How Adopting a Beagle Saved My Life

In my life, I’ve come to learn that heroes unquestionably come in many forms. Heroes no longer need to be clothed in armor, bathed in blood and dust and sweat. It all differs for everyone. You see, like many people in this article, mine’s a dog—a beagle, to be exact.

Let me break it to you early on. No, there was no cinematic, action-packed story for my beagle and I, no running out of a burning house with my beagle on my back. My beagle did not mightily bark and bit off a snake’s head while I was sleeping. Nor did my beagle shove me off the road as a raging truck was about to hit me. I admit, all these may have been more exciting stories to tell, but I like the story of my beagle and me.

The Story

I’m sure a lot will agree that it’s easy to drown in a sea of depression and downward spiral nowadays. It’s becoming an epidemic that it’s scary. It’s as if a sad life is the norm for everyone, that you shouldn’t complain one bit about your troubles. I, for one, wasn’t down and sad from the get-go. In fact, I started out pretty great in life. I did great in school, got into extra-curricular activities, landed in a good university for college, and pursued a course I genuinely loved. In college, everything became even more exceptional—great friends, a taste of freedom and independence, lots of memories. What could top that? I was supposed to be happy for a long time. 

Robyn Wyatt-Davis’ Homer

I guess you could say my life went to an odd turn after college. I wasn’t precisely the straight A’s student as I once was in high school. You slowly realize that the schedule that school has placed on your life for how many years is maybe what really kept your life together. You’ve been so busy that you forgot to plan ahead. You’ve been too carefree that you began to be too careless.

What was my plan now? I realized I didn’t have any. While my friends were preparing to go into these big jobs and pursue these amazing careers, I just didn’t share the same enthusiasm. Our university was located in a rural province, you see. So right after graduation, I saw my friends leave one by one as they head to the city. Meanwhile, I was left behind—a 21-year-old girl with no nearby friends and family, no dreams, no long-term plans. 

The years went by quickly. Suddenly, I was 21, 22, 23… until it dawned on me that I was in my late 20s already. By this time, I decided to apply as an instructor at my university. And what do you know? I got in! But I wasn’t so bright as a college student. Getting the job was like being enrolled as a student again. It meant having to study and learn everything anew. But it was fine, I thought. At least now, I had direction. Little did I know that was only the start of another journey.

I have always loved our small community, but I soon realized it was only because my friends were there. When they went away one by one, the place just wasn’t so warm and lively anymore. You might ask me why I didn’t go back to my family in the city, but that’s another story altogether. So there I was, stuck, while the rest of the world seemed to have no problem moving on without me. It feels exactly like I was on pause and everything else was on fast forward, like I’m in a deep well and there’s no ladder out. It was beginning to get to my head, and it didn’t take long until I snapped. 

But I guess if there’s one good thing about the place, it was that the community in which our university was situated in was small and tight-knit. Everyone knew everyone, and you’re in the loop about new movements, trends, or establishments. I used to see the same people jogging around the park in predictable times. Most are alone with their headphones on, but I especially loved those who brought their dog along with them. It was arguably the best way to end a rough day—petting the furry companions of joggers! I saw all kinds. Mixed breeds, rescue dogs, guard dogs, small but feisty pups—you name it. It was the best feeling ever, and it ignited a familiar sensation I knew I couldn’t ignore.

The Search

Ashley Nicole’s Daisy

“This is Daisy – my favorite pup pic. She is now 8 years old. I decided on a beagle because I did research and create a slideshow as to what breed I should get.

I was 22 years old. Our college and family dog husky, passed 2 years previously. I was used to the bowl. Thinking about what apartment allowed, I kept going towards beagle. I would look at the puppy and adult Version of each dog. I watched videos on how beagles and other breeds barked/howled or bayed. Love the beagle!

My mom had a beagle growing up. Friends had beagles and so I decided, beagle it is! I began my search for one and found daisy with a different name. Actually same nickname as I did and everything went perfect. When I went to meet the breeder we met at a hardware store parking lot. I drove 5 hours for Daisy. And I drove with my older brother. We joke we wish we had video it. But as we were standing between my car and the breeder. Breeder open back door and grabs daisy out from the other dogs. And as the breeder turned to face me Daisy jump from breeders arms into mine.

