Kentucky Wins “Most People Chained to Doghouses” Contest

Our brochures help spread the word at each Capitol.

Our brochures help spread the word at each Capitol.

Not that there WAS a contest…but if there was, Kentucky would win.

Interestingly enough, Kentucky has been deemed WORST state for animals the past seven years, according to my friend Tracy Miller of SOAR (Speak Out and Rescue) of Georgetown, Kentucky.

Yet we had eight people chain up with us today, amongst them a magistrate-elect, Michael Turner. It’s my belief that when a state is deemed the worst, there’s nowhere to go but up, and it serves as a motivator for those who actually care about the animals to get out and DO SOMETHING.

A big THANK YOU to Tracy, Johnnie, and Bobbie from SOAR who got a law passed in Frankfort, KY and who gladly gave their day to join with Dogs Deserve Better in advocating for a state law. These are three ladies who walk their talk, which is so needed and appreciated in rescue.

Magistrate-elect Michael Turner, who has always believed in treating our companions with respect.

Magistrate-elect Michael Turner, who has always believed in treating our companions with respect.

Soon after our arrival, our signs blew down and we realized we couldn't reach them from our chains

Soon after our arrival, our signs blew down and we realized we couldn’t reach them from our chains

Johnnie has to unchain to get the signs. Then we chain up the signs too.

Johnnie has to unchain to get the signs. Then we chain up the signs too.

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Tracy Miller, founder of SOAR, Michael Turner, magistrate-elect of Franklin County, Kentucky, and Tamira Thayne, founder and CEO, Dogs Deserve Better

Tracy Miller, founder of SOAR, Michael Turner, magistrate-elect of Franklin County, Kentucky, and Tamira Thayne, founder and CEO, Dogs Deserve Better

Johnnie Woods overlooks her kingdom

Johnnie Woods overlooks her kingdom

The chained dog dance. Everyone was going in different directions and they somehow got tangled up!

The chained dog dance. Everyone was going in different directions and they somehow got tangled up!

I wonder what the dogs where thinking...why are all these people dragging chains?

I wonder what the dogs where thinking…why are all these people dragging chains?

Fluffy the Wonder Kitty follows his mom and doggie brother and sister on their walk to visit the Chain Off. First time we ever had a cat attend!

Fluffy the Wonder Kitty follows his mom and doggie brother and sister on their walk to visit the Chain Off. First time we ever had a cat attend!

We were blessed to have two TV stations and one newspaper interview us. I believe that makes 11 media hits throughout the tour. Outstanding!

We were blessed to have two TV stations and one newspaper interview us. I believe that makes 11 media hits throughout the tour. Outstanding!

Tracy Miller from SOAR was interviewed as well.

Tracy Miller from SOAR was interviewed as well.

Great pic of Mark Anglin

Great pic of Mark Anglin

Bobbie Hudnall, one of SOAR's board members, joins us at the Capitol

Bobbie Hudnall, one of SOAR’s board members, joins us at the Capitol

Love this pic of Tracy too. If you haven't noticed, it actually got chilly a few times today.

Love this pic of Tracy too. If you haven’t noticed, it actually got chilly a few times today.

The 'line' of doghouses and chained humans. Would love to see a line with 50 humans!

The ‘line’ of doghouses and chained humans. Would love to see a line with 50 humans!

Finally, 4:00 arrives! It was a long day, but by far the best of the seven day tour. The weather cooperated, the people showed up and participated, and we got media coverage. As days on a chain go, it was one of the best.

Finally, 4:00 arrives! It was a long day, but by far the best of the seven day tour. The weather cooperated, the people showed up and participated, and we got media coverage. As days on a chain go, it was one of the best.

Yippee! Hooray! We're free! (But the dogs still aren't. What can you do to help the ones near you?)

Yippee! Hooray! We’re free! (But the dogs still aren’t. What can you do to help the ones near you?)

