Columbus Ohio Animal Activists Rock the Chain Off

Tamira Thayne, Dogs Deserve Better founder and CEO, at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus asking for better laws for chained dogs.

Tamira Thayne, Dogs Deserve Better founder and CEO, at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus asking for better laws for chained dogs.

Day Two of the Capitol Doghouse Tour found me in Columbus, Ohio, at the Statehouse on the High Street side. I was surprised how ‘Big City’ Columbus is, and as a self-proclaimed Country Girl, it made me a little uncomfortable, out of my element. But once I faced my fears with getting there and getting set up, I have to admit being in the city makes the seven hours go faster than sitting out in the country somewhere.

There is so much to see while you’re standing there, and lots of people stop to talk and seem generally interested in the issue. I noticed that they tend to argue less about it too. They listen and ask questions and thank you for the information. Cool!

Plus, Columbus OH ROCKS it for Animal Activists! Seven people and two babies (who came with their moms…I don’t think they were ambulatory enough to get there on their own) stood for the chained dogs today.

It was a super hot day, and I was sweaty by the time we even got set up. Most of those chaining with me stayed for 2-3 hours as they had other places to be and people to see. I envied them the ability to just walk away, and I just couldn’t WAIT for the time to be over.

And that’s when it hit me RIGHT IN THE GUT. Because leaving is a luxury the dogs don’t have. When they are on a chain for life, there is no “Let me just make it through another five hours and I can leave”.

There is no leaving.

There is no going somewhere else.

There is no water if not given.

There is no food if not provided.

There is only the chain and the dirt and the time and the weather and the pain and the sadness and the loneliness.

Over and over and over and over again for 11 years or 96,000 hours.

I can’t stand it.

I can’t take it.

It makes me crazy that I can’t fix it for them.

I don’t know. Maybe that’s it for the day.

What else can one say about the cruelty America inflicts on our dogs and the cruelty America inflicts on those who advocate for the dogs and who care about their plight?

It sickens me.

Channel Six came out and did an interview today.

The rest is a day in pics. Thanks to everyone who came out to spread the word for the dogs today.


David Olk and Izzy Queja-Wells chained at the Columbus, Ohio Statehouse. David is an artist, activist, and works and lives in Columbus. Izzy is traveling with Tamira and Tamira’s daughter Brynnan, and decided she would go the activist route for today’s demonstration.


David was super excited to meet Dick Goddard, who is quite famous in Ohio as a Fox 8 retired weatherman and now a wonderful animal advocate.


This pic called out for black and white.



So we got Brynnan to take this pic of me, David, and Izzy on the chains. Then David said we should be less posed and more activist. So we all turned the same way and looked even more stupid.


Then Brynnan told us we looked stupid and that we all turned the same way, so I started cracking up laughing.


So then in my infinite wisdom, I turned the other direction. OK, posed unposed shots. A bit of a fail.

oh9 oh10

I got a kick out of watching people look at Izzy with a puzzled look on their faces. I tried to get pics of it, but didn’t get the best ones.


Linda Tenzos, Julie McDonough, Marlee Henley-Francis,  Tiffany Esposito-Mackey, and Tamira plus babies on board chained at the statehouse in Columbus Ohio.


Tiffany and Julie


Love Linda’s sign she had made for the event.


People got hit with multiple messages as they walked by, and hopefully they really got what we were throwing down.

It was exciting to interact with so many people, and to feel that we genuinely reached them and helped them understand the issue. For example, Peter here, from Nigeria, who took a brochure and pledged to start campaigning against chaining dogs in his country.

It was exciting to interact with so many people, and to feel that we genuinely reached them and helped them understand the issue. For example, Peter here, from Nigeria, who took a brochure and pledged to start campaigning against chaining dogs in his country.


After noon we were virtually out of shade, and had to hope for the clouds to come and block out the sun. The buildings finally blocked it out just in time to leave for the next state.


Totally adore this pic of Marlee and her son!

We discovered a new use for the DDB brochures today...apparently they are very edible. Who know.

We discovered a new use for the DDB brochures today…apparently they are very edible. Who know.


It was so hot and sunny that Izzy and Brynnan resorted to sitting under their signs.


Welcome to Indiana! Which, as it turns out, is Lincoln’s birthplace. I think this trip is all about the Abe, and his message to those of us fighting for freedom for the dogs. He might be telling us, saddle up, it’s gonna be a long and bloody fight.

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Asking advice from Abe in West Virginia…how do I free the dogs?


Me asking Abe for advice. "Hit me with your best stuff, Abe."

Me asking Abe for advice. “Hit me with your best stuff, Abe.”

Well, who did I find at the West Virginia Capitol on the first day of my Doghouse Tour but Abe Lincoln! Just the man I wanted to see.

Me: “OK, Abe, hit me with it. Obviously it’s been twelve years and the dogs are still not free. What am I doing wrong?”

Abe: “Humphh.”

Me: “No, I don’t think I can become president and make a proclamation. Got anything else?”

Abe: “Humphh.”

Me: “OK. I’ll take it under advisement.”