It was like something saw in a movie. We all just started laughing. And the breeder said she has no doubt that we were meant to be together. Best first memory that I have of her.

Daisy has been my rock. Through difficult times of someone dying or boyfriend breaking up she was snuggling and kissing the tears away. She was an amazing moving buddy. Loved every adventure we went on. She did not have a problem with that as long as we were together. I don’t know if I lucked out but she doesn’t bark or bay! Very randomly. She is a people dog vs a dog dog. We go to dog parks and beaches and she plays with people. Never aggressive very chill kind of dog. When we go to the dog beaches she loves when we cover her up with sand. She is a shadow and follows me. I’m sitting on the couch she’s touching me. I’m sleeping and she has to lay in the same exact spot. But I love it best dog ever”

Ashley Nicole
Melinda Schamp’s Ziggy Joe

“Beagle as a breed was not my first choose. In a newspaper there was a listing for pure breed beagles for $50. My dad went and picked him out. He made so much noise on the drive my dad almost turned around to bring him back. He said told me I hope he is worth it as dad handed him to me. That moment he became calm and happy. It was went to be. He just turned 15 years old. He started a love of the naughty beagle breed. I have added 2 more to my life due to my boy Ziggy Joe.”

Melinda Schamp

I always thought that meeting my dog someday would be similar to that of Ashley and Melinda’s experience. If you must know, I have always been an animal lover, specifically, cats and dogs. Sadly, living in a dormitory for four years in college made it impossible to keep any type of pets. Thus, I was ecstatic when I got my own place. It meant I had all the right to bring in as many pets I like! I never thought I could feel excited about anything again.

Impulsive as I was, I talked to nearby animal shelters for any dogs they might have. I went online to search for dogs up for adoption, searching non-stop in a week. Without any luck, I just couldn’t find a match. 

I always believed that finding a pet is like finding a soulmate. It wasn’t just picking a breed you like; it was about looking at it and feeling you have this connection. I wanted that. In fact, I yearned for it, which was why I took my time until I found my perfect companion.

Deborah Cinco’s Buckley

“Our daughter rescued a beagle that she named Buckley. He was the smartest dog I have ever seen. He could get into anything! Somehow Buckley learned how to open the refrigerator. We had to take the door off and turn it around. Apparently, Buckley was right handed. He could open the door where the fish food was kept. He would eat fish food and then poop rainbows!

Our daughter’s future husband says he fell in love with Buckley first. When my daughter’s husband served overseas, they would facetime. Buckley would get up on the desk as close as he could. I think he was trying to figure out how his soldier got in that little box. When his soldier came home Buckley met him at the door, jumped straight up into his arms, and cried like a baby. Buckley had us all in tears! There are so many Buckley stories. He was smarter than a lot of people I know!”

—Deborah Cinco

Unbeknownst to me, there was a small group of beagle enthusiasts in the area. I stumbled upon them one afternoon as they were sitting around a tall coconut tree along with their beagles. I never appreciated beagles until I saw a bunch of them all in one place. Some were fat, some thin; some had fierce eyes while others’ were as soft as a pillow. Their droopy ears framing their faces were adorable. I couldn’t help it; I just had to come closer. 

Later on, I learned they were a part of a nationwide group of beagle lovers and owners. Fortunately, they were based in the community I lived in, and quickly enough, they invited me to one of their minor hikes the coming weekend. I told them I would love to come but that it would be weird since I don’t have a dog, let alone a beagle, for that matter.

Julie Monico’s Enzo

They looked at each other for a second and turned back to me. One asked me, earnestly, if I wanted one. I remember not thinking about it, but just blurting out, “Yes, for the longest time.” Another guy asked if I was prepared for the responsibility. They emphasized the effort, the time, and, not to mention, the money it would require to own a beagle.

Defensively, I responded by assuring them I was more than capable. I proceeded to tell them my journey of finding a perfect dog for me. At that, the person who asked me nodded in approval as he brought out his phone and showed a picture to me. “This is Baxter. You want him?” 

And that was it. 

