Remi the beagle never saw daylight in the first year of her life. She was raised inside a cage at a cancer research program in Seattle.
When Lynn Jefferson rescued Remi, she was afraid she had to rehome the shy beagle.
“When we brought Remi home, she never faced daylight. She never touched the grass. She didn’t even know what the outdoors were like. All she knew was the basement of the hospital where they did all the testing,” said Jefferson.
Two years ago, Jefferson, a designer for the Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) had been offered the chance to adopt this beagle by a friend who happened to know someone involved in this one-year study with the dogs.
Due to their docile nature, beagles are often subjects of medical research and experimentation. Once the laboratory tests are completed, many of these beagles are euthanized, according to animal welfare groups. Some, like Remi, are made ready for adoption and have the chance to find a permanent home.
Since 2014, six states including Minnesota, Connecticut, Nevada, California, Illinois, and New York enacted the “Beagle Freedom” laws, which require labs to make animals used in research available for healthy adoptions after studies. Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Jersey are currently proposing similar bills.
At 1-and-a-half years old, Remi was just then starting to learn how to be a dog.
She struggled to bond and grow comfortable with her new owners, especially Timothy Jefferson, Lynn’s husband.
“She’d been struggling with a lot of anxiety issues. She has some behavioral issues where she was afraid of my husband. For 2 years we’ve been trying really hard to get her comfortable. At that point, we were afraid we would have to rehome her,” said Jefferson.
After speaking to behavioral specialists and experts, Jefferson was advised to introduce Remi to a new dog. Resistant to rehome Remi, Jefferson decided to rescue Tucker, a mixed breed from Puerto Rico.
Unlike Remi, Tucker quickly bonded with Lynn and her husband. Goofy and full-of-life, Jefferson amusingly catches Tucker doing odd tricks, such as putting a random shoe in the middle of the living room every morning.
After meeting Tucker, Remi dramatically changed.
Tucker and Remi quickly became friends. She also became more active, and more comfortable with her owners, including Timothy, who Remi used to be afraid of.
Jefferson credits Tucker for saving Remi from being rehomed.
“I think it’s because Remi saw how quickly Tucker bonded with us that she decided to grow more comfortable around us,” Jefferson said. “She saw that Tucker instantly trusted us, which gave her reassurance that she can trust us too.”
Jefferson said Remi learns from Tucker—since then, she’s learned to rough-house, play catch, and cuddle.
Now, Remi can be seen seen running at Jefferson’s backyard chasing Tucker and eating treats off Timothy’s hands.