For some dog owners, the only way to keep their pet from running away is to keep it on a chain. A non-profit wants to give those dogs freedom, and they're making that happen one yard at a time.
“We just want to help them. We just want to give their dog a better life,” said Taryn Major, co-founder and community outreach coordinator for South Sound Freedom Fences.
The group builds fences for dog owners whose pets spend much of their lives tied up.
“It was just a bunch of people who got together and said, 'Hey, these dogs shouldn't’ be chained up. These owners can’t afford fences, they don’t have the resources, education, to know having a chained dog is wrong,'” Major said.
On Saturday, the group repaired a rotting fence in a Fife yard. The pit bull dog, Diamond, loves to run around and dig and was at risk of escaping through the old, dilapidated fence.
“By the end of our build, when we have the fence and we release that dog off its chain, to see the love of that animal, running free, it's an emotional moment. It's why we do this,” said Justin Timms, who has spent several years building fences.
Projects are often word-of-mouth. Someone will see a dog chained in a yard and then notify South Sound Freedom Fences. The group then approaches the owners and offers to build them a fence, for free. Materials are donated. Volunteers do all the work. Weekend work parties complete the task in a matter of hours.
South Sound Freedom Fences is modeled off of a similar group in Oregon. They say the enhanced play spaces help improve dog behavior problems and overall health.
“The soul changes,” Timms said.
They've built 13 fences in the South Sound region, and say there's still a lot of work ahead.
“There's a huge need. We're going to be doing this for years until all of the dogs are off chains,” Major said.