Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ask Maggie: How can I help?

I was thrilled to wake up this morning to receive my first question in the mail. I hope this is something that becomes a regular feature on this blog. Keep your questions and experiencing coming. Click on the image to your left to send me an e-mail or visit the Ask Maggie page for more information.

The question that was posed to me is a serious one. It is one that is an issue that is close to my own heart: my mother had to endure with this situation. It's an issue that many of you in the northern hemisphere of the world will face more of in the coming months as summer approaches.

How can I help dogs tied to cement?

This wasn't an uncommon sight when my human was young. He grew up in the suburbs where people had big green back yards. During the summer months many of those back yards would have a dog resting in the shade attached to a tree or post by a long length of chain. His own dogs would often spend a bit of time enjoying the great outdoors safely tethered to a chain.

The key here is that the human's dogs enjoyed this for short periods of time. Dogs weren't left languishing on a chain for hours (or days) at a time. They had access to water and shade. They had access to human companionship. They had access to stimulating and exciting experiences and environments.

Other dogs aren't so lucky. They are tied outside and left alone for hours, days, and even weeks, months, and years. My mother showed signs of this sort of neglect--when she was examined after being rescued many of her teeth were ground down suggesting she spend many hours chewing or gnawing on a chain or fence. This summer the human saw a news report of a dog who was left tied up in the back yard of a house that was foreclosed. The owners moved out without bring their dog and left him hidden in the brush for weeks without a source of food and water.

If you have a dog, and chain them up for long period of time, the Humane Society of the United States offers some tips on how you can improve your dogs experience.

There are several organizations that have put together information on how someone can help a dog who is chained up. Some of the organizations have a network of volunteers who are trained to approach people who you think might be neglecting their dogs. Your local animal officer, animal shelter, or animal creulty association may also have resources.

Here are a few resources to get you started:  Paw Rescue guide to helping chained animals; Dogs Deserve Better; and the Human Society of the United States guide A Dog's Life: Chaining and Your Community.


  1. Thank you -- and thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.