Years ago, I worked with a cook who had come to Canada as a War Bride. She told me that the toughest part of getting used to Canadian winters was that it could be blue sky and sunshine and still be thirty below.
Learning this lesson the hard way trying to hang laundry out in January in slippers and a house dress may have made an amusing tale, but there is nothing funny about the reality of the dogs who have to endure this weather without any respite.
On a day like this, I wouldn't dream of going out without my mittens / boots/ hat/ coat. On a day like this, its all about more walks to make up for the shorter time we can stay out each time.
On days like this, we can savour the cold weather pleasures. The cozy fire. The comfort food. And yes ... the freeze dried sheets that just polish off the days nicely.
On days like this, its a completely different kettle of fish for any dog banished to the backyard on the end of a chain. Whether its a ramshackle affair like the lad on the sidebar has, or a posh well insulated spot, the dog sentenced to live such a lonely solitary life will have trouble keeping warm. (If you want to get a real grasp of that, go sit outside in your car with the window cracked open for an hour or two on a day like this, eh? )
If the water dish isn't replenished every hour or so, odds are the dog is facing the additional challenge of trying to stay warm while dehydrated. Is the dog getting a high quality diet geared to the extra nutritional needs for cold weather survival? Probably not.
At any time of year, the loneliness and the deprivation of chained dogs is widely recognized as animal abuse. Unfortunately, for legal purposes, it is not enough to view a practice as cruel.
It is not enough to make position statements that are at best suggestions ( the subject of how specifying leash lengths and housing standards can endorse the illusion of acceptability is a separate subject that needs a post of its own on another day )
There is only one solution and that is decent anti-tethering legislation. Why is this so widely opposed?
- fear mongering that confuses the yard leash at the back step to let the dog be safely outside of the house for reasonable periods of time with the dogs that are chained outside 24 / 7
- our natural tendancy as human beings to resist having more legislation to "limit" us
- lack of meaningful and effective public education about the dangers to the community in general and children in specific posed by the unfortunate, unsocialized and untrained dogs who are sentenced to life on the end of a chain,
- the fact that dogs are still legally considered to be property ( the subject of how that enables a mindset that permits practices like puppy mills is a separate subject that has been - and will again be - discussed on separate posts in this blog ) and last but definitely not least,
- the reluctance of politicians to enact any just and good law that runs the risk of offending any of their constituents.
Yet what REALLY shapes our society is our laws. They make the difference between simply being able to suggest and actually being able to stop any particular activity.
If the RCMP could only wave a finger at drinking and driving, would that have any effect on public safety? Of course not! It is the laws that are on the books that allow them act and create a safer community.
Does that mean that no one drinks and drives anymore? Of course not! But it does provide the police with the tools that they need to act ... and that in turn is the most effective public education possible.
What time is it? On any day ... it is way past time for pursuit of anti - tethering legislation. Without it, the society will never have the tools it needs to stop any of the village idiots who will never visit their site or read their lovely position papers.
Without it, we are simply going to keep reading about dogs freezing to death and thinking "damn.. someone should do something about that"!
What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other? George Eliot