When the nearly 4,000 beagles we helped transport made headlines across the country in the summer of 2022, our shelter and rescue partners could barely keep up with the applications that came in for them. It seemed everyone who had heard about these dogs was determined to give one (or two!) a better life.

Most of the dogs were destined for labs, which came as a shock to many who saw the news. Some adopters hadn’t known that nearly 60,000 dogs are used in experiments each year in the United States, or that tens of thousands of dogs destined for labs are born at breeding facilities—like Envigo, the one we removed these beagles from—every year.

While we continue to fight for non-animal testing methods, it’s a comfort to know that these 3,776 beagles now have loving homes thanks to the efforts of so many. We marked the milestone with a “beagle-versary bash” in September for some D.C-.area adopter families to meet each other and share the joy of seeing their pups happy and free.

“Last time we saw these dogs, all they knew was life in a mass-breeding facility,” said Jessica Johnson, senior director of our Animal Rescue Team, as she surveyed the scene. “Seeing them here with their adopted families a year later is amazing—I hope that this is all they remember.”

We caught up with a few pups you met last year to see how they’re adjusting to the good life.

Ollie, Mac, Pepper, Nora, Clover, Ella, Copper—the thousands of dogs formerly identified only by a code tattooed in their ears now have names as individual as their personalities.

Ollie the beagle with his new family.
Ollie has “the cutest face and the biggest heart,” his family says.
Courtesy Wendy Campbell

Ollie

1.5 years old
Adopted from Brown Dog Coalition
Lives in Hudson, Mass.

Ollie settled into his new home right away. According to his mom, Wendy Campbell, he slept comfortably in his crate and quickly acclimated to life with both human and furry siblings. She remembers the first time he found his voice: “We didn’t think he could bark, and then one day he did and started yodeling, and he loves to do that now!” Ollie still struggles with a fear of outside noises—cars, trucks beeping or loud bangs—but loves watching football with his dad on the couch. “Our lives have changed for the best, knowing he has a loving home,” says Campbell. “He has completed our family.” 


Mac the beagle
Mac is short for Maraca; Mac's new family chose not to rename her to "honor the hard work and love Mac’s foster poured into her in those first days out of the facility."
Courtesy Brittany Grouge

Mac

7 years old
Adopted from Animal Welfare League of Arlington
Lives in Alexandria, Va.

Mac inspired her family to shop cruelty-free as much as possible and to advocate for “the use of cruelty-free products,” according to adopter Brittany Grouge, whom Mac took to almost instantly. “She’ll offer me her belly for scratches and roll around, nudging me, asking for more. She loves to be near me or at least know what I’m doing at any given moment.” Mac still doesn’t like anything that makes noise—even the squeakers in her toys—but is fascinated by her new human baby sister. Despite her traumatic background, Mac has been nothing but sweet, according to Grouge. “We can’t believe she is able to love us like she does. It’s been such a joy to watch her blossom into the happy and loved dog she was always meant to be.”


Pepper the beagle
Pepper's dad says she's such a sweet dog, her family has "zero regrets of adopting her."
Courtesy Donnie Austin

Pepper

2.5 years old
Adopted from CHA Animal Shelter
Lives in Worthington, Ohio

Pepper was so scared when she first got home, she had to be carried outside for bathroom breaks. “Any small noise, even a leaf blowing by, would frighten her,” says dad Donnie Austin. Turns out, she just needed some extra company. “After two months of her not wanting to leave her safe space, we decided to foster a small dog,” explains Austin. “We took Pepper outside and within seconds, for the first time, Pepper was wagging her tail and running around with Jackson. She started acting like a dog and we were so thrilled for her. We kept Jackson.” Now she and Jackson love playing together, especially chasing and pouncing. “She likes to cuddle next to me in the evening,” Austin says. “She's a big part of our family.” 


Nora the beagle with her adopted owners.
Nora was named after a character in The Leftovers.
Courtesy Jill Kilgore

Nora

2 years old
Adopted from Nashville Humane Association 
Lives in Nashville, Tenn.

Like many, Jill Kilgore was broken-hearted when she heard about the Envigo beagles. “There were parts of the story about the treatment and abuse the dogs suffered I couldn’t even read, because it made me so sick to my stomach,” she says. “There are images I’ll never be able to forget.” She and her husband had always wanted a beagle and decided the time was right to adopt. They gave Nora a home where she feels safe enough to crawl right into their laps. “She makes these adorable noises when she’s trying to get comfortable,” Kilgore says. “And I love her zoomies—she does this move where she revs up her legs when she’s trying to get going like a cartoon character.”


Clover the beagle smiling at the camera.
Clover's mom adopted her because "I felt that these dogs had suffered greatly and unnecessarily in the hands of fellow humans. It felt like a very small gesture, but I was confident that I could help one dog."
Courtesy Heidi Beal

Clover

1.5 years old
Adopted from Northwoods Humane Society
Lives in Duluth, Minn.

“Clover has taught me that bravery and resiliency are present in every species,” says her mom, Heidi Beal. “Walking in the woods was initially very frightening for her, but she would do it anyways. It’s now one of her favorite things to do!” And encouraging Clover to overcome her fears has led to some beautiful moments, like the first time Clover saw falling leaves. “She was afraid at first, since they made crunchy noises underfoot and were falling from the sky,” Beal says. “But then she started chasing them and playing with them. I was late for work that morning since she was having such a great new experience.”


Ella the beagle with her adopted sister Daisy.
Ella (at right, with Daisy) also goes by Ella Bella and CowElla.
Courtesy Sharon Hower

Ella

4 years old
Adopted from Adams County SPCA
Lives in Mechanicsburg, Pa.

“When we first brought her home, she slept for days. I could see she was exhausted,” says mom Sharon Hower. Ella has no interest in toys, even now, but loves her snacks: “I have yet to find a food she doesn't like. Strawberries, watermelon, green beans, zucchini, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin … you name it.” According to Hower, seeing the beagles’ story on the news made adoption an opportunity she and her husband, Joe, couldn't resist, and they were determined to spoil Ella rotten. Hower says they knew she felt safe the first time she finally cuddled in a blanket. "When I was able to touch her while she slept and she didn't wince, I knew that she knew she was home.”


Copper the beagle lying on a couch.
When asked about the signs that Copper felt safe and comfortable in his new home, his mom said, "This is best answered with a picture!"
Courtesy Jessica Autrand

Copper

2.5 years old
Adopted from Humane Society of Tulsa 
Lives in Weatherford, Texas

For Copper’s first trick, he figured out how to open doors. “He’ll let himself in from the backyard when he’s had enough outside time and will let himself into my daughter’s room every night when he’s ready for bed,” says his mom, Jessica Autrand. “Now if we could only get him to figure out how to close the doors behind him!” She says potty training was the biggest challenge, as Copper had never experienced being on grass until he came home. Now, Copper loves zooming around his backyard. Once he figured out running, Autrand says, there was no stopping him. “He gives it his all and is incredibly fast.” And if there’s one thing Copper has taught his new parents? “Patience.”

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