It would break your heart to see the difference that a simple doghouse can make in a dog’s life. One recent beneficiary of PETA’s doghouse delivery program is Passion, who was spotted by a PETA fieldworker when our Community Animal Project visited the trailer park in which she lives to help a neighbor transport her dog to our no-cost to low-cost spay/neuter clinic. Our fieldworker found Passion—and her pitiful excuse for a doghouse, a collection of metal and wood filled with gaps that had done virtually nothing to keep her warm or dry this winter.
We replaced her decaying, makeshift lean-to with a sturdy, weatherproof doghouse and filled it with straw (which doesn’t freeze as towels and blankets do when they get wet). Like all our outdoor clients, Passion also received a lightweight, tangle-free tie-out to replace her heavy chain, a toy and a treat, clean water, and a few minutes of affection, which means the world to a dog stuck outside alone 24 hours a day. Passion was so excited by her new house and all the attention she was getting that her whole body wiggled with delight. It was as if she’d won the lottery.
Countless neglected “backyard dogs” don’t have so much as a cardboard box to shelter them from the wind and rain. PETA fieldworkers have found dogs shivering during lashing nor’easters with nothing more to protect them from the elements than end tables, patio chairs, overturned barrels, shells of air-conditioning units, and pieces of plywood propped against fences. Some didn’t even have those. During the winter, these dogs run the risk of suffering from exposure or frostbite or becoming dehydrated when water bowls freeze. During the summer, lack of access to water or shade can be fatal when the temperatures soar.
Dogs are pack animals who crave the companionship of others. There are few things worse for a dog than “solitary confinement” on a chain or in a pen or kennel. That constant barking that drives the neighbors crazy? It’s a cry for help.
If you know someone with an “outdoor dog,” offer to play or go on walks with the pup. Take treats and toys, which mean so much to a dog who would otherwise have nothing to do but watch the mud dry. Make sure that the dog has adequate food, water, and shelter (required by law), and report neglect to animal control. And use our resources to help get a chaining ban passed in your community.