Tomorrow morning we head over to Richmond, Virginia, for the last day of Chain Off Wednesday, August 30th, 2014 at the state Capitol. If you live in Virginia, there’s still time for you to make it to the event, take a little time off. We will be there from 9-4 p.m.

Hope to see you there!

Tami

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A Day of Dog Stories and Dedication to the Voiceless

Friday the Capitol doghouse tour hit Missouri and it’s capital, Jefferson City, or Jeff City as the locals call it.

Me with Missouri DDB Rep Sheila Ehler

Me with Missouri DDB Rep Sheila Ehler

The town was smallish, but the Capitol was HUGE, dominating the landscape in every direction. Although we would have been allowed to chain up on the Capitol steps, we opted to take our plea out to the street level instead, as the state reps weren’t in session and we wanted to be seen by as many passers-by as possible.

I was actually quite excited because today was the day I would finally meet in person two women I’d been working with for years as part of Dogs Deserve Better: Sheila Ehler and Melody Whitworth. Both Sheila and Melody have been part of Dogs Deserve Better, serving as volunteer area reps, since at least 2007-2008. They have stuck with me and DDB through thick and thin, and have saved hundreds of dogs from chains through their local branch and volunteer foster home system.

I want to publicly express my gratitude to these women for all they’ve done as part of DDB, and for all they’ve done for the dogs. Meeting Sheila and Melody in person was like finally meeting a long lost family member or something.

It was delightful.

Darrell and Diane chain up at the Missouri state Capitol.

Darrell and Diane chain up at the Missouri state Capitol.

Missouri was a day of chained dog stories, and those who came out to chain all had a story to tell.

Darrell, who came out specifically to meet us and tell us about the dog who lives in a pen across the street from him, explained the pain he and wife Diane go through watching the suffering of the dog every day. The owners lock the pen—so the feces is NEVER removed—and they just dump water and food into the pen over the side.

Sheila pledged to try to help him as our local rep, but without laws on our side, good citizens are forced to watch the abuse daily without recourse. It’s incredibly disempowering and frustrating, not to mention psychologically traumatic for those who watch.

It’s not only the suffering of the dogs who are stuck on chains or in pens that goes unaddressed, but the suffering of caring humans nearby—forced to silently observe the abuse—that is unthinkable.

When we put Darrell on the chain, he got down on one knee for a photo, and I said it looked like he was proposing to Diane. We all had a good laugh when Diane remarked that it was about time he got down on one knee—after 40-some years of marriage—and it took him being chained to do it.

Love this pic of Sheila Ehler with the Capitol in the background!

Love this pic of Sheila Ehler with the Capitol in the background!

Sheila Ehler has been a DDB rep for years, and has a ton of great rescue stories under her belt. She told me that the hardest thing to deal with—still—is talking to those who chain their dogs, as they are often confrontational and uninterested in bettering the lives of those they have imprisoned to a chain. It takes a lot of courage and guts to get out there and advocate face to face on behalf of the dogs, and I admire so greatly those who undertake the challenge.

Jennen Herbst shows the homemade 'doghouse' that Gator was rescued from

Jennen Herbst shows the homemade ‘doghouse’ that Gator was rescued from

This is Gator now, happier and healthy, although he still suffers from separation anxiety.

This is Gator now, happier and healthy, although he still suffers from separation anxiety.

Jennen Herbst is a DDB Missouri volunteer and foster mom to Gator, pictured above. She created her own ‘doghouse’ out of a cardboard box and a black plastic bag to simulate how he was living before his rescue. Even though he’s been with her as a foster for seven months, he still suffers pretty severe separation anxiety when she leaves the apartment, because he’s so afraid of being left alone again.

Debbie Hinman chains all day for the dogs

Debbie Hinman chains all day for the dogs

Debbie wrote on the back of her shirt for the dogs.

Debbie’s prose on the dogs’ behalf.

