SWORN TO PROTECