Since our last post, summer's come to Nashville in full force -- high humidity (which my hair does not appreciate) and excessive heat. It's been a bummer mainly because Claire and I can only go for long walks and hikes early in the morning and late at night. Claire does not understand, nor does she like this arrangement. But God forbid we try to go outside in the middle of the day -- she walks like fifty feet and then starts panting like crazy and looks at me like, "Why would you ever take me out here in this heat?!"
As it's gotten hotter around here, I've been thinking more and more about the poor Backyard Dogs that are in our neighborhood. Backyard Dogs are the ones who live outside either in a fenced in area or tethered to a stake or a tree. I don't really understand this concept, nor do I like it. First of all, why would you get a dog (a companion animal) only to have them live a solitary life in the yard without any human or dog interaction? That's against all of their instincts! Secondly, dogs overheat really easily, and unless you live in San Diego where it's 70* all the time with low humidity, this is just unacceptable.
There's a couple living down the street from us who just got a 3-month-old pit bull puppy. At first they were letting her out off-leash in the morning to do her business, and then they'd call her back inside. When she started bounding across the busy street to say hi to us each morning, the girl must have realized just how dangerous that was; a few days later, as we walked by, I heard Sweet Puppy barking but I couldn't see her. I looked around the side of their house and saw that she was tethered outside with no water, no food, and no shelter. It was 95* that day. I brought her some water, and when I stooped down to pet her, I noticed that she had huge welts all over her stomach from bug bites. I think about the argument that people with Backyard Dogs often say: "They're animals! They are meant to be outside! They like it!" Well sure - a dog will love time outside if there are other dogs that they get along with, if they are with their people, if they aren't left alone, if they're given a mix of on-leash time and off-leash time, if they aren't too hot or too cold. But Sweet Puppy's situation is all too familiar, and it's extremely neglectful.
I said something about it to the girl the next time I saw her, and I haven't seen Sweet Puppy outside since then. I have to admit that I'm really concerned about how she's being treated, but I haven't seen her lately to assess how she's doing. You can be sure that I'm keeping an eye out for her, though.
If y'all have come across any Backyard Dogs, what have you done to help their situation? Have you said something to the owner or kept quiet? Are there any organizations in your area reaching out to these dogs? Are any reaching out to provide education to the owners?
Check out the following links for more information: