DOGS. Because People Suck

I thought last winter was tough, but the blast after blast of arctic air this winter gave a new meaning to “cold”. One day in February, it was -16F here, and other places in the state were even colder, -26F, -39F.

Winter night time.

Winter night time.

We live in a log cabin in the National Forest, and we heat with a wood stove. Mornings can be pretty nippy, when the embers have burned down to nothing. If we can keep the cabin in the 60’s, we are doing well. Sometimes I feel the cold deep down inside me, like my ribs have ice cubes packed around them, and I just can’t get warm.

My normal day usually includes three, 1 mile walks with Waldo, our boxer/golden mix. When it gets down below zero though, we don’t walk. We barely let him peek his nose outdoors. For a dog that loves to be outside playing in the snow, this is very hard for him.

That -16 day here, I slathered the pads of his feet with Bag Balm, and I let him run up into the meadow to do his morning business. After only a couple of minutes, he was in distress. He had to do more than just pee, but it was too cold. He picked up one foot, then the other, and I could see how his legs were frosted with the crystalline snow. I called him, and he limped to me. When I brought him in and dried him off, there was blood on the towel after I’d wiped one of his feet. Only three minutes outdoors and his foot was bleeding…and that was after I had covered his pads with a protective coating!

Waldo was very upset. Not about his bleeding foot, but because it had been so uncomfor- table outside. Because it had been too cold for him to do the pacing and circling he needs to do before he poops. He buried his head in my lap asking for sympathy. After I had coddled him, I put a clean pee pad on the floor and instructed our little dogs to use it. Their tiny paws would have frozen before they were even off the front porch, so I would not subject them to even a minute outside.

Other dogs are not so lucky.

Chained in the snow in Warren Twp., Ohio.

Chained in the snow in Warren Twp., Ohio.

The month of February, I worked for the group Dogs Deserve Better. I fielded complaints about chained dogs around the country. I reported the cases to officials in the communities where those dogs were being forced to endure arctic temperatures outdoors, on chains,  without proper shelter.

I loved the job. Taking action made me feel like I was doing something to help those dogs.  Case after case, officials told me they checked on the dogs and that they were “fine”. I wondered how that could be possible; how a dog could survive an entire night outdoors in the cold, when my dog was clearly distressed, suffering, and hurt after just a few minutes.

It’s not possible. Those officials must have a really messed up idea of what “fine” is. And the owners of those dogs…well, there just aren’t enough profane words in the world to express how I feel about them.

Dogs Deserve Better CEO, Tamira Thayne, blogged about more than a decade of struggle with this same issue: I Care, and It Hurts. That Dogs are Dying Outside RIGHT NOW.DDB is a great group, and deserves your support. Like any 501c3, they are always in need of donations. You can even commit to a small monthly donation to sponsor one of the dogs at the center.

Stephen Wells from the Animal Legal Defense Fund says that

“The fundamental problem for animals is that the law considers them things.”

But it’s not just the laws…because the people breaking them have that same mindset. Take my sister-in-law’s husband, Glen, (please!) who thinks he knows how you should treat dogs



because he watches Cesar Millan. Since my sister-in-law’s death three years ago, it’s fallen to Glen to take care of her dog, Chloe. Chloe is a rat terrier, who was very attached to her human mama. Chloe spent 9 out of every ten hours on her mama’s lap…but since she’s been gone, Chloe hardly gets any attention at all, and she spends way too many hours outdoors, alone. To Glen, a dog is “just an animal”.  The only reason Chloe stays vetted, is because I take her in and pay for her shots myself.

When Glen texted me to see how we were holding out in the brutal weather, I responded, then added that I hoped Chloe wasn’t spending any time outdoors. He texted back that she’d been out for an hour, and had another hour to go. This prompted a flurry of feverish texts, wherein I stated some facts, expressed my opinion, and asked if I should come and get her.  After the texts, I decided that I would be calling the local humane society to go out and check on her, just the way I had spent the past week calling officials in other states for other dogs – dogs I didn’t know. And along with that decision came the realization that deep down at the core of things, I didn’t care if calling the authorities would destroy my relationship with Glen. I’m not about to give a pass to somebody just because I know them.

My partner, D,  convinced me to call and talk to Glen before I called the police or HS, so I did; and he was angry – angry that I hadn’t known that he was just messing with me.

