If you have your heart set on a puppy, this older beagle might just change your mind.

The moment we met Odie, we knew he was the dog for us.

In fact, I fell in love with this sweet little beagle as soon as he laid his head on my lap and looked at me with his big, brown eyes.

Odie at the Broadway Barks adoption event. All images by Simone Scully/Upworthy.


My husband and I had talked about adopting a dog for almost as long as we had known each other. But after nearly six years of talking about it, we finally decided it was time to bring one home. Still, we hadn’t actually expected to find one so quickly — but there he was at New York’s Broadway Barks pet adoption event. And we certainly never expected that the dog we picked would be an older, former medical research beagle.  

In fact, we had assumed that we would bring home a young dog — maybe even a puppy. But out of all the adoptable dogs that we met that day, from goofy bulldogs to beautiful cocker spaniels to excitable puppies of all colors and sizes, none of them felt quite right to us.

All GIFs by Simone Scully/Upworthy.

Odie was the one — and we both knew it immediately.

We adopted Odie from the BeFreegle Foundation, an organization that rescues and rehabilitates former research dogs. He came home with us one month before his seventh birthday.

Odie on his seventh birthday.

While it varies depending on breed or size, dogs over age 7 are often considered "senior" because at this age, they can begin to show signs of aging. Plus, given Odie’s background, it's possible that he could have a slightly shorter life — although because of a nondisclosure agreement signed by his rescuers, we cannot know that for sure.

All we knew when we brought him home was that he had received a clean bill of health from the vet, he was up to date on his vaccines, and, most importantly, he was deemed ready to join our family. We were committed and ready to love him for as long as he would be with us — no matter how long that might be.

When we brought Odie home, we were told that he would most likely be a little shy.

After all, lots of things were new for him. He was in a new city with new humans and even things like walking on a leash or playing with toys were new and foreign to him.  

He didn't know what to do with his toys at first.

But Odie surprised us all with just how quickly he settled into his new life.

Within a week, he had begun to wag his tail when we talked to him, he quickly conquered going up and down the five flights of stairs to our walk-up apartment, he started playing with his favorite squeaky toys, and he became comfortable walking around the block with us on a leash.

Within a month, we were comfortable taking him to the dog park, where he could meet other dogs. And although he liked saying "hello" to the other dogs, he seemed a little ambivalent about actually playing with them, preferring to sit and watch all the others play fetch.

Today, he still doesn’t love loud noises — especially motorcycles or trucks — and he can be a little shy around big groups of new people. But other than that, he's pretty much a normal dog. He's silly, he loves treats, and he’s very calm around cats, other dogs, or children and he's well-behaved — or, at least, usually...

Sometimes it can be really, really hard to be good when your humans have yummy smelling food and they aren’t sharing!

I had worried that an older dog might be stubborn when it came to training, but it turns out that old dogs can learn new tricks.

Odie was eager to respond to commands, especially "up" or "spin," when treats were involved.

And while he does like taking lots of naps (who doesn't?), his age hasn’t really held him back at all. In fact, he’s quite happy to go camping with us and take long hikes in national parks.  (He even has his own travel Instagram account!)

Odie taking a rest after a long hike.

Adopting an older dog into our family was one of the best decisions we ever made.

While we may not have known Odie since he was a puppy, we get to know him in the best years of his life — and that has been rewarding.

Odie is going to be 9 this year. But aside from being a little stiff when he wakes up in the morning, he’s still very healthy and happy. We feel lucky to have him, and it means a lot to know that we have made a good life for him in his older years.

There are lots of older dogs like Odie in shelters all across the country, and some of them end up spending more time in shelters waiting for a home than younger animals. Luckily, there are also lots of shelters and rescue groups that are working hard to get the word out about how great these animals really are. Plus, they are always looking for fosters or new families that are ready to adopt.

While adopting an older, former research dog wasn't what we thought we were looking for, our laid-back pup is perfect for our family.

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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