Do you ever wonder if domestic dogs would be happier if they weren’t confined by our homes? I keep my dogs inside when we’re not home because I’m afraid of them escaping or getting kidnapped or digging under the fence or annoying the neighbors by barking. They’re safer inside. When we’re home, we let them play outside as long as they want, which winds up being only as long as we’re outside playing with them.
Leo’s never known a life other than this, but Mia was “cage free” for at least part of her life before she came to us. She shows no sign of missing her freedom.
I almost retweeted an article I read the other day about stray/feral dogs on Indian reservations. I almost wrote, “If it weren’t for us, Mia would have ended up like these poor reservation dogs with a life expectancy of only two years.”
But that didn’t quite ring true. Mia had a home before she found us. Two, actually. So we’ve been told. For some reason I cannot begin to understand, her most recent owners reportedly left her behind when they moved away. Mia was being informally fostered at a home on an Indian reservation. Not the same as running in a pack, biting people, and having to fend for her own food and shelter. The family brought her inside at night, where she slept under a little girl’s bed. Terrible life we rescued her from, right?
I remember wondering why Mia’s foster family even bothered to find another home for her. Don’t dogs just roam freely on the rez?
Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks rez dogs are leading the life. This article in Indian Country Today declares that rez dogs will rule the world one day.
I always like seeing off-leash dogs on the reservations I frequent, but then, they never strike me as stray, homeless or feral. Surely these aren’t the dogs with a lifespan of two years. None has threatened to bite me. For the most part, they seem less reactive than the dogs I raised from puppies. Mia is less reactive than the dogs I raised from puppies.
So there’s something to be said for letting dogs roam free: no barrier frustration. And two excellent reasons to keep them confined: their safety and the safety of people. Roaming dogs can get hit by cars or abused, and people could get bitten.
Whether there is a rez dog “problem” or not, I can’t say. At least one reservation around here requires dogs to be fenced or tied up, and according to part two of the above article, a rescue group is finding homes for strays on the Crow reservation.