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No Bones Column Archive

A lifelong dog lover and Dear Abby fan, Elayne combines her two passions — loving animals, and butting into other people’s business. We have had so many great e-mails that we decided to archive them for your enjoyment.

Dear Elayne,

My dog has been so depressed since the Nov. 2nd election, I don’t know what to do for her. She is freaked out by the thought of four more years of intolerance, warfare, raping of our beautiful natural resources, and most of all, she was sickened every time she heard, “What’s next if we allow gay marriage? People marrying dogs?” Any advice?

Sincerely,
49%

Dear 49%,

My dogs were also sickened by the marriage analogy, as I had already promised them that yes, marrying dogs would indeed be next, fingers crossed. My real hope was that America would become so loving and tolerant that I could marry both my dogs, at least in Utah . “Love thy neighbor” seems to actually mean; “as long as your neighbor is exactly like you”. Everybody else, pay cash. Even if we got the dog marrying proposal on the ballot, how would they fight that? “What’s next, people marrying cats?” See? It never ends. We can’t honestly promise your dog there will be any trees, clean air, or even any America as we knew it left in four years, so take lots of pictures, and do not give up the fight.

Dear Elayne,

Last Saturday night, I saw you hosting the In Defense of Animals awards at Paramount Studios in Hollywood . Yet when their email newsletter came out this week, everyone was mentioned but you. Why don’t you let these organizations use your name to further their cause?

Julia M., Sherman Oaks

Dear Julia,

I was as surprised as you to see the omission. I put in two full days of writing, and waived my five figure corporate fee for such events. When I hosted their Africa fundraiser in Portland last year, I thought it was an oversight, but now I realize when you make it look easy they just don’t know what you have given them. As long as the animals benefit, that’s the thank you for me.

Dear Elayne,

Where did the expression “work like a dog” come from? They don’t seem to work very hard to me. “Sleep like a dog” would be more like it.

Michael B., New York

Dear Michael,

Well, no doubt they can sleep, but they can work too. If any of my agents had ever been as focused and diligent as any of my dogs while trying to dig a hole, I’d be making movies. Does that sound like my agents dug holes? Well they did!

Long ago, when I was very, very young, Native Americans and other tribes in the wild did indeed use dogs as working animals, like mules. Obviously this was before unions. They domesticated wild dogs and wolves and eventually we came to know the more domesticated dogs we have today, although I’m not quite sure how the poodle fits into all of this. However, dogs still work. There are bomb sniffing dogs, drug sniffing dogs, trackers, therapy dogs, seeing eye dogs, seizure predicting dogs, security dogs, sled dogs, dogs that perform tasks for the disabled, movie and tv dogs, and the list goes on. I think the expression “work like a dog” reflects their utter commitment to the job at hand. Sleep like a log, on the other hand, now where the hell did that come from?

Dear Elayne,

My daughter is an only child, and all she has ever wanted was a dog. I have terrible allergies, but now that she is twelve, we decided to give it a try. We rescued a wheaten/basenji mix. She definitely needs training, but I take my allergy medicine, and my husband and I have fallen in love with her. Unfortunately, my daughter has not. How do we handle this? If we’re not going to keep her, we don’t want to get even more attached, but how do we know when to give up?

C.R., Santa Clarita

Dear C.R.,

Well, if you’re not going to keep her, you need to give her up right away. Twelve is already old for a child to get adopted, and if you wait any longer, she might not be cute any more. On the other hand, you could keep her around to help with the housework.

Okay, your only child is used to being the only little girl you and your husband love, and now she has a feeling of jealousy and competition that is new to her. Make your daughter part of the training process. This will give her an emotional connection to your doggie and a feeling of accomplishment. Let your daughter warm up to your dog at her own pace, don’t force them on each other. (It took me about a year to really get into “Six Feet Under.”)Your daughter may be slower to form close ties as she is used to being the center of attention in your home, but this is a wonderful opportunity for her to become outer directed, to learn patience, compassion, and sharing; all very important attributes for a successful life in the future.

