A Life Beyond Animal Testing
Hello, my name is Hennig. I’m 4 and a half years old and I’m a beautiful male, beagle dalmatian cross. I’m strong, I’m healthy and I’m absolutely loving my life. My humans tell me that I’m the most handsome boy they have ever seen! Now that is something!
I don’t like to think about the first two years of my life. Back then, I didn’t have a name. I lived with other beagles, just like me in a huge facility. I was just a number. I was used for animal testing. Until one day, when I was rescued! And that is when my real life finally started...
I was brought to a rescue centre where I was kept for assessment with other beagles for some time. It gave me a chance to get used to life outside the facility. It was strange getting used to humans outside of the lab. They gave me food and taught me about being brushed and being played with. I was excited and nervous and scared all at the same time. After two months in the rescue centre, I was told that I was going to live with a family but I didn’t know what that meant. Apparently, I was going to have a boxer sister! What was a boxer… didn’t know that either.
I was just getting settled in the rescue centre when my new family came to visit me. They arrived with the boxer and she was very excited to meet me. I pretended to ignore them all at first, but my new sister was so happy and so curious about me that I couldn’t ignore them for very long. I went over to them to find out more. They came many times before I went home with them. I had to ride inside a car. I was petrified! I wanted to go back to my beagle friends but then we arrived at a house in the countryside with a large garden and I forgot all about my nerves. It was amazing. They took me inside their “home” but I didn’t know what a home was.
At first, I felt better in the corner, all curled up; but my boxer sister wanted to show me around. There were so many things I’d never seen before. Like a kettle, a tv, a toilet… and stairs!
I learned to get used to the new noises and smells. They showed me how to do my “business” outdoors! The humans told me I was very clever. I soon started to love my boxer sister. She was older than me and much wiser. She didn’t jump at anything; she was so brave. She let me follow her around, everywhere she went, and I got very attached to her. I also liked the lady of the house who was so kind to me, but the man, no. I didn’t like men at all, so I stayed out of his way.
As time went by, I got used to my new life. Every day I became a little more relaxed and I started to trust that these humans were never going to hurt me. My favourite things were meal-times (whose isn’t?!) and ‘walkies’. I’m still a bit nervous around new people and the dogs we meet on our walks, but I take lovely, long naps in front of their warm fire and I don’t have to sleep with one eye open anymore.
About a year later my boxer sister died of cancer. I was devastated and the humans were very upset too. She had lived with them for 10 years and we all missed her so much. I was finding it very difficult to be without a doggy friend until one day, out of the blue, a little ball of fur appeared inside my house! She was a 12-week-old boxer! I couldn’t believe it! I didn’t know what a puppy was, but I just loved her energy. She used to bite me, playfully and hang off my long ears! She is so cheeky, but I adore it when she follows me around. She goes everywhere I go and it reminds me of when I first arrived here. I love her and I would be lost without her.
In the last 2 and a half years my life has changed completely. I love running in my garden, barking at the birds and chasing my little sister. I especially love eating, walking and treats. I still don’t understand toys?! And any bones that I get, I like to hide them in the garden for a rainy day. But the very best thing in the whole wide world to do … is being brushed. Other things I love are lying in the sunshine and going for adventures in the car (of all things!). I spend a lot of time standing at the gate of my house because I want to guard and protect the people I love so much. I enjoy showing my family how brave I am standing at the gate too! I’m even starting to get used to men now. They aren’t so bad. In fact, I pretty much love everything in my life. And my humans tell me that I’m the most handsome, well behaved and sweetest dog in the whole wide world.
Special thanks to Henning's family for sharing this story and our Trustee Josie for writing it.