Once upon a time, a Beagle born in a breeding facility was doomed to spend her life having puppies to be used for medical research. But along came the Humane Society of the United States, which rescued the 7-year-old dog (along with 4,000 other Beagles) from that terrible, horrible place. And then that lucky Beagle, named Mia, was adopted by royalty. Mia and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex lived happily ever after.
“The duchess called me personally,” Shannon Keith, director of the nonprofit Beagle Freedom Project, told the Los Angeles Times. “She calls on my cell with no Caller ID and says, ‘Hey Shannon, this is Meghan.’ We talked for 30 minutes, and I thought, ‘Is this Megan Fox?'”
Nope, it was the Duchess of Sussex, who along with her husband had heard about the rescued Beagles. They wanted to provide a forever home for one of them on their 7-acre Montecito, Calif., estate. The Duke and Duchess paid a super-secret visit to Keith at her home in Valley Village, Calif., where they played with Mia in the backyard.
“The Duchess is holding Mia and was like, ‘We’re adopting her,'” Keith told the Los Angeles Times. “She was like, ‘No, we don’t want a Christmas puppy. We want ones we can help who are older.'” Mia, at 7 years old, is considered a senior. She has arthritis and a mass under her chin.
Before whisking Mia off to her fabulous forever home, Prince Harry asked Keith if the Beagle had a favorite toy. The Duke and Duchess flipped over a box filled with dog toys, and Mia chose a fox toy that she’d played with as she traveled across the country from Virginia to California.
“Okay, now we can go home,” Harry said.
Horrific Conditions at the Envigo Breeding Facility
According to the Beagle Freedom Project’s website, it took in Mia and her eight puppies after an overcrowded animal shelter asked for help. The BFP’s Shelter Safeguard program helps shelters rehome laboratory testing survivors.
During a historic rescue mission in June, the Humane Society of the United States removed about 4,000 beagles from Envigo, a facility in Virginia that bred dogs for medical research. The Beagles were removed after a lawsuit by the Department of Justice described horrific violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
Beagles with treatable medical conditions were being euthanized, some without first being given anesthesia. The meager amount of food provided to the dogs was full of mold and maggots. Over a two-month period, 25 puppies died from cold temperatures; over seven months, 300 dogs died from “unknown causes.”
“Basically, it’s a breeding prison,” Keith told the Los Angeles Times. “Not only were the issues not corrected after inspectors went, but they were getting worse.”
Non-Royals Want the Rescued Beagles, Too
The good news is that many of the Beagles, like Mia, have found loving forever homes. There’s currently a waiting list of about 1,000 potential adopters for the 25 dogs and puppies taken in by the Beagle Freedom Project, Keith told the Los Angeles Times.
If you’re interested in joining the Duke and Duchess by adopting a rescued Beagle, they have been transported to animal shelters and rescue organizations across the country—so it’s very likely there’s one near you. The Beagle Freedom Project offers a guide on how to care for these special dogs.
Here’s hoping every one of those Beagles finds a forever home in which they’ll live happily ever after. The End.
To help the Beagle Freedom Project save more lives, you can make a donation via their website.