June 1, 2009Unchaining Raleigh’s Dogs: People United For Pets

A couple of weekends ago my husband and I volunteered with People United for Pets (PUP) here in Raleigh, NC, to build a fence for two dogs, Buddy and Strut, who had lived most of their lives on chains. Raleigh’s city council recently passed a no-tethering law that goes into effect July 1st, 2009. After the law goes into effect, owners of tethered dogs will be forced to either provide proper containment for their dogs or face a $100/day fine for tethering beyond the legal time limit. As many who tether their dogs can’t afford these options, many dogs like Buddy and Strut will face the grim possibility of being surrendered to our kill shelter instead.

PUP provides free fences to owners in need of assistance. Dog owners must only agree to have their dogs spayed or neutered, a service also paid for by PUP.

buddyandstrut

Buddy (a young pit bull mix) wasn’t too happy to see a bunch of strangers show up in his yard on a Saturday morning, but Strut, a senior retriever/shepherd mix, didn’t seem too bothered by our presence, and was more than happy to dole out slobbery greetings to anyone who came close enough — a rather daunting notion with Buddy barking and lunging nearby.

The fence we built had to have a separation in the middle so that Buddy and Strut wouldn’t argue over food. In addition, Buddy is a digger, so his side of the fence had to be reinforced at the bottom to prevent escape or injury.

build1

build2

Since a good deal of the build involved manly physical labor of which I wasn’t capable, I spent some time trying to get to know Buddy instead. Buddy’s owner told me that he had found Buddy as a small pup in a trash can. I felt sure that Buddy’s  aggressive demeanor resulted from fear, so I approached him as slowly and as non-challengingly as I could. A fellow volunteer and I began doling out dog biscuits as fast as Buddy could eat them, and soon he was wagging his tail and gleefully accepting neck scritches. A few more months on the chain might have snuffed out any of the trust and love he had left.

buddy1

The best part of the whole gig? Instant gratification. Once we had the fence mostly constructed, Buddy and Strut’s owner led them one at a time into the new fence so the dogs could check out their new digs. Were they happy with our work? Well, you tell me.

buddy2

strut1

buddy3

To find out more about PUP NC, including volunteer and donation opportunities, visit the PUP NC web site.

For more photos of the fence build, check out phetched’s flickr.

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10 comments

  1. Steve’s avatar

    This was one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in a long time.

  2. Stacie’s avatar

    That is FABULOUS! And the pictures make me feel like I was there. I hope more people follow your lead and develop programs like PUP nationwide. If a picture is worth a thousand words that last picture of Buddy rolling on the ground says it all! I’m going to cross post his for you in the hopes that others will be inspired :)

  3. Ann’s avatar

    I’m all teary-eyed now. That is awesome. Rock on.

  4. Kristy’s avatar

    Good job guys! Great photos too…

  5. Joyce’s avatar

    I do not like seeing dogs chained up. I’m glad you helped these pups outside and the owner. We have a dog two doors down that is chained up all year long (he’s a big white lab/wolf). It really just kills me, but I’ve told the guy, called the cops twice because the dog was hooked against the fence the guy didn’t take down all the way, etc. We are in Minnesota, so the winters aren’t easy. Do you have suggestions on what I can or should do? This guy doesn’t even clean up the feces or go out and pet the dog…I wish he’d give it up.

  6. phetched’s avatar

    Ugh, that sounds horrible, Joyce. Does your town/city have any anti-tethering laws, or maybe regulations about leaving dogs out without fresh water or shelter? Sometimes Animal Control can levy fines for infractions such as those, and often the fines can add up enough to make an owner change his ways. If there’s an animal advocacy attorney nearby, he or she might be able to refer you to local resources like PUP. I know how you feel. We treat our dogs like family, and it’s really hard to accept it when others don’t see their dogs in the same light.

  7. phetched’s avatar

    Oh, and thanks, everyone, for reading!

  8. Victoria Yang’s avatar

    Loved the story!! And the last photo of Buddy, now that’s a happy dog. :)

  9. karen’s avatar

    http://www.unchaindogs.net/

    Please support the original unchaining dogs. Unchained over 500 dogs. Thank you very much.

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