Do You Know Where Your Dog Is?

As I was walking home the other day, I noticed a man lying in the middle of the street (literally). He had a dog with him and the dog was now loose, wandering in the road. A fully grown man is fairly difficult to miss; cars and trucks were edging past him. A tiny dog, however, is a different story and could easily be hit.

You might think this could happen to anyone. It’s true that misfortune can happen to anyone. You’re out walking your dog and God strikes. It could happen.

But this was not misfortune. This didn’t just “happen.” This was a man who choose to get effed up while in charge of another living being. Or put another way, this was a man who chose to take responsibility for another living being, in spite of his desire to get effed up. He was filthy, bloody, urine-stained…

Let’s get right down to it: I am guessing he stole the dog.

A year or so ago, S and I witnessed two drunks untie a dog and start to walk away with it. This was in Chinatown in the middle of the day. All kinds of people were watching, and no one was doing anything. The second we realized what was going on we intervened. I grabbed the leash and tugged it from the guy’s hand. No one offered to help. We waited around for more than half an hour for the owner to show up, the drunks kitty-corner and watching the whole time.

These are not isolated incidents. Since rescuing the dog in Chinatown, I’ve noticed street drunks in possession of dainty dogs. These are not the kinds of dogs you acquire for a planned life on the street. I see those dogs, too: large, muscular, short-furred, with well-worn leashes and packsacks, dirty bandanas. I see them with their owners, panhandling or hanging out in the park; the dogs have water bowls, food dishes. That’s a very different sight from a group of jerks sprawled on the pavement, yelling, crying, their faces wrecked, some utterly unconscious, others only half-so, and in the midst of them is a pretty dog, bright clean leash — maybe with long fur, maybe a thoroughbred — and zero provisions.

What can you do? What should you do?

I’ll admit, with this guy I lost my temper. I yelled, I swore. I wanted him off the street so at least the dog wouldn’t get hit. He ignored me until I said “cops.” I hated to see that dog go, but what could I do?

Every day I see dogs tied up on the sidewalk. This is toddler logic, teenage logic, to think you’re somehow immune. You are not. You’re not! Like this bullshit. You think your dog can’t be stolen in the 15 minutes — hell, 5 minutes — you’re in a store? Those guys in Chinatown, if we hadn’t stopped them? 2 minutes tops.

I’m actually thinking of starting a campaign, putting a tag on the leash of every dog I see tied up with some note about the danger. Being a public crazy is not really my style but I don’t know what else to do!?! But would this even work?

How do I get through to people??

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