Have you ever seen a dog chained up outside, hunkering down and shivering in the winter cold?

I've seen it and I have been both saddened and sickened by it. A poor, helpless dog is chained up outside, with no shelter from the wind, no dry place to lay down, and no water to drink. Just the thought of that infuriates me.

I will never understand why people who leave their pets out in the elements even own pets. Obviously, they don't really care about them. If they did, they wouldn't treat them this way.

Winter is just beginning in Western Colorado and it's going to get a lot colder before it gets warmer and we need to impress upon local pet owners the need to provide warmth and shelter for their pets. How about implementing the Golden Rule in regards to your pets. 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' In this case, it's a matter of treating your dog the same way you would want to be treated by your human.

Maybe you don't want your dog in the house. I understand that. But, how about having  a rug or blanket in the garage for your dog to lay on. How about a doghouse with a blanket inside? That's not as good as the garage, but it's far better than leaving the animal out in the elements.

How cold is too cold for your dog? Well, there are some breeds who are made for cold weather like Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies, but most dogs are not equipped to handle extreme cold.  According to the Pedigree Foundation, once the temperature is getting near 32 degrees, dog owners need to seriously consider a coat or sweater for their dog, especially small dogs, puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with fine hair.

When the temperature drops below 20, dog owners absolutely should be taking steps to get their dog out of the cold

I really appreciate the message from Tyrann Mathieu, of the Kansas City Chiefs.

"Bring your dogs inside, treat them like members of your family, and report neglect to authorities immediately."

Mathieu spent 20 minutes in the freezer to try and illustrate what it's like being confined to the bitter cold elements with no relief available. After 20 minutes he just couldn't take it any longer and had to get out. Take a look at this demonstration in the video below, and let it serve as a reminder to be mindful of your dog's well-being during the western Colorado winter.

I certainly don't agree with everything PETA stands for, but this is one area where we are in complete agreement. Our pets deserve better.

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