The Meeting

Baxter, as it turns out, had been up for adoption for two months. He’s a two-and-a-half-month-old beagle whose mother died shortly after giving birth to him and his three other siblings. The group told me they already found owners for Baxter’s siblings but had a harder time finding one for this last pup. One was supposed to get him the week before but backed out at the last minute. Another prospect realized he couldn’t take in a dog. It was as if Baxter waited for me the entire time. This is it.

Dianna Kahler’s beagle

“I didn’t choose my boy because of breed. We just looked into each other’s eyes & knew we belonged together. I had no experience or any kind of knowledge of hounds before I got him. One thing he would do when he was under 1 year was scent me out. I would leave for work & he would make a huge fuss. Well my roommates couldn’t find him one day. They went out & looking. When they found him he was scenting me to my work. Was half way there on my weird backroads zig zag route. One of my roommates did have experience with hounds. So she asked my route & started driving it. I didn’t stop until I had him fixed.”

Dianna Kahler
Caitlin Snyder’s beagles

“We started with a beagle/aussie mix and when we went to look at him he came right up to my son and played his head on his lap. From there, it’s been history. We for our full breed beagle next who has put us thru the ringer. She got out of our yard and was hit by a car, we nursed her back to health over 6 months time, carrying her everywhere so her leg could heal properly. We then had a litter of 11 little beagle butts. We kept 6 pups bc I just couldn’t let them go to people we didn’t know. There is never a dull moment in our house but it is filled with love and laughter!!”

Caitlin Snyder
Deborah Davis’ beagle

“We have had beagles a long time as well as other breeds. Five years ago we saw an ad on FB saying that this dog was headed for the local kill shelter if no one takes him. Hubby and I had two dogs and our development limited you to two dogs. But we had to go see what was going on and maybe I could help find him a home. When we met at the dog park we hear the “Barooooo” before we saw him. Beautiful beagle. He was 9 months old and the people said they were owners #5. Hearing that I knew he was without hope. I took his leash and we took him. We knew the landlord would yell. But we decided he was worth paying extra.

It was understandable why he was passed. He was terrified of everything and everyone. He spent the first week hiding and was terrified of the kennel. Also, he ate a sofa, a chair, piece of bedroom carpet (he crewed through the bottom of a plastic kennel into the carpet to get out, and a piece of the wall.

We nearly gave up but decided to keep going or he would be euthanized. Over the first year we worked with him. Cuddled him and loved him. He is 6 years old now and the most loving and friendly dog I ever met. He trusts everyone now and stays by my side or on my lap when I sit. If I get up in the night he comes and sleeps on my lap. Love, compassion and kindness is all he needed. We wouldn’t trade him for the world.

He has been good with our other dogs but not strange ones. He doesn’t bite or anything but he will get in their face barking like he was yelling. So we tend to visit the park when there are less people and he is happier. He likes smaller dogs in our neighborhood. I had to retire early due to illness and I don’t know what we would have done without him. He is my buddy and is a joy.”

Deborah Davis
Darrian Ison’s Bella

“This is my Bella baby! She’s the light of my life, and has brought me and my husband so much joy! I had never owned a beagle before, and she was our first dog we got together before we even married! Lol she acts like such a human and has the best expressions.

When we got her, she was the runt of her litter, but the smartest. Her siblings picked at her and when we picked her up, she had sores and missing fur from being bit all the time. The hunter that owned the litter said she wouldn’t amount to anything or be a good hunting dog, and he wasn’t going to mess with her. We begged to keep her, she was only seven weeks old!!

We found out after a couple months of having her, that her siblings were kept in a pen and died without proper care or food/water. So the baby that was said to not amount to much, and not survive… is the only living pup of her litter. We can’t imagine our lives without our Boo Girl!.

Darrian Ison

Reading all these stories of owners meeting their beagles for the first time, I can’t express how all these emotions are true. I, too, felt the same sentiment when I first saw my very own beagle for the first time in person. It was just a match—not because of his breed, not because he’s the goodest beagle, but just because it clicked with no explanation.

The Lessons

My beagle has taught me more lessons than my college subjects had. For one, my beagle taught me patience. I remember coming home to a messed up room, small pools of pee here and there, and lots of trips to the market to buy another pair of flip-flops.

