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I live in a suburban town in the south. I have 2 toy poodles (Mikey and Ikey) that I love and cherish. They are such sweethearts and bring so much happiness to my days. I am writing this letter because I am quite upset about my next door neighbor. While in the south it rarely gets too cold for a dog to stay outside, it seems downright cruel to leave a dog outside all the time. Everytime I look out my window and see that poor dog sitting in the back yard, it just looks so sad. It makes me upset and I wonder what I can do. I don’t think it’s illegal but I also can’t bear to look at that dog every day. Please help me figure out what to do.
-Left Out in the Cold
Dear Left Out in the Cold,
You are a terrific dog owner. I’m sure Mikey and Ikey are so glad to have you in their life (you certainly gave them great names). The tough part here for you is that other people don’t treat their dogs like you do. You see Mikey & Ikey as an honored part of the family. They live inside with you and eat some of the finest kibbles and bits.
While there could be many extenuating circumstances that may prevent your neighbor from keeping their dog inside, it is also possible that they may see their pet quite differently. As just a pet, nothing more nothing less. If this is how they see their dog, it would also seem perfectly reasonable for them to live outside as long as they are given proper food and shelter.
From a legal perspective they probably aren’t doing anything wrong. However, if you believe that they are abusing their dog and can demonstrate that fact, you can make a call to the local police (SPCA or humane society) to investigate.
While they could reject the idea and be upset with you for explaining your feelings to them, it may also be the solution both of you were looking for.
Depending on how important this is for you, you may also be interested in reaching out to see if you could adopt your next door neighbor’s dog. You could reach out to your neighbor to explain that while you understand that they have the right to maintain their dog however they desire, that it pains you to see a dog left outside. If they had any interest, you would be willing to adopt their dog.
While they could reject the idea and be upset with you for explaining your feelings to them, it may also be the solution both of you were looking for. If they accept, be prepared that while you are bringing on a new member to the family the early going could be a challenge. Know that it may take some time, but your new doggie will adapt to the family. If that doesn’t quite sound like your idea of fun, just give Mikey and Ikey a little extra love.
Dear Left Out in the Cold,
Sad puppy dog eyes are the pits. You, like me, love your pooches to the moon and back and will do everything in your power to make them feel loved. Unfortunately, not everyone dotes on their pets the way we do. I mean, I’m a complete tearfest as soon as those commercials about abused animals come on. Why do they zoom in on the pouty eyes? I want to rescue them all!
Have you witnessed any kind of abuse from your neighbor to this pet? Does the dog have adequate shelter, food and water source? If you feel like the pet’s health is in danger you should contact the local police or an animal agency such as humanesociety.org to step in. It may not be too cold now, but if weather gets to freezing temps, the dog can suffer from frostbite, hypothermia or even death. And I can’t imagine the high summer temps being comfortable for the little furry pooch either.
Depending on your relationship with your neighbor this conversation may feel strange, but I think it’s worth it
If you don’t think fido is being abused, then it’s time to get creative on how to make this dog feel more comfortable. Depending on your relationship with your neighbor this conversation may feel strange, but I think it’s worth it.
Offer to take the dog on a walk once a day. Or, invite the dog over (possible inside if you are so welcoming) to play with your pets. It seems like the dog needs love more than anything else.