Because her foster family showers her with praise, love, and patience she is acclimating. Her journey will take longer than the other dogs, but she will get there. Already she is wagging her tail in the morning for breakfast. It is a small measure of progress, but we will take it and build on it!

These four Michigan mavens will be our ambassadors to the state now. Their sheer survival and presence in the community will serve as a living reminder of the true price we (and these animals) pay for animal-testing and why we must support and advocate for cruelty-free research and modern medicine.

Big Thank you to JMitch Photography for these amazing photos of the first moments of freedom! Priceless imagery.