Wheather the temps are below freezing–or when they are scorching–all animals must be given shelter, a way to keep warm or cool, plenty of food and a way to access water that isn’t frozen or too hot to drink. I think a bone to chew on or something to do like having access to a cat climber should be included in the list of “must haves.”
As a life-long animal rescuer (since I was in junior high), unfortunately I’ve seen it all. I have been called to help animals who have been left outside, chained to trees or to houses or to their dog houses, with rocks in their food buckets and solid ice in their water dishes. Some, left out in the yard while their guardians are at work, have no shelter or are expected to use the concrete porches as their escape from frozen ground or blazing sun. That is no solution! I gauge the situation with this premise. If I can’t walk across the concrete, or sleep on it, in the freezing weather or in the heat of the summer–in my bare feet–the animals can’t either. That’s my outside barameter.
Right now, all of the animals that I care for are inside, tucked into warm beds. Those beds are on top of pads to create a barrier between the bed and the floor, covered with quilts and soft blankets. If they accidently roll over and uncover themselves, I get up and tuck them in again, sometimes getting up twenty times every few hours. The barameter I use inside is that if my feet are cold or if I need to put on a sweater or a bathrobe, the dogs all need a way to keep warm, too, so I give out extra blankets and put myself on “tuck-in duty.”
The health risks and damage that can be done by not being conscious of the weather conditions and protecting your animals from it can either cost them a body part, cause an extended illness or worse, even compromise their little lives no matter how big or small or young or old that they are. It can cost you a small fortune to go to the vet as well as a lot of time and heartache that could have been easily avoided if you just apply some common sense.
I have seen the damage that ice does to animals’ feet and mouths. The ice or icicles can puncture or slice open delicate skin on their tongues or gums while the pads on their feet–that they absolutely depend on 100%–can be torn, burned, split open or worse and it is very painful. Hot surfaces like asphalt and concrete can do the same damage. If you are not around to help them, they could bleed to death. Even if you find them injured–as I have been called many a time to rescue these animals–the scene and injury can be horrific and it takes much TLC and nursing care to help them recover.
I had a neighbor who left his dog in a igloo dog house out in the middle of a full sun/full cold spot in his yard, penned in by a portable chain link dog kennel. The dog had no shade, no protection from the cold of the ground, and cried all of the time–and the man worked very long hours. He thought that because the igloo house was insulated that the dog was OK. She was not.
During the summer, I would make ice balls and pitch them into the kennel area so the dog could cool down (they sweat through their mouths and foot pads since they don’t have sweat glands). During the winter, I would make warm food balls and pitch those into the fenced area. (My throwing arm is pretty accurate now!) Eventually, I decided to go over and talk to my neighbor and wound up volunteering to babysit his sweet dog during the days and weekends so she wouldn’t be alone and in a compromised situation. (He didn’t want to leave her inside the house while he was at work, lest she went potty on the carpet, due to his long hours away.)
Lady went to the dog park with us, to the store, and really was loved like one of my dogs except she went “home” at night. I regret that I didn’t offer to just adopt her but people and how they care for and love their pets is a very delicate subject to broach. I didn’t want the aid that I could offer her to be shut off. I did as much as I could until we eventually moved far away.
Please treat your animals like your children. They need you to be their caretaker, their guardian, to watch out for their well-being both physical and emotional. If you cannot do this, please find a new home for your animals. (Please note. Shelters are not considered a responsible way to rehome your animals. Many shelters kill owner-surrendered animals within an hour of being brought in. They are not a “pet hotel” in any form of the imagination.) Network with friends, coworkers, relatives to find a safe, happy place for your animals to live or to stay while you are away.
Thank you for caring about your animals–really about all animals–and try to live your life without leaving any regrets behind.
About this blog
Created at the end of January, 2019, by a published writer and author for almost 20 years, this blog is both an outlet for Jane to share her knowledge about animals and dog and people health and products, but also to chronicle her journey as her husband approaches the middle and end of a journey afflicated with Lewy Body Dementia.
Unable to go to work because of the need to be on call/duty 24/7, expenses are extreme with a ranch of special needs dogs and a husband with a terminal illness. Every month a link will be in the menu above to offer help when you can. It is impossible to provide for everyone’s needs without help. To help, the link for Feb, 2019 is: https://www.gofundme.com/gofundmecomicantbreatheblogfeb2019
Please sign up for email notifications of new blog posts under the “Contact” button and click on “Like” after posts when you feel so motivated. It is hard to be a caregiver of so many so having some virtual support and encouragement, prayers and all gifts would be very much appreciated.
Thank you for caring. Especially for caring.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” –Anatole France