I was looking around at stuff tonight and I found something that I wrote a
while ago for a newsletter for Dogs Deserve Better and I just found that
they also put it on their website! That is so neat! It's at:
No! Dogs Deserve Better Does NOT
Advocate Letting Dogs Run Free
By Joan Sinden
"It's a shame that we need laws to dictate common sense. If you’re going to bring a dog into your life, you’ve got to be willing to take responsibility for it's care and well-being. Allowing a dog to run free around the neighborhood or chaining it to the nearest tree are both irresponsible behaviors, and can and do end in death for the dog or, and in all too many cases, a small child. A responsible caretaker's dog lives inside, and has a fence high and sound enough to protect both the dog and children passing by or walks the dog on a leash for the safety of all. We are attempting to educate society, one by one if necessary. But we must also stand NOW to insist on the laws being changed to protect the innocent, both humans and dogs. It's too crucial to NOT do so."
—Tammy Grimes, founder of Dogs Deserve Better
As the owner/guardian/foster mom to a lot of dogs over the years - some of which were chained to trees and or dog houses for the greater portion of their previous lives I feel a kinship with the mission of "Dogs Deserve Better."
I was thinking back to how it all started for me and I think it was with a huge black dog that lived 2 houses down from my parents cottage. I can't even remember the dogs name, but he was chained 24 hours a day to a tree on about a 10 foot chain - the kind that has the barbs in it - in dirt that when it rained turned to really goopy mud. He was there by himself the whole time. At that point I'd never had a dog and knew nothing about them, but he broke my heart - I'd go over there and he'd knock me down he'd be so happy so see someone! My parents would get angry with me because I'd spend all my time over there with the dog and no time visiting them! Every once in a while he'd get loose though - he'd break free from his chain and go running with great abandon - that was 100 times worse than being chained to that tree though, because there was an excellent probability that he was going to die at any moment on the very busy road he was running up and down. He stood no chance of being rescued if he was dead. Running loose either by himself or joining up with some other dogs and running in a pack was NOT a good idea.
Dogs Deserve Better, for some reason, gets letters from people who think that because we are trying to get dogs off of chains and out of pens that we are advocating dogs running loose! That is the furthest thing from the truth because that is even more deadly than being on a chain! What we are working
towards is making all dogs the companion animals and family members that
they deserve to be - and that includes keeping them as safe as we would want our own children to be.
Personally that means I keep my dogs on leash whenever we go outside the house, and when I exercise my dogs we go to legal off-leash areas that are fenced in and they play with other dogs who are well socialized and also off-leash. So I suppose they are "running loose in a pack" - but certainly
in a very different connotation! And also with a very different outcome - the only thing that will happen is that I'll have some very tired and happy pooches, and nobody will die or end up at the pound. Dogs Deserve Better than that!
Thinking back to that big black dog - when he broke free from his chain and he started running around the neighbourhood, what do you think he was probably looking for? I think he was looking for an open door to go in so that he could go inside and get some love from a human, because that's what he needed and wanted most - and unfortunately he never got it before he died. One of my biggest regrets is that I didn't know at the time you could do things like "rescue" dogs. That's why I try hard not to walk by any other dogs who need my help now - sort of to honour him. Because he definitely deserved better.
—Joan Sinden, DDB yahoo group coordinator and moderator