Written by Marty Abel of Texas
This is about Trixie. A little black dog that belonged to the lady next door to me. She started climbing the fence and running around the neighborhood when the lady’s husband left her with their other dog. The lady got into trouble with the city for letting the dog roam, so she started keeping her in the house…that was until she got new furniture. Then she started tying her up in the backyard on a chain attached to a cable so she could walk back and forth for about 10 or 15 feet.
Now this is Texas and the summer and it gets WELL over 100 degrees during the day. One day, I noticed she wasn’t moving. Just laying there in the hot sun looking at me, wagging her tail. I went into the yard and saw tht she was tangled up and couldn’t move…not an inch. I untangled her and checked her water. There wasn’t any. I gave her water and she drank a couple bowls full.
I started checking on her every day. She never had water and she kept getting tangled up in the hot sun. I went out of town for a few days and when I got back, the first thing I did was check on her. She was tangled up and again had no water. I found out the lady had been gone for a few days also, so there’s no telling how long the dog was like that. I couldn’t take it anymore. I told her about me having to give the dog water all the time and her being tangled up in the sun all the time. I asked if she would just let me have her. She said okay and I took Trixie home.
Now I have to battle with her just to get her out of my room to go outside. Trixie has decided my bed is hers now. She is now fat and happy and living in air conditioning! And she’s a really sweet and grateful dog with three new fur friends. A crazy cocker, a corgi and a goldendoodle. All rescues and all spoiled rotten. Some nights they even let me have part of the bed. But not too much.
If you suspect that a dog in your neighborhood is being neglected, especially during severe weather, speak up immediately. There are two schools of thought on this matter:
1. Diplomacy: Many experienced rescuers prefer to start here. Find a benign reason to approach your neighbor such as, “I’ve been finding my mailbox open lately, have you been having the same problem?” Then, once you’ve opened the conversation with a neutral topic, begin talking to your neighbor about his pet with a genuine spirit of kindness, even if you’re fuming on the inside. You can express your admiration for the dog and begin with gentle questions such as, “The weatherman gave a heatstroke warning on this morning’s news. Do you think your dog needs some shelter from the sun?” In some cases, a polite and supportive conversation will lead to the person offering improved conditions for their dog or to even agree to give up the animal if they don’t feel cornered or insulted. It may take some persistence, but building a relationship with the neighbor and supporting the pet with additional food, water and shelter during the iterim can sometimes pay off. There’s a useful article here with real-life examples from others.
2. Law Enforcement: Often times, laws to protect animals are minimal and go unenforced. Many neighbors are afraid to rock the boat, but if not you, then who? All dogs must be provided with food, water and shelter. Law enforcement officers must take action if these essentials are not provided. They will often issue a warning and give the dog owner time to comply. Once law enforcement becomes involved, however, it could possibly be more difficult for you to attempt a diplomatic solution.
Have You Spoken Up for a Neglected Animal?
If you’ve had success in getting a neglectful pet owner to improve the care for their pet or to surrender it to a better home, please share your story on The Great Animal Rescue Chase website or in the comments section below.