A true story
I am an avid traveler. One of the biggest reasons I love to travel is that it keeps me growing and helps put things into perspective.
I strongly believe that if people from different countries met more often, they would understand each other better and there would be a much greater chance of worldwide peace.
As a vet and animal lover, I create my impressions of nations and countries based on how they treat animals. The worst trip of my life was to Egypt where I saw horses and dogs dying on the street and people walked by with little or no concern. My best trips were to countries where animals are loved and respected.
Most of the Western world now understands that animals feel physical pain and suffer when their needs are not met. However, my recent experience was a reminder that even in the western world, people do not understand that animals have a full spectrum of emotions and emotional needs.
A few weeks ago I visited my friend and her family. I was picked up at the airport and we drove to their house. As we stopped at the property gate to open it and drive in, I see this little shadow sneaking by us and disappear in the distance.
“Was this a dog?” I asked.
“Yes, it is Roxy, my mom’s dachshund. She will come back,” my friend replied.
For the rest of the evening, I could not stop thinking about what just happened. What dog would run through the gate without even saying hi to her family?
In the morning, when I got up, I came out of the house to look at the garden and saw a dog house covered with a blanket right by the entry to the house. I lifted the corner of the blanket and there she was, sweet Roxy, wagging her tail with a little hesitation as if she didn’t know if it was ok to make a connection with me.
Oh oh, we have a problem, I thought to myself. As a guest, I really didn’t want to upset anyone, however, I was determined to get Roxy out of her doggy prison. We went to the local pet store, got new clean bowls, then we stopped by the butcher and bought a whole bunch of turkey and chicken bones and meat to stock the freezer. I was eager to find more about why my friend’s mother decided to leave her little dachshund outside.
I learned that Roxy was her husband’s dog. When he died few years ago, they put Roxy in a doghouse because dogs are dogs and they enjoy the outdoors! Plus, she was a hunting dog, and hunting dogs are bred for sleeping in a dog house. And so I spent two days gently explaining to my well-meaning friends that dogs are social beings and that leaving them alone is the worst form of punishment no matter how winter resistant they may be.
My friends promised to make a change and I hope they will. A few weeks have passed since my visit and my plan is to bring the issue up again when we speak. I hope that they will agree to take Roxy in the house and if so, my plan is to make a pact with the children in the family. If Roxy sleeps in the house, they will get some Star Wars Lego :-).
In other words, bribery is ok, if it makes a dog’s life better.
I hope is that by you reading and sharing this article, the dogs who live alone in doghouses will get what they deserve. Being together with their human family, - their pack in the warmth of a loving home.
Say NO to doghouse prisons and lonely dogs.