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"Beagles Need Special Care" Says Nittany Beagle Rescue

Beagles Need Special Care
This February, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Pervez Musharraf dominated the headlines. But for a moment their personalities were upstaged by 15 inches of floppy-eared cuteness. Uno the 15-inch beagle charmed his way to victory at the 132nd Westminster Dog Show in Madison Square Garden, becoming the first ever beagle to win Westminster’s Best in Show honors. Uno’s triumph and subsequent media tour has lifted the profile of the beagle to the point where it could become the next "hot" dog breed. However, one Centre County animal rescue organization, www.nittanybeaglerescue.org, wants to make certain that prospective beagle owners know what they are getting into. click headline for more...

Nittany Beagle Rescue knows what can happen when someone falls in love with those big ears and soulful eyes without being fully educated about the challenges and responsibilities that come along with beagle ownership. Nittany Beagle Rescue was founded with the mission of saving the lives of beagles whose owners are no longer able (or no longer willing) to care for them. Nittany Beagle funds the dogs’ medical care and seeks to find them new "forever homes."

Each dog Nittany Beagle takes in has its own story, most of them sad, a few of them mind-boggling. There are beagles that have been left by the side of the road because they are poor hunters, others that have wandered away when their owners let them run off leash, still others given up because they demand too much attention, even a few whose vocal cords have been severed because they bark too much or howl too loudly.

Beagles can make wonderful pets; most of them are affectionate and good with children. But they are not for everyone. In addition to being cute and friendly, beagles can be boisterous, stubborn, demanding and destructive. Nittany Beagle believes that people who fell head over heels for Uno and have decided to bring a beagle into their home should think twice—maybe three times—because these dogs often require a significant commitment of time and effort.

"It is important to stress responsible breed ownership," according to Ann Echols of Nittany Beagle Rescue. "People need to respect the animals and not see them as fashionable fad purchases."

Uno’s owner, Eddie Dziuk, when asked what he would tell someone who wanted a beagle, advised, "Better have a fence." Beagles are scent hounds; it is part of their genetic makeup to latch onto a scent and follow it. If that scent extends beyond the confines of your yard, so be it. So beagles should never be allowed to roam freely in an unfenced area. And an electric fence is not enough; even the most domesticated of these hounds can have a hunting instinct so strong that they will sniff their way right through the shock. Nor is it uncommon for beagles to dig their way under a fence that is not securely anchored to the ground.

Furthermore, beagles need regular exercise and, because they are pack animals, lots of attention and stimulation. Training can be a challenge, so patience is a particular virtue for beagle owners. Then there is the noise. Watching Uno baying and barking his head off at Madison Square Garden is funny. Less amusing is when your own beagle starts rattling the walls of your house at 7 o’clock on a Saturday morning.

Nittany Beagle Rescue urges people who want to bring a beagle in their lives to educate themselves about the breed. "We don’t want to be inundated six months from now with unwanted beagles," noted Echols. Perhaps the best way to learn about beagles is to spend time with them. Nittany Beagle offers many volunteer opportunities, including walking rescued beagles that are staying in a local kennel, handling beagles at showings, or fostering a beagle until it can be placed in a permanent home.

For more information about the breed, to learn about volunteer opportunities, and to see photographs and descriptions local beagles awaiting adoption, please visit the Nittany Beagle Rescue website, www.nittanybeaglerescue.org.

By James Forr

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