As an animal advocate, most familiar with dogs, I am often asked for advice about how to mitigate some unpleasant or puzzling dog behavior. Frequently, people are curious about what I would do in certain situations. Overtime, I have developed what I believe is a good guiding principle: “If you wouldn’t do it to your child, don’t do it to your dog.” This phrase has been most germane when considering whether to stow dogs in the luggage compartment of an airplane for travel.
Now, according to the Washington Post, a business in New York has provided an equally bad way to treat the family dog. It never ceases to amaze me how people who swear by all that is holy how they love their dog just as much, if not more, than their human family will demand more from the dog than family and put the dog at psychological or physical risk when the dog becomes inconvenient.
Okay, back to this bad idea: lockers for dogs where you can “stash” your dog while you run errands. Okay, if you wouldn’t put your small child in this locker, don’t put your dog in the locker. Actually, your child would be more safe in this locker because the child could tell passersby if he or she were hot, cold, hungry, had to use the bathroom, or felt unsafe in any way. Not so with the innocent family dog who gives unconditional love to the family and frequently finds itself at the mercy of fools.
The locker is about 30 x 40 inches according to the article, without windows and an archaic system to control the temperatures involving insulation and a fan. Not sure how the insulation helps in the hot New York summers. Dogs are not to be left for longer than three hours or they will have to pay $5 a minute thereafter. The lockers are apparently monitored, which is fairly easily with only 30 lockers, but the plan is to increase them to 100. Then what? At some point, an attendant is supposed to remove the dog and take it to a facility if dangerous conditions arise. Oh, good, now I feel better. A dog, stressed for an unknown reason is removed from an unfavorable situation by an unfamiliar person and taken to an uncertain boarding facility by unclear methods to wait for an indeterminate amount of time for someone to find it or for New York authorities to realize it’s been abandoned.
The Post said it first, but these lockers are like “tiny jail cells.” This is another example of humans treating dogs in ways that are convenient and make sense to the human. Please, leave the dog home if you need to take care of errands in places that are not dog friendly. This may be better than another bad idea, tying a dog to a pole outside of a store, but not by much. Do what’s best for the dog, not best for you.
If you wouldn’t do it to your child, don’t do it to your dog.
See Post article here. Tell me what you think. Clearly, I think this is a bad idea, but a colleague famously told me that I should never underestimate people’s ability to support an inferior product or bad idea. Prove him wrong.