Everybody Loves Raymond
Animal Stories from All-Creatures.org

FROM

Beagle Freedom Project
September 2017

Ray’s journey to happiness and health was a bumpy road. Like a lot of newly released dogs from labs, Raymond suffered from severe psychological trauma.... I am so proud that my “purpose-bred for research” dog, who was destined to die unknown, unnamed, and unloved beat all the odds.

Everybody loves Raymond. Everybody! He is a silly, coy, sensitive little sweetheart who does not have an ounce of malice or even a little fun mischief in the abundance of his heart.

Raymond is just pure goodness and I am so lucky to be his person.

Ray’s journey to happiness and health was a bumpy road. Like a lot of newly released dogs from labs, Raymond suffered from severe psychological trauma. As a part of the BFP Team organizing his rescue (the Minnesota Legal Beagles) I knew his lab of origin, its criminal history for animal cruelty, and the deplorable conditions he was emerging from.

Raymond came home with me the night of his rescue. Scared, shivering, and bewildered.

Raymond beagle

His foster brother Junior (another lab-rescued beagle from the Spanish 40) let timid little Raymond immediately cuddle into his side in the same small bed. While Raymond loved Junior, he had a deeply anxious view of people. He both feared anyone new in his life and also feared being ever away from his adoptive humans.

beagles Raymond and Junior

Raymond is a “worrier,” as aptly described by friend. When I would leave (or even just take a shower) Raymond’s anxiety would get the best of him and he wound up chewing (and eating) things that did his little colon no good (socks, chords, towels, stuffed animals). It took a long time, a lot of encouragement, and a lot of treats for Raymond to finally find the confidence to be left alone in the house with his beagle brother. Now he looks forward to it, as he knows if I have to be out for a couple of hours he gets his favorite thing, a peanut butter filled Kong.

While my little man may never be a “normal” dog, he has made so many strides. Little Ray loves his trips to the dog park, learned to love playing fetch, always gets the dogs in the park running in his favorite game of “chase me” and happily absorbs affection from just about any gentle hand.

Everyone that meets Raymond falls in love. His droopy jowls, giant floppy ears, white-rimmed eyes, and puppy-posture can melt anyone’s heart. Without an aggressive bone in his body, this little dude is a lover, not a fighter. At the BFP office he frequently made friends not only with the many volunteers and visitors, but also the rescued research rabbits, new born kitties, and dogs of all shapes and sizes.

He adores his big beagle brother, Junior, who in turn endures Raymond’s presence in that quintessential aloof beagle way. Raymond loves his family and is always within a foot of two of one us. Nightly he entertains everyone in the house with his silliness, “zoomies,” hilarious beagle bays, and arranging all his toys across the living room.

My little man still has his quirks though. Small children tend to scare him (ahem, his Papa too), and the sound of whistles on TV sends him hiding (now we only watch golf). Raymond still has periodic psychological setbacks, but they are getting less frequent and far shorter. We are so proud of how brave he has become, and like a fine wine his funny little personality only gets better with age.

I am a beagle nut. I grew up with a beagle best friend and it’s the only breed of dog I have ever really shared my life with, but there is something really special about Raymond. He is resilient, forgiving, and appreciates every small wonder, comfort, and caress.

I look at this gentle little guy and constantly ask what kind of asshole could have hurt him? Raymond is my daily reminder and motive to fight harder for those dogs still languishing in the lab cages.

I am so proud that my “purpose-bred for research” dog, who was destined to die unknown, unnamed, and unloved beat all the odds.

Raymond beagle

Instead of his life ending in a windowless basement as the victim of a violent research curiosity, he instead has lived amongst the great lakes of Minnesota, walked the red carpets of Hollywood premieres, lobbied legislators, appeared on TV, taken walks with a first family member (and secret service), and now enjoys NYC’s Central Park as his new backyard.

He is not simply the tattoo in his ear. His name is Raymond, and everybody loves him.


Return to Animal Stories