Dear Elayne,

I have a five year old shih tzu named Noodle. She has recently begun to develop deep red grooves under her eyes. They look awful. Is there any way to treat that?

Noodle’s Mom, N.J.

Dear Noodle’s Mom,

The same thing happened to me when I got hooked on the Home Shopping Network. Luckily, they sold a fabulous seaweed cream that was guaranteed to eliminate those unsightly lines, as well as tighten the skin and get rid of cellulite, for only three easy payments of $29.95. Help! Somebody slap me!

Some dogs do seem to develop those red grooves as they get older. I haven’t found anything that eliminates them completely, but I do find that when your dog is sleepy and calm, keeping a warm washcloth on the spots seems to soften them. It’s hard to recommend a cream since it’s so near the eye, but if you can manage a very small amount of Panalog, and make sure it is not close to the eye, that acts as a moisturizing healer. If your dog starts to paw at it, wash it off immediately so it’s not swept into her eyes. You might also try a tiny, tiny dab of Bach Flower Remedies Rescue Remedy cream, available at some health food stores. I find it’s good for almost everything. Finally, you’ll just have to tell Noodle that she’ll have to make the switch from ingénue to character roles, sigh.

Dear Elayne,

Animal Planet’s new reality show, “Who Gets the Dog”, is appalling. They pull a dog out of an L.A. shelter, shuffle it around for 3 days to 3 families (24 hours each, confusing the dog), then a panel decides who gets the dog. The only safeguard it offers the dog: “You must not have been convicted of a felony, or cruelty to animals. You must be ready, willing and able to adopt and care for the dog, and you must be approved by the HSUS and pass their screening process”. Please encourage your readers to make their feelings known to Animal Planet at http://extweb.discovery.com/viewerrelations

A Rescuer

Dear Rescuer,

Appalling is right! To take one of the millions of abandoned/abused shelter dogs waiting to be killed, give him three days of doting, treats, food, cuddles, by dog loving people who do things like give him a bath, let him sleep in bed, and then at the end of this ordeal let him live in the home best suited with already devoted people is horrible. Readers, please email Animal Planet immediately and beg them to expand this show to seven nights a week. That’s 365 more lives saved a year.

Confusion? The last dog we rescued stayed in four different foster homes (and a garage) for months before there was room in a rescue cage. No rescue or shelter does the thorough HSUS vetting of adopters this show requires. The producer and panelists are a dedicated group of animal lovers, including Merrill Markoe, a champion of rescue dogs (of late, mom to four rescued pound dogs) the entire twenty seven years I have known her. She signed on as a way “to show there are great dogs waiting at the shelter”. As an antidote to the Westminster Dog Show, puppy mill pet stores and breeders, this show champions ADOPTING and RESCUING from the POUND. Please show your support.

Dear Elayne,

I am so frustrated. I rescued a dog from a Los Angeles organization. I need to get the dog enrolled in training classes, as well as updated on shots if necessary. The trouble is, I don’t know because I can’t get the adoption papers from this woman, who seems to be a flake. I can’t get the shot records, and I don’t want to just get shots again since you’re not supposed to over vaccinate dogs. Plus, Petco won’t let me enroll in classes without an updated shot record, and this dog needs to be trained or we’re not going to keep him. No wonder people go to pet stores, what’s wrong with these rescuers?

No Name, L.A.

Dear N.N.,

I understand your frustration and beg your patience. What’s wrong with rescuers is that they are overwhelmed, understaffed, under funded, and constantly swamped. Every day brings a new life and death emergency, and this isn’t even sweeps week on network tv. Without them, thousands more healthy young adoptable animals would be killed each year, so we need to cut them some slack. Maybe if you drove back over there, and offered to find your pets’ papers, and perhaps sorted out the piles of documents undoubtedly piled up, and maybe even offered to volunteer even an hour a week, it would contribute more than you could possibly imagine to the rescuers fighting in the trenches every day. Thank you for rescuing, and thanks for your patience and understanding.

