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July 16, 2013

How Many Times Does it Have To Be Said?

Another summer has arrived and along with it, the heat. Here in Calgary we’ve had quite an eventful summer so far when it comes to weather. Massive rainfalls and the melting runoff from the mountains caused some incredible flooding along the Bow River and the Elbow River affecting thousands of residents (and their pets) from Canmore to HighRiver. Calgary was in a state of emergency for nearly two weeks. But that’s another story!

Today I’m here to talk about the spells of hot weather that we've had over the past month or so. And as always with the hot weather I see two things happening when it comes to our pooches.
  1. People leaving their dogs in hot cars.
  2. People bringing their dogs with them as they go shopping and leave them tied up outside the store all by themselves.

These are probably my two biggest pet peeves when it comes to irresponsible guardianship of our beloved pets. I can put up with people not picking up their dog’s poooh or those dreadful people who leave their dogs in the backs of open trucks while driving around town or even the constant barking of neighbourhood dogs left out in backyards. But I simply will not tolerate items #1 or #2 if they are happening right in front of me. My story today has to do with item #2 on the list.

The Situation

Without going into a ton of detail, because there is a lot of detail I could go into, here is the gist of the story. My apologies if it still too long for a quick read.

Checking Oliver's tag for contact info
Mrs. Nate and I stopped into the local barber shop to get me a much needed haircut. As we walk in, we see a tiny, timid Yorkshire Terrier-like dog tied up to a newspaper box. We were both immediately appalled at seeing this. We went in, I sat down, got called, got my haircut, paid for my haircut and left. Upon leaving nearly 30 minutes later the dog is still sitting there! The barber shop was located next door to Ricky’s All Day Grill and I started to get angry thinking this dog’s guardian was actually inside enjoying a Grand Forks Breakfast while his dog was sitting out here alone, stressed out as dozens of people walked by. Many stopped to pet him and even tried to comfort him but that only stressed him out more.

As we stood there deciding what action to take, a small crowd was beginning to gather. We looked at his tag and saw his name to be Oliver and there was a phone number. Sweet! I immediately called the number and the owner answered. I asked him if he had a dog named Oliver, he replied yes. I told him there was a crowd of people outside concerned that Oliver has been left out here all by himself for so long. He said he’d be right out. As I suspected he came out of the restaurant. He was actually sitting down to lunch while leaving his dog outside. Truly sad!

Upon seeing all the folks standing around his dog and one of them holding him in her arms, he had a very embarrassed look on his face. I told him according to the City of Calgary bylaws; it was illegal to leave an animal unattended in a public place and that it was considered abandonment. Others piped up as well. He held his hands out to take the dog and before handing him over, the lady holding Oliver said she was extremely close to taking him to the Calgary Humane Society. He thanked everyone for our concern and quickly took Oliver with him back into the restaurant. A couple of minutes later he came out with his pre-teen daughter and they started to walk away.

The Thought Process

So let me get this straight, you decide you and your 10 year old daughter want to go have a nice brunch at Ricky’s. For some reason you think it’s a great idea to bring your tiny, timid dog along for the walk to the restaurant.

Oliver being comforted by a caring bystander
What’s the thought process here? I really need to know! Firstly, you know you can’t bring a dog into a restaurant with you right? I mean you realize this going in so you MUST know that you are going to have to tie little Oliver up and leave him all by himself while you go in and stuff your face. Secondly, you also know that Oliver is not going to be left alone just for a couple of minutes like running into 7-11 to get a Slurpee. Sitting down and ordering food at a restaurant is going to take 45 minutes at least right? So what in this guy’s mind went on that told him this was even close to a good idea? The other thing that bothers me is that he is teaching his 10 year old daughter that this sort of thing is okay to do to your dog!

Now the fact that Oliver has a tag with his name and phone number on it tells me Oliver’s guardian does actually give a crap about him, I mean he is responsible enough to even put contact info on him in the first place. So where in his obviously sensible head did he think that this decision was okay?


If anyone reading this blog could even offer up some kind of answer to that question, I’d love to hear it. I would have to imagine it would be same thought process one uses when thinking it’s a good idea to leave your dog in a hot car while you go shopping for groceries.

My next blog will involve some facts in regards to these situations; by-laws, statistics and some conversations with authorities on the subject of dogs being left alone in public or locked in hot cars.

This irresponsible, abhorrent behavior must stop!

Special thank you to Melaina from CHS for her help and advice during this situation.

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