As I walk the streets of this snow-covered community in the bitter cold, I am noticing an epidemic of lost dog signs.
In the past, I have noticed occasional signs for a lost dog from time to time, but never anywhere close to the number that I've seen recently. Lost dogs have apparently become such a problem that there’s even a Web site at www.winnipeglostdogalert.com, where dog owners can go for help in finding their lost dogs.
I am not a dog owner, nor do I have any affinity for dogs, but I do feel badly for the dogs in question. Domesticated animals are ill-equipped to live on their own and being outside their homes in this extreme cold can effectively be a death sentence.
Seeing these signs and the desperate pleas from their owners leads me to wonder why these dogs are getting lost in the first place. Certainly, accidents do happen, but there are so many people in this city who take their dogs out and let them roam free with impunity and/or handle their dog’s call of nature by “letting the dog out,” often to do its business in their neighbor’s yard.
These same people will then act so surprised when their dog, set loose from captivity, decides to go for a little adventure around the neighborhood, gets lost or just chooses not to return.
You can hardly blame such an animal. Anyone on the Prairies understands the concept of cabin fever. Most humans, however, know how to get home. Many dogs do not.
Perhaps if these same dog owners spent half the time and effort in keeping their dogs penned up as they did in printing and distributing these signs, their dogs would be safe and sound at home.