Dear Elayne,

My lab mix is twelve, and is on Rymadyl twice a day, glucosamine, gets acupuncture once a week and a shot of Adequan every month, all for arthritis. He can’t walk up steps anymore but can at least walk. My doctor wants to operate on his hips and says it will extend his life. What do you think?

Andrea, San Diego

Dear Andrea,

Well, I’m not a fan of non-emergency surgery at such an advanced stage of life. Look what it did to Joan Rivers! He’s twelve, he’s walking, you are doing everything you can to keep him going. Personally, I would try to cut down on the Rymadyl as it can be deadly, but you are doing everything right, and twelve is already a nice long run. I would ask my doctor if the new BMW 530i has any bearing on his offer to operate on a twelve year old dog.

Dear Elayne,

My little pug Harny is having trouble going up stairs, and he is becoming incontinent. We don’t know exactly how old he is as we rescued him, but he is at least ten. My vet wants to do an MRI. This will cost about twelve hundred dollars, and then what will that tell us anyway? We want to give him every chance to be well, do you think an MRI would help him?

C.H., CA

Dear C.H.,

Yes, an MRI would definitely help him. Your vet, that is. The stock market is making gains and twelve hundred dollars would buy some good gold futures. I have gotten more pragmatic after many years of dog guardianship, especially since learning that the life expectancy of a boxer can be about fifty thousand dollars if you let it. An MRI would probably set you on a course of treatment for Harny’s advancing age; physical therapy, perhaps a short stint on Prednisone for the bowel, some hind quarter massage when you’re sitting at home, and gentle but consistent walks. You can do that now, and use the twelve hundred dollars for some acupuncture if it seems to help, some glucosamine/condroitin to add to his food, and some toys and treats to make him happy.

Dear Elayne,

I notice that you and the “animal rights” people put all this time and effort into animals, and don’t give a (damn) about children.

Anonymous

Dear A,

That’s right.

Dear Elayne,

Palm Beach Post
Friday, November 05, 2004

TALLAHASSEE . Because Broward County discovered thousands of absentee ballots that had been temporarily miscounted because of a software glitch, the constitutional amendment that could allow slot machines at race tracks and jai-alai frontons in Miami-Dade and Broward counties passed by a large enough margin Thursday that a machine
recount will not be conducted.

But opponents of the measure “including the Humane Society and GREY2K USA, a greyhound protection organization” said they had concerns about the voting equipment and procedures in Broward County . They might contest the Amendment 4 election results in court.

On Election Night, the amendment appeared to be losing by less than 0.5 percent. By late Wednesday, the count of absentee votes put supporters ahead by about 0.2 percent, with 99 percent of the votes counted.

Then early Thursday, a block of 78,000 Broward votes were posted to the Division of Elections Web site “74,000 in support of the measure and 4,000 against” moving the margin out of the range requiring an automatic recount.

State law requires a recount when the difference between the two sides is less than 0.5 percent.

With all precincts, including absentees, counted Thursday, Amendment 4 passed with 3,605,870 votes, or 50.6 percent, compared with 3,523,698 votes, or 49.4 percent, against the measure.

The head of No Casinos Inc., a group opposed to the amendment, questioned the “statistical anomaly” of that many yes votes appearing in one bunch.

“Maybe it is a string of coincidences,” said state Rep. Randy Johnson, R-Celebration. “If it is, it’s amazing. These coincidences do collude to keep us from a recount.”

Johnson asked the Broward County Canvassing Board to order a recount of the election, but the request was denied. After the denial, he said he was considering contesting the election.

“We’re reviewing the facts, and obviously the canvassing board didn’t help us,” Johnson said.

Passage of Amendment 4 means county commissions in Broward and Miami-Dade counties can ask their voters in a referendum if they want to allow slot machines at horse tracks, dog tracks and jai-alai frontons.

Broward County Mayor Ilene Lieberman intends to pursue getting the proposal before voters in her county on the March ballot.

