Building a Way Off the Chain
In the Pacific Northwest, good neighbors make good fences
Winter or summer, in good weather or bad, Fences for Fido (FFF) puts up fences.
But the Portland, Ore.-based animal nonprofit with chapters in Washington state is actually removing barriers by doing so, giving families who previously chained their dogs access to a better option for the animals.
Take the work the group did for "the Railroad Five," a group of four pit bull mixes and one cattle dog, so nicknamed for their proximity to train tracks in Aurora, Ore. After more than five years on chains in an isolated backyard with no shelter from the elements, on a rainy day in November 2011, their time on the chain gang came to an end. Twenty volunteers who'd spent the past three hours putting up a fence for the dogs stood in the cold backyard and cheered as they watched several of the railroad pups joyfully dashing around their new enclosure. In a matter of a few hours, they had gained increased freedom and quality of life, when 18 days before—despite the fact that one dog had only three legs, another dog was pregnant, and all five dogs were starved for affection—the family said they did not want a fence.