Why do people get a pet dog and then keep or leave it outside?
This is a subject that frustrates me to say the least. For the life of me I cannot understand why people get a pet dog for their family or themselves, only to condemn the poor creature to a lonely life living in their garden, yard or shed etc. I could understand getting a dog as a guard dog to live outside, and there is nothing wrong with this is if adequate shelter, bedding, food and water, as well as any essentials such as regular inoculations, flea and worm treatments and veterinary care are provided when required.
What I cannot justify in my own mind are the people who go out, buy a puppy and then simply chain it up outside all year round whilst they barely spend five minutes with it each day on their way in and out of the house. Surely the whole point of having a dog is to enjoy the wonderful unconditional love they have to offer, and to have them as a part of your family/pack!
I watch numerous episodes of programmes such as Animal Cops Houston, Animal Cops etc, and in virtually every episode there is at least one case of a dog that has suffered as a result of a person or family leaving it outside to either starve, freeze, have a collar become embedded into its neck (because no-one allowed for the fact puppies do grow), give birth to puppies that are left infested with fleas that are literally 'sucking' the life out of them, get choked on a leash that is so short the dog ends up hanging itself etc etc. I am sure anyone reading this is more than aware that these cases are not unique and happen frequently.
Having grown up with dogs myself, and spent many years of my adulthood with dogs, as well as looking after other people's dogs for them when they have gone on holiday, I cannot understand why anyone would choose to take on a dog they didn't want to share their lives with day to day. How can people sit in their cosy warm homes with snow on the ground outside, knowing their pet dog is out there, on its own, without affection, human interaction or the normal bonding rituals such a pack animal is instinctively geared towards? Surely this completely defeats the point of getting a dog at all. If you only want to leave it tied up outside, or in a confined yard, then perhaps you should have got a cat that could freely wander where it wanted to without any help from you, or better still a goldfish, that would not moult, bark, require much attention, cost much to feed or get vet care for!
A dog offers so much to a family when it lives amongst them. I have numerous memories of the many dogs we have shared our lives with over the years, and each one spent its life in the house as one of the family. Our houses were clean, tidy and hygienic (as were our dogs), and there was no good reason to even consider keeping them outside, nor would we have had dogs if that was our intention. I would never for one moment adopt or buy a dog unless I was going to gain the benefits of sharing my life with them, both in the house and outside of it.
A dog should be part of your pack, in other words your family. It should have a bond with you, want to protect you, trust you and interact with you. If you currently have a dog that you know you keep outside, ask yourself a few questions, such as how much time you have spent each day with your dog since you took him on, when you last fed him, have you provided him with clean water, when did he last have a check up from a vet, have you wormed him in the last three months, has he got a waterproof and draft-proof shelter, have you checked him over for ticks and removed them, did you take him for a walk today, do you really feel you are giving him or her the best home they could have?
If any of the above questions make you squirm a little, or prick your conscience at all, then please, for the sake of that living creature sitting outside alone right now, either make some drastic changes, or do the decent thing and take them to a rescue centre so they can find them a home that will give them a quality of life they deserve.
Too many dogs die outside homes from their owners neglect in the way of lack of food, adequate shelter, veterinary treatment etc. Additionally what really makes my blood boil is when a dog is left gradually turning into a skeleton outside, whilst their overweight owner tucks happily into their next hugely calorific meal with not a spare thought for the dog they haven't fed for days or weeks.
Please think on. If you are not one of these bad owners, but suspect you know a friend, neighbour or family member who is, please please please report them and save another dog from this miserable existence.
If you are thinking of taking on a dog, please don't, unless you are willing to keep it in the home with you and your family. Let someone else give that dog the love and the 'pack' it needs.