Book, who helped raise more than $16 million for the group behind the amendment, said opponents are “desperate, and they’re grasping for straws because they have nothing else.”

Elayne, because we have done such a good job of exposing the cruelties of the murderous greyhound racing industry, the tracks were finally becoming obsolete. Putting in slot machines will of course revive them, and tens of thousands of greyhounds will continue to suffer and be killed each year due to the now artificially propped up industry. I will keep you up to date on our legal challenge to the questionable election results. Thanks for your support.

Alicia
Grey2K USA
http://www.grey2kusa.org

Dear Grey2K USA ,

Your work on behalf of greyhounds is amazing, and I share your horror at the possible passing of this bill. If they had put slot machines at Auschwitz , that might still be open too. Readers, I implore you to take a look at these websites:

http://www.grey2kusa.org
http://www.greyhounds.org
http://www.regap.org
http://www.greyhoundaction.co.uk/

for the FACTS about greyhound racing. I love going to Florida , but if they pass this abhorrent measure, I will not put another penny into the state’s coffers. And I would urge everyone to not only boycott the state, but join an email campaign to let them know they will be losing more money than this measure will bring them. I will spearhead that if it becomes necessary due to the final election results, and I hope everyone will sign on.

The only way Arizona was convinced to enact a Martin Luther King, Jr., day, when they were the last state not to have honored him, was for conventions to start canceling their trips to Arizona . They had to, to keep a good public face on their companies. We need to start the same kind of nationwide appeal if it becomes necessary. We have learned the hard way, only money talks.

Dear Elayne,

About your column in the Sept./Oct. Pet Press, Arm & Hammer is on PETA’s list of companies that do test on animals. You can see the list at:
http://www.caringconsumer.com/page/CompaniesDo.pdf
While it’s nice that they gave a nod to shelters in their commercial, I’m sure they did this for marketing reasons. Please don’t buy from this company and please tell your readers not to until they stop testing on innocent animals.

Best, regards,
Kristine

Dear Readers,

This is the letter to which Kristine is referring:

Dear Elayne,

I wanted you to give a shout out to Arm & Hammer. I saw their commercial on tv where a woman says something like, “First we went to the shelter and got our cat…” I was blown away. It seems like the idea of rescuing is finally making it into the mainstream. People now say “We rescued Fido” instead of “Fido has papers!!”

Three Dog Mom

Dear TDM,

Fido is a funny name for a cat, but aside from that, a big thank you to Arm & Hammer. I will now buy their baking soda, even though I can’t bake, and keep it in my fridge, my shoes, my purse, and I will brush my teeth with it. They join Kodak, Range Rover and VISA in making commercials that send a positive animal rescue message. It took months to get the Nike pitbull fighting commercial pulled, and even the HSUS couldn’t sway them any sooner. What this means is, it’s very important that we let these companies know we support what they are doing by writing a quick note of thanks, as well as telling them we are buying their products. It’s equally important to not only boycott spots/shows harmful to animals, but to let the companies know it. I’ve never been impressed by papers for dogs, although I do love it when my Labrador reads me articles of interest. And I have to admit both my dogs love reading Get Fuzzy and Mutts.

So, to answer Kristine, she is right to support a continued boycott of companies that test on animals, including Arm & Hammer. But boycotting is not enough, we need to let them know about it. We need to thank them for the positive commercial, and then tell them we’re still not buying until they stop the testing. Thanks for pointing out my mistake Kristine, it is much appreciated.

Dear Elayne,

We have a 10 year old male Springer Spaniel named Oskar. When we take Oskar out for his evening walk, he picks up garbage (literally) and eats it. Or he picks up stray bones from someone’s dinner the night before. What can we do? Use a muzzle to stop him from doing this?

