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Dogs Deserve Better receives many heartbreaking e-mails about chained dogs, and a neighbor/or concerned citizen would like to know what can be done. How can you rescue this dog?

Each situation is different, and at Dogs Deserve Better we've found that what works in one situation doesn't necessarily work in the next one. To date, we've succeeded in getting over 3000 dogs off chains nationwide since Dogs Deserve Better started in August 2002 through rescue alone; tens of thousands due to laws our volunteers have worked tirelessly to pass.

As much as you'd rather not hear this, the best way to win a better life for a chained dog near you is to befriend the caretaker. Asking him/her to meet the dog and bringing treats (sometimes for both the dog and the caretaker) helps pave the way to a successful interaction.

Be open and friendly. Once you get to know them, ask them how you can HELP them, because it allows them to see you as an ally as opposed to the enemy. This question is also an open-ended one, meaning it doesn't allow for a simple 'no' answer. This then gives you the opportunity to give them the options available to them. These may include: help with housetraining, donating a crate for housetraining, fostering and finding the dog a new home, help with fencing, walking the dog daily, or fostering and housetraining the dog and returning him/her. We also can sometimes work out a deal where we pay to vet and spay/neuter the dog in exchange for them bringing him/her into the house and chaining or penning NO other dogs outside.

We offer funding help for rescue of chained dogs, and do so on a case by case basis as funds permit through The Hero Fund, so don't let a lack of funds stop you from trying to help the dog.

Try to remain as calm as possible, and gently speak from your heart about what you feel a dog needs, and why living chained or penned does not meet these needs. If you are met with aggression or defensiveness, leave the information, and most importantly a contact phone number, and leave the property.

Often a caretaker will be belligerent with us, but call later when he/she has had time to think. We can then have a good conversation and work out an agreement. That's a great success! So please leave a number where they can reach you in case they rethink their position.

If you're determined to get the dog off chains or out of the pen no matter what, offering to buy the dog may work in some instances. It's worth a try, although we've heard of caretakers who've turned down offers of $500 or more. Be patient and "politely persistent" and don't give up. That was how we rescued Bo, the inspiration for Dogs Deserve Better, because Tammy wouldn't give up!

If you're successful, you may need to foster the dog. Fostering is very hard work. Chained dogs in most cases have not been housetrained, so a crate is almost a necessity in order to work with them. They may also have behavioural problems that need to be addressed. See Debby Dobson's article, Rehabilitating Chained or Confined Dogs for some insight into problem areas and how these areas can be worked with.

To learn more and see more options, consider the handout letter along with a brochure, which you can get inexpensively from our store or download from our volunteer page. We recommend you wait a couple weeks to see if the letter has worked on it's own if you mail it. We estimate a success rate with the letter of 5-10%, which isn't overly encouraging, but consider that you are building blocks of education. Sometimes you see no progress at first, but over time they begin to understand. We also can send the letter from the home office, if you'd prefer, just e-mail the address.

For more opportunities, visit the volunteer page, and best of luck! You can do it, and when you see that happy and FREE face of a chained dog, all your hard work will be worthwhile.

You can help Dogs Deserve Better anytime you shop online through iGive.com.

Contact Info: Dogs Deserve Better, Inc. • 1915 Moonlight Rd., Smithfield, VA 23430 • 757-357-9292