Ginnie R. Maurer

Regardless of when and where our relationship with dogs began, it's been going on for centuries. At some point humans and canines decided life together seemed like a good idea. And so, the dog became our "best" friend. Yet, if we treated a human best friend the way we treat some dogs, we wouldn't have any friends at all.

While some people look upon the bond between themselves and their dogs with respect, care, and yes, love; others think of "that thing" in the house as repugnant. So, the dog gets left outside, tied to a tree, a rusted out car or a rain barrel.

I have never understood why anyone would have a dog they never play with, take for walks or commune with. Why have a dog? Even those who have working dogs, on farms especially, care for and spend time with their dogs in other than a work relationship. They have built a bond with their dogs. I'm talking about people who get a dog, tie him or her to a tree and then ignore the dog. Why have a dog?

I have two dogs in my home who came from the outdoors. One was attached to a metal chain weighing twice what she did and another was in a fenced yard. Neither had human contact, except at feeding time when a hand would stretch out from a door and put a bowl of something on the ground.

One lived that way for two years; the other for at least four years, maybe longer. When they became part of my household, the one on the chain was totally uncontrollable for about 24 hours; and then when she realized she was safe, she settled down, played with my other dogs and became the happiest dog I've ever known. The other was quite docile when he joined my pack. He wanted nothing more than to drape himself over any warm body who would let him.

Contact your commissioners; sign petitions; show up at the hearing; call your friends, neighbors, relatives, colleagues, civic groups, etc. Visit Speak up for the chained and penned dogs of Berkeley County. Be their voice in what is ultimately a political process. They don't vote. You do.

With apologies to Mahatma Gandhi, I end this plea with a simple thought: The greatness of Berkeley County and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. Let's make Berkeley County great. Support the tethering ordinance. Then, the answer to "Who let the dogs in?" will be, "Berkeley County did."

- Ginnie R. Maurer lives in Falling Waters and can be reached at or