Elderly Dog Becomes Topic Of Small Town

Blue, named after his piercing blue eyes, is fighting to stay leash free. Photo credit: Blue's Facebook page

(TOUCHING TALE) NEW MEXICO — Blue, an 11-year-old Australian cattle dog, has stirred a great debate in his home town of Elephant Butte, New Mexico. The discussion is over whether he should be allowed to live his life leash-free. The dog was abandoned early on but over time gained guardians who let him continue his rolling stone lifestyle. Blue lives by his own rules which include no leash, and his own personal place to pee on the other side of the highway where cars now have to stop and wait for him. But his carefree life has some people questioning how fair it is for Blue to be exempt from leash laws. As the main topic at the town’s council meeting, this inspirational dog has acquired his own lawyer, has his own Facebook page, and his own bank account for donations. Yes, perhaps Blue is unconventional, but after a somewhat hard life, perhaps he deserves to be able to bend the rules a little. Read on for Blue’s fascinating story. — Global Animal
Blue, named after his piercing blue eyes, is fighting to stay leash-free. Photo credit: Blue's Facebook page

The New York Times, Fernanda Santos

This is the story of a leash, a law and a city’s dueling definitions of compassion. It is a story of limits tested and stretched; of strife, threats and, possibly, compromise. 

Mostly, though, it is a story about a dog named Blue who, this week, brought this small desert city together after nearly tearing it apart.

The City Council held a meeting on Wednesday to decide Blue’s fate. He was born here 11 years ago and was soon abandoned to wander the streets, even before Elephant Butte — sandwiched between a city named Truth or Consequences and a desert basin called the Jornada del Muerto, the route of a dead man — became a city. He has been no one’s dog, or everybody’s dog.

Blue’s thick fur is speckled with gray, a trademark of his breed — he is an Australian cattle dog — but also a sign of his age. His legs are too feeble to run; his walk is more like a plod. There was a time when he could dash across State Highway 195 to “do his business,” as one supporter put it, in a spot that he has used for as long as anyone can remember.

Now, cars must stop and wait, and wait, and wait, to give Blue the time he needs to cross the road.

Some people just do not like that; others do not trust him. At the meeting, a man wondered why his dogs must be leashed and locked under city law if Blue can travel unrestrained. Sitting next to him was a woman wearing a sticker over her heart that read, “Keep Blue Free.”