observed by Diane » photo journal for those who enjoy vignettes of an ordinary life

Those Poor Cold Suffering Dogs

If you’re a regular visitor, you’ll know the reason why I’m not posting as often as I usually have been. Due to a shoulder injury, my posts have necessarily become quite infrequent. I just returned from a trip to see my dad. I was unable to be at he grand opening of the new airport terminal that is now named for him so I got down there as soon thereafter as I could.

{Driving home on Highway 40 a few days ago.}

This post will be entirely non-photography related because I want to step up on my soapbox for a moment. Since I returned from the south, a winter storm has blown in and last night at supper hour it was already 23 below zero. It went down to 25 below zero overnight. Every winter I worry and cringe because I know there are so many suffering animals outside in this weather. The ones that I worry the most about are dogs, in particular, especially the poor dears that are tied up. Tying a dog up, in my mind, is cruel to start with. It seems that most people who won’t bother to fence in an area for their dog are the ones who never take that poor dog for daily walks — some dogs never get off that darn chain. Okay, that’s not exactly where I was going with my soapbox even though it’s a sad fact. What concerns me so much are those dear dogs that are left outside without any shelter or no proper shelter. Especially when a dog is tied up, they can’t even move around enough to get their circulation working sufficiently. Some people don’t even give their dog a dog house. And those plastic or fibreglass doghouses may be cheap but they are totally ineffective. The only ones benefitting from those excuses for a dog house are the manufacturer and the retailers that sell them. A dog needs an insulated wood dog house to withstand the frigid winter weather. It should also be placed where it is further protected from winds. The dog house also requires some form of bedding, whether it’s a cushioned dog bed, a thick old blanket, or fresh straw (NOT hay). When straw or shavings are used, they need to be replenished frequently (weekly) and should be used in large quantities. I prefer providing a thick cushioned dog bed — and so does the dog.

Before I continue on this soap box I should also mention something else. Absolutely no lap dog (those are the little breeds, primarily) should ever be left outside, ever! They were bred to be INDOOR lap dogs, not to withstand cold weather particularly harsh winters. Also, any short hair breed regardless of how big it may be, is also not well suited to bearing winter. And when those poor dogs are not given proper — or any — shelter, they suffer intensely. Imagine if you were made to stay outside, with only your street clothes and a sweater and no extra coat, tethered to the back fence and the weather plummeted to minus 10, minus 15, minus 20, minus 30! It is exactly the same for the dog — they suffer and suffer greatly.

I’m one of those people who reports  people to the SPCA. And because they often only give people a warning especially if it’s the first call they get, it’s necessary to keep reporting people when they don’t provide shelter or appropriate shelter to their dogs. Those poor dogs have no one to defend them, speak  for them. If we don’t speak up for them, we are just as guilty by letting them suffer. (And yes, if I know a child is being ill-treated or suffering in some way I would have no problem reporting the situation, so it’s not just dogs that concern me.)

I feel that most people who have dogs, shouldn’t have them. If a person has a dog and it’s tied up all the time and does not get at least daily exercise (to a park or anywhere but the yard), they should not have a dog. And double that thought if they also don’t provide proper shelter for the poor thing. Those people don’t need or deserve a dog; they should get a stuffed dog for all they do to provide for its needs.

If you’re still reading, thank you. I know that you must be a concerned and conscientious individual. I hope you’ll find it in your heart to report anyone you see who has a dog that is suffering in the backyard.

English Springer Spaniel on one of her daily winter outings.
{English Springer Spaniel on one of her daily winter outings.}

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Lee - November 19, 2010 - 1:41 pm

Oh, Diane. When ever I see dogs being neglected it upsets me so, especially when the weather is harsh… scorching hot or freezing.

Back in 1974, I found a stray dog, rescued it, but had to tie it up outside an establishment for a few minutes in the snow so I could step inside. When I came out, an angry, foul-mouthed man was waiting for me (assuming I was the owner), and was so livid that I would do such a thing, he decked me. I ended up face down in a icy mud puddle in the parking lot. Little did he know, that I would never do harm to an animal or mistreat it. However, there are so many abandoned and abused animals, he must have seen many to vent such rage on me. In reality, one is too many.

I have to agree with you, many people, even families, start out thinking it would be great to have a pet of some kind, a dog, but in the end they haven’t thought it all the way through; aren’t ready for the responsibility, lack the patience, or able or willing to go the distance to properly care for them throughout their life.

On a positive note, I live across the street from the Amazon Trail here in Eugene, Oregon. I do experience daily the bond between a dog and his or her master… witness how much the owners love their dogs, exercise them regularly and take wonderful care of them. Very heartwarming to see companionship and mutual love between them. I still miss my Abby.

The Garden Ms. S - November 20, 2010 - 12:21 am

Well said! I can’t bear to see animals suffer and neglect is as much a crime as intentional cruelty. Pets are for loving and that means caring for them – it is our responsibility. All of ours. Good for you for taking that to heart. 🙂

Marcie - November 21, 2010 - 11:16 am

I don’t think I have anything more to add or to say…except that I’m so glad you got up on your soapbox today!! Such an important message and warning to dog owners everywhere!!!

sherri - November 22, 2010 - 11:03 pm

Wow, this is astounding. We hovered at 70 degrees fahrenheit all day today. Cooler weather is on the way, but of course nothing like you endure. Beautiful images though. Love the dog in the snow.

Krista - November 23, 2010 - 9:01 pm

Brrr… I can’t believe it is so cold! We have had unseasonabley warm temperatures here in Ontario. I think the cold is headed our way now though.

shelli - November 25, 2010 - 9:25 pm

I agree with you, Diane. I don’t understand what people are thinking when they leave dogs unattended for so long. I feel guilty because I can’t do as much for our dogs as I used to now that we have kids, though I would not say they are neglected dogs either.