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.
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.
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.
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…
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!