Dogs are, hands down, one of life’s greatest joys. They are furry members of our family, right?

Not in all homes.

The sad reality is that there are people in this area who make their dogs live their entire lives outside, chained in the back yard. I have tried, with much success, to convince some to bring their dogs inside or to at least allow me to help. Many are open, but a few simply refuse and, while tethering for more than 24 hours in almost every other local county is illegal, it’s still legal in Brookfield.

Decades ago, people had a different mindset towards outside dogs and sometimes used them as a “security system.” Thankfully, today, we know so much more about dogs. We know that they feel loneliness, fear, sadness, anxiety. They suffer mentally and physically outside and alone. Chained dogs rarely get proper veterinary care. Chaining a dog for weeks, months and in many cases, years, completely breaks their spirit. They can and many times will become aggressive through no fault of their own.

Dogs are pack animals and your family becomes their pack. Why punish them by making them live outside and away from you? The chain restrains them from basic dog habits like sniffing, running, playing, exploring.

Can you even imagine sitting in the same spot forever? I can’t, and this is why there are dozens of us in this area who want to help. We care about you and your circumstance, but we are mostly speaking for your dog out there in your back yard, who has no voice. Winter is coming. Open your back door, walk to that doghouse, unchain that family member, and bring them inside. Please.

Merry Christmas, friends.

Susie Thomas,