Imagine you are a happy, sweet, friendly tiny puppy. You are a little scared when you’re removed from your littermates and mother, but you are excited to be with the humans and looking forward to lots of good times and love.
They cuddle and play with you and you are ecstatic. Then…they put you in a cage, or tie you to a tree or just leave you all alone in a big yard. You’re scared, worried and nervous, but you think that they’ll come back for you at any minute. You wait all night. But realize nobody cares.
You cry and howl but still no one comes. The next morning, here come your humans. You’ve already forgotten the scary night and all is forgiven, you’re so happy to see them. They feed you and play with you a little then they leave you for the whole day.
Late in the afternoon, you hear when they arrive and immediately the kids come out to play with you but only until Mom or Dad shouts at them to come in to bathe or eat dinner or do their homework.
You want to be inside with them, although you may have a few accidents but that’s only because you’re still a baby that needs to be taught what to do.
For the next few days you see your humans regularly in the mornings and evenings but pretty soon, it takes them longer and longer each day to come outside and play with you or even feed you. They then start to forget about you or to even make sure you have clean, fresh water at all times.
After a while longer, you’re not even being fed daily, yet you can smell delicious cooked meals being served from inside the house where you are not allowed. Your humans are eating – where is your food? Your mouth is watering and you are so hungry. You bark constantly and sometimes just to shut you up they bring you food but other times they let you suffer.
You shouldn’t be eating bones or leftovers but if that’s all you’re given, you have to in order to survive.
Your tummy hurts and you’re hungry all the time. You don’t know it but you need regular deworming and you’re not getting it. What little food you get the worms are absorbing. The pesky mosquitoes that are biting you all night are depositing heartworm larva into your bloodstream. You’re not getting anything to prevent that either. You’re itchy because fleas are biting you all the time, but you can’t do anything about it for yourself. And the ticks! They are so gross and they’re sucking all your blood.
Your beloved humans are avoiding you because of this, but yet they alone have the ability to relieve and prevent your suffering.
You are starting to wonder why these people brought you to their house. The collar they so proudly put around your neck is getting really tight and uncomfortable. You’d really like to be able to do your private business away from where you sleep and eat but they don’t let you off the chain anymore and they rarely clean up around you.
Or the cage you’re living in is cleaned less and less often. Nobody ever thought to even bring you an old towel or blanket to sleep on. You get really scared and soaked during a thunderstorm but still you are left outside and no one seems to care that you are frightened.
You are becoming depressed and sad. You try to express it to your humans in a variety of ways. You bark, you cry, you even dig up the yard in a cry for attention. They only get mad when you do this and you cower before them, wondering what you did wrong. You were only trying to remind them of your existence, and offer your love once again!
More months go by and now your neck really hurts. That puppy collar has embedded itself into your neck, which is bloody and raw. They have even put a heavier chain on you since you’re bigger now and you popped the lighter one you had as a puppy because you were so desperate to escape it.
Once in a blue moon one of your humans attempts to bathe you, but just as often they pour used motor oil over you to kill the fleas and ticks. The smell is intolerable and you try to lick it off, but this makes you sick too. They don’t know about petroleum poisoning and you can’t tell them. You don’t feel good and you are not healthy then finally instinct takes over.
You begin to fiercely protect that tiny space that is all you have left. You are now four times more likely to bite a human, even a child that invades your little space.
You don’t want to be a bad dog but you tried so hard to be a good dog and it got you nowhere.
You will either die at a very young age from neglect, or be dumped far away from your “home” on the side of a road or maybe given away to someone else who will similarly mistreat and neglect you.
If you are lucky they will surrender you to their local shelter. On Grand Bahama this means at least you will be evaluated and given a chance. And if you can’t be saved at least you will know love and kindness, even if it’s only for just a few days.
If you are not willing to have your dog live in your house, then we highly recommend an alarm system, which would be much more effective than an outside dog, especially a caged or chained dog.
If you can’t provide all the care and time a pet needs then don’t get a pet! Please help stop animal cruelty. If you see a chained or caged dog that is being neglected, please call the police. If you get no response, please call the HSGB at 352-2477. We have no law enforcement authority, but we will do our best to assist any animal in need. Please help us make Grand Bahama a better place to be a pet.
By: Tip Burrows,
Humane Society of Grand Bahama