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Homeward Bound: Best Rescue Ever

Miracles happen in the most unexpected ways.

On Friday afternoon, as I was leaving an appointment my phone began buzzing on overdrive. Certain that it was an emergency, I anxiously opened it, only to find this cutie. Beneath her, the simple caption "Meet Cinnamon". I had no idea who she was. Perhaps a stray.

Ultimate Surprise

To my knowledge, there were no plans for my sister and her family to get a dog. There had been whispers of "maybe someday" but not serious discussion. Therefore, finding a photo of a dog from my sister's phone was stunning to say the least. The photo was only the beginning of the surprise. My sister, Nicole, has had a tough spring. Between deep personal losses, Covid raging through her family, and supporting her dad with memory loss she really needed a life vacation. However, my sister isn't a good sitter, as Beatrix Potter so aptly coined, and so she pushed on in life. One night at dance class, she overheard a tale of the release of 4,000 beagles from a breeding and science facility in Virginia. Though a deeply confirmed planner, Nicole raced to home to spontaneously arrange a last-minute rescue mission of a beagle.

The Mission - Get a Dog

Due to time constraints and uncertainty, she pulled the mission together in utter secrecy. On paper it was simple, just contact the nearest rescue accepting the beagles and bring one home. In real time, it was a little more exciting.

When she returned from dance class that night, she began filling out adoption paperwork online. Time was of the essence. The puppies were being transported to specific locations across the United States. Upon arrival the mass of new dogs needed medical checkups, spaying and neutering, and new homes ASAP. The closest pick-up point was eight hours south in Chino, California. Before the dawns early light, laden with paper work, and minimal luggage, Nicole was "leaving on a jet plane" for a two-hour flight to get some puppy love.

Cinnamon; Homeward Bound

Every mission has a glitch. After landing in Southern California, Nicole learned hers, the new beagle couldn't be flown home. Pivoting quickly, she rented a car, purchased a dog travel crate, and puppy supplies, then braved the Los Angeles freeways to claim her prize.

When she arrived at the facility, lines of prospective families were cued up waiting for their chance to rescue a snuggle bug. Plenty of media and press people were also milling around catching any photo-op or conversation they could. Four hours later, Nicole's turn to select a pup from the 200 dogs which had been selected to arrive in Los Angeles materialized. None of the pups had ever been on grass, or lived outside a kennel. They were used to full kennel life. Some for scientific testing while others, like Cinnamon, were kept for breeding more beagles for testing. Nicole didn't meet Cinnamon right away, instead she was looking at two male pups, when a girl dog deliberately bumped her black nose against Nicole's leg. The little three-year-old girl pup who had already delivered her own pups, just wanted to go home. Nicole didn't need any more convincing. She signed the final documents. Scooped her girl up in her arms, changed her name to Cinnamon, and tucked her in the travel crate in the car. Off they went, beginning the eight-hour long drive home to Northern California.

Mission Accomplished

Because Cinnamon had lived her entire three years in a kennel, she was a great traveler. They only needed to stop a couple of times, those were for Nicole to stretch and breathe as she was driving solo. One stop was the iconic Harris Ranch, which Nicole said Cinnamon loved. It was the perfect place to walk around and regroup.

The second stop was closer to home. Their eight hours together began a bond which brought fresh joy to my sister's voice. Eventually, the two girls, Nicole, and Cinnamon, pulled into their driveway, miles away from puppy mills, pharmaceutical testing, and horrendous living conditions.

Cinnamon met her new family. Her two-legged siblings, Skylar and Bridger, and dad Colter. She spends most days in her crate, with the door open allowing her to explore as she likes. Toys are a whole new marvel. She has tumbled down the back porch step and ramp, as both are new navigations for her. Grass remains a foreign concept but she found a corner in the back where she can adapt to her world.

Today the queen of cuteness, with her inner ear number tattoo, is ruling the world in Northern California. In one twenty-four-hour period two souls were rescued.

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Matthew O'Neil
Matthew O'Neil
Aug 06, 2022

Thanks so very much for the story of Cinnamon's homecoming. We had a beagle as I was growing up and Grover was a wonderful friend.

Carrie Lynn
Carrie Lynn
Aug 08, 2022
Replying to

Grover is a perfect name. I can just picture him bobbing along with you. My husband's was named Dink. I guess cause of his short legs. Beagle's are just delightful.

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