Last year a young Beagle was left in an overnight "drop" box at an animal control facility in Florence, Ala. The shelter was overcrowded having just recently taken in 60 dogs and therefore had to euthanize some.
The facility's method of euthanasia is a gas chamber using carbon monoxide gas to literally put the animals to sleep. Since the Beagle had no owner, he was one of the first to go.
He was placed in the sealed chamber with several other dogs and the established procedure was carried out. After the required time, the technician checked the chamber and discovered that one dog was alive. The little beagle poked his head up and wagged his tail…probably saying "ha! I beat the system!" He was given the name "Daniel" after the Daniel who survived the lion's den.
Apparently, survival is rare but possible. In the past 12 years, there have been two other instances. One theory is that since carbon monoxide gas is heavier than air, it sinks to the floor and if the dog stands or pokes his head up, he may not breathe in enough of the gas. Fortunately, the facility had a policy that required shelter officials to find a home for any animal that lived through the euthanasia process so Daniel would not have to face that again.
Daniel's story circulated through the rescue networks and a New Jersey rescue, Eleventh Hour Rescue Group, offered to take him into their program. One hurdle remained. The rescue was located almost 1,000 miles away from Florence, Ala. A call went out to an organization called "Pilots and Paws" for assistance with transporting Daniel.
Pilots and Paws is an incredible website that intends to facilitate contact between people who rescue, shelter or foster animals and pilots and plane owners who are willing to help transport animals. Eleventh Hour Rescue posted their transportation request on the site and pilot Scott Messinger from Philadelphia responded and offered to make the trip.
Daniel was taken to Jackson, Tenn. where he joined 11 other dogs also needing transport north. Pilot Messinger loaded them all into his cramped single engine plane…they must have been small dogs…and started the journey north at 7 a.m.
They made several stops along the way to drop off dogs and refuel. Two beagles went to Greenville, N.C., and they off-loaded two puggles in Easton, Md., before reaching their final destination in Caldwell, N.J. Daniel greeted his foster mom with wagging tail and kisses. Her comment was that "he is absolutely fabulous…He walked into the house like he had always lived there. He's very sweet, happy and outgoing."
The rescue had a flood of applications for Daniel, "the miracle dog." They took their time selecting the perfect, forever home for him. He was adopted to a great family who had other dogs. Daniel fit in beautifully with them.
Page 2 of 2 - He now has his own web page: www.danielthebeagle.com where you can read his story and learn about his new life. He also has a Facebook gallery loaded with photos. He has become the focus of a nationwide campaign to establish "Daniel's Law," legislation that would ban the use of gas chambers as a method of euthanasia.
Anne Divine is a long time member of LAWS and has volunteered at Animal Control for 18 years. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.