The Phoenix Files: The Lucky Ones

The Phoenix Files
The Lucky Ones

I am truly one of the lucky ones. I was adopted from a shelter and into a very loving home. I've got three fun-loving kids to play with, a huge yard in which to romp and fields to run through. And this time of year often finds me in the car on the way to enjoying one of my favorite pastimes--long walks. My two favorite destinations are the C&O Canal and the Antietam Battlefield. I think fall is my favorite season. The air smells crisp and there's a little chill in the air, which always puts a spring in my step. Life is good. For me.
Not so good for my neighbor across the way though. We've never been officially introduced. In fact, I've never even seen him (or her) up close. I just hear him and see him all alone out in the back yard. Lying in his dog house with his head peeking out the opening or running the length of his chain only to be jerked back to reality. No one ever plays with him. No one ever takes him for a walk. He must be miserable. I feel sorry for him.
He lays and sits and eats and "does his business" within the same 10-foot radius of that chain. We dogs are pack animals by nature and have a strong need for social interaction. But he gets none of that. Heck, when I've seen the homeowners walk out back to deliver a bowl of food, from what I see, he's lucky to get a pat on the top of his head. Poor guy. It's just not right. From what I know, he has never done anything to deserve his life of solitary confinement. Why would they get a dog only to chain him up in the backyard and totally ignore him?
Day after day, night after night, he sits out there. All alone. Week after week, year after year with nothing to look forward to but a bowl of food and quick pat on the head. He must be so bored. He must be so lonely. He must be so depressed. I hear that happens to dogs on chains. They either become so depressed and lethargic that they don't do anything or they go stir crazy and bark incessantly. This guy doesn't do that. Thank goodness but I wouldn't blame him if he did. He has no life. He deserves better. All dogs deserve better.
I guess it's out of ignorance that people do keep dogs on chains. I guess they just don't understand our nature. We're pack animals. We want, we need social interaction. We want...we need to be a part of a pack, a part of a family.
And when we don't get it. It's awful. Studies show that one quarter of all dog bites reported nationally are inflicted by chained dogs. Dogs who spend most of their time alone demonstrate fearful, aggressive, or just plain bad behavior toward people because they don't know any better...or it's been so long that they forgot.
If you ask me, life on a chain, living in isolation is animal cruelty. There's no two ways about it.

The Humane Society of Washington County exists to improve the quality of life for abused, neglected, and unwanted animals. 13011 Maugansville Road, Hagerstown, MD. 301-733-2060.