Home Alone no doubt was a hilarious movie, but there’s nothing funny about people who constantly leave their dogs home alone. One of the questions I was asked when adopting Sadie, was how much time would I have to spend with her? I gave it some serious consideration because back then I was not a “dog person” and to be honest, I wasn’t sure exactly what my answer should be. I soon learned that raising a puppy was no easy feat and it took a lot of time. I started doing my errands on my lunch hours so my weekends would be free for time with Sadie. People need to think long and hard before taking that cute puppy home, because you are taking responsibility for their life and that life should not be spent alone. Yes, I too have to work every day, but I’ve arranged for the care of my dog when I work. If you leave your dog at home, have a neighbor check on them or go home for lunch. I’m not talking about times we must leave our dog home, but the times they could be with you and are left home lonely and often vulnerable to harm.
Pet Safety experts recommend that no dog should be left home alone for more than a few hours. Dogs should NEVER be left home overnight alone. One perhaps unforeseen, yet horrific event happened when two small dogs were left home alone overnight and the house was broken into. The thieves spent several hours in the house and tortured the dogs. It’s just not safe to leave your dog home alone for an extended period of time. Over a half million…yes 500,000 pets die in fires every year and most of them were unable to get out because they were left home alone. Over 2 million 2,000,000 pets are stolen each year, many from their own back yards. Leaving your dog in the yard for a quick run to the store might be the last time you ever see them. I’ve known people to leave their dog home when the place they are going is perfectly fine for the dog to be with them. Why not take your dog along on a family picnic or camping trip? I’ve heard dogs barking in my neighborhood and they are obviously alone for the weekend because no cars come and go. How do they get exercise? What if they knock over their water? What if they get sick or hurt?
Now that summer is here, of course responsible pet parents are not taking their dogs out and leaving them in the car, but do we really have to go so many places anyway? A friend of mine I met when I adopted Sadie, Betsy Cohen Murphy has spent the last two weekends at home in an effort not to spend money. She’s been able to spend the entire weekend with her dogs. What a great idea to do this once a month if you need an incentive to spend a weekend at home and save a little money too. If you’re invited to have dinner out with friends, ask them to pick a restaurant with a patio so your dog can come along. Another alternative is to have everyone chip in and have dinner at your house. If you’re a dog parent, most likely your friends are too so the evening can be fun for everyone.
Do you really need that weekend “away”? What do people want to get away from? If it’s your dog, you need to find them a better person to share their life. After being out working all week, I so long just to be at home and at home is with Sadie. My home is my refuge from the world and the place I most like to be with my girl Sadie. Girls weekends are all the rage right now, but girls with dogs have responsibilities. Pick a pet friendly hotel…go hiking…rent a pet family beach condo or mountain cabin and take your dogs with you.
Vacations are fun for the whole family, even the four=legged members. Take a look at any vacation rental site on the internet and you’ll find plenty of pet friendly rentals. The cost to take your pet to a vacation rental for the week is much less expensive than boarding at a kennel and endlessly much more fun. Sadie loves waking on the beach, running after her water Frisbee and chasing beach birds. My morning coffee meditation is much more peaceful having Sadie right there on the balcony with me. We don’t miss out on anything by having Sadie with us at the beach; in fact I’ve met more dog parents than without her and often have a walking partner and their dog on the long beach walks. It’s so much more fun having her with us than leaving her at home. In fact, thanks to Sadie we’re friends with one of the best chefs at Kiawah Island now because he is a dog parent and understands that dogs are diners too.
I spoke to many of my pet parent friends concerning leaving dogs home alone and all agreed on the following:
1 Never leave your dog home alone overnight. NEVER.
2. Make sure you know without a doubt that anyone you choose to care for your pet while you must be gone is totally responsible and trustworthy. Tales of irrecponsiele pet sitters are countless and many pets have suffered due to their negligence.
3. NEVER leave your dog in a hot car. If you must go to the store leave you dog at home for no more time than necessary.
4. If you’re going on a trip where you absolutely can’t take your dog, choose a responsible boarding kennel to leave them at.
5. Dogs with separation anxiety have special requirements and if left alone and more susceptible to injury.
6. Leaving a dog in a fenced yard is always risky. They can escape or be stolen.
7, Invisible fences are not foolproof. Dogs can slip the sensor collar and run away and there’s always the chance the dog can be stolen.
8. NEVER NEVER NEVER leave your dog in a hot car. NEVER. And don’t leave the engine running. Dogs have accidently put a car into gear and serious harm results. It’s also illegal in many states to do this. Law enforcement vehicles have special anti-stall devices that allow working dogs to stay in a vehicle without fear of stalling. If your car stalls, you dog will suffocate in minutes.
Some people think I’m extreme because I take my dog everywhere and never leave her alone, but I don’t care. I remember a copy of the Ten Commandments for Pet Owners someone gave me a very long time ago and the one that spoke to me above all others:
PLEASE LIMIT YOUR TIME AWAY FROM ME. YOU HAVE YOUR FRIENDS, YOUR JOB. I HAVE ONLY YOU.
Your dog only wants to love you. Don’t leave her alone more than necessary. Don’t make time for everything and everyone and not your dog. You don’t want your dog to feel like you have no time or her. And if it’s true, that you don’t have time for them, own up to it. Realize maybe you shouldn’t have gotten a dog in the first place. Then let them have a life with someone who does.
Causes Patti Lawson Supports
All causes that are kind to people and animals.
The Worthy Project
Animal Legal Defense Fund