Tethered Dog Runs for the First Time

By: Nathan Grant

Peanut, a sweet dog in rural Pennsylvania, finally got the chance to feel freedom. 

At 3-years-old, this sweet dog spent his life tethered in a backyard. His owners showed no signs of care or compassion. Peanut’s entire life was spent with a short and heavy chain around his neck.

Image Credit: Russelline Steinbuhler


People in the area noticed how Peanut was forced to live his life when a fence surrounding his yard fell over. The authorities were contacted but unfortunately, nothing was being done to help.

HOPE for Erie Animal Wellness, a rescue group a step outside of Peanut’s hometown, caught wind of Peanut’s tragic situation and took action. 

That is when Russelline Steinbuhler first found out about Peanut.

Image Credit: Russelline Steinbuhler

“My daughter volunteers with HOPE, and they got a lot of calls about this dog, but it’s too far for them to go. They’re about an hour away, and nobody could make the commitment to get to that dog all the time,” Steinbuhler said.

Steinbuhler was only a brief distance from Peanut’s home, so she went to check on the situation right away.

“I went out and took a look. Peanut had a dilapidated doghouse. The roof had holes in it. The floor was rotted out. He didn’t have much to shelter him, and we had a really wet spring. He was laying in water because he couldn’t get out of it. I love animals, so I said, ‘I’ll take care of the dog. I’ll spend time with him.’ And I did.”

Image Credit: Russelline Steinbuhler

Steinbuhler told Peanut’s owners she could help improve the dog’s life. The family confessed that Peanut had been chained up his entire life because of their old-school way of thinking. In their opinion, there was no issue keeping Peanut tethered outdoors. 

“A lot of people in this country grew up with dogs on chains. Especially in rural areas. It’s passed down still,” Steinbuhler said. “Not everybody has decided that it’s better to have dogs inside.”

Peanut’s owners welcomed Steinbuhler’s assistance. HOPE was a great support system and source of guidance. 

“We started off by giving Peanut a new dog house, new bowls, a new tether and a new collar,” Steinbuhler said. “The new tether was long enough that he could reach some grass to lie down. When we showed up the next time, he was really enjoying the grass. He was smiling. It was like he was a different dog.”

Peanut began feeling happier right away.

Image Credit: Russelline Steinbuhler

He had spent such minimal time with people, he had no idea what his name was! 

“I made a point to go out there several times a week. Sometimes seven days a week,” Steinbuhler said. “I’d show up and spend a half hour with this dog. When you first start showing up, he was so overexcited about somebody acknowledging him. He wanted to jump on everybody. Nobody spent any time with him. I would show up with treats and make him sit to get pet. He was a fast learner. He’s smart. We just started doing some obedience stuff. We’d play games. He loved playing fetch.”

While Peanut was still tethered in the backyard, he was getting more attention than ever before. Things were getting better.

Image Credit: Russelline Steinbuhler

While thoughts on fair treatment of animals has changed, the law is beginning to recognize animal rights. 

Recently, Pennsylvania created a law that limits the time dogs can be tethered. Steinbuhler informed Peanut’s owners about this, and they decided to surrender him to HOPE rather than change their treatment of him. 

Peanut was finally free!

Image Credit: Russelline Steinbuhler

Things were only just beginning for him. There was so much to do! 

Right away, Steinbuhler brought Peanut to Critter Camp and Cuts to get groomed. He had likely never been cleaned up before!

Image Credit: Russelline Steinbuhler

At the facility, Peanut was able to run free. The fenced in yard outside provided ample space for activities.

“I cried. That was really emotional to me,” Steinbuhler said. “This dog never got to run. The owner told me she’d never seen him run in three years. Imagine never being able to run. When I let him loose, he was so joyful. He did the zoomies.”

Image Credit: Russelline Steinbuhler

You could tell by Peanut’s smile, he was happy as can be! 

Things will only continue to get better for Peanut. He can learn to live as a regular pet with his new foster family. Now Peanut can know what it means to be loved.

“HOPE protects those animals for the rest of their life. He’ll never live on a chain again. It’s night and day,” Steinbuhler said.

Image Credit: Russelline Steinbuhler

Peanut’s conditions in his early life were very upsetting – and unfortunately, he is not the only dog to have this experience. Laws against constant tethering may be in place, but it can be a challenge to monitor. Steinbuhler hopes that Peanut’s story can be a lesson to all. Sharing this story can help to raise awareness! 

“Peanut’s owner loved him enough to let him go. There’s something to be said for that,” Steinbuhler said. “But I know there are a lot more chained dogs out there, and I hope the country wakes up. Think about living your whole life on a chain. That’s not a way for them to live. Get them off the leash and spend time with them and they’ll be happy.”

Source: The Dodo

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