Ellie the beagle looks up, a sweet expression on her greying face

Ellie’s Powers

Amy Meyer, December 13, 2019

Like the Stranger Things character she was named after, Ellie the beagle was tortured in a windowless research lab—and escaped.

When Ellie came into our lives, she had no name. Just a number tattooed on her ear.

Her escape came in the fall of 2016. A team of animal rescuers,* aided by some sympathetic lab staff, brought her to freedom. While I can’t share with you all the details of the horrific experiments she endured, her behavior tells us a lot:

Her muscles had atrophied so much she could barely walk. We had to carry her. And whenever we picked her up, her body would go completely limp. Her eyes, terrified.

(In research labs, when a dog like Ellie is picked up, she’s often about to experience trauma—like a researcher shoving a tube down her throat—a process that is less distressing if her body is limp.)

Ellie had never touched grass. She was afraid to walk on it. Instead, she would only go the bathroom on pavement or hard tile.

Ellie’s liver was in bad shape. We often see that in animals who survive toxicity testing, like when dogs are force-fed pesticides to see what happens.

Oh, and that tattoo—the numerical pattern inked into her ear tells us she was likely was born at one of the worst corporate abusers of animals in the country, a beagle factory farm that breeds thousands of dogs for inhumane experiments in labs across the US and globe.

They tortured Ellie. They nearly broke her. But she survived.

Does it shock you to learn that dogs like Ellie are used in experiments in the United States? It’s a horror show, and it’s all 100% legal. You can free them now.

I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to ending the suffering of animals like Ellie. Today, as a Grassroots Organizer for NEAVS, I want you to know—you have the power to stop these horrific experiments once and for all.

Will you be a hero for animals like Ellie and take one simple action today?

*I want to thank the team at the Beagle Freedom Project for rescuing Ellie.

It was our six-year-old friend, Penny, who decided on Ellie’s name.

She was inspired by Eleven, or “Elle,” from Stranger Things. Like her favorite TV character, Ellie was ripped from her mother and forced to live in a windowless research lab. She survived invasive experiments. She became a hero.

Today, when our Ellie is not hounding us for peanut butter, she gets political. Ellie meets with state representatives to advocate for freeing animals still in labs. She joined the March for Science, carrying a pro-science, anti-animal cruelty sign.

But mostly Ellie sleeps. She’s tired and almost entirely deaf.

Before falling asleep on one of her four dog beds, Ellie scratches and scratches the cushions. She spins and spins until she’s satisfied with the nest she’s made.

Every time she does it, I watch.

I can’t help but think of the tens of thousands of dogs like Ellie still stuck in labs. They don’t get to have this same basic desire fulfilled. They have nothing but metal to curl up on.