Dear P&G, Clinique, Revlon, Johnson & Johnson, The Dial Corporation, Unilever, Wal-Mart Stores and the many, many, other companies that are involved with using animals to test products,
Let me introduce myself to you. My name is Cate. I am full of love, playfulness, affection and most importantly forgiveness. I feel emotions. I brighten up lives and bring smiles to kids and adults’ faces alike. My kind won best in show and I am considered “Man’s best friend.” That’s right, I am a dog. To be more specific, a beagle. The breed of choice for your laboratories. Here I am.
I am special because I cannot only identify with these dogs being used because of my breed….I am one of them. I may have come from one of your laboratories. My owners will never know where I came from or the history of pain that I have endured. They only know what they see from my behavior…what I believe your society refers to as PTSD. A group called The Beagle Freedom Project saved me—I am forever grateful for my second shot at life. As I understand it, many of my brothers and sisters are killed after their time as test subjects are over. I was a lucky one. After being labeled “experimentally spent” I was released. If one of you is the reason I am alive, to that I am grateful. However, I want you to look into my eyes, so you see exactly who is being used to test your products. Get to know me, get to know my story. Before I was Cate, I was only known by the number tattooed in my ear by the lab. I am no longer a number.
When I first came to my new family, I would just rest my head against a wall. I would not look at anyone. I was terrified. I would not come out. If anyone would talk to me I would bury my head. My new family could never understand why I would act this way–how could they? I only have my bark, and I am lucky that I even have that. Many of my brothers and sisters had their voice boxes removed courtesy of the labs. I was underweight and my eyes just did not look right. Like there was no life, sunken in.
I would find places outside and inside to hide away from them. Watching them from afar or behind things. If anyone would come my way, I would run. My family knew that this was not typical beagle behavior. You see, they have had my new brother, Buddy for 12 years.
My new mom would tell me over and over again that I would not be hurt anymore, but I was very skeptical. I had certain behaviors that broke their hearts and I will never be able to explain to them just why I acted the way I did. I would shake when I was around stairs. I would not be able to go through doors, at war with transitions to other rooms. When I would eat, I would stretch out very, very long and grab food and retreat quickly always looking over my shoulder. I would growl at my new beagle brother over water. I heard conversations on “what was done to you?” and saw tears from my new Nana as she watched in horror as I ate.
Little by little, I started to see that this family wasn’t going to hurt me. I opened up. I let them get closer to me, still keeping a reluctant eye and sometimes reverting back to my old hiding places, but I wouldn’t stay there as long and I wouldn’t be as completely hidden.
Even though I started to see that not all humans were bad, I still struggle with strangers. In my house with my family I opened up more. But out on a walk if strangers were to approach me, I would shake horribly and run scratching the road like crazy to get away fast. I started to understand that they wanted to touch me to show me love, not to hurt me.
And I was able to give them love in return. In fact, despite my past and what has been done to me I am the most loving dog.
I always want to be given affection.
And if I am not, I make it so!
I love to play and snuggle.
I keep hearing my family say things over and over again like, “How could anyone do this to you?”
My human seven-year-old brother was petting me and in a sweet innocent voice I heard him ask Mom and Dad, “How could anyone hurt a face like this?”
I just celebrated my first Christmas as a freegle. I am forever in debt to the Beagle Freedom Project for saving me and finding me a home.
Unlike a lot of humans, I can overcome the past. I am not bitter. I just want to love and be loved. I am doing better with strangers. After a few months, I actually was able to go up to one and give them a sniff. Every day, I grow a little more. I have almost doubled my weight since being released. I also just started to wag my tail when I go to eat instead of looking like I was about to get tortured. Until you see my quirks first hand, it is hard to appreciate just how far I have come. I hear my mom say to other people how she is so sad to celebrate such little normal things. Things like being able to walk on a leash or starting to pee while on a walk … seeing me be able to relax.
Or just be my playful self my family has come to love.
I would like to thank you for getting to know me. And I would like you to keep my story, my face and my family in mind when you use us for testing. We are not numbers. We are not a means to an end. We have feelings. We love car rides.
We love to play.
We love to stretch.
And we love to love.
I keep hearing my family talk about the horror they feel the more that they are finding out what goes on in the world of animal testing. The things that other freegles have endured, the living conditions … they have made it their mission to alert the public on what goes on and have dramatically changed their buying habits. The horror on peoples’ faces when my family tells them how I was used … the general public is not aware … yet … but that is changing.
Please continue to release my brothers and sisters to non-profits such as the Beagle Freedom Projectif you already do, if you don’t I beg you to reconsider. I am a life … if only given the chance. Please, I am pleading with you to find an alternative to animal testing. My name is Cate, and I am no longer a number.
Remember my face, remember my name.