A woman in Houston, Texas is on a mission to help any dog that is chained outside and in need of shelter. Aliesha Medley spends one day every week driving around Houston’s Third Ward looking for dogs on chains. Her late model van is loaded with dog houses made of wood that she constructs herself.
The non-profit organization that she founded, Huts for Mutts, aims to provide shelter for dogs that spend a large amount of their lives chained outside. In Texas, dogs need an escape from the baking sun, shelter from storms, strong winds, rain and even low temperatures. In the winter months some parts of Texas see temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit overnight.
The truth is that no matter where a dog lives he needs access to an adequate shelter. Every region has its own extreme weather, and dogs need to be sheltered from it just as much as we do. Say what you will about chaining a dog outside all the time, as that is a topic for another day, but if that’s your choice as a pet owner your dog absolutely must have an appropriate, comfortable shelter.
Unfortunately, Medley says it typically doesn’t take her very long before she comes across a tethered dog in need of help. Each dog house costs her about $35 to make, and she says that most dog owners are very welcoming when she shows up with the gift.
Huts for Mutts began accepting donations via the organization’s Facebook page back in November, and they’ve already been able to build and distribute nearly 80 no-frill dog houses to pets in need. Texas state law makes it illegal to tether a dog outside between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
Medley says that this law is basically unenforceable. There are laws like this in place in many states around the U.S., but how can police officers take the time to help all the dogs in need when there are so many other important tasks on their plate? They cannot take time away from investigating violent crimes or burglaries to peruse neighborhoods for tethered dogs.
Many of the dog owners that Medley comes in contact with say they cannot afford to purchase a dog house. I believe that if you cannot afford the supplies you’ll need to own a dog, you shouldn’t have a dog, but that too is a discussion for another day.
If you or someone you know has a dog in need of a dog house, remember that it doesn’t need to be anything fancy with a whole bunch of bells and whistles. As long as the dog is sheltered from the weather and has enough space to sit and lie down, he’ll be much better off than he would be with no shelter at all.
What Medley is doing for the dogs in the Houston area is phenomenal, but there aren’t many others like her out there. Don’t expect to have someone drop a free dog house off on your doorstep. With a bit of research and a little creativity and ingenuity you can create an adequate shelter for your dog. You may not even need to buy any materials.
Chances are you probably have some loose nails or screws in a junk drawer somewhere. Perhaps you have some scrap wood lying around. It only costs Medley about $35 to make her dog houses. If you have some materials at home already it would cost you even less.
When it comes to shelter for your pet, anything is better than nothing. If you absolutely can’t afford any type of shelter, make sure to bring your pet inside. Not only is it the law in most places, but it’s a sign of love and respect for your dog. Doesn’t he deserve at least that?