Sunday, December 8, 2013

Hay Day!

On Saturday a local group, the Middle Tennessee Pet Resource Center, held their annual Hay Day event! The idea is to deliver cold weather supplies, coats, food and toys to chained dogs in the Nashville area. I wasn't sure if I was going to post about this because I don't want it to seem like "Look at me, look at what I did!". But after the experience we had yesterday, I knew I had to share it.
I knew it would be a hard day for me. I'm obviously a pet lover,  and I don't want to see a dog chained out in a yard in the freezing cold. (Like most other places in the country, the temperatures have been super low here lately). The idea of Hay Day is to go in with the spirit of giving for these people and their pets. It is a non-judgemental day where you just want to help give these dogs some comfort, and establish relationships with the owners so hopefully you can help them make more lasting changes. Volunteers go back later and walk the dogs, bring them more supplies, help the owners get them spayed/neutered, help them get assistance in building a fence so the dogs can be off the chains, etc. I was worried people would turn us away, but the houses we went to were super receptive and thankful for the help.
I volunteered to take photos so here are some of the ones I sent over. The before photos from the first house:
The brown dude is Bullet.
And the grey is Hawk. His chain was all tangled up, so that is as far as he could get from the tree. You can see if if you look closely to the left. And look at his house!
We got to work putting down hay around their houses to keep them dry and to give them something to cuddle down in. They put cedar chips in the houses which help insulate and keep away nasty critters. For bullet they bungee'd his house together so it wouldn't come apart anymore.
Hawk got a new house that he can actually get inside of!
He LOVED the squeaky toy we brought him. Both of these boys were sweet and friendly and were reveling in all the attention they were getting.
Hawk and his house.
Bullet wasn't as interested in the toys, he just wanted attention!
Getting some good booty scratches from Travis. I'm so happy Travis came with me. I wasn't sure he would want to spend his Saturday out in the freezing cold since this is his busy time at work and he has been working 12 plus hours a day, but he didn't hesitate to say yes.
After! Two boys with a much cozier home!
This is Diamond at our second stop. She lives at the bottom of hill so when it rains all the water runs down to her home.
I don't think I ever heard this handsome dudes name. He is at the top of the hill. Somehow every before picture I took of him features him peeing on something. Oh well.
A third dog lives in here. She just had puppies so was thankfully on the back porch in and enclosed space to keep the puppies warm. We worked on her home too, so it would be more comfortable when she gets put back in here.
Diamond was VERY sweet and rolled over so I could rub her belly almost immediately.
Big buddy was so happy for the attention! He ran around like crazy!
Putting a tarp up to provide some protection.
After! Look at him posing for me!
Even though it was hard, I am so glad we were able to help out. I really admire the mission of the MTPRC. It isn't always possible to get every dog out of a less than ideal situation. They talked about how when you ask someone to surrender a dog, they usually shut down and don't allow you to help at all. It is hard for me to understand, but some people just don't KNOW that they should be doing more for their dogs. Education is so key. I look forward to being able to help more with this organization in the future.

20 comments:

  1. That's great!!! So glad everyone was so receptive to the assistance!! I read about this from you and eartha and wondered how the pet owners would react. Those doggies look like sweethearts! I'm so glad they're safe and warm. Growing up we had outdoor doggies (they had doghouses) and enclosures, but I always felt bad when it got cold even when they came to stay in the garage. Newm and Andre don't know how good they have it in their fuzzy dog beds by the fireplace!

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    1. its so weird to me that people would have an only outside dog. what is the point?

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  2. Hi Rae-
    I'm so glad that you decided to post this. It was hard to read and keep from crying, but I'm so glad I got to see it. My sister and I are major dogs lovers too, just like you guys. We do some volunteer work, but I'm going to show this to her and see if she knows of any groups around Minneapolis that do something similar. It's been well below freezing lately here in MN! And it breaks my heart to think about the poor dogs out in that cold.
    Thank you so much for helping those sweet dogs and for posting about it!
    Erica (and Wellie too )
    P.S Can I ask you how you guys found these dogs/homes? Did you just drive through certain neighborhoods and then go up to people's door?

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    1. All of the houses were suggested by neighbors! some of the houses they had been to before so the people knew about it, but it is all call in tips. so most of the people have no idea they are coming, but they said that in 10 years of doing that kind of work, only one person ever said no.

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  3. I totally appreciate the feeling of not wanting to post about the look at me good stuff because it can come across as contrived but your post was really heartfelt and did a great job of raising awareness, so actually totally well done for sharing I'm inspired to share some bits I do to. I imagine it was a very tough but rewarding day. The dogs look adorable and clearly appreciated the attention and effort you guys put in, well done!

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    1. thanks! i'm glad it didn't come off as contrived.

