It’s no life of Riley here in New Mexico. It’s not a dog’s life in the sense hoped for. Hundreds, and some say thousands, of dogs are forgotten, abandoned, or live their lives at the end of chains, neglected, starved, and abused.
It’s in part a culture of working dogs, guard dogs, and wild dogs. There’s also a culture of pampered pets in the cities to the north. There is a middle ground however. One of respect for quality of life whether you have two legs or four. There is a clash though, a resistance to change how dogs are treated yet some are standing up, speaking up as the voice for the forgotten dogs of New Mexico.
No one embodies the awareness of rescue more than Angela Stell and NMDOG. Angela, along with a local group of hands-on volunteers and foster homes, plus over 25,000 supporters page, is on a mission. She is the voice of the Unchain Your Dog momentum here in New Mexico. NMDOG, a non-profit organization, is committed to reducing the misery of dogs living on the ends of short chains, left alone outdoors regardless of either snowfall or extreme heat and drought.
The focus is on rescuing dogs from life on a chain, of neglect, of constant breeding, and in too many cases to mention, abuse and torture. They work with the humans to educate, to spay and neuter, to build better dog runs with shade and shelter, and at times to rehome and rehabituate these neglected canines. NMDOG works with local animal control officers, with other shelters and rescues, and law enforcement to find the best homes for these dogs in need.
Puma is one such dog, chained outside at the eight weeks old with no socialization, and a fearful aggressive nature as the outcome of her forgotten life. Luckily NMDOG took her in, worked with her, and understood why she acted the way she did. She has since then learnt to play, to trust humans, and to fully live a good life. Puma is just one of the many success stories. Not all end so happily.
Bodhi is a senior Husky who survived ten years on the end of a heavy chain, with food dropped on the dirt, barely enough water, and such limited range of motion that he suffered severe atrophy and weakness in his hips and joints, not to mention over 300 ticks removed when he was rescued. He now lives with a family that worked with his dietary needs, physical therapy, and socialization. Living well is the best revenge and Bodhi is loved and healthy finally.
Hubble, an 8 year old bull terrier, came to NMDOG so badly emaciated that he only lasted a short while after rescue despite the efforts of vets and volunteers. Hubble atleast knew love in his last few weeks of life. NMDOG and law enforcement are pursuing felony cruelty case against his former human owners. It’s a struggle to change the status quo. The current laws are lax, unclear, and unenforced. County by county, the laws are slowly changing though and there is hope that others will unchain their dogs.
NMDOG’s focus on education, rescue, fostering, working with the recently created Bernalillo County Animal Cruelty Task Force, together are making a difference in the lives of many animals in New Mexico. Finally. You can help by speaking up against animal cruelty.