Monday, January 25, 2016

If It's Too Cold For You, It's Too Cold For Them

During the summer months, an abundance of stories surface about dogs who die because they're left in cars for lengthy periods of time. I read the titles. I don't need to read the rest. When there's a photo accompanying these stories. I close my eyes. Tight. Turn away from my monitor and scroll. I've seen too many already. I don't need another image burned into my brain. I give way to the lump in my throat and reach for the tissues stashed in my desk drawer.

The same holds true for the winter months. Stories and photos. Dogs found frozen to death. Story after story after story. I sit at my desk, sobbing like a baby. For the life of me, I can't understand this. Why is this happening?

If it's too cold for you, it's too cold for them. Like with us humans, dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia. 

During the winter months, our kids have limited time outside. Coco loves the snow and cold. If we're having a mild winter day, we allow him to play outside for a bit. He loves to climb snow piles and traipse through the snow in the yard. If the winds are whippin' and the air hurts our face, his time outside is greatly reduced.

Our kids are never left outside unattended. We are with them at all times.

Sophie and Lobo do not like the cold weather months. They rush to do their business and then run to the door. After 5 minutes, they've had enough. Once inside, they nestle themselves under blankets.

There isn't a cell in my body that can process why pet parents think it's okay to leave their fur-kids outside, in the cold, for any length of time. Never mind long enough to endure frostbite or succumb to hypothermia.

People have occasionally accused me of being an overprotective dog Mom. Why? Because once or twice an hour, I check on our kids and make sure they're covered up. I do this during the summer months too because we have two air conditioners that are almost always on. One in the living room. The other in the bedroom. This is where the kids usually lounge and nap. I don't want them to catch a chill.

When I tell people this, they laugh. It pisses me off.

At that point, I get a little defensive. Especially towards those who have human kids. If your human kid is napping and uncovered, as a Mom, your instinct is to cover them up. Yes? Why is that any different for us?

If they still don't get it, I jump down to the next level.

"Would you dress (insert name of toddler) in a pair of jeans, a long sleeved shirt, and socks and send them outside, when it's 10 degrees, and leave them out there for an hour or two? Three hours? Unattended?"

The mere thought of this happening causes their eyes to swell with tears. No, they wouldn't. Why? Their human toddler would freeze to death.

For us dog Moms, it's no different. We want our kids safe and warm. And, when we read of pet parents, or parents of human kids, who have failed, who's kids have died because of neglect, we mourn. Our hearts are ripped out because we can't fathom how it got to that point.

When we see this time and time again, we get angry. Ugly thoughts race through our brains. We want the parents to suffer the same fate. An eye for an eye. And, with that, comes shame. At least it does for me. I'm not a violent or revengeful person.

However, if you're a shitty enough human to allow your kid to suffer whether it be freezing to death, starvation, leaving them in a hot car, I would not feel an iota of guilt if you were forced to suffer the same fate.

That's where I stand. I don't see that shifting any time soon. Or ever.

When you take on the responsibility of being a parent, whether to fur-kids or human kids, it's your job to protect them. Keep them warm. Cool. Safe. Secure. Fed. Loved. That's just the tip of the iceberg of responsibilities. If at any point in time, you think or feel otherwise, your rights should be revoked.


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