It wasn’t that my beagle wasn’t trained properly. It was just the way beagles are—loud, curious, and carefree. But imagine my frustration when I just want to relax from a long day of dealing with lots of beagle-like creatures (sorry, students!), and I come home to another mishap altogether. I admit, I may have have been harsh at my beagle sometimes, but I would often find myself laughing and taking a deep breath. I thought, “How could I be so mad when my beagle is just as rowdy as me?” 

Our family had dogs before, but it was way back when I was a child. It was my first time to own my own dog. And it’s not just any small ones at that—a beagle! It was a struggle to get the hang of it, but I started by preparing some essentials I knew my beagle needed. I felt like a parent shopping for supplies for my baby. 

It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure. Fortunately, I ended up investing in a sturdy dog cage to hold my beagle in for when he’s extra rowdy. On top of that, I also purchased a reliable dog leash and dog treats. I knew this beagle would be playful, so I had to be prepared!

Judy Allen Hetrick’s beagle

“They are comical, mine ticks himself in and has to steal every blanket I buy, even if he also gets a new one at the same time”

— Judy Allen Hetrick
Helena Logan’s Jimmy

“This is my Jimmy. He is the most spoiled beagle on the planet. He sleeps in our bed, we let him on the furniture, I cook for him, and he pretty much goes everywhere with us.

Every morning I get up and let him out in the yard to pee. Then he comes in and puts on a show worthy of an award. He follows me around the house whining and crying and shaking like and abused shelter dog until I take him for a walk. He doesn’t care if it’s cold, raining, snowing he needs to go on his walk.

On our walk he pulls like he has never been on a leash in his life (I have tried every kind of harness and training nothing works). Jimmy must sniff out the bunnies, and Howell and bark when he gets a good sent LOL. After our daily morning walk he then finds a comfy spot and sleeps all day. The life of a beagle.”

—Helena Logan
Phil Costello’s Seamus

“I have never had a dog that could destroy Roy’s quite like Seamus can. We bought him a %25 “indestructible” toy, he destroyed in less then a day”

—Phil Costello

My Beagle’s Impact on My Life

But little did I know, the dog supplies were just the tip of the iceberg. I realized these tools wouldn’t be enough to hold down a beagle full of life and raging energy. I can’t help but laugh as I stumbled upon some of these stories from fellow beagle owners. It was as if they took the words right out of my mouth. 

The truth is, I can’t say I can’t relate to them. Reading their own stories and sharing them here have made me realize that beagles are capable of such a life-changing impact. Yes, they may be at their worst behavior at times. They may be all over the place, making sure their presence is seen. But at their best, beagles are a true friend.

It may sound sad for some, but I genuinely feel like my beagle has been more of a friend to me than some humans have. He was there with me during my worst nights, when feelings of loneliness were at their peak and I wasted nights away in alcohol. My beagle would lie beside me, guarding me carefully even when he was obviously sleepy. At times I think he hears my thoughts, and he stays up extra late during moments when I feel like making bad decisions. Sometimes he would forcibly cuddle me even when I was pushing him away, drunk and angry as I was. Looking back now, maybe it was his beagle way of telling me I’m not alone.

Needless to say, my beagle forced me to live in the moment. The chill and carefree nature of a beagle is just something to admire. In fact, it’s a trait we all need from time to time. I realized that ever since I started working, I got the sense of direction I thought would complete me, only to compromise something else. I’ve been so focused and drowned in work for how many years that I forgot to take care of myself and care for other things that matter. I neglected forming relationships, reconnecting to old friends, finding out new passions or hobbies—things that would make me happy. But here is my beagle, just being carefree about the world. I thought I needed the same headspace too. I felt I had to be like my beagle in some ways also.

So, I started going out with friends and colleagues often. I volunteered for local rescue centers, took in stray and rescue cats, and joined different organizations. I also took out my beagle for walks more often, and it always warmed my heart whenever people, some even my students, fall in love with my beagle too. He was definitely happier, but I noticed a more significant change within myself: I began to love life.

Melissa Vokey’s beagle

“I was in a dysfunctional relationship back in 2013. My partner and his kids adopted a beagle and hid her from me – knowing I did not approve of them getting another animal for them to neglect. I moved out for 6 months. When I returned to my home, I was still not okay with the dog. They provided minimal care and she deserved better.

