Backyard Dogs: No Way to Treat Man’s Best Friend
There is one in every community… a dog tied day after day to a back porch or fence, lying lonely on a patch of bare dirt. The water bowl, if there is one, is usually empty or just out of reach. In the summer his ears are raw from untreated fly bites; he is flea-ridden and often skinny. Abandoned but chained, backyard dogs cannot move to comfort or shelter. In winter they shiver; in summer they languish. Year round they suffer.
Here is why your dog deserves to be more than a backyard dog:
- Dogs are pack animals who, by nature, require companionship. A human friend or family is a good and necessary replacement for a dog’s “pack family,” but when a dog is exiled to the lonely life of the backyard, with human contact only on rare occasions, the exile becomes an act of cruelty.
- With no real companionship, the outside dog can become so lonely and bored that he will often develop bad habits such as excessive barking, digging or aggressiveness.
- Most outside dogs suffer from one or more forms of physical cruelty or neglect in addition to the emotional deprivation they may experience. Fleas and other parasites are not discovered. Fly-bitten ears are ignored, worsen, and become more uncomfortable for the dog.
- Symptoms of disease often go unnoticed in an outside dog.
“Out of sight, out of mind” neglect is probably the most common abuse suffered by outside dogs.
- Some owners of outside dogs forget to feed and water their pets as often as they should since the dog is never directly underfoot, whining by his bowl.
- Many owners also fail to provide adequate shelter for their outside dogs.
- In winter, water can freeze in the outside dog’s dish within an hour. In summer, more water is consumed, and the supply needs to be refilled several times a day. Frequent checking on an outside dog in periods of extreme hot and cold is essential, and though most people would not neglect their pets intentionally, they are often just too busy to attend to the animals’ needs.
- Often children are given the responsibilities of caring for their dogs. Young children do not understand what can happen to their pet if they neglect or forget him. Even if the animal is a child’s pet, and the child’s responsibility, adults must pay attention to the care the dog is receiving, or not receiving, and provide for the dog.
Humans domesticated dogs for many different reasons, but from a modern, humane viewpoint, the only reason for owning a dog is for love and companionship. Dogs can offer people gifts of steadfast devotion, love and joyful companionship. Unless people are willing to accept these offerings and take the time to return them in kind, it would be best not to own a dog. A sad, lonely dog tied out back only suffers. Man’s best friend deserves better!