Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm in the mood

for a little Dinah Washington

I hope you all had a nice weekend. I know we sure did. We did a little Geocaching on Saturday, followed up by a nice lazy Sunday at church and back at home.

You know, I don't think I've covered this topic and it just cropped up in my head as I sit here about to publish an all too short post and expect it to cover for my absence this past week.

I believe, and anyone who knows me knows I'm not for mandates, that military members who are handed orders to a post overseas must read "The Ugly American" before acting on those orders.

I say this because we recently (last month-ish to two months ago) got some new American neighbors across the street from us. These people own a dog. That's as far as it goes. They own it. They don't care for it, they don't walk it, they don't particularly treat it as a living being, and they have not shown a care for what happens to it.

She (the dog) barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks. You would too if you were constantly left tied beside the house eventually wrapping your lead around a tree so you couldn't reach your food or water. You would too if you were never walked. You would too if you had to sit there every day in a mountain of your own waste.

I'd... we'd had enough.

I went over there about a week ago and met the owners. I offered to walk their dog. I figured, and I told this to them, that if the dog was walked, then she would not have the energy to bark all day and night. Perhaps the surrounding families would be able to get a night's sleep without having to drown out the din of this animal.

Sure. Why not?

I went back that evening wearing running gear, reintroduced myself to a young woman I met for all of half a minute earlier, asked the dog's name (Co-co), was handed the leash and the door closed.

Side note... who willingly hands over their animal to a stranger?

I ran that dog for miles.

By the end of our "jog", the dog was an angel. She listened to me, she sat at intersections, she didn't snap, she didn't perk at side noises or distractions. She was in my "pack" and I was her leader. She was happy... and exhausted.

I returned her to her owners who did not even ask how she did. I tried to give a report about her habits on the walk, watering her at the park... nothing doing. Conversation was short and they disappeared back into the house with a simple thanks. The dog looked to me to make sure it was okay to go in.

For the next two days I lived in fear. I heard nothing from that house. Not a single bark. Did I kill the poor thing? I thought she could take the run.

On the second day, it all began again.

Did they not notice? Do they really not care? Did I really expect showing them how it could be with a peaceful dog would change anything? Perhaps I thought too much.

Here in Japan we have a SOFA (Status of forces agreement) which outlines the authorized actions of servicemembers to keep a happy harmonious relationship with our host country. According to SOFA, we are not allowed to leave our animals outside without direct supervision... not all day while at work or out all night while partying.

I hate to do it, but I need to. I need to get that dog cared for. On the one hand, I think an individual should take charge of their own lives and I do NOT like the village concept. You might not like how someone else is living, but if it is not infringing on your (or someone else's) rights or liberties, then it is their life. Let them live it. In this case, there's another living being's livelihood at stake. I am certain that with continued neglect, this dog will pass a breaking point and will hurt someone or herself. There is mistreatment. Simply yelling profanities at a dog will not solve this problem.

I hate that it takes this to resolve the problem. I wish these people would handle their own lives. I've left notes, I've tried to show them alternatives first hand...

If you guys have an alternative I haven't thought of, I'm all ears. I want the best for the people across the street, I want the best for the dog.

Okay... I strayed far from Dinah.

Scroll back up and listen to her again.

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