[I think he'll come to me in a dream tonight with some better advice. He wasn't ready for such a tough problem today. He's thinkin' on it.]

After Abe's advice. OK, it wasn't that good, but I swear he will come to me in my dream with something profound and meaningful. You'll see.

After Abe’s advice. OK, it wasn’t that good, but I swear he will come to me in my dream with something profound and meaningful. You’ll see.

Well, as days spent on a chain go, it was a pretty good day. Why?

West Virginia has a really gorgeous Capitol building!

West Virginia has a really gorgeous Capitol building!

1. It didn’t rain. I spent the majority of the day in the shade, perhaps through a little cheating at the end. (Hey, I forgot to put on my sunscreen! I couldn’t afford to get burned on Day One. Which I still did anyway, but not too bad.)

Here’s the thing about dogs and weather. You never realize just how bad they have it with the weather until you try a couple of days on a chain. Rarely, and I mean rarely, is there a perfect weather day. So even if the day starts out nice, like mine did, with plenty of breeze and shade, by the end of the day the shade is gone and the dog is stuck in the blazing hot sun. Not cool. And deadly.

I am never as obsessed about weather as I am when I am chaining to a doghouse. Then I worry about the temp, the rain, the clouds, snow. Just a nightmare!

2. TV stations came. Two of them to be exact, plus a newspaper sent out a photographer. That’s a good day’s work right there. A big thanks to DDB’s Robin Budin who’s been doing media for the event. Thank you, Robin!

I’ll add more as I find them.

3. Someone genuinely wanted advice on what to do about his dog. This is the thing that gets me, when my work really and truly TOUCHES someone. It suddenly feels so much more meaningful and powerful.

A gentleman came up to me and very formally told me he was impressed with my ‘moral fortitude’ and asked me for advice. He said he puts his dog on the chain only while he comes to work, and he wanted to know if we got a law if that would be wrong. He asked if he lived in the city of Charleston would he be breaking the law.

I told him he would be, since Charleston’s law states you can put them out five times a day for two hours. I asked him for details, and he said he has a black lab who likes to run. While he is working he puts her out on a chain and takes her inside when he gets home.

I asked if she destroyed or peed in the house. He said not really, when she was younger, yes, but she is pretty well behaved now. I said to my mind the best thing he can do is build her a fence with a doggie door, then she can truly be free to choose where she wants to be at all times. I gave him options on how to do it cheaply and how much a sliding panel doggie door cost.

He seemed to think that was as good idea, and I am so hopeful that my advice get his dog free from the chain for good.

That was more of a gift for ME than for him…getting to feel like I made progress and my work was accepted and needed.


So for my cheating with the shade story…

I could see around noon that I was losing my shade. I kept moving my doghouse down, and stretching my chain, until it could go no further and give me a place to sit on the stone wall.

I watched the other side of the Capitol steps, and as nature would have it, the trees there started sending their shade into an area where I could sit. But I needed to get over there.

I needed to move territories. Neighborhoods. You get it.

My assistants, Brynnan and her friend Izzy, were off at McDonalds enjoying the free internet and a beverage, so I was on my own. I couldn’t really carry my doghouse that far without things getting crazy, so I waited for some strapping lad to walk by. None arrived, but an in-shape woman came along, so I asked her.

She graciously assented to help me carry my house to the other side of the Capitol, and I was grateful to get back into the shade.

Obviously, this is cheating since the dogs don’t get to move spots like that. If it’s any consolation, it looks like I will have NO SHADE at all tomorrow. So you’ve got that going for you.

OK, this is a super creepy bug. Who knows what it is? He was already dead. I didn't murder him. FYI.

OK, this is a super creepy bug. Who knows what it is? He was already dead. I didn’t murder him. FYI.

As it turned out, except for the shade, I moved into a worse ‘neighborhood’, with a half eaten apple carelessly tossed into my area, plus some scary dead bugs and my sitting area swarmed by small, biting ants. Sigh.

Such are the struggles of a chained dog! Often the family will ostracize the dog WAY to the back of the yard, as far away from the house as humanly possible. Then, if there are enough citizen complaints, they will move the dog to an even worse area, resulting in more suffering for the dog.

I’m telling you, the chained dogs can’t win for losing. And if you spend even one day on the chain, you’ll get a taste of what they have to live through.

Here are a few more pics from the day in West Virginia.

Actually laughing about something.

Actually laughing about something.

The apple tossed into my new neighborhood. By that time I was so thirsty I actually contemplated eating it for a half a second. Ew.

The apple tossed into my new neighborhood. By that time I was so thirsty I actually contemplated eating it for a half a second. Ew.

The afternoon Shady Side of the Street. Or Capitol.

The afternoon Shady Side of the Street. Or Capitol.

Gorgeous view of the river all day and the awesome houses thereon.

Gorgeous view of the river all day and the awesome houses thereon.


Tonight we are in Columbus, Ohio for a trip to the Statehouse tomorrow. I will be there from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. if you can come out and chain with me or even come for moral support. Hope to see you there!

