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.
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.
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.
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!
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. http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/whatabouthuntingdogs.html. Karen did a better job talking him down than I did, but he still left in a huff.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.