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  4. Gosh, what a great program! I hate seeing animals chained outside like that, but they look so happy after the attention and presents. Poor babies. I've never seen animals chained up like that before - is it common in Tennessee? To be honest I was surprised at first that it's even legal. Do the dogs ever get walked?

    I can't even compose a coherent comment, this post has created INTENSE DOG-RELATED FEELINGS. :p

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    1. it is very common in tennessee. davidson county (where i live) has some of the best laws in the state, and they aren't much. the chain has to be 15 ft long and have swivels on both ends. they have to have three walls and a roof on their outside house. they have to have access to water. and females in heat can't be chained. that is it. the MTPRC works on getting legislation changed as well to make life for these dogs better.

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  5. Great post! I'll admit it, I teared up a bit. I hate seeing animals... well neglected but they all seemed healthy so atleast they're getting food. Seeing how happy the dogs are for attention, ugh just makes me wish they were inside dogs. I wish I could have petted them. I know one of my shelters in my area just recently had a day where they built shelters for stray cats. I wish I had known about it earlier I would have totally gone to help.
    Good job guys! :]

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    1. i've heard about people building shelters for stray cats! i've thought about looking into to building one for our yard. there are two cats that hang around our house all the time. they belong to our neighbors, but are always out.

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    2. NYC has a lot of people who build these shelters. My old non-profit used to host winter shelter building parties so we could get a lot done at once!

      There are a bunch of options (and instructions here):
      http://www.urbancatleague.org/WinterCatShelters

      This one is easy and cheap and doesn't really require power tools:
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/ucl/sets/72157618993582947/

      And there are some insulation tips at the bottom of this page:
      http://www.neighborhoodcats.org/HOW_TO_FERAL_CAT_WINTER_SHELTER

      I love when I'm walking around and I spot a shelter (usually the Rubbermaid bin style) - it makes me so happy!

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    3. thank you! i'll look into those.
      and i accidently deleted your other comment because i was trying to approve it on my phone. Ugh! sorry. Imma post it here because it was nice and it stays in my email even if I cant publish it:
      I thought I already left a comment on this one but I guess I didn't! I think it's great that you posted this. I know what you mean re people showing off what they're doing buuuut I also feel like the more awesome programs you can introduce people to by sharing how we can help, the better! It was awesome to see these pictures and hear your experience with it. So, thank you for posting it!

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  6. That is certainly a good deed done, Rae!!

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  7. This just totally breaks my heart. I'm so happy that your group came though and helped all the puppies out. I just worry what will happen in a month or so. Do the dogs ever get affection?

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    1. MTPRC goes back to check up on the animals. they have said sometimes it takes a few years but many owners learn how to make their animals lives better. i'm actually going to a follow up meeting at wild cow this tuesday to see what else i can do. i know they have volunteers that make more deliveries of supplies all winter.
      it is sad to me how so many of these poor dogs never have attention. it seems like "what is the point of having a dog if you don't ever interact with it?

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  8. Thank you for posting this. I am on the board of my pug rescue so I've seen the heartbreaking neglect too. I learned (still learning) that I cannot condemn these folks. You are absolutely right that you have to approach them with compassion. There are many, many people who do not consider animals a part of the family. They were raised that way, probably for generations. They were raised by people who considered dogs (or cats) working animals. Only now, there is no real job for them, especially in a city. It's still a struggle but I do my best to reach out to people in compassion and to educate. Coming at them with anger, especially when it's ignorance versus intentional cruelty, does no good. It's not good for the dogs, and that's what it is all about. Heck, I think I just convinced the HVAC repairman to spay his girl puppy before she hits her first heat. He had no idea that he could significantly reduce her chance of getting a reproductive cancer.
    I know it must have been a hard day for you. I bawl every time I get a surrender. Good for you for doing it.

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    1. good for your for working with the pug rescue! we used to foster for one, but it was hard for us. we always got young crazy boys that would really overwhelm phyllis, and i always cried when they got adopted!

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  9. I can't lie, this made me tear up so much! You are so sweet for doing this and I would love to participate in something like this. I really related to this "It is hard for me to understand, but some people just don't KNOW that they should be doing more for their dogs. Education is so key." because it's SO TRUE. Some people just don't realize how much they are mistreating their dogs :(

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  10. This is heart breaking but a lovely thing Since moving to a lower income urban enviornment in jersey city, I used to live in a wealthier area of Brooklyn and then Manhattan Ive seen a different standard of dog care. For example spaying and neutering is not very common in my area. Ive realized a judgemental reaction will never help the situation but sometimes I strike up a conversation with people and try to work in why altering their pits or giving them more exercise might be a good idea. I think working with the owners is genearlly a very good approach

    retro rover

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  11. What a lovely thing to do. Thank you.

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