I’ve been working for a delivery company since the end of November, and it affords me—for better or worse—a birds-eye view of the way my community in Virginia treats their companion animals, i.e. dogs and cats.
I’m blessed to have observed that about 95% of the dogs in my area live inside as part of the family, but I’ve been quite surprised by how many cats are left outside to fend for themselves.
I’m a bit appalled. Granted, I assume a percentage of these beautiful kitties are actually feral, and so making them a warm outside home is appropriate—but I’d wager the ones I’ve witnessed today and every day huddled against the front door are anything but feral.
Bring them in! They’re telling you what they want! Their communication couldn’t be any clearer.
I spent today—the coldest to date in winter 2016-17 (12 degrees this a.m., warming up to a balmy 21)—in and out of a truck, making deliveries all throughout the area, and I was lucky enough and able to warm up and thaw out between deliveries.
Even so, for two hours after my work ended I was chilled and huddled in my jacket trying to raise my body temperature.
I thought of every animal I’d observed left outside today, and noted the differences between them and myself.
1.) I got to get inside a warm truck between deliveries. These dogs and cats have no place to truly be warm. They must huddle inside whatever housing is provided or—if they are not chained or penned—find some kind of sheltered location to squeeze themselves into.
Their only hope is for survival. There is certainly no comfort, no warmth, no luxury.
They live in a hell that has frozen over.
2.) I was moving from one location to the next, getting my blood circulating and engendering some extra body heat. If dogs are living chained or penned, they have no availability to move beyond a small radius, and their motivation to pace within that radius is nil.
3.) I got to come home at the end of my workday and sleep in my warm bed tonight.
They don’t. Because those who are tasked with caring for them are not doing their jobs.
I stopped by the grocery store on my way home, and the temperature had dropped back down to 12 degrees already. I almost ran into the store, it was that miserable being out in the frigid cold for a mere 2 minutes.
Do you chain your dog or leave your non-feral cats outside?
If so, have you stopped for even ONE MINUTE to think about how they feel?
Take my challenge: drag your butt outside and stand out there for just ONE FULL MINUTE without a coat. Or even with a coat. Give me 60 SECONDS. At the end of that brief moment in time, you’ll have a good idea how it feels to be a dog or cat living outdoors tonight.
Don’t do this to them.
They certainly deserve better than the life you’ve given them.
Bring them in.