There is no state law prohibiting or limiting chaining in Ohio, but there are a few communities with ordinances. Check this page to learn more:

And, my friend Gail Downie and her fellow advocates have just recently succeeded in getting a new law passed in Dayton, Ohio! (Would share a link, but the only link I could find didn’t work. But take my word for it, they did. They rocked it.)

See you tomorrow.

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“I Don’t Want to Go” I tell Sloan, but he kicks me out the door anyway. “Go. Help my people,” he says. Who can argue with a Shepherd?

Tomorrow I pull up a doghouse and chain to the state Capitol in Charleston, West Virginia, for the first leg of my 2014 7-State Capitol Doghouse Tour. I will chain myself to said doghouse from 9-4, letting West Virginia legislators know that American citizens say NO MORE CHAINS for Man’s Best Friends.

Don’t they deserve better than what amounts to a fate worse than death?

Dogs are the most social of beings, and to ostracize them to life at the end of a chain might still—some how, some way—seem acceptable to some folks in America, but I’m here to let you know it just ain’t so.

Just between you and me, the last thing I REALLY want to do is chain myself to a doghouse and embarrass myself on the Capitol steps of seven new states. Not only is it boring as hell, but it’s annoying and constraining and people laugh at me and make fun of me and— worse—pretend I don’t even exist as they walk by.

But, well, that’s kinda the point…because that’s what they do to chained dogs too.

So my alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m. on Friday, and I know I need to get up and drive to our Good Newz Rehab Center for Chained Dogs in Smithfield, Virginia. There I need to meet with staff, help some rescued pups we have coming in, and load up the van to make the drive over to Charleston in preparation for my morning start to the Capitol Doghouse Tour.

Neither my dog Sloan nor I are happy to hear that buzzing sound. At least one of us covers our eyes with our paws, and the other might use the pillow.

Sloan is not ready to get up at 6 a.m.

Sloan is not ready to get up at 6 a.m.

My conversation with Sloan goes something like this. [Whining]: “I don’t wanna get up, Sloan.”

Sloan: “Me neither, I’m an old dog for a reason. Now let me sleep. Besides, every time you get up early like this, you leave me and I don’t see you for days. I’m putting the kai-bosh on that.” (Sloan might not know how to spell kai-bosh. I don’t either. But this is how it looks phonetically and we don’t feel like looking it up.)

Me: “Good. Because I don’t want to go out there and chain myself to a doghouse anyway. They’re mean to me. And I look stupid.”

I know have Sloan's interest piqued.

Now I’ve piqued Sloan’s interest.

Sloan, sitting up and taking notice: “Wait, you’re going to do that doghouse thing, the one like where I used to be chained and everyone ignored me and I was cold and lonely and no one cared? Before you rescued me and gave me a warm bed and you and dad and love? You have no idea what that was like.”

My dog Sloan before his rescue by Dogs Deserve Better

My dog Sloan before his rescue by Dogs Deserve Better

Me: “Yep, that. I do have some idea, though. I have spent 825 hours chained to a dog house. But you’re right, not nearly as long as you, or even all at one time. I’m kinda a pansy about it.

“But hey, you’re free now. It’s all good, right? Let’s just go back to sleep and call it a day.”

Sloan: “Hell, no.” [Pulls out drill sergeant hat and whistle, blowing shrilly in my ear.]

Shepherds are like that. Kinda bossy.

Me: “What?” [Innocently.] “Since you’re free, who cares if there are still, like, 5 million of your kind chained or penned all across America? Isn’t this every dog for himself, after all?”

Sloan: “You listen to me, little Missy. You know what I’m like. I’m needy as all get out. I put my head between people’s legs I never even met before and embarrass you because I’m so eager for them to like me.

“And I’m a Shepherd! I’m serious, I guard the perimeter. I’m not like those ‘love me, love me, love me’ labs you’re always dragging home. But my life on the chain was NOTHING. I was NOTHING. No one loved me, and no one gave me the time of day. I didn’t know what I did wrong to end up in that horrible place.

“I wouldn’t wish that on the even those annoying ball-playing breeds…hell, I wouldn’t wish that on that cat who drives me crazy here all day long trying to be my buddy.”

The aforementioned 'cat.'

The aforementioned ‘cat.’

Tuna (said cat): “Wait, I thought we were best friends? You’ve just been tolerating me all this time?” [Pouts and starts to plot revenge. No, not really. He just figures the dog is lying and Sloan really DOES love him even when he pretends he doesn't. Who could resist such a gorgeous kitty, after all?]

Me: “So you’re saying I gotta leave my warm, toasty, SAFE bed for the cold, hard pavement and chain? And loneliness? Boredom? Fear?”

Sloan: “Yeah, buddy. And don’t show your face round these parts until you’ve hit all seven of those states for all the shepherds, all the labs, all those mixed breeds—hell—ALL the dogs living on chains in each of those states.

“Those dogs are still out there today. Many of them have been chained since before you rescued me three years ago, and they are still chained today, waiting for someone to care.

“I love you, but you gotta go. Do it for my people. They need you.”

Me [sniffling now]: “But I feel so inadequate. I don’t make friends well, I’m an introvert, and I don’t easily inspire others to act. Sometimes I feel like a failure. And did I mention they’re mean to me?”

