Today was a scorcher; the temp reached 92 Degrees here in Northern Virginia, with a ‘feels like’ temp of 100 Degrees. I couldn’t wait to get out there and sit on my chain for an hour! This was gonna be fun. Not.
I promised last week to do the #ChainfreeDogs challenge, started by Christy Noullet of Chainfree Dogs Columbus, Georgia, in which dog lovers chain ourselves out and take our pics with the hashtag #chainfreedogs and our city and state.
I decided if I’m going to do it, I’m gonna at least stay out there for an hour in the boiling sun, in honor of all those dogs who are suffering and dying all over the country during the summer heat waves.
Since we will never know the years-long suffering that is experienced by these precious beings, we can only take a moment or an hour or a day of our time and sacrifice on their behalf. The purpose of this and other Chain Off campaigns is to put ourselves into the paws of the dogs, to suffer as they suffer, in order to voice their pain to the world.
Today I ensured that I sat in my gravel driveway and not in the shade or the grass, of which I have plenty. In fact, the shade kept coming my way, but I was honorable about it and continued to move up the driveway to stay in the sun instead of the shade.
I went out at noon, and by 12:45, the rocks were so hot that I was no longer able to sit on them. I had to stand and pace with my chain in place for the last 15 minutes of the hour.
Many dogs are not able to find shelter from the hot sun. It’s been proven over and over again that doghouses are HOTTER than the surrounding air temperature, so they offer no solace to a chained dog. Dogs cannot sweat, therefore they can only pant away the heat. Without water and shade, a dog is as good as dead on a 90 degree day in the sun.
I ask you, what kind of cruel bastards would do this to ANY living being, let along the most companionable of all animals?
I just don’t get it.
I used rusty logging chains that I’ve pulled off dogs, and within minutes my clothing was covered in rust and grime. By the end of the hour, I couldn’t wait to get into a cool shower and wash my clothing. After only one hour!
I wore my favorite old Chain Off shirt from the contest we held in 2006, because I loved the guy and girl whining at the end of the chain. It’s now covered in rust, and I hope I can get the rust out, but I’ll keep wearing it anyway around the house because it makes me smile.
I was quickly drenched in sweat, with the sun beating down on my little spot in the driveway.
This pic is not a commentary on my marriage…as it appears to be because my wedding band inadvertently became the focus of the photo. I’m actually quite happily married, I swear, and was just trying to capture the chain with the collar in the background. But if anyone else wants to use it for their blog on the “chains of being married to an abuser,” have at it; it’s still a cool shot!
I LOVE this image! It says so much about the chains that bind both us as rescuers and activists, and the animals we are trying to free from bondage with our words and deeds. It calls to mind the pain endured by both those we seek to release and those who must fight for their rights.
There are actually quite a few folks like me out there sporting the Rescue Angel tattoo in the photo, which I designed years ago. If you, too, would like to license the art for your tattoo, it’s available at this link.
Finally, I was FREE! After what felt like a very long hour, I was covered in sweat, but happy to be done.
However, I felt so sad, too, because it’s so fast and easy for me compared to the dogs. I’ve spent a total of 878 hours chained to doghouses on the dogs’ behalf since 2004. But that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of time a single dog spends chained.
If a dog lives 11 years on a tether (God forbid) before perishing, he or she will spend 96,360 HOURS ON A CHAIN.
4,015 days. 96,360 hours. 5,781,600 minutes. 346,896,000 seconds.
Chained in the sun.
Chained in the rain.
Chained in the snow.
Chained in the spring, summer, fall, winter.
These dogs live their entire lives, chained.
No. Not acceptable.
Please. Help us raise awareness, chain-ge laws, and PUT AN END TO THIS MADNESS.
P.S. Check out my newly-released second edition of Capitol in Chains: 54 Days of the Doghouse Blues, about my chaining in front of the Pennsylvania State Capitol for better laws for man’s best friend. It’s both informative AND entertaining. And, the second edition now includes law updates, PLUS the Doghouse Wedding, and an 11-year History of Chain Off.