‘A Day Out’ A Short Story about the Plight of the MBR Beagles

‘A Day Out’ A Short Story about the Plight of the MBR Beagles written by a Camp Beagle Supporter Mary Tarr

It was still dark when I opened my eyes. But it was still early, a bit too early for the men with loud gruff voices to come and shout at us. My mother said “Wake your brothers and sisters.” She sounded tired but there was something in her voice that made me feel quite apprehensive.

I did as she asked. We’d all been sleeping in a heap on top of each other in an effort to keep warm. It was cold sleeping on a concrete floor in a cage which wasn’t big enough for us youngsters to run around so we took it in turns to get to the middle of the heap of young beagle puppies. There are eight of us, five boys and three girls.

I didn’t have to try hard to wake them as by this time all the other beagles in all the other cages in the whelping shed had begun to howl and cry at the sounds of bolts being undone, metal doors clanging and the men’s’ voices.

“Come here pups,” said Mamma. “These men are here to take you away. I really can’t remember how many puppies I’ve given birth to but the same thing happens every time. As soon as you can live without my milk, they take you away.” 

This sent the eight of us into a frenzy of howling and barking and crying.

 “No, Mamma. No Mamma, that isn’t true. I want to stay with you, so do I, so do I” we all said one after another. “Why would they do this? What will happen to us?” I asked.

“ Shh my little ones, there is not much time. I really don’t know,” she said “but I need you all to be brave beagle puppies. I have never left this cage since I was taken away from my mother. I don’t know anything about the world beyond this shed. But I hope that you will all be going to better lives. Perhaps to a family who will love you” She kissed us all on the head, one by one. 

Then the door of our cage was opened. One big man stood at the entrance. As the other man entered we all tried to hide behind Mamma. But he was big and strong and made a grab for me. “I’ll get the boys first” he said to the man at the door. “This one first and he grabbed my ears. I screamed. He shook me hard “Shut up you little beggar” he said then grabbing me by the neck and passing me to the guy in the doorway who dumped me into a trolley. I tried to jump out but it was just too high. I could stand with my front paws on the edge and see over the top at what was going on.

I saw there were more trollies. They were stopping at the cages with the oldest litters. Who like us had been eating kibble for the past few days, I was learning that you had to be quick to get it as it was shot into the cage and whoever got there first got the biggest feed. 

My brothers soon followed me. Well that wasn’t bad at least we were all together in the same trolley.. Then more boys from other cages were put into the other trollies. They too tried to jump out but soon discovered it was useless. We were well and truly stuck.

 We were trundled along the rows of cages and out of the shed. 

Now this was good. I could see sky and sun and trees. Oh! to be able to run and run and run around those trees. I was soon brought out of this reverie as I could see we were being pushed towards a van which I could see was lined with small cages, and with more men standing around. 

I could see these men were not looking kindly at us. My optimism waned. I was beginning to sense that MY Day Out would not end well.

“Looks like those cages are for us” I said to the brother next to me. 

“I guess so” he said. “ I’m really scared now, I want to go back to Mamma” And he began to howl. That set us all off.

“Keep this lot together will you” said the man pushing our trolley to the man loading the van “This lot are needed as soon as we get to Harrogate”.

We were crying, barking howling as we were grabbed one by one and shoved into the cages. 

The cage was so small I couldn’t stand up, I couldn’t sit. All I could do was crouch. The cages opposite filled were until everyone was crammed in

The doors were slammed shut. The engine started at the same time as the howling. It was so dark 

.I could feel the van moving at first slowly then it picked up speed and went round bends, sometimes it stopped. At first when it stopped I thought it meant we might be released. But on it went. BY now I was very hungry. I wanted Mamma. At least there was a water feeder because I was very thirsty. 

The howling and barking came in waves. One of us would start and then we all joined in. After a while it would die down before it started again. But still the van moved further away from all we had known as our home 

By the time it stopped it was dark.

The howling stopped.

“Where are we?” Said one puppy. Nobody knew. Someone said “The man said Harrogate, whatever that is!”

The doors opened and we were pulled out of our cages and put into trollies. 

“Perhaps we’re back at home” said one puppy hopefully.

I didn’t answer. I felt a sense of despair engulfing me. I was quiet. My tail wouldn’t wag. I knew something was not good.

They took us into a building. There were more cages. One by one we were unloaded from the trollies and had our shaved. Then someone wrote something on us where we had been shaved.

 And then some were taken were put into cages. My brothers and I were put back into a trolley and taken off. Everyone did look strange with their shaved foreheads and numbers on them.

“Where’s that lot going?” asked one of the men who had been shaving our heads.

“These?” he asked. “These are off to the bleeding suite. “We had an urgent order for fresh blood”. 

“Poor little bleeders I heard someone say. The others laughed.

The trolley moved on. Eventually we arrived at what I suspect is our final destination. I was taken from the trolley. I had a tube thrust down my throat. A cone put round my neck and a needle put in my leg. It had a tube with a bag at the end of it. I was laid down on a bench very gently. The first time I’d been handled gently in my short life. I really wanted to pull that needle out of my leg but the cone was in the way. 

I feel like I’m going to be sick. My head’s hurting now. I can hardly breathe I think the tube helps. ………Oh! It’s getting more difficult. Mamma, I can see mamma, but her face is fading away…….it’s so dark.

Thank you Mary.

The Camp Beagle Team