Sloan: “Who cares. Whine on your own time, Sister. This is my time now. Get your ass out there and make a difference. Don’t come home ’til you do.”

Me: “Yes Sir, Sloan Sir. Going now.”

(Sloan swears a lot. He gets that from his dad. I keep telling Joe not to swear in front of the kids, but he never listens to me. Thank God I’m around to set some kind of good example in that household. Eh-hem.)

Oh, and Sloan wants me to ask you to support the organization who rescued him from his chain so they can keep rescuing dogs like him. Can you sponsor his mom during Chain Off? Here’s her fundraising page:

Laws in West Virginia:

The statewide West Virginia law says only this about chaining of dogs: Chapter 61-8-19. Cruelty to animals; penalties; exclusions.

(a) If any person … cruelly chains any animal …, he or she is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than three hundred nor more than two thousand dollars or confined in jail not more than six months, or both.

The problem is, they don’t consider every day chaining cruel. In fact, there is no good definitely for what kind of chaining would actually be considered cruel. So it does the dogs of West Virginia no good.

I only found two communities in West Virginia that further limit chaining on If you find more, please bring them to our attention:

Charleston, West Virginia – June 2007
Dogs can’t be tethered for more than two continuous hours or more than five times in 24 hours. Dogs can’t be tethered outside for more than one hour if the temperature is greater than 90 degrees.

And a long, convoluted one in Moundsville, WV

Moundsville, West Virginia
November 2009

No person shall tether an animal:
a. When the outside temperature is equal to or greater than 85 degrees Fahrenheit or equal to or less than 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
b. In such a manner as to cause injury, strangulation or entanglement of the dog on fences, trees or other man-made or natural obstacles.
c. With a fixed point chain or to any stationary object.
d. After dark and before 6 AM
e. Within 500 feet of a school
f. That is under 6 months of age.
g. That is sick or injured.

Sampson was rescued from West Virginia in April 2014

Sampson was rescued from West Virginia in April 2014

One of my current favorites at the Center is Sampson, who I had the pleasure of unchaining in April of 2014. He has become one of the lights of my life, and he is so loving and kind and welcoming when I walk through the door of the center. I adore that dog!

Me freeing Sampson from his chain in April

Me freeing Sampson from his chain in April

Sampson only got free because they wanted rid of him…not because anyone forced them to do the right thing. We need better laws to provide for our doggie friends. It’s a no brainer and just ridiculous that we even have to fight about it.

Spending time with my boy Sampson in the field. Emmit the beagle is pictured too.

Spending time with my boy Sampson in the field. Emmit the beagle is pictured too.

A few other pics from the Tour Preparation:

This year's signs ready to be applied to foam board and the doghouses

This year’s signs ready to be applied to foam board and the doghouses

The van is packed and ready to roll.

The van is packed and ready to roll.

Me pictured trying to "Break the Chain" as we cross into West Virginia

Me pictured trying to “Break the Chain” as we cross into West Virginia


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Capitol Doghouse Tour 2012 Finishes Up with a Ruff Day in Albany, New York

Tamira Thayne in front of the New York Capitol Building in Albany

Tamira Thayne in front of the New York Capitol Building in Albany

Get it? Ruff?

The reporter I met in Concord yesterday kept making little dog puns and cracking himself up. He cracked us up a little too, despite them being about as corny as mine just was.

I wish I could say the tour went out with a bang, but Albany, in many aspects, was more like a bust. I ended up being alone because my chain mate for the day couldn’t find a sitter, and the Capitol wouldn’t allow my doghouse on the premises. They also wanted a million dollar liability policy in their name, despite their own rules stating that it’s not necessary if you are practicing free speech.

The doghouse was not allowed on the Capitol property

The doghouse was not allowed on the Capitol property

So Joe and I scouted out the Capitol area last night, and decided to put my doghouse on the sidewalk off to the side of the Capitol building. They don’t own the sidewalk…

One of our New York supporters correctly stated “That property belongs to all of us who live here, our taxes pay for that property, and I say you can be there.”

I have newfound respect for Pennsylvania, who, although they never passed our bill, at least allowed me to practice free speech unhindered for almost three months. That is our right as citizens of the United States, and our right needs to be honored by the states which are part of our union.

Shari Strader, tour manager, got a flustered call from the permit lady this morning around 9 a.m., who left her a message saying my doghouse was on the property without permission. I called Lucy myself and told her I wasn’t on the property; I was on the sidewalk. When she asked why I wasn’t where my permit slated, I told her exactly why—that since I wasn’t allowed to have my doghouse, I saw no point in standing there with a chain and no doghouse. She said she’d call me back after she spoke to the lawyers, but I never heard from her again.

The comical part of this whole crazy game is that the reason they gave for not allowing my doghouse was that no one is permitted to ‘erect a structure’ on Capitol property. Seriously?

In the thick of the lunch crowd at the food vendors

In the thick of the lunch crowd at the food vendors

Well, whatever. My location was better anyway, because I was out on the street where all the lunch vendors set up shop, so I had hundreds of people walk by and read our signs on their way to grab a bite.

