Country superstar Emmylou Harris’ life has really gone to the dogs-and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Devoted to lending a hand to down-and-out dogs, the down-to-earth music legend once rolled up her sleeves to help PETA build doghouses for cold and lonely dogs who were trapped at the end of a chain. Now she’s taking her canine cause to the airwaves. In a new series of radio PSAs, Emmylou encourages people to spay and neuter their animal companions and take them inside rather than keep them chained outside, longing for warmth, safety, and companionship.
Why is Emmylou fixated on getting animals fixed and out of the cold? Homelessness is not just a human problem. U.S. animal shelters must put nearly 4 million dogs and cats to death every year because of simple math: There are too many animals and not enough worthy adoptive homes. Millions more animals are condemned to a sad life of loneliness, isolated outside with no exercise or attention. Wintry weather means extra hardship for “backyard” dogs. Chained dogs often have nowhere to go to escape the cold and snow. They suffer from frostbite, exposure, and dehydration when water sources freeze.
Dogs don’t deserve to be given the cold shoulder. This winter, exercise some Emmylou-style empathy: Practice your ABC’s and declare a “winter watch” for animals who live outdoors.