Put bad dog owners on shorter leash

By Lisa Wardle

A few weeks ago, a creepy-looking rat dog came into my house. The tiny chihuahua yipped late at night when I was trying to sleep, she wouldn’t play and didn’t want to be petted. She would run away whenever someone tried to put a leash on her. But mostly, the reason I disliked her stemmed from the situation with which she came to us.

A woman in Nichols Park randomly unloaded her on one of my housemates and said to give her a good home. I don’t know how long they spoke, but it was long enough to learn the dog’s name was Rosie.She had never been outside of the house, and she belonged to the woman’s daughter, who would have been devastated had she known what happened.

If my housemate were a different person, she may not have taken the dog in—but it was in her nature. Last year she adopted a ridgeback mix that had been beaten with a belt and starved to nearly a third of its healthy weight.

She had that dog with her at the park, too, which begs the question: Why did the woman think it was a good idea to drop off a tiny Chihuahua with a girl who had a crazy, giant dog that could have—and probably would have, had it had the chance—eaten it? This woman clearly did not understand dogs.

Like too many people, the woman didn’t know how to take care of a dog and, thus, probably shouldn’t have had one as a pet in the first place.

Since my housemate couldn’t keep Rosie near her own dog, the new rescue lived in a dog crate next to my room. We took care of her as best as we could, but she was terrified of me and anyone else who tried to get near her. We tried to take her outside to pee, but she was only potty trained on newspaper. She didn’t know any commands, and whenever she got out of the crate, she would run around the room jumping on things.

I understand that Rosie was scared. She had no idea what to think of the new place she was in or the people around her. If she had better owners, real owners, she probably would have been different—only I wouldn’t know because she would still have had a home.

Though the woman’s method of getting rid of the dog was substandard, her heart may have been in the right place.

Even if she and her daughter couldn’t take care of Rosie well enough, that didn’t mean the dog deserved to live a poor life. And there are many people out there who cannot take good care of their pets, but still have them.

So why do these people own dogs to begin with? They do not have the compassion or responsibility needed to care for such animals, and it doesn’t make sense why they would even bother.

The mom must have known this. And if this woman’s daughter was so keen on having a pet, all she needed to do was offer the girl the stereotypical response of “Dogs take a lot of responsibility” and persuade her to get a different animal.

Formulaic as it may sound, dogs do require a lot of responsibility. They need to be trained, played with, fed, walked and picked up after. If you can’t manage that, why not pick up a hamster? Or a parakeet? Or even a lizard?

There’s plenty of options out there that require less care and are actually supposed to be cooped up in the house; so next time, lady, I hope you buy your kid a guinea pig.