Thanks,
Cindy

Dear Cindy,

I thought I saw a sign on the 101 saying “This Highway Adopted by Oskar”. I’d say your neighbors need more training than your dog (dinner bones from the night before?). If he’s ten this apparently is a new behavior. Here’s something better than a muzzle, it’s called a leash, and you get to control it. Put Oscar on one end of the leash, you hold the other. When he heads for that day old bread, give him a firm tug and say “No!” Then reel him in and quickly march him past the garbage. In a loud voice say “BAD neighbors! SLOPPY neighbors!” Repeat as often as necessary. Dogs are smart. Soon Oskar will start seeing the street garbage as something to be avoided. It may take your neighbors a little longer.

Dear Readers,

I wanted to post this tribute to one of the most wonderful doctors, and humans, I have ever known.

Elayne

May 24, 2004
Animal Eye Specialists

Dear Client,

I, Dr. Paul Jackson, have been absent from Animal Eye Specialists for the past six months due to a diagnosis of life-threatening, metastatic cancer. With profound sadness it has become apparent I will be unable to return there in the foreseeable future. This conclusion was necessitated by progressive illness. To each of you I express my sincere appreciation for your kindness, friendship and loyalty. These have enriched my life. I am eternally grateful.

Dr. Paul Jackson, DVM, DACVO

Dear Dr. Jackson,

It is we who are eternally grateful. Thank you for your gentle, caring manner in the most vulnerable of times. Thank you for your caution in curing the worst of ailments with a patient course of applied eye drops and salves, avoiding major and dangerous surgeries others said were necessary. Thank you for waiting for us last new years eve afternoon. I had gotten lost on the way to your office, it was late, everyone in the city was home preparing for their evenings out. I called, frantic. Your staff was out the door, but they came back and you stayed on the phone and guided me to your office so my dog could get help, avoid further damage. New years! I don’t believe you charged me for that visit either. Thank you for always making it affordable for rescues, and people without much money, to get the very, very best of care. I was always jealous that my dogs had a better doctor than I would ever find for myself. Your unbelievable gentleness in handling the most skittish of animals and worried parents is what stays with me; the softest speech, the gentlest touch, the kindest humor. Dr. Jackson, I hope you are now on the receiving end of the care you have spent your life giving others. You are the most wonderful human being, and all of us, people and four leggers alike, wish you the gentleness, love, kindness and consideration you have so graciously bestowed for your whole, meaningful, wonderful life. With love, thank you.

Winter 2004

Dear Elayne,

Any new years resolutions for pets?
Guy L., Duarte

Dear Guy,

What a bubbly question! For pets or by pets? By pets would be my dogs resolving to learn how to use the can opener, open the fridge, and of course like everyone, quit smoking. There are many resolutions we all could make for pets:

License them. Licensing fees support the shelters, animal control, make it possible for your pet to be returned to you, and of course the licensing fee has been rolled back by the new governor of California. Okay, that’s the car registration fee. But now you’ll have money to license your dog!

Spay and neuter. Spaying and neutering keeps you out of trouble if you’ve had too much to drink and wake up in a strange bedroom… oops. Spay and neuter your pets. It prevents certain cancers, keeps them closer to home, prevents pet overpopulation, and keeps them out of trouble if they have too much to drink..oops.

Have your pet join a gym. Heck, he’ll probably go as often as you do.

Rescue. Love. Volunteer. Donate. Educate. Play. Teach. All self-explanatory. And make sure to register your pet to vote. It’s the only way they’re going to get a voice in government. Happy new year!

Dear Elayne,

I have a beautiful black Lab, like you do, and he is getting gray around his chin and lips. Is there a safe hair dye for dogs? Would it be okay to color it back to black?

Carolyn F., Deerfield Beach, Fl

Dear Carolyn,

I cannot believe that question did not come from California. While liposuction, botox, collagen, eye lifts, tummy tucks, face lifts and dermabrasion have all been approved for dogs, alas, there is still no really good hair coloring that looks completely natural. WHAT ARE YOU, NUTS? Ya think he’s making you look older? Just do what I do, tell people you had him when you were really young.

