Saturday, January 14, 2012

Responsible Pet Owners

Now that we have a big picture window in our former-kitchen-now-dining room, we have a front row seat for the miserable life of the dog next door.  I’m not sure why a family would pay $1,000 for a dog and then basically ignore it.

He is a gorgeous (when he's clean) German shepherd with a matted, muddy coat of long fur.  Good thing he's got that very long fur coat because this dog is outside 24/7.  He has a big stall-like roofed enclosure and a separate small dog house.  However, when he is out on his run the cable is so short he can’t reach his dog house and the enclosure is too big and airy to provide any real protection from the cold.  His family rarely plays with him and they haven’t taken him for a walk in over a year.

When the mercury dips below 10 degrees and my dog, Benny, is curled up on the futon next to the pellet stove, I wonder if he feels lucky to be a member of our family.  Benny is a mixed breed that we adopted from the pound.  He was found roaming the streets of Holyoke, fending for himself.

Now he lives a life of luxury.  We play with him and take him for walks—sometimes two a day.  He sits on our laps, well, most of him anyway.  He has such a long body we call him a “lap-and-a-half-dog”!  There is certainly a huge disparity between Benny’s life and that of the dog next door.  Benny is part of our family and we’re his pack.  We wouldn’t have it any other way.

What do you think?  Should dogs stay outside 24/7 when the weather is bad?  Do you treat your dog like a member of your family?  Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you!


  1. Hi Patti,
    It makes me sad to think about that German Shepard. What a horrible life! Like you, we adopted a dog that was rescued in Brooklyn. I think he grew up in a crate because he has these worn out areas on his elbows where he probably rested all the time. Now he lives like a member of our family, which he is. He has a nice doggie bed but prefers the couch. He has a toy box but prefers to leave his toys scattered about. And every night at 3:30 when he decides he has to go to the bathroom so he wakes us up, we curse under our breath but we get up and let him out and give him kisses on his way back in! We love our Colby so very much.

  2. OMG! Dogs should NOT be outside 24/7 when the weather is bad! How can your neighbors not realize that the dog cannot reach his dog house? Why do they not realize that the dog will be COLD being outside a couple hours let alone all day? That is infuriating! I realize that my dog is a pampered pooch but he's a HUGE part of the family and I wouldn't have it any other way!