Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

*dumps out a soapbox and stands on it*

When I dropped Max off for a sleepover yesterday, there was a dog laying in the road. Not in the center, but in the middle of the opposite side. From a distance I thought he was a blanket, and as I passed slowly to make sure he was okay, he turned his head and lazily watched me pass.

I asked Max’s friend’s mom if she recognized the dog but she didn’t. After Max disappeared with his friend (gee, bye!) I parked about a driveway length away from the dog and went to the first house he was next to. No answer. While doing this, the other mom and her daughter were walking over to check things out. As she approached the dog he started barking and cowering towards the next house… so we suspected he was territorial for the next house.

She went to the door and the neighbor answered, he laughed it off because the dog goes out the cat door sometimes. She let him know he was laying IN the road and was completely unfazed by passing cars…

Okay, here’s my preachy part. If you KNOW your dog gets out regularly, please take steps to prevent it from happening. I went through this with a neighbor that said their dog gets out from the gardeners. When my gardeners couldn’t reliably show up when I expected them (so I have the dogs put away) I let them go. When they said they might be coming the night of the Star Wars premiere I left the kids in line to go back home and secure my dogs, even though by that hour and daylight I knew it wasn’t likely they were actually going to show up, it’s just not worth taking the risk to lose our dogs.

And if anything, at least collar them. I don’t have the setup to hold stray dogs… However, if there’s no collar I have a hard time stopping anymore. Our stray problem seems to be less than it’s peak about 2 years ago, but still: Collar them. It really really increases your dog’s chance of survival! The longer it’s out there, the further from home, and the more likely it will be hit by a car (or claimed my someone that sells it online… seen that happen a few times in local Facebook groups).

I know some people don’t like collars. I had HEART-WRENCHING surveillance video of Kiwi’s tag caught in the planks of the dog house as he cried and fought to break-free. Now the dude wears a break-away cat collar and ONCE I’ve brought them in to find it off. Odds are slim that the time it has to break off would be the time he happens to get out, so I’m okay with those odds.

Anyway, people feel entitled to have pets when they shouldn’t (as they are about having kids, a new car, an expensive purse, etc). But these are highly intelligent, extremely emotionally sensitive animals that deserve to be cared for as the faithful companions they are. The responsibility of pet ownership should not be taken lightly. I know it will continue to be taken lightly, but I would like to think that as we learn and understand more about animals and how much they think and feel, the portion of the population that neglect their responsibilities will slowly become a very small minority.

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