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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.