Tami talking to Assemblyman Tidesco about Tethering Legislation

Tami talking to Assemblyman Tidesco about Tethering Legislation

New York was also the first and last state in which we had no media attention, but we had something that could be even better for the dogs: Assemblyman Jim Tidesco came out just to meet me and pledged to push the New York bill harder. We discussed different time restrictions and he asked my recommendations for what a good bill would be. He has sponsored or co-sponsored a lot of animal bills, and he has a great heart for the dogs.

Kathleen Collar is active in legislation

Kathleen Collar is active in legislation, and came out to meet me and discuss tethering

If you live in New York, you still have a current senate bill: SB 1239 provides that no dog shall be restrained by a tethering device attached to a fixed point or to a running cable trolley system for more than six hours per day. Please contact your rep or senator and ask him or her to support this important anti-chaining legislation for New York’s dogs!

Overall Day Ten turned out to be a very long, hot, boring day. When 4:00 p.m. finally rolled around, and we packed up my doghouse to split town, I thought to myself, “well, that was a waste of a day.”

But then I realized…THAT’S EXACTLY THE POINT!

Isn’t every single day of a chained dog’s life a wasted day?

Existing is nothing like living.

Even though I just mirrored the life of a chained dog for citizens of nine states, I still can’t fully imagine the horror of the non-life they lead. Of actually having to wake up in crappy weather and ridiculous living conditions every single day with no hope for something better; no hope for a kind word, some water, a pat on the head.

Chaining a dog for life is truly unconscionable to me, and I can’t imagine why it’s not a no-brainer to every single citizen with any semblance of a heart and soul in this country.

Tonight we are driving the seven hours to Joe’s townhouse in Northern Virginia, and then tomorrow I will return to the Good Newz Rehab Center in Smithfield, Virginia, where we are rehabbing both formerly chained dogs and the property that used to house Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels. I miss the dogs who call our center home!

My dog Sloan before his rescue by Dogs Deserve Better

My dog Sloan before his rescue by Dogs Deserve Better

Sloan stands proudly before the Good Newz Rehab Center

Sloan now stands proudly before the Good Newz Rehab Center in Smithfield, VA

I already know what will happen when I walk through the door of that center—every dog who sees me will rush the white gate; they will leap, they will bark, they will vie for my attention, and my dog Sloan will come back to life because his mommy’s home. These are all dogs who were ostracized to a chain or pen, and now they are like the other dogs—showing joy, loving life, living as large as they possibly can. Because it’s THEIR BIRTHRIGHT.

Have you started fighting for chained dogs yet? If not, there’s no better time than now. They need your voice, my voice, and the voice of every human who has eyes, ears, and a heart to speak up for them. On second thought, forget the eyes and ears. All you need is a heart.

I have hope for a brighter future for chained dogs

I have hope for a brighter future for chained dogs

Thank you for supporting my work for chained dogs and the dogs of Dogs Deserve Better.

Special thanks to those who worked hard to make this tour a success. Shari Strader for route and permit coordination, as well as advance media contact. Joe Horvath for meeting me in week one to help me get the van back on the road, and for going as a volunteer the second week to help things run smoothly and act as photographer. Andrea, Zeko, Melissa, and Kristina at the center who worked extra hard for our dogs while I was gone. To each and every person who came out and chained with me, especially Robin Budin who came twice, THANK YOU! I know it’s hard, I know you faced ridicule, and I am so proud of each and every one of you for showing up. You faced your fears and you did something amazing for the dogs. You have my gratitude.



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Day 8, a Stuffed Doggie Joins us in Concord NH for the Capitol Doghouse Tour

Doghouse Tour hits Concord New Hampshire

Doghouse Tour hits Concord New Hampshire

Wow, Day Nine of the Capitol Doghouse Tour! I can’t believe it. Even though I’m exhausted and emotionally drained, I can’t believe it’s almost over already; that I did it, that all those who stood with me stood for something that really matters to America’s dogs.

Concord has a small-town feel to it, unusual in a Capital City

Concord has a small-town feel to it, unusual in a Capital City

Our visit to Concord, New Hampshire couldn’t have been more different from our time at the Boston State House. While Boston could be described as a hub of hubbubinous (yes, I made that up) activity, Concord by comparison seems like a small, sleepy Pennsylvania town—if said town had a state Capitol and some vegan restaurants plopped into its midst (which none of them do).

We didn’t know what to think.

Last evening upon arrival we went into town for some Mexican food, and wanted to scope out the Capitol beforehand. They ended up being on the same street, which led to Joe Jokes about them being in the same building (they aren’t.)

Ten or so people loitered in the front of the Capitol building next to the street parking, and it appeared that they spend quite a bit of time in that location. We became a little nervous about how the natives might react to us today.

Concord Capitol is visible through the trees

Concord Capitol dome is visible through the trees

I was the first of our three chainees to arrive this morning, and instead of setting up directly in front of the Capitol as my permit allowed, I chose once again to hang out in the sidewalk area further out from the Capitol because there would be a lot more activity with the drive by traffic and pedestrians.

