ABC Dog School
   In the summer of 2004, the neighbor's daughter found a small spitz-type female dog running at large in the country, and brought it home.  She named the dog, Star, and although she had a good job, lived at home, and had her own car, she did not provide Star with a dog house, nor did she get her spayed.
   That winter, Star's real miseries began.  Up until then, she had been tethered in various places around the yard, but with cold and snow, she was housed on the rear deck of the house trailer, which was clearly visible from my window.  Her bed was an old recliner, facing into the wind.

   The small roof may have kept her dry, but the wind howled through, bringing the snow right along with it.  At night I would hear her crying at the door, but no one came to help her.  It was difficult to sleep knowing how cold she must be.  My stress level rose as the temperatures fell.

   Star had a number of close calls with hanging herself, as she would stand on the chair with her front feet on the deck railing, barking at something.  I was a nervous wreck wondering if she was going to jump or lose her balance in her excitement.

   When I heard we would be in single digits one Sunday night, I broke down and called them; told the husband that they were breaking the law by not providing shelter, and I offered them one of my own dog houses.  It didn't take Star long to trash it, being young, tethered, and having nothing else to chew on.

   With the demise of the box, Star was tethered where she could crawl under the trailer through an opening in the skirting, on the windward side.  It should be noted that we live on the side of a hill, so rain can run into that type of shelter.

   Star survived the winter, but her troubles were far from over.
When the neighbors moved in, they brought two dogs with them.  Annie was a sweet mixed breed, black with white trim, a strip up her face, and weighing about 60 pounds.  I met her before I met her owners, as she had slipped her collar and I found her in my garage.  She was friendly and allowed me to leash her and take her home.

   Annie was being kept in a small pen behind the house trailer, that the previous owner had built for his Yorkshire terrier.  Because she could easily jump out, she was on a cable, but was adept at slipping her collar.  Her owner's remedy was to tighten the collar, which didn't work, so Annie was a frequent visitor.

   This was the beginning of a pattern, tethering dogs in pens they can jump or climb out of. The area between the pen and the trailer was fenced, and she could have been  tied there, well away from the fence and the risk of hanging herself.

   An extremely tight collar was only one of Annie's discomforts.  I believe the dog house in the pen was also a holdover from the Yorkie.  It must have been a tight fit.  Although I liked Annie, she soon began to create some real problems for me.

   Once in a great while, Annie and Chubby got to go for a walk.  One day in August 2002, as I was teaching an obedience student in my yard, I saw the Mrs. and her daughter go by with the dogs.  Annie was off leash, and when she spotted us at the upper end of the yard, she came running.  Except it wasn't a friendly visit.

   While my student and her dog watched, Annie attacked my demo dog, Dahlia.  I tried to keep them apart, but Annie kept coming back at Dahlia, who was more than ready to take her on.  Finally the owner came and got the dog.  After that, I had to warn students that we might have to make a fast trip to the back dog yard, and one day we did.

   I had told the owner that she had to keep Annie home when I was having a class, but she was unable to do so.  This was, also, a problem when I wanted to walk one of my dogs down the road, as I had been doing since 1985.  I pretty much gave up walking my dogs after that.
   One day I decided to start training my aggressive little Miniature Pinscher, but we only got about halfway through our first session when I saw Annie enter the roadway and come toward us.  I made a run for it and we got into the front dog yard in time.  That was the end of J.D.'s training.

   I liked Annie a lot, and from May, 2006 until November, 2007, she lived at my house.  That story later.  I made sure she had a snack every morning, as her owner fed sporadically, and on especially cold nights, I brought her into the basement.  Then her owner took her home and kept her in the trailer until she died the following spring, 2008.
  The other dog was, Chubby, a large black heavy-coated male that resembled a Newfoundland, although he was a mixed breed.  He was never a problem at my house, but he lived most of his life tethered to a medium-sized doghouse that seemed too small for him, and the door usually faced into the wind.

   The floor didn't seem to be elevated at all, and I was concerned he would end up with pneumonia.  And maybe he did.  I was told by a witness that he was found dead on the ground one cold late winter morning in 2008.  I don't know if there was a box in the pen where he ended his days, or what kind of shape it was in, or whether a big old arthritic dog could get in and out of it.
copyright 2009 Carole J Sulser
  When the neighbor's moved here, they also brought a large number of outside cats.  Some of them began to make themselves at home on my property, eating, pooping, spraying, damaging things in my garage, peeing on straw stored in my building, bullying my cat and taking over her favorite places, sleeping in my attic, having kittens, and donating lots of fleas carrying tapeworms.

   Until the spring of 2008, I was able to maintain a friendship with these people.  They are basically good-hearted, and it is beyond understanding, how they can subject their dogs to the dangers and miseries that I have been seeing and hearing all these years.