The following story was written by Scrappy the dog (well, by Keegan Baur, writing as Scrappy the dog).
A winter wonderland? Snow covers the ground, and freezing wind whips the trees. Many humans are cozily snuggled inside their homes, basking in the warm glow of Christmas tree lights, while the scent of freshly baked cookies wafts through the air and holiday music plays in the background.
But I don’t get to revel in any of these luxuries. Instead, I am tethered to a chain in the backyard. In perpetual solitary confinement, as minutes drag into days and weeks, I try to ignore the bitter cold. I huddle in my little doghouse, venturing out only when I need to relieve myself or quench my thirst by licking the mostly frozen block of water in my bowl. Some days they don’t feed me—I think this month, they’re cutting back on buying my food in order to save money to get a few gifts for the kids. But on the days that one of them does feed me, I can barely contain my excitement. I pull frantically at my heavy tether and jump up at my guardian’s legs. While she scolds and pushes me down, I usually knock over the meager contents of my dish, most of which mix in with the icy grass and snow. This will cost me later, but for a few minutes, I have her attention as she pats my head and scratches my ear, and during those fleeting moments, I feel a glimmer of joy.
But then she leaves, just as quickly as she came, and once again I’m all alone. I’m not complaining, though—this year I have my very own doghouse from PETA! Last year, I had only a chain and no protection at all from the elements. Some days were so cold that I couldn’t feel my own paws, and some nights were so unbearably freezing that it was difficult to breathe. I even got sick, but they weren’t able to take me to the veterinarian. I’m not really sure how I made it through that winter. But this year, it’s different. I have four walls and a roof over my head, where I can hide if I get scared. I have a little bed of straw that I can curl up in without shivering in wet, melted snow. Things may not be perfect, but I try to stay positive. I know there are other dogs out there who aren’t as lucky as I am—who don’t have a doghouse to keep them warm and safe. Those are the dogs I feel sorry for.
This winter, please do whatever you can to help cold, neglected dogs:
- If you know of a “backyard dog,” try to convince the owners to let him or her indoors. Offer to take the pooch for walks, and bring treats and toys to him or her. Make sure that there is proper shelter and fresh water, and call the authorities if there isn’t.
- Find out how to work with city or county legislators to ban chaining.
- And if you have the resources, please consider being an “angel” for animals and sponsoring a doghouse so that one lucky pup will have a safe haven to call his or her own. Thanks to donations from compassionate people like you, PETA is able to deliver houses—along with toys, treats, and insulating straw bedding—to thousands of dogs in need.