Skip to Main Content

Give Someone a Happy New Year

The following post was originally published by Karen on KP’s Dog Blog, December 31, 2007.

In case there is a spot remaining on your list of New Year’s resolutions, I have a good one for you. This one will warm your heart and the heart of a grateful dog. Here it is:

First, scour your neighborhood on foot or by bike to locate at least one neglected dog. Chained and penned dogs are obviously neglected, but dogs that have the run of the entire yard can be neglected too. Any dog who is left outside 24/7 is neglected.

Next, evaluate the dog’s living conditions. What kind of shelter does the dog have? How clean or filthy is the area in which the dog is living? Does the dog have water? Is it frozen or covered with algae? Zero in on Fido’s health. Does he have runny eyes? Diarrhea? Scaly or red patches of skin with no fur? A cough?

Once you’ve taken stock of the situation, take a deep breath and go see if you can make friends with the owners. Depending on your temperament, you may need to give an Oscar-worthy performance, but keep in mind whose life is at stake. If the owners have some pretty flowers in the yard, rave about them. If they have a car, mention how cool you think that model is. Anything to curry favor with the owners and win their trust.

Gradually, incrementally over time, work Fido into the conversation. Mention that you’ve been meaning to start getting more exercise and would they let you walk their dog for them? Bring along a chew toy and tell them that your own dog doesn’t want it and would their dog like to have it? Stop by with a bale of straw and say that you got it for free from a friend of yours—would Fido like to have it in his doghouse or scattered on top of the mud? Offer to put it there yourself (because they probably won’t bother). Mention that you noticed that Fido has diarrhea and you have to take your own dog to the vet anyway, so would they like you to take Fido along, too, just to check for worms? Perhaps Fido could even come to your house to play with your dogs?

Ideally, you would eventually become a trusted friend, permitted to come and take Fido to your house to play with your dogs at any time. Once you’re in that position, you can be sure that he gets everything he needs and more. And you will definitely be the person the owners turn to if they ever decide to give Fido up. But it takes patience to get there.

If you meet with nothing but negativity or even outright hostility, don’t give up. Search for ways to ingratiate yourself with the owners. If all else fails, at the very least you can stop by once a day and give Fido a treat or a dog biscuit, scratch him under the chin, and check on his water. He will deeply appreciate anything you can do to alleviate his woes. And if things are just abominable to the point of being illegal and you can’t get anywhere with the owners, call the authorities. Notify the local animal control department, the nearest SPCA, the newspapers, or even PETA. Just do something. You are that dog’s only hope.

Commenting is closed.
  • Pat s says:

    I had a similar situation with a wonderful dog next door who was tightly chained 24/7 – 365 days a year. When it snowed he was snowed in his shabby dog house, with a dirty pan of frozen water nearby. When it reached over 90 degrees the pan stayed empty. I, like a few others, contacted our local Humane Society in Springfield Mass and everytime the dog officer went out there, the owner told her how she kept her dog up to date on shots, and fed him, etc, etc. In other words…NOTHING WAS EVER DONE. The owner suspected it was me, she said that “I was the type who would call” and forbade me from giving the poor animal any biscuits in the future. Eventually this poor little dog got loose and ran away. Long story…not so short I guess, but my faith in the dog officers and Humane Societies is GREATLY diminished! I contribute to the welfare of animals, but this whole deal with the Humane Society definatly has me disgruntled. Thanks for hearing my rant.

  • Laura says:

    I have a very low rent trailer park across the road from me. I often drive the park because 5 dogs I managed to catch (and heaven only knows how many cats) were left behind last year after people were evicted. Many of these people are laid off and barely surving – as am I. After taking notes for a couple of weeks as to the dog’s locations etc. I went home and made dog beds for the dogs with houses using salvaged bedspreads and crushed corn cob bedding. I pinned a note to each bed saying that it was a gift to their dog from the “Fairy Dogmother” and left them on the porches. I also cruised the streets of the local town watching for old dog houses to be dumped on the curb. I reworked the houses as much as possible. All of the dogs now have a rain proof house and a bed. I still have one doghouse left – plenty of crushed corn cob – and old bedspreads. I’m ramping for the springs’ puppy explosion. Now if I could just get them to spay and neuter.

  • Sandy says:

    I don’t understand if people don’t want to deal with the responsibility of an animal, why do they get them? I mean really.

  • Alex says:

    Hi… yeah! I believe we can make years better to some pets. i´ve given home to a dog that was in bad situation last year. he´s living at my house. it´s a poodle. he´s beautiful now.
    keep going doing this awesome work.

  • Jen says:

    I am so relieved, and also surprised to finally find other people talking about this issue. Where I live in Minnesota, many people keep ‘hunting dogs’ outside year round. After moving here a few years ago, I was stunned to see this, however, it seems to bother no one but me. I like the idea of slowly trying make friends with the owners instead of calling the county animal control person.
    BTW, my three dogs and one kitten are fed grass-fed steaks (even though I am a veg) sleep on a futon, and are walked regularly, as well as romp in the yard.

  • nadine quinones says:

    sigh. yes i know all to well about dogs like that. i help all the time and am a peta member. I do more in my area. thank u peta and all of yous who care and post things god bless smile…

  • Poom says:

    Yvonne-where do you live?