Dear Elayne,

I bought one of those automatic water bowls for my dogs. The large plastic drum of water (like a water cooler) sits inverted on top and refills the water bowl when necessary. It was fifty dollars, but I thought well worth it, and I was glad my dogs wouldn’t be out of water all the time. Well, the first time my dog Bootsy went to get a drink, air displaced the water in the bottle and the bottle made a large bubble and a loud burping noise (like a glug), and she ran all the way across the yard. Now she won’t go near it, she’s so afraid. How can I get her to drink from it?

Joyce S., Encino

First of all, if she’s scared by glug burps, keep her away from college campuses, sporting events, and supermodels. She should give the water cooler a second chance, where else will she and your other dogs talk about tv shows they saw the night before? Empty all the water out of the bottle and put it back empty so there’s no chance of a burp. Start feeding Bootsy from the water bowl. Put in her favorite foods if she is reluctant at first. Feed her all her meals out of that bowl for a few days, until she forgets she was afraid. When she is eating out of the bowl with no fear, refill the water bottle and try again. It will burp but she may be used to the bowl by then. The only way to prevent the water glugging is to either find a way to put a valve in the bottle, that you leave open when it is filled and in use, or make a small hole in the bottle for air displacement. However, that will mean you have to plug the hole every time you lift the bottle to refill it. Or maybe she’ll just get used to the burps, as women have for centuries.

Dear Elayne,

What is your opinion of dog shows, like the ones on TV?

Arlene S., Michigan

Dear Arlene,

I think you’re being too hard on the networks. There are a few good shows on TV.

Dear Elayne,

It is definitely the tundra out here in Pennsylvania this winter. Haven’t seen this much snow since we were kids. Well, a man was arrested for letting his chained Beagle freeze to death outside. A neighbor of his reported him to the town animal control officer who found the dog frozen to the ground. He could get a year in jail. He probably won’t. Why are these animal cruelty laws so light?

Vince S., Pennsylvania

Dear Vince,

I am so sorry for the poor beagle. I wish the neighbor had run out and taken her/him inside before going to the phone. At least she got involved. People need to be more alert, more involved in how others treat animals, and more vocal in their communities in favor of strict penalties enforced against animal abusers. At least you live in a city that has a one year possible sentence on the books; many states have weaker animal abuse laws, and those that have them rarely enforce the penalties. The HSUS has definitive proof that abusing animals is the first sign of a sociopath who may well grow up to abuse, torture and kill humans. So, for the safety of all living beings in your community, demand your representatives take animal abuse seriously. It is not something kids “grow out of”, but rather, into, if there is no intervention. Forgive me for hoping that former Beagle owner gets locked out of his house during the next big snow storm.

Dear Elayne,

I have two rescued cats from the pound, and I believe in rescue, but I was in a pet store to buy cat food and I saw a little dog and I bought her. I feel awful about doing that. I know how many orphaned animals are waiting for homes. I already love her but I feel terrible.

Elizabeth B., Las Vegas

Dear Elizabeth,

Good!

Dear Elayne,

I was just watching the big dog show on tv. Loved it. I’ve heard you say you don’t like dog shows. What’s wrong with them? The dogs looked happy, they seem like natural performers.

Arlen S., San Clemente

Dear Arlen,

While dogs love tasks and performing work they were born for, the “big dog shows” have reduced competitions to only the bathing suit portion of the Miss America pageant. Because the standards of breed “beauty” are man made, by out of shape people in purple polyester dresses yet, dogs are constantly inbred to achieve a “certain look”, ie; Boxers with smaller jowls, German Shepherds with lower hips. That is why Shepherds have hip dysplasia, Boxers get cancer, etc. etc. Inbreeding, and arbitrary standards of appearance set by the AKC, have destroyed the hardiness of breeds, shortened their lifespans, and led to a weak and sick dog population. Nobody should play God, especially someone who didn’t win the popular vote (sorry, I digress). Give me a hardy mutt with one floppy ear and a bent tail, and I’ll have a dog that lives fourteen years, can read, and never has so much as a cold.

