It was a terrific DOGust, celebration at the Helen Woodward Animal Center for a few lucky dogs. Photos courtesy Helen Woodward Animal Center

Not just humans celebrate their birthdays.

On Aug. 1, or DOGust, it was the unofficial birthday for all shelter dogs whose birthdays are unknown, and this year rescued pets at Helen Woodward Animal Center celebrated with festive birthday “paw-rtys.”  

Especially heartwarming for Center staff was the opportunity to celebrate with beagles rescued from the lab-testing breeding facility in Virginia. 

Complete with pup cakes and presents, adoptable dogs were treated to special attention by adoring staff members as they explored decorations and played with recently-donated toys. 

For Sheffield, Cambridge and Wales – three of 43 beagles rescued from the Virginia facility who arrived at the Center Sunday, this was one of the very first times, if not the very first time, they had been offered treats or played with a toy. Their tail-wags all-telling, the birthday bash was an exciting new experience for the furry bunch. 

“These beagles have lived years inside of a kennel,” stated Helen Woodward Animal Center Animal Care Supervisor Jenny Bueche.  “No one has ever celebrated them or the beauty of their existence.  We have had to guesstimate their ages based on dentals and exams.  In many ways, these beagles represent exactly the type of forgotten canines that DOGust was created to honor.”

Outside of the center, foster families also took part in birthday celebrations. Tanya Mercado and her two daughters are currently fostering beagle Edinburgh, whom they lovingly refer to as Honey, and threw her a party fit for a puppy princess. Because medical staff estimate Honey’s age to be 6, the family even made her a pup cake with a 7th birthday candle placed on top.

As rescued beagles at the center and in loving foster homes prepare to go up for adoption, it is a special privilege to witness milestones along their journey to understanding love.

This week is an especially celebratory-time in their lives, as it marks the start of adoption appointments for rescued beagles from Helen Woodward Animal Center. Hundreds of people have reached out to express interest in providing a home for one of these deserving hounds, and potential adopters can learn more about special requirements and fill out an application form at https://www.cognitoforms.com/HelenWoodwardAnimalCenter1/ApplicationToBeConsideredToAdoptBeagles.

While none of the beagles were particularly interested in eating birthday cake, adoptable 2-year-old shepherd-husky blend Dante was happy to show them how to scarf down a slice. A puppy named Mississippi also joined in on the fun, but preferred to play with her birthday hat rather than wear it. To view all of the Center’s currently adoptable pets, like Dante and Mississippi, visit animalcenter.org/adopt-a-pet.

You can also contribute to the Center’s life-saving mission by becoming a foster or going to AnimalCenter.org/BeagleRescue – ensuring more pets get a chance to have a bright future, and their birthdays celebrated, in the years to come.



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Ellen Bullock