  • Ashley says:

    My neighbors down the road have a 3 year old black lab, the dog used to be tied to a tree with a tiny dog house outside, I live in VT so temps are often in the negative in winter. Last year they built a kennel (small) on the backside of a barn, there’s a hole in the barn with the doghouse pushed up against it so it can only go in the doghouse. recently the dog has been on a 4 foot chain because it tried to dig under the fence. The dog gets fed once a day, and sometimes walked, the only water it gets is half a bowl mixed in with it’s food and absorbed. They people are very nice, just look at it as an animal that’s fine outside, I’ve tried the guilt trip but they claim the dog has a good life and doesn’t need to be “spoiled” do i confront them, or is the dog really okay?

  • raquel says:

    es una falta de consiencia tener q ese animal en ese estado y condiciones!!!injusto para el.. 🙁

  • Karen says:

    Living in NC for the past 15 years I have seen more neglected dogs than anyplace I have ever been. I guess a lot of it is still that country mentality that your dog is just an animal, not a pet…and it can take care of itself. I just don’t understand why people bother to get a dog that they’re just going to chain up outside and ignore, often without any decent shelter or toys and sometimes without food.

  • Yvonne says:

    My neighbors dogs are left out 24/7. They do have a barn to go into but it is still 15 degrees. I have complained to the ASPCA and others in the area. They call the people up first and tell them they are coming and for what reason. So the owners manage to have water for the dogs, etc. I also know they are underfed, and their water freezes. They get water once a day and when it freezes…….they have to wait. Owners purchased the White Pyrnaees(?)to guard their barn. They are friendly dogs. There is nothing in the barn to protect. They used to have a black Lab pup that they chained out in the yard and the temps were in the 80’s. He was constantly turning over his water and I was filling it a lot. They got rid of the pup (he had to go to a better place). My point is that these dogs have no human contact except at feeding & watering time. This is so sad. I have quit complaining to the locals. I don’t know what else to do.

  • Annette Ruhmann says:

    It hurts my heart to see this going on and doing the above tactics was told to mind my own business. I did so by calling animal control. Now the dog has been rescued and put up for adoption. If all else fails… whats right and legal.

  • Shasistanyday says:

    I am unable to understand this post. But well some points are useful for me.

  • Ky says:

    thanks so much for posting this

  • Chelsea S. says:

    I wanted to share a story with all of you from a local newspaper here in WI:
    A New Haven resident could face a citation for animal neglect after a dead dog was found frozen outside a home by an Adams County animal control officer Monday.

    Adams County Sheriff Darrell Renner said the department received a call about the dead pet Monday from someone who overheard the children of the household talking about the dog’s death.

    Renner said the property’s owner, Petrut Danalache, could face a $186 fine for leaving the dog outside. He said the cause of the dog’s death is undetermined, but if the dog was kept in a plastic doghouse that was found facing north with no cover over its door, that could be grounds for the citation.

    Renner described the dog as a 6-year-old black lab. Its body was found lying outside of the shelter. It was attached to a 50-foot run, Renner said.

    He said the dog’s owner said the animal was fed Saturday morning and was found dead when children went out to feed the dog Sunday night.

    “It’s very rare. Really very rare,” Renner said of the case.

    He said people can learn the lesson that they are accountable for the animals they have and that animals need shelter, food and especially water. Renner said animals cannot get needed water from snow or ice.

    “They need to have fresh water every day,” he said.

    When the dog was found Monday, there was still some food in a bowl and frozen water in a container nearby.

    Renner said the residents of the house cooperated with the investigation, which is ongoing. Renner said he did not know the length the department would go to determine the animal’s cause of death. According to Renner, the animal control officer reported that the owner was going to purchase materials to make a casket for the dog.

    According to an NBC 15 news report, a woman at the house said the dog was cared for. She told the TV station that the family left for the day and it rained, and they are not to blame for the pet’s death.

    Renner said any charges have to be determined by the district attorney.

    Attempts to reach Danalache were unsuccessful.

    I just want to remind everybody that the weather here is in the single digits, and only double when negative right now. This animal could have been saved if somebody would have seen him, somebody who cares about animals. There was another incident this year where a womans dog froze to a sidewalk. People in WI need, and I stress NEED to take care of their animals before, during, and after the winter months. I know plenty of people who think dogs “love” living on the farm and eating cow food!! WHAT? NO! They need shots, and love, and shelter… I guess I am just so sad over all these people who don’t realize that animals are almost like people, they need the care and protection just like anybody else.

  • Antonina Genna says:

    if you are a kid how can you help the unfortunate animals like the ones i just saw

    >>>KP’s Response:

    Hi Antonina,
    Thanks for caring! There’s a lot you can do, even as a kid. If you know of a dog who is being neglected, start by telling your parents about the situation and see if they can help. If they don’t want to, try telling your teacher and see if that works. You can also call your local animal control department and ask them to intervene.

    I think I need more information about the situation in order to give more detailed advice. Can you write back and tell me more about it? I tried to e-mail you, but my message came back.

    In the meantime, you can find lots of ideas for helping animals at

    Good luck!