It's actually quite lovely

It’s actually quite scenic

I'm set up and ready for what the day sends

I’m set up and ready for what the day brings

We hadn’t been there long when a guy across the street starts yelling “Dog, Dog, Dog.” Joe didn’t notice at first, but I did, and then he sent a kid on a bike over to see what we were up to. The kid went back to report to the man that there was no dog in the doghouse, but that we were trying to get better laws for our Best Friends. Joe’s pretty sure the guy then flipped us off. Lovely!

Someone who didn't like us being there

He doesn’t look too happy

Not too long after that Karen Mayer arrived from the eastern side of the state, and we were soon confronted by another fellow who wasn’t too thrilled with us wanting something better for huntin’ dogs. He claims they won’t hunt in the cold if they live inside but I told him numerous studies and articles didn’t agree with that stance. Karen did a better job talking him down than I did, but he still left in a huff.

Worker who keeps his hunting dogs outside

Worker who keeps his hunting dogs outside is reading our signs

I enjoy doing Chain Offs with extroverts, because they excel at bringing people into the conversation, and Karen was adept at it. We spoke to two different state reps as a result of her engaging them in conversation, and she inspired me because she’s very enthusiastic and gung ho to make changes for all animals.

Speaking to a NH State Rep

Speaking to a NH State Rep

Next to arrive was Charay Malas, a very devoted supporter of our efforts, and truly one of the kindest and sweetest women you will ever meet. She seems to see the good in everyone, and I loved being around her, because she was just happy to be there and happy to be standing up for the dogs. She thought of something none of the rest of us had, and it was brilliant: she brought a large stuffed yellow lab, and he spent the day chained to the igloo doghouse with the Don’t Shut Me Out in the Cold poster. (You can buy posters here to help spread the word.)

Chained Stuff Dog

I confess that I’m weird enough that it still bothered me chaining up the stuffed doggie. Even he deserves better! But he got the point across quite well. And hopefully he didn’t mind taking one for the team.

Next we were blessed with the presence of Vermont Volunteer Services for Animals Pamela Dein and Sue Skaskiw, who produce a show called For the Animals on Vermont public television. We sat down right there, with two of us chained for the dogs, and taped a future show about chaining, the doghouse tour, and DDB’s acquisition of the Vick property.

Taping "For the Animals"

Taping “For the Animals” with Pamela Dein and Sue Saskiw of Vermont

We also met local humane society leadership, did an interview with a Concord newspaper, and got some pics of us chained on an area news blog. Other than the two incidents in the morning, the community came out to support our efforts and was super excited to have the Doghouse Tour visit them. They practiced acts of kindness from bringing us a bucket of ice so we could chill our water, to bringing us vegan wraps for lunch, to giving us donations for our Chain Off Fundraising Campaign.

Laughing at the newspaper reporter's jokes.

Laughing at the newspaper reporter’s jokes.

What I thought would be a long, boring day, quickly turned into a fast-paced buzz of activity and opportunities to spread the word that dogs deserve better than life on a chain.

My favorite part of the day was when one of Barb Nozzi’s letters finally showed up! If you don’t remember the story behind Barb sending me letters, here’s the short version of it. When I was chained in Pennsylvania for 52 days to win a law for chained dogs, Barb sent me a letter addressed to ‘the lady chained on the capitol steps.’ After some confusion on their parts, the mail guy from the PA Capitol finally delivered it to me! This started a round of letter writing from supporters all over the nation and world, and I received letters from as far away as Holland encouraging me to keep going for the dogs. Very touching.

So on the Capitol Doghouse Tour Barb sent a letter to every state Capitol addressed to me on the Capitol steps, but none of them made it to me except this one in Concord. I suppose they are floating around in the ether as we speak. There is something to be said about a small state house where things don’t get so lost in the shuffle, I guess. Thank you, Barb! You made my day.

Barb Nozzi's letter finds me at the Concord Capitol

Barb Nozzi’s letter finds me at the Concord Capitol

Tomorrow we hit Albany, New York, for the last stop on the Capitol Doghouse Tour. New York has been the hardest location to get a permit for, and they have also demanded insurance and are not allowing my doghouse on the property. My plan is to take it to the street again, instead, so let’s see if the plan works. It worked in Rhode Island when it wasn’t allowed, so wish me luck for tomorrow!

I’m practicing free speech, and I’m doing it for those who have no voice. They need me, they need all of us. Thank you.


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Day 8, Boston Massachusetts, a Rockin’ Day for Chained Dogs!

Tami in front of the Massachusetts Capitol building, aka the State House

Tami in front of the Massachusetts Capitol building, aka the State House

Nowhere along the tour have chained dogs been more talked about than Boston, Massachusetts, where the tour hits Day 8.

The biggest city by far of any we’ve played, Boston is a vibrant and very much alive city, putting us in mind of New York as we navigated the streets in search of the Capitol.

We had no permit for Boston, because it seems that the police can’t decide whose job it is to issue the permit, so as long as we didn’t cause a public nuisance, we were good to go.

