Thursday, December 18, 2008

Not fit for man nor beast…

While cuddling warmly beneath the blankets on my bed, trying to squeeze a few more inches of space from the cats and dog who had staked a claim on all of the really good snuggle spots, I heard the dog barking across the street. And became instantly annoyed.

Not at the dog, but at the folks who care for him. It was only 10:30 p.m., but already the temperature was reading 38 degrees, according to the evening news. That’s not even counting the additional factors of damp, drizzly rain.

My heart always aches a bit on nights like this. My neighborhood has a plethora of people who think nothing about leaving their dogs and cats out on nights like these. Nights that are so cold my fingers are shaking in the time it takes me to put empty cardboard boxes into the recycle bin…and I’m wearing shoes and a sweater.

What is it that goes through people’s heads to justify leaving a pet outside in the winter weather? I realize that we don’t live in the Dakotas, but even so, there’s no reason for an animal to be outside in the cold and wet. I hear people say that their dogs are outside for protection, but how much can they really help you out if someone gets into your house?

Asking your dog be outside 24/7, even with a dog house, put unnecessary wear and tear on their bodies, putting them at risk for an early death. Cats, of course, get the additional opportunity to be injured or killed climbing into someone’s car engine compartment to try and stay warm.

I recently read someone’s blog post where they referred to a dog as being “baby-fied” because their owner didn’t allow them to sleep outside, and I nearly spit out my coffee. Baby-fied, because they provide their dog with a warm, safe place to sleep with the rest of the pack? All dogs should be so lucky.

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