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Kathy Yakal

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My Minnesota: Beagle rescuer Kathy Yakal

  • March 22, 2014 - 4:15 PM

Sometimes you’ll be reading a letter from a reader, and a sentence sticks out. “Hormone-crazy Dayton had been neutered the week before” is one of them. The letter was not referencing a politician, but a dog. Its owner wanted to let everyone know about the Beagle Freedom Project (BFP), which seeks to mandate release of adoptable lab animals — especially beagles, whose trusting nature is one of the reasons they’re used so often.

The BFP brought nine dogs to Minnesota for adoption; eight were named after politicians who supported the bill, and Dayton — well, that was a shameless bid to get him to save the bill.

So, Kathy Yakal, you’re a dog advocate? “I’m a freelance writer, business stuff mostly. I started writing about computers back in 1983 before anyone thought of having one. I’ve written for PC Magazine for 20 years, had a column in Barrons for years, wrote for a bunch of national publication.” She chuckles. “And I’ve survived most of them.”

Ah. A lifelong dog lover, then? “I have always wanted a dog, and didn’t get one until Dec of 2013. I was volunteering at the humane shelter, and there was this little dog — well, it’s true that you don’t pick your pets, they pick you. This little basset-beagle was so withdrawn and depressed, and I couldn’t stop thinking about him.”

That was Dude. After hearing about the Beagle Freedom Project on Facebook, she went to see the newly freed dogs. “I peeked in the back room and saw this little beagle all by himself, trembling. I had to sit down and pet him.” And so she adopted him.

Seems to be a pattern here: Gosh, tell us how you met your husband.

Dayton was renamed Sam (sorry, Gov), and he’s doing fine out of the lab. “On BFP videos you see the dogs outside in the grass for their first time in their lives — they’ve never played, never had a toy. They have to learn how to be dogs. This will be Sam’s first spring outside, but he hasn’t been outside yet.”

So he’s just been, er, holding it? Well, no he’s been out, but in the lab, you know, they have to sit in it until someone cleaned it up.”

Poor guy. Kathy’s experience reminds you that choosing a pet can be an act of philanthropy as well. “Maybe it’s kind of twisted, but I know people who feel the same way: They want one who’s had a rough life and needs love and support. Before I couldn’t understand why someone wouldn’t want a new puppy, and now I know different.”

Something that craves love and support? No no wonder they were named after politicians.

(More information at beaglefreedomproject.org.)

James Lileks

 

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