Debbie Hinman made the three hour trek to the Capitol to chain with me for the day, and I am so honored by her dedication. Debbie has a dog she rescued from a chain, and her girl still suffers issues to this day as a result of not being socialized from a young age. She created her own shirt and wrote this one the back:

I am a “Sitting Duck”
For whatever comes by
I cannot run; I cannot hide
The sun bakes my skin
The cold numbs my mouth
But nothing hurts more than being banned for life.
Did I do something wrong?
Did I do something bad?
What could’ve possibly made you so mad
That you hooked me to this chain
For Eternity.
Never Again to be part of my family.
If you love me—Set me FREE!

Sheila being interviewed by channel 13, a CBS affiliate.

Sheila being interviewed by channel 13, a CBS affiliate.

One TV station came out and did an interview of both Sheila and myself. This makes nine pieces of media so far from the tour, which has helped spread the word about chaining immensely.

I joined Melody and Sheila and some of the volunteers for dinner that night, and then met up with them again at Petsmart the next day for their adoption event. My heart was so touched and warmed by all these people volunteering their time as foster parents and advocates for Missouri chained dogs.

Sheila and Melody, center, with some of their core group of volunteers

Sheila and Melody, center, with some of their core group of volunteers

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I managed to squeeze my butt into Diane's doghouse for a pic.

I managed to squeeze my butt into Diane’s doghouse for a pic.

Some of the dogs up for adoption at DDB Missouri

Some of the dogs up for adoption at DDB Missouri

These are the faces of the dogs we fight for

These are the faces of the dogs we fight for

What a beautiful girl!

What a beautiful girl!

The group from the adoption event

The group from the adoption event

Today we drive to Kentucky, where tomorrow we will do a chain off at the state Capitol in Frankfort, with Kentucky rescue group SOAR.

And the beat goes on.

To read more about chaining and DDB’s work for chained dogs, visit our site at http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org

Happy Sunday!

Tami

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Wherefore Art Thou SUPPOSED to Be, Lincoln?

So far I’ve hung with a statue of Lincoln in West Virginia, went to Indiana, whose sign proudly proclaimed it to be the ‘birthplace of Lincoln’, then I came to the REAL Lincoln state of Illinois. I’m getting downright confused with all the Lincolnhood!

This factory right beside our hotel started off the Lincoln fest today.

Would LIncoln approve of his face on these smokestacks? Oh, who knows...probably some expert somewhere.

Would Lincoln approve of his face on these smokestacks? Oh, who knows…probably some expert somewhere.

I hear the Lincoln Museum is something to see, and I did take a very brief tour of the Capitol building on my way to the bathroom (seems to be the only way I actually see the interior of the Capitol buildings), but that’s about all the Lincolnness I was able to partake of.

I know that someone of Lincoln’s stature reaches quite the iconic figure by this point in history, and I loved the movie Lincoln that came out a couple of years ago…but I can’t help but wonder what he would think of our world if he were alive today, and what sort of man he really was behind the scenes. Maybe someday I’ll get back and tour his museum and get a behind the scenes glimpse.

For today I had a much grander mission, that of pretending to be a chained dog in order to shock and stimulate thought and conversation surrounding this particularly painful endeavor as it regards to dogs in the greater Capitol building area of Springfield, Illinois.

I have no way of knowing if I met with any success, but on the surface I’d say a tentative NO. Hopefully I’m wrong. I did get a few “I agree with THAT” comments, which always lift me up and help me square away my shoulders and get back in the fray.

Me. I look really good in that pic. Oh, you can't see my face. No wonder I like it!

Me. I look really good in that pic. Oh, you can’t see my face. No wonder I like it!

I didn’t feel too good about the day today. In fact, to me it felt like a waste of a day, for a couple reasons:

1. I’ve gotten spoiled with the media actually covering the tour. Before today we had 8 pieces of media! Eight! That’s really amazing, and it helps me feel like the tour is succeeding. I have to remind myself that the tour is succeeding no matter what…because we are putting in the effort for the dogs in seven states and that’s what matters.

2. I’m sorry to all those Illinois folks who will be angry at me for this, but the people where I was were by and large not very nice or receptive.