Dear Elayne,

We have a gorgeous Airedale who is about a year and a half. We’re going to start showing her and breeding her, like we did with our previous Airedale. The problem is that she digs up all the sprinklers, all the time! She is not happy unless she comes in the house with a length of pipe in her mouth. We can’t replace them fast enough. What is going on?
p.s. I am a pharmacist. Is there something I could give her?

Jon, Studio City

Dear Jon,

It’s totally simple. She just needs to be spayed. Happy gardening!

Dear Elayne,

I have two Shelties, and just rescued a Chihuahua, who is a mess. Julio is terrified of everything, pees at the slightest noise or movement. It’s very trying as my other dogs are so assimilated. It’s tough on my home and on me. I feel like I made a mistake. Would it be terrible not to keep him?

Julia M., Sherman Oaks

Dear Julia,

It’s wonderful that you rescued Julio. You didn’t say how long you have had him, but I have to tell you, if you can hang in there I can guarantee you will see results. Most rescued animals take some work, some more than others. Think of battle veterans who still have flashbacks twenty years later. Sometimes you rescue an animal who has had just a terrible life, and it takes time for him to calm down, trust, and relax. Though my rescued Boxer Shnuffy arrived socialized, it wasn’t until a year had passed that his personality really started to come through. I had just assumed he was a bit removed, but after he began to trust and relax, his incredible bubbly nature and personality burst through. He is an entirely different dog than he was a year ago; confident, playful, loving. You will be well rewarded if you can just hang in there. It may cost you an area rug, but it will be worth it. How much can a Chihuahua pee anyway? Just think of it as dating a man who recently went through a really bad divorce. He’ll come around.

Dear Elayne,

What did you think of the Janet Jackson Superbowl “costume malfunction”?

Brad, Ga

Dear Brad,

Sorry, did I miss something?

Dear Elayne,

This week in Ohio, during a major snowstorm (I fell and tore my knee on the ice, when I went to the emergency room, one hundred people were there for falls), our newspaper printed an article on the “safe ways” to keep dogs outside during winter. This was along with a letter from a woman who had written to say she keeps her “rescued” dogs outside as “watch dogs”, in these arctic conditions. Here is my letter to the editor of that paper. Please print it for your other readers who are experiencing a cruel winter:

I just want to point out a few things. First and most importantly, I have
worked with several animal rescue groups and NOT ONE would allow a person to adopt if they were going to keep the pet outdoors. That is the policy of real rescue groups. Pets are meant to be pets. If you want an alarm system buy a siren.

My indoor dogs are very aware on what is going on outside. They just
enjoy relaxing on sofas instead of straw. Before anyone keeps a dog outside in winter, I would suggest that person, in just a simple coat, spend twenty four hours in a dog house lying immobile on straw to see if they stay comfortably warm. Also, no books or tv’s allowed. You must live as the dog lives. Sounds pretty boring, huh? Dogs are domesticated and meant to be treated as pets. Or why bother having a dog at all? Rescued dogs have already suffered enough and deserve all the pampering a person can possibly provide. Ohio doesn’t do nearly what other states do to protect pets. I hope one day to be part of a movement that forces Ohio to get a little animal compassion.

Ruthie A., Ohio

Dear Ruthie,

Well said, see above letter about the poor beagle to see the results of leaving any dog outside for any length of time in this weather. I can tell you, if I was a dog left outside in this weather, I’d hold a flashlight for the guy breaking in to rob the person who put me out there. My dogs protect me inside my house, because they are so happy there, they don’t want anyone coming in to do harm to the woman who feeds them, loves them, and lets them hold the remote. And they certainly don’t want anyone coming in during the night who might be there to steal their cookies or change their situation. If you heard my guys barking from inside the house, you would just keep walking. Here’s my advice to anyone who wants to rob a house with dogs outside: Bring some wonderful fresh cooked steak, feed and pet those tied up freezing dogs, rob the idiot inside, come out and take the dogs home with you. Love them and feed them and let them live inside with you, and they will protect you very well.