It was recommended to us that we chain at the General Hooker entrance, (no lie, see the pic) which engendered no end of hooker and senator jokes from Joe. But that entrance didn’t have near the exposure that the front of the Capitol did, where there was just a ton of pedestrian and vehicle street traffic; plus, our location was a stop on the tour bus route, so we hit all those tourists as well!

The General Hooker Entrance

The General Hooker Entrance to the Capitol

Boston was the first city to find the Senate and House still in Session, which made it even more crazy and busy out there. I was alone until about 10:00 a.m. when Massachusetts Rep Robin Budin arrived, a bit frazzled from the rush hour traffic and circling the block in search of parking. Around noon one of Robin’s volunteers, MaryBeth McCluskey arrived, and then the party really got started.

Tami and Robin Budin

And then there were two; Tami and Robin Budin

I’m a fairly introverted person, so when I’m out on the chain, I speak to those who seem interested, but don’t actively seek out the attention of those who seem uncomfortable with interacting. There are times I lament my level of introversion, but while I can push my limits to get out there and fight for chained dogs, I cannot totally change my basic nature, so I just do my best and realize that’s got to be enough.

Robyn is more extroverted than I am, and will speak more quickly to others, but MaryBeth was right out front with her sign, getting people to honk, dancing to people’s music, and definitely making sure the cause was noticed.

MaryBeth doings the party

And then there were three: MaryBeth McCluskey gets the party started

MaryBeth, doing her impression of a hot and thirsty dog

MaryBeth, doing her impression of a hot and thirsty dog

We were interviewed by three tv stations, and literally reached thousands of people who drove or walked in front of us. Many of them stared from their car windows, or from across the street corner, and would look and then turn away if they walked right in front of us. A great number of people stopped and talked, and many honked or gave us the thumbs up from their vehicles while stopped at the red light.

People stare as they bike by

People stare as they bike by

We piqued people's interest enough to draw them over all day

We piqued people’s interest enough to draw them over all day

Here’s a link to one of the articles we found online:

Sharing a laugh with one media crew

Tami sharing a laugh with the media crew from Channel Five

Because it was a session day, we were lucky enough to meet up with some other animal advocates who were attending a hearing at the Capitol on mandatory training for AC officers. Apparently at this time, there is no mandatory training for officers, and so most have no idea when they start their jobs how to assess cruelty and what to do about it. Not a good situation, especially for chained dogs who need people who are willing to go to bat to get them better living conditions!

Meeting Rep Coakley-Rivera and her team

Meeting Rep Coakley-Rivera and her team (Rivera on right with her little friend)

We met dog advocates from MSPCA, HSUS, and animal control officers who were really excited about our efforts and couldn’t have agreed more that better laws were needed for chained dogs. We also met the sponsor of the Massachusetts bill (which, contrary to information we received, is not technically dead yet…it’s still hanging by a thread), House bill 2809, Cheryl A. Coakley-Rivera. She’s even going to nominate Robin for an award, congrats, Robin!

If you live in Massachusetts, please, please, please pick up the phone and call your State Rep to ask them to support the chaining legislation currently in committee. Your input is crucial for gaining better lives for Massachusetts chained dogs.

Caring Animal Control Officers

Caring Animal Control Officers who want better laws for chained dogs so they can help them out in the field chain up and pose with Tamira Thayne

The weather was gorgeous, except where we were located got not an ounce of shade all day. The breeze came and went, and the sidewalk, which consisted of red brick, became very hot to the touch, as did the steps behind us. There was literally no place to sit all day, so I was forced to spend the entire day pacing. I can only imagine the torture of a chained dog on asphalt in the heat, and my heart just breaks for these dogs who have to endure so much just to survive.

Just when we were packing up to leave, my precious boy Cowboy’s new family came for a visit. They live up north, and adopted him from us at the Good Newz Rehab Center. The boys had even made their own Cowboy sign, and love him dearly. When I see the before photo of how he lived, and the after photos of him with his new family, my heart expands about 50 times over. This is why I do what I do, so that all dogs get a chance to know this kind of love, all dogs get a chance to be real dogs and not abused lawn ornaments.

Cowboy's boys!

Cowboy’s boys love to play fetch with him, and tell me he still can’t fit three balls in his mouth…although he hasn’t given up trying!

The awesome sign they made for Cowboy

The awesome sign they made for Cowboy

Please join me in continuing to fight for their rights. Without us, they have no voice!

Will you sponsor Chain Off? This is our largest fundraising campaign of the year, and we’ve raised SO much awareness between the events hosted nationwide and the Capitol Doghouse Tour, but we haven’t yet reached 1/3 of our goal of $30,000 for this year’s event. Between money raised through sponsor pledges and money sponsored online, we’ve raised $9, 300. Can you donated even $5 or $10 to help us continue this most important work for chained dogs? Thank you, thank you, thank you! Make a donation to the cause here:

Robin sitting on the steps before they got too hot

Robin sitting on the steps before they got too hot

Tami tallking to interested passersby

Tami talking to interested passersby

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Day Seven, In Rhode Island I am the Sole Chainee on the Capitol Doghouse Tour

Rhode Island Capitol in Providence

In Rhode Island’s Capitol of Providence, I am the sole chainee

I’m surprised it’s taken this long; I made it all the way to Day Seven.