I SAID WHERE I WAS. Not where you were. And BY and LARGE. Which doesn’t mean EVERYONE.

For instance, not YOU. Just some others.

The Capitol was beautiful, but I would take away a point (I might give them a point system in the end, if I can remember. I really should have taken notes.) because I only dared to have my doghouse on the top of the five steps for about 1/2 hour before the Capitol Police came and threw me off. To be fair, he was not rude, only gruff. And he DID carry my doghouse down for me. Which was nice.

He said I couldn’t be on state property without a permit. However, state property belongs to the CITIZENS. And therefore it is just as valid a place for a citizen as any other.

But I pick my battles, and that isn’t one I’m interested in picking on this tour. And, although they are the first state to eject me on THIS tour, something similar has happened in both New York and in Virginia on the last tour, so all the Illinois folks don’t need to get too defensive. You aren’t alone, although I suspect in the minority. I’ll let you know after I visit them all.

And, as for the point system, I might give a point back because they had the best bathrooms of the tour so far.

What, I like bathrooms, sue me.

I didn’t go around getting permits from anyone but Kentucky before this tour, and I only did Kentucky because they emailed me that they heard I was coming. Good news spreads fast, it appears.

Why didn’t I?

Because I believe that one citizen has the right to practice free speech without jumping through hoops in order to do so. I am only one citizen and I am peacefully practicing free speech. Not bothering anyone, not screaming, not forcing my information on anyone.

Therefore I’m following and partaking of my constitutional rights.

These rights do not say “you can practice free speech ONLY if you get our permission first.”

That kinda defeats the purpose of that whole FREE SPEECH thing, wouldn’t you say?

So I’m a bit morally opposed to it.

I figure they don’t own the sidewalk. And if they throw me off the Capitol property—which they did—there is always the sidewalk right there for me to use.

Which I did.

But first I got pics with my doghouse ON THE steps.

Natty Natty boo boo, Illinois. Enjoy them. They are like contraband at this point.

Contraband Pic 1

Contraband Pic 1

Two pretty teenage girls, Izzy and Brynnan, posing for a contraband pic. Which was unknown at the time, so don't act like I'm corrupting the minors.

Two pretty teenage girls, Izzy and Brynnan, posing for a contraband pic. Which was unknown at the time, so don’t act like I’m corrupting the minors.

And another

And another

This is cute

This is cute

Ooh, here's a good one!

Ooh, here’s a good one!

Lincoln didn't mind the doghouse on the steps. He liked the effect.

Lincoln didn’t mind the doghouse on the steps. He liked the effect.

My friend Reg Green came by and demonstrated with me for awhile. He told me a great story about the chained dog he rescued this winter. Yay, Reg!

My friend Reg Green came by and demonstrated with me for awhile. He told me a great story about the chained dog he rescued this winter. Go, Reg!

So the weather cooperated today, and I did get to see my friend Dawn Ashby’s husband Darin. I hadn’t seen him in awhile, and he came up and started talking to me…and I was thinking to myself, “I think that’s Darin.”

But it was one of those odd things where you think “But what if I say ‘Is that you, Darin?’ and the guy looks at you and says ‘Who’s Darin’?”

So I didn’t say it, and then he asked me if I remembered him, and then I thought “Dammit, I shoulda said it.”

Anywho, I was glad to see him and he kindly brought me water and some celery later in the day, which I greatly appreciated.

Because I was so darn bored. Mind-numbingly bored.

I’m a person who’s never bored. I can always find something to do, whether it’s work or fun, but sitting on a chain is not my idea of a good time. I hate it. It’s probably not anyone’s idea of a good time, come to think of it.

And then I remember that’s how I’m supposed to be. It’s how the dogs are. I’m not supposed to be having a party and entertaining myself with my phone all day; I’m supposed to be approximating the life of a chained dog so others can understand that it’s cruel and inhumane.

Ah! Gotcha.

Check, I did that. I think I fairly accurately portrayed that aspect of a dog’s life today, for anyone that was actually noticing.

