Every day I pass a house that has a German Shepherd dog tied out beneath a pine tree. The dog has shade and I see what appears to be a water bowl. The owners take the dog in at night. In other words, its most basic needs are met. When I think about the limitations placed on that dog’s life, however, how his muscles and mind are atrophying from the stationary existence he is forced to live out under a tree, I want to cry–and to steal the dog. Yet, this dog’s life is better than lives lived by many other animals and, for that matter, many people. I believe our society’s unthinking indifference towards animals feeds our mistreatment of the weak and the powerless of all species including our own. Small things accumulate into large problems; most things fall apart slowly, one board or brick at a time.
The German Shepherd is visible, but many dogs languish in suburban boredom, at least Monday through Friday. A few ideas to break up the boredom without derailing your busy schedule include frozen Kongs, you can even use them for feeding main meals; wet food can be stuffed in and then frozen, while kibble can be added and then capped with peanut butter before freezing. “Grass” feeders; working for the food gives your dog a mental challenge. Puzzles for dogs also challenge the dog to think as they attempt to locate treats. Canine fitness games can give you and your dog a fun, indoor training outlet when the weather is too cold for long walks.
What are you doing to enrich the lives of the living being in your care each day?