I need an entire wardrobe of these tshirts.

I need an entire wardrobe of these tshirts.

As if it isn’t obvious to everyone, even people I barely know, how seriously I take this stuff.

I’m not sure that even I was aware of how passionate I am about dogs, until I realized that I cared more about Chloe’s life and safety than I cared about maintaining a human relationship.




About yelodoggie

Ariel C. Wulff is an author, artist and animal advocate. They have been involved in pet rescue for over twenty-five years. They have written two books about their true-life adventures living with an ever-changing house full of pets: Born Without a Tail, and Circling the Waggins, and a guide to animal advocacy using the Internet as a tool: How to Change the World in 30 Seconds". Wulff also wrote a pet column and book review column for the Examiner, and was a contributing editor for They attribute their love of animals to having been raised by Wulffs.
This entry was posted in Animal Advocacy, Random Woofs, The Woof on Rescue Groups and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to DOGS. Because People Suck

  1. Kathy Harmon says:

    I’m right there with you!!!!


  2. Debbie says:

    The authorities you notify that say the dog is fine is because they don’t want to get off their fat asses and go out in the cold to check! Or they are just heartless and don’t feel a dog is worth it. Either way “they suck”!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • yelodoggie says:

      I do think that a lot of them care, and would prefer to do something…especially the Humane Societies. However, they are often not able to take action because no laws are being broken. The deeper problem is in the laws…that’s what needs to be changed.We need to give them the tools to do a better job.


  3. Bobbie says:

    I think you’re brother in law wouldn’t even miss the little dog if you asked if you could take it.It might allow YOU a bit more peace..if only because you wouldn’t HAVE to have contact with “him” any more and I’m darned sure the little dog would prefer to be with people who care now that it’s “mom” has passed away.


  4. Peggy Strong says:

    I feel the same way you do,I wish on all those you had to make a complaint on you could have just taken them and put them in a warm shelter and fed them,and kept them in out of the cold,And for you brother-N-law I would have felt the same way and done the samw thing.


  5. Tricia says:

    Humans have such contempt for beings that Are believed by them, to not be of equal status.


  6. Great article, Ariel, and very timely. Ideally, people should be banned from pet ownership if they don’t pass muster.


  7. I have stressed greatly this winter about a dog a block or so away that I don’t ever think is off its chain, and of course was not taken in during the extremely cold weather we had well into the negative digits. As someone stated above, it is the laws that need changing, and somehow we just have to know how to do it!!


  8. Debbie godio says:

    I am a dog lover too and I would have gone to get Chloe as well ! God bless you!


  9. Kat says:

    Not all dogs want to be inside during inclement weather. Some dogs are perfectly happy to be outside. I don’t know how many “well meaning” people called the humane society on me before my dog passed on – because I left my dog outside on a chain for hours in winter. He had a lovely dog house & was welcome to come inside too, but he preferred to lie in the snow and watch the world go by. When I felt it was too cold for him, I would call for him to come so I could bring him in and he would look at me like I was crazy, refusing to move when I tried to coax him in. Luckily the people at the humane society actually understand dogs and aren’t just “do-gooders.” They spoke to me a couple of times & realized my dog was a cherished family member, hardly neglected!! So they probably did check on the dogs – or did with the last complaint – and know that those dogs are just fine. Just because their care isn’t what you think it should be doesn’t mean it’s not what’s right for that dog. I’m not saying small dogs should be left to shiver outside but many medium & large dogs enjoy the winter.


  10. Mega says:

    I agree with you people are sucks. You just do what everyone should do to these dogs. If someone wants some pets whether cats or dogs they should been treated as a member of the family. I guess I’ll do just like you did. I don’t care whether the one who hurt any animals is one of my family, this is just not right. I have 2 dogs and a cat and for me they are my babies and no one should messed with them !


  11. Fortunately here in the uk it’s very rare for Dogs to be left outside (and its not as cold here as in the USA) I would take the same action that the lovely lady on here took. Expect it’s a lot tougher out there, here that care about any cruelty at all against animals. as we have got a number of organisations. As in the USA I prefer animals to humans any day!


  12. Carolyn Brown says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with you. I love all animals, especially dogs and cats more than people. They love you no matter what and I can’t imagine how people can mistreat them so.


  13. Pingback: Your One Stop Update on 2015’s Posts | Up on the Woof

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s