To add minor insult to minor injury (I confess to not being very het up about it), at around 3: 15 two women came up to me and told me they were with the Secretary of State’s office. I was all set to start telling them about chained dogs, thinking they were actually INTERESTED.

Instead she told me, again, that I couldn’t MOVE my doghouse up onto the steps.

Like I was planning to.

Now, really. What makes someone feel the need to go up to someone who is clearly where they are supposed to be and has been there all day but they feel a burning need to tell this person anyway where they can’t be even though they obviously are not making any attempt to go where they can’t be?

Argh.

I can’t say I was sad to see Springfield, Illinois in my rear view window.

Nor the guy with the deer antlers embroidered on his shirt pocket. You can imagine how that conversation went.

[Am I like Obama when he made that "Pennsylvanians clinging to their religion and their guns" comment, and none of the Illinois folks are going to vote for me for President now? Dammit.]

I believe I have a few folks from our Missouri reps Sheila Ehler and Melody Whitworth’s groups joining us tomorrow in Jefferson City, Missouri. Looks like it’s supposed to be a hot one, high of 91.

I think it will be a better day! Gotta get some sleep.

Thanks again for your support. I would sure appreciate some sponsors for my fundraising page! If you can sponsor me on this tour for our work at Dogs Deserve Better, any amount is wonderful, just click this link. I’d like to raise $2000, I’m currently at $1090.

http://www.razoo.com/story/Tamira-Thayne-Fundraising-For-Chain-Off-2014-Team-Tami-For-Chained-Dogs

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Crying from the Chain in the Indianapolis Rain

Cool pic of the doghouse in front of the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis

Cool pic of the doghouse in front of the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis

Today was a tough day, because I was wet about 90% of the day. It started raining about 9:45 and stormed for an hour, with the rain pouring down on me and thunder and lightning. The whole nine yards.

I refuse to use an umbrella for these occasions, because I know the dogs don’t have that luxury, and for me that means tough it out.

I was alone out there today, this pic was taken before the rain got too insane. My mood changed noticeably from this photo to the video you will see below.

I was alone out there today, this pic was taken before the rain got too insane. My mood changed noticeably from this photo to the video you will see below.

I do want to thank the Capitol policeman, though, who was worried and asked me to come inside twice. That was nice. There was also a kind woman who stopped and tried to give me an umbrella. Gestures like this, when people show they SEE me, touch me greatly, given that so many people will walk by and pretend I don’t even exist.

As the rain washed away my defenses, I cried as I spoke on camera about the chained dogs and the suffering they endure for their entire lives.

Here’s the link to the video I made in the pouring rain:

I had three TV stations and an online newspaper come out for interviews today, the best day yet for media. Again, thank you Robin Budin, for running media alerts for us.

I’m really exhausted, and not keeping up well with my other work. Not keeping up with much of anything besides getting to the next place and getting into position at 9 and staying until 4.

I guess maybe that’s all I’m really required to do right now.

I hope you watch the video. I endured a lot in that hour in the rain, but nothing compared to what the dogs have to endure. I hope I can reach your hearts and minds with my message about chaining and our best friends.

If you like it, share…get that message out!

Goodnight, all. Thank you for following my Chain Off Tour. It is much appreciated.

Tami

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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.

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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.

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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.

oh3

This pic called out for black and white.

oh6

 

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.

oh7

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

oh8

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.

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

oh12

Tiffany and Julie

oh13

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

oh14

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.

oh15

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.

oh16

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.

oh17

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

oh18

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!

http://www.wchstv.com/newsroom/eyewitness/140721_26727.shtml

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.

WOW.

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: http://www.unchainyourdog.org/Laws.htm

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:

http://www.razoo.com/story/Tamira-Thayne-Fundraising-For-Chain-Off-2014-Team-Tami-For-Chained-Dogs

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 unchainyourdog.org. 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
http://fohowv.org/images/pdflaw/moundsvilletetheringord.pdf

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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