Monday, July 19, 2010

The Heat is Not Your Dog's Friend

My friend and I took our dogs to the Yuba river for some splashing fun. Mina nearly swam, except I learned she is a little bottom heavy and nearly sank. Next time, I will try her with a life jacket and see if she'll head out to deeper waters. We kept the dogs cool and hydrated. But it was pretty hot, and we cut the hike short as it became obvious Mina wasn't handling the heat well. She is slightly brachycephalic, having a shorter nose and a flatter face than the two other dogs.

We brought them back home and went out for lunch and book shopping.

As we headed to the book store, we passed a large, white truck with a Labrador Retriever puppy. She was full of teh cute.

It was 94 F and the truck was parked in the sun with the windows halfway rolled down.

The pup was not heat stressed yet. We decided to go to the book store, give the owner a few minutes to retrieve their puppy and then head back to check on her again. When we came back, the pup was still there. She was panting but not heavily. We waited another 10 minutes. By that point in time, 20 minutes had passed and while the puppy was not heat stressed, she was getting close to the early stages.

We checked in at a local business and asked if they knew who the owners of the truck were. The woman was helpful and wanted to check on the puppy. We all agreed if the owners didn't do something, we'd have to call police or remove the dog from the truck. The truck belonged to a man who had gone into an upstairs building. We all traipsed up there and lo and behold the man was there with his infant and family. He immediately headed downstairs to bring the puppy inside. Problem solved, puppy happy.

The puppy was quite happy to get out of the hot car.

What gets me is that when we left the book store, the truck was still there. The puppy wasn't in it, of course, but had we not noticed or not intervened, that puppy would have spent well over an hour in 94 F outside weather. The puppy would have died.

Please don't hesitate to be that person. The nagging, not-minding-your-business, busybody. Be the person who stands outside in 95 F weather, waiting for police or animal control to arrive and bust down some windows. Be the person who walks into a store and pages the owner of the car. Because if a dog's owner isn't going to be their dog's advocate, someone else has to be. Assume that person is you, because assuming it's someone else will only kill the dog.

If you are ever unsure of whether the temperature inside a car is hot or not, err on the side of caution. Even if the ambient temp is in the 70's and even if the window is open, the inside of a metal vehicle can be 20-40 degrees hotter. If the temps are in the 80/90/100's, there is NO reason for a dog to be in a parked vehicle, windows open or not.


Elizabeth B said...

Its funny you bring this story up. I was at the river today and saw someone coming up with a dog so I threw my guy in the car so the people could pass by without having to fear my leash reactive dog. The plan failed because the people saw the dog in a car with closed windows and stopped. (don't worry the car was on, the ac was going and I was right there. Also if for some reason my car unlock button didn't work I'd of broken a window to get to him). They asked about him and I explained then thanked them for stopping and even caring.

Don't ever be worried to warn someone about the safety of their pet. 99.9 percent of the time you will get the same reaction. A big fat Thank You!!

Hope said...

I just did this myself the other day. I went to a local target and with my windows UP and music ON I could hear a puppy whining. I made my SO go back and found a very young pup in a car parked in the shade with the two front windows barely cracked. She was hot, panting and frantic.

I called the local police and the "wonderful" tropper told me since the windows were cracked, even though not enough, there was nothing he could do. I became very irritated and told him that it was rediculous, the dog would sure get sick or die. It was in the 90's and it was way to hot. His next comment - "Dogs are resiliant, he will be ok. At least they tried to do the right thing"

I said "really? I am sure the Dog who just BAKED to death in his car in Baltimore was resiliant too huh?" I gave him the numbers on what happens in a car and reminded him that the person in the city who elft his dog, now faces jail time and fines so I knew better then to believe his bull.

He then said "well what do you suggest then??" I told him to go inside and apge the owner of the car. He sighed, shook his head and went in the store. When I got there he was griping at the customer service desk about how the windows were cracked (barely 1/4 of an inch mind you) and there was nothing he could do.

WEll that person did NOT show up at the counter. I am certain they saw the officer standing there and knew WHY because we left 5 minutes after entering and the car was gone. Yeah I am sure they thought they were doig right - thats why they responded to the 3 pages and then stood their ground.

They knew what they were doing...and they knew it was wrong.