Soapbox warning! Bad owners = Bad dogs

A dog sniffing a laptop and trying to type.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon McElvaney

Dear Ethan & Olivia,

The cats are sleeping so I got another chance to write to you! I’m sorry your mom & dad got sick, well, sort of… I like when they stay home all day! It’s awesome to get the extra cuddle time!

I think we need to talk, because yesterday while you were at school it got CRAZY!!!

The neighbors’ husky dogs got out again and attacked some cats and that nice dalmation puppy across the street. The huskies have gotten out every day for the last two weeks and had been chasing everyone’s pets. They even hopped fences and went after other dogs in their own backyards!

Your mom wouldn’t take us for walks because the huskies had already tried to get at us through the windows. It wasn’t too bad because your mom & dad played with us in the backyard, but I missed all the smells!

Yesterday the huskies were roaming and trying to go after every animal outside. A bunch of people told the neighbors that their dogs were out again, but they acted like they didn’t care.  

First the huskies tore through the outdoor cat hut and killed one of the cats down the road. They also bit the other cats inside, but most of them should be okay. Then the huskies chased and bit my puppy friend while she and her family were on a walk. Some people saw it happen and were outside shaking and crying. It was scary and awful and should never have happened.

The animal control people came and then all of these sheriff cars came. The cats’ owners were over yelling at the huskies’ owners and the huskies’ owners were yelling at the cat owners. It got really bad really quick!

It was NUTS! I couldn’t stop barking at them through the window even when your mom gave me peanut butter!
Then, when I thought it would calm down, Animal Control took the dogs! Shouldn’t they take the owners instead???

I try to bark and be friendly like I should, but this makes me growly mad! Your mom was VERY upset!

The owners never walked their dogs, they never played with their dogs, and they never cuddled their dogs. They didn’t care that their dogs were biting at everybody and scaring them and never tried to keep them at their home.

Remember the five seconds that I got out once? Your mom, your dad, and your Aunt Maureen all ran out to get me. I thought we were having a great game until your mom used her scary voice! (I ran back double-quick! I HATE that voice!)

See, you’re not supposed to run wild when you live in a neighborhood because there are kids, and cars, and things that might hurt you. Your mom and dad and auntie were trying to keep me safe. That’s what the neighbors with the huskies should have done!

Your mom and the other neighbors tried to be friendly, talk to the family, and even ask the authorities for help. But no! No one did anything until the dogs hurt one of my buddies!!!

The owners should go to the pound, not the dogs! Dogs get bored! Seriously!

I never get bored because you play with me and I have a huge box of stuffed cuddle toys and squeaky things. Your mom and dad talk to me and run around with me. Plus, when the thunder starts and I get scared your mom gives me special treats and lets me cuddle with her on the bed. Always.

I’m not scared as much because you guys take care of me.

Those dogs were always outside, even in thunder, lightning, and fireworks. I know some people say that dogs shouldn’t be treated like family, but we ARE family. We protect you because you are part of our pack, just like you protect us because we’re part of your family!  

I think that everyone blaming the dogs is wrong. Blame the owners instead!

Okay, the huskies weren’t nice, but I don’t think they ever the chance to learn how to behave! I think that it’s the owners who messed up, because they should have given the dogs love, and playtime, and gone and taken care of them when they were scared.

You know how your mom gives me treats when I let her tell me to sit and lie down and stuff? I like that! I’m super good at showing her how I listen! The neighbors should have done that too. It’s kind of nice to know what’s expected, am I right?

Now everyone is sad and nobody wins. I feel a little guilty, but now that the huskies are at the pound your mom, dad, and all the neighbors are able to go on walks again. Your mom and dad took us out this morning and it was perfect! I enjoyed the new smells and got to find the old ones too!

Best of all, no one chased us back to the house or tried to bite us. We just got walk like we used to do.

I know you’re really young and stuff, but when you’re a grownup don’t forget: dogs are family too. Some treats, ear rubs, and nice words are good. I don’t even mind that you baby talk to me! I like the fact that pick me up and carry me around! (Why does your mom say I’m too heavy? I only weigh 68 pounds, so she weighs a LOT more than me!)

Anyway, when you get home, you can give me extra cuddles to get over this. Plus, bacon, always bacon!

I’m glad you’re my family!

Jamie the Spaniel

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