I received this email from a neighbor"
Subject: Dog outside in the cold
I hope you are doing well.
I woke up early this morning to your dog barking and whimpering at your door. He's been outside for the last couple of hours since I've been awake, and I am concerned about his well being in this extremely cold weather. Please know that I have hesitated sending this email. You're a great neighbor, and I hate to intrude into anyone's business. But, I've grown increasingly concerned, particularly after seeing your dog soaking wet on your porch last weekend when it was raining/snowing/sleeting.
So, I just wanted to send you a friendly reminder that the city code requires pet owners to have some type of structure to protect their animals from the elements when pets are left outside. Your dog seems extremely sweet, and it would be horrible if something happened to him.
This was my response to her:
Hi [Neighbor], thanks for your concern. Freddie is an "inside dog;" I don't put him on the porch unless he asks to go out, and I let him in when he asks to come back in. Sometimes he prefers to just hang out outside, but I don't leave him outside overnight. If you saw him early in the morning, I likely had put him out no more than a couple hours beforehand (I am a night owl and am often awake or dosing until 3, 4, 5, 6 o'clock in the morning), though I believe I had fallen back asleep the morning in question and didn't immediately respond when he asked to come back in, hence the barking and whimpering. Golden retrievers are bred to withstand wet and cold conditions (they are hunting dogs, generally), and I've never seen him so much as shiver, even when he's been jumping in puddles in cold weather. In any case, I am not neglecting Mr. Freddie other than for a few human lapses. He has food, shelter, and other creature comforts. I do appreciate my neighbors looking out for me and my dog, so don't feel like you are intruding by asking about his well-being.
What do you think? Was it too prickly? Too terse? I understand where she's coming from, but it is a bit . . . annoying and intrusive to receive an admonishment like this like I'm abusing my poor dog, so yeah, that last line is a bit of a lie. Just a bit. ;)