Today in Rhode Island I was the sole chainee, and it’s a really different feeling from that of being chained alongside another human being.

Imagine if you’re one of the dogs chained in the backyard, but you are chained about 30 feet from another of your ilk; maybe you can’t touch each other, but you can still see each other, still communicate in some way, and still feel a little less lonely because of it.

Each day I’ve had others standing with me, from the 11 in Pennsylvania, to 2 in New Jersey, 2 in Maryland, 2 in Virginia, and 3 in Connecticut. When I’m chained with other humans, whether I know them or not, we ‘pack up,’ discuss our lives and our philosophies, talk about anything to kill the time. By the time we part ways we’ve become bonded by an experience not many can lay claim to, with a solid understanding of how the chained dogs live and that we must continue to fight for them in any way possible; life ostracized to a chain is totally unacceptable.

Comparing the doghouse to the Capitol

I get a kick out of comparing the doghouse to the Capitol

My hubby is with me this week, having taken a week of vacation to volunteer with the organization and help me through my remaining five states. I love him for it. While he’s not chaining—unless he steps in for me to use the facilities—he is doing most of the driving, most of the photography, and most of the equipment lugging.

Joe stands in for me

Joe with our Thank You Rhode Island sign

When I’m alone I have a lot more time to think, a lot more time to feel bored, and a lot more time to be driven mad by the confinement. Fox News came early this morning for an interview (thank you!) and then the rest of the day consisted of random talking to anyone who didn’t give me a wide berth as they walked down the street. This turned out to be very few people.

Being interviewed by Fox News

Being Interviewed by Fox News

Here’s a comparison of Joe’s day to mine, so you can get a feel for what it’s really like to be the dog left behind in the backyard while life goes on around you.

8:00 a.m. Joe helps me get set up. Once I put the chain on, I’m in my location for the day. Joe walks to the other side of the Capitol to see if there’s a better location and takes photos of the front. Guess we’ve set up in the back! Oh, well. The street traffic is much better here, so I decide to stay put.

Rhode Island wouldn’t allow my doghouse on the property. An officer came out shortly after we got there to remind me about their ‘no doghouse policy’, but I had moved my house just off their property onto the sidewalk, so the officer said that would probably be fine. Once again, he was very cordial about everything. I appreciate the kindness of all the officers I’ve met, and am really quite surprised to find them so friendly and caring.

8:45 a.m. Joe has already made multiple trips to the van to get things I needed or forgot, and to feed the meter. I haven’t gone anywhere.

9:00 a.m. Joe leaves to find a post office to drop a few items in the mail and get quarters for parking. I stay put.

10:00 a.m. Joe spells me for a potty break, during which I go into the Capitol. I take a detour to grab a quick 2-minute look around, then head back out to my chain. Joe goes inside the Capitol and spends 1/2 hour touring and photographing the historical displays.

11:00 a.m. Joe leaves for the mall to get lunch and bring me back a salad. I sit in the dwindling shade by the pylon.

12:50 p.m. I send Joe off to see a movie, because he’s on vacation, and shouldn’t have to sit around with me in the hot sun all day. I scootch farther over into the shade and try not to fall asleep.

2:00 p.m. I start to pace on my chain; I have so much pent up energy that I can’t bear sitting still any longer. I pace for an hour, and then I listen to a woman walking by who stops to tell me her life’s story. I was eager for more because I wanted to fill even a few more minutes of my time.

She’s never met her biological father, and didn’t discover she was adopted until she was 22. However, now everyone in her family, her mother and all her siblings, are dead. I tell her whoever her father was he must have contributed some good genes if she’s the only one left! She seems a little embarrassed she’s told me so much…but I was a captive audience!

3:59 p.m. Joe pulls in from the movies with a minute to spare, helps me load up, and another day as a chained dog is over. He’s had a normal day as a human, and I missed out on being part of that with him. I love going to the movies with him, it’s one of our couple’s things. We buy popcorn and share a large soda, me on the left and him the right, and then we hold hands and snuggle during the movie.

I missed out today, because I chose instead to live as a dog on a chain.

God help these babies. Needy, needy creatures ostracized to a cruel, miserable, lonely existence…

Me, alone and ostracized

Me, alone and ostracized

On the bright side, Rhode Island passed a law limiting chaining on June 20th! It limits chaining to ten hours a day, and even limits penning to 14 hours a day. If properly enforced this law will bring Rhode Island dogs relief, and most people will stop chaining altogether to come into compliance with the law.

I’m shouting out a big Thank You Rhode Island today for passing a law limiting chaining! The people who were instrumental in the passage and get the gratitude of all the dogs and dog lovers the world over are Allyson Cote, Ernie Finocchio, Scott Marshall, and Senator David Bates. Thanks also go to Dennis Tabella from Defenders of Animals and Senator John Tassoni who sponsored the bill originally. If we missed anyone, let us know and we’ll thank you too! Way to go Rhode Island!

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