I came home one day to a dead rat. I knew it was a gift for me. She was so proud. That was it…. she had me completely wrapped. Of course, I ended up taking care of her, buying her toys, a proper bed and food she liked. Her trips to the vet were arranged for and paid by me.

When I finally moved out, for good, in 2016, I took her with me. I just couldn’t leave her behind to be alone with those people, and to not be loved they way she deserved. In the fall of 2018 her sister Cookie came to live with us. And from October to December it was so wonderful seeing how happy they were chasing bunnies & being typical beagles.

On New Years Eve the girls went on their usual adventure. Only Cookie returned. Ava did not make it home 😞 Her death has left a hole in my heart…. not a day goes by that I don’t think of her or cry over the loss of that sweet little soul. Cookie has been a blessing and we cherish her.”

—Melissa Vokey
Andrea Schuman Allen’s Fat Amy

“This is Fat Amy. She had come into the NYC ACC after being found tied to a pole. She found herself on the euth list after one day due to age.

I’m with Last Chance Animal Rescue in NY. Whitney Knowlton who runs our rescue is a huge beagle fan and saw Amy on the list. With me being the liaison between the rescue and the shelter she asked me to reach out. Originally Amy was safe and was being pulled by a different rescue.

The ACC reached out later that day and advised that the rescue had decided not to pull her and she was back on the list. For us to be able to bring Amy into our rescue We needed a foster. I showed the pic to my husband and explained to situation. We have been fosters for a while so this was not a big deal to our home. My husband said sure bring her in. When the truck pulled into my driveway and she came out she smelled was covered in pre, but still smiling.

Well needless to say. Fat Amy never left my couch. My husband says to this day that as soon as he saw the pic he knew she wasn’t going anywhere.”

Andrea Schuman Allen
Shawna Marie Rayhart’s Patches

“My dog, Patches, just passed over the weekend. He was a rescue from the local pound. We had 13 great years as a family, he was very protective of myself & kids. He was a bit of an idiot at times. For some reason he liked to crawl under the dining room table, then would get stuck. Still very loving & affectionate!! When we came home, he would gallop around the room beating his tail like a drum.

One of my favorite memories, it happened to be Mother’s Day, he comes to me & drops a bird at my feet as a gift. I told him thank you, but needed to take it back outside. He turned around & left, a little later comes back w/ a mouthful of feathers & a big smile on his face. Definitely motivated by food, cheese was his favorite, we would have to keep everything above the 3 ft mark or he would steal it.

Unfortunately due to health issues, in the end he was blind, confused, couldn’t walk & just lost interest in everything. I’m going to miss my sweet baby .”

—Shawna Marie Rayhart
Paula Kvapil’s Duke

“I had a Beagle when I was about 8yrs old and his name was Duke he was a black and white Beagle he reminded me of Snoopy from “Peanuts” he was a great rabbit,squirrel and grouse Hunter! He passed away at 6yrs old I think because he hunted so much and his heart gave out because he got so excited when you would go to the gun cabinet. But since then I have been Beagle crazy I have had 1purebred Beagle since , she has passed now at the age of 18yrs a non Hunter. And I had a Beagle mix he was 16yrs when he passed. Now I have this one who is 7yrs her name is Lily also a non Hunter ♥️

—Paula Kvapil

Final Thoughts

Loving life and making the most out of our beagle’s life are perhaps the biggest thing my beagle has taught me. Like the best dogs in the stories here, I know now how resilient and optimistic beagles are. Fortunately, I still have my beagle, Baxter, with me until today. But I know that when their old age comes, there would be a hole in my life I won’t be able to fill in however I try. My beagle, our beagles, made sure of that. 

I wouldn’t be writing this story here in The Furry Companion if I hadn’t approached the group who introduced me to my beagle that one afternoon. I was at my lowest before my beagle, and I didn’t look forward to waking up and moving. Maybe I would have drowned in my own thoughts, gave up on life, or who knows where I would have ended up? I still have a lot to figure out now, but I guess, what’s clear so far is that I felt like I’ve been given a second chance when I first laid eyes on my beagle. Gentle, silent, and meek, yet powerful and life-changing in every way—that’s how our story had come to unfold. And that, ladies and gents, is how he saved my life from destruction.

How about you? Who saved your life?

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