VIDEO: Two dogs experience life unchained

Meet Beast and Queen, two dogs recently unchained by volunteers for the North Carolina-based Coalition to Unchain Dogs. We met Beast and Queen the same way we’ve met most of the 1,300 dogs we’ve unchained since 2007: Their human, Christina, heard about us from a friend of hers who also received a fence. She contacted us because she wanted them to have a fence where they could be together and be safe. But, as a single mother of five children, she couldn’t afford a fence for them.


Beast once spent all his days on a chain. Photo by Bronwen Dickey.

As with each dog we’ve unchained, our first step in helping Beast and Queen was taking them to the vet to be vaccinated and spayed/neutered, a requirement for receiving a Coalition fence.

Once their vet appointments were complete, a team of Coalition volunteers arrived on a very chilly Sunday morning, and in just under two hours of work, Beast and Queen had a fenced-in yard that has forever changed their lives, as well as the lives of Christina and her children. See the video from their big day above.

Coalition to Unchain Dogs’ founder, Amanda Arrington, and Casey Arrington built their first fence in March 2007, just the two of them. It took three weekends to complete that fence for Flex and Brownie, but they quickly realized the feeling of watching the dogs run and play for the first time was addictive. And they were right! Since then, the Coalition has grown to five chapters in Durham, Raleigh, Orange County, and Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta, GA, each with dozens of volunteers who participate in fence builds each weekend.

After the jump: The secret to the Coalition’s success.

What has been the secret to our success? We’ve learned that judgment
doesn’t work. It is not an effective way to get people to care
differently for their dogs. What does work is building a trusting
relationship with the owners and truly caring as much about them as
their dogs. Creating these relationships allows us to help them make the
healthiest decisions for their dogs.


Queen, before she was unchained. Photo by Bronwen Dickey.

The people we meet are often
struggling in their own lives and working to survive every day. Many
have rarely had experiences where they were treated with respect and
kindness, especially when it comes to their dog.

The trust created by the
relationship we form with the people and the bond they form with their
dog goes way beyond the fence build. They call us when their dog is sick
or their fences need repair. Most importantly, they tell their
neighbors and friends to call us about getting a fence. We think of it
as “rescuing dogs in their own backyards.”

The fence builds are life-changing experiences for the dogs and their humans, and almost as
important, they are life-changing experiences for our volunteers as each
week we meet people in our communities we would not have otherwise met.
We learn they are not bad people because they chain their dogs — they
are simply doing the best they can with what they have. They are
grateful for our help and we value the lasting friendships we build with

Visit our website,, to learn how you can become
involved and support the work we are doing to improve the lives of
chained dogs and their humans.

Lori Hensley is director of operations and development at the Coalition to Unchain Dogs. The mission
of the Coalition to Unchain Dogs is to improve the welfare of dogs
living continuously chained outdoors by providing free spay/neuter,
vaccinations and fences, while bolstering connections between these
dogs and their human companions through non-judgmental assistance and
education designed to raise general community expectations regarding the
standards of care for these animals.