It's (kinda, barely) spring in Minneapolis, and the warmer it gets here, especially in the Downtown, Uptown, and South Minneapolis areas, the more we are going to see traveling punks. Train hoppers, crustys, wanderers, hitchhiking artists, bands, whatever. Minneapolis has an amazing indie/underground music scene that attracts all sorts of people in the warm seasons, which is great, except for one thing that bothers me greatly; they drag along dogs.
Year after year I see traveling punks on the side of the road flying their signs asking for spare change for the bus, food, a ride, or beer,and along side them lots of times is a sad, dirty, nervous dog with a rope or a belt for a collar/leash. I understand that you like a companion when traveling across the country in alternative ways, but it's cruel and very very selfish. Many times I hear these people defend that their dogs come first and eat better than they do, and as much as they want to believe that they are doing right by the dog, it's just not true.
I have been a wild wandering child of punk rock for most of my life and I have seen and done it all. I've hopped the trains, got lost on the other side of the country, and have been in the company of these people and their dogs. I kid you not, every single alternative traveling dog I have ever met was a biter. I'm sure it can't be true for all of them, but it was for the ones Ive been around. If approached by a stranger, or startled, they will bite. Hackles go up, teeth bared, you may or may not get a warning growl, but you will get bit.
It's not because they are bad dogs, it may not even be from a bad owner, but it is definitely from bad environment. These traveling dogs have NO structure. They have no homes. They do not know where they will be from hour to hour, and certainly have no idea when or where their next meal will come from. Even wolves have structure within their packs. Wolves make a den and go to it every night. Even if wolves don't eat for 3 days, they know where they will get food. They KNOW they will kill an animal and they will eat it. They know who is in their pack, where their den is, and how they will eat.
These traveling dogs don't know it their person will provide them a can of dog food, or if they will be eating out of a McDonald's dumpster. They don't know when they will get the basic need of water. There is no structure to that lifestyle and it destroys a dogs confidence and makes them feel unsafe. You are putting a dog in a position where they have to rely on someone they cannot trust. They may like their person, but they can't trust that their needs will be provided them or that they will be safe.
Here is where I want to come in. I've wanted to start a rescue organizations of sorts for many years now, and when the time is right in my life, I would like to start with these travellers dogs. These travellers rely a lot on barter/trade/kindness of strangers lifestyle a lot of time. I would like to educate these people on how what they are doing to their dogs is very selfish and damaging and only creating unhappy and unstable dogs. I'd like to be able to give them cash, or gift cards or food, etc in exchange for finding their dogs loving forever homes.
I think this just may be a Kickstarter project for after I get back in school and get as much behavior knowledge as possible since the dogs I want to rescue will be coming from instability and who knows how they will react to what.
I'm getting excited that when the time is right this could be a possibility and that I have an amazing and supportive animal loving husband that will help and be at my side through it all. I can't wait to educate and advocate for these dogs and change the way these punks go on their adventures. To have the decency and selflessness to leave the pups at a stable home.
Until then, I will continue to keep dog food in my car, and when I see these pairs on the side of the road, the human won't get my change, cuz who knows where it will go, but at least the dog can eat.
*this entry was very difficult for me to keep at a reasonable length. I can go on and on for pages and days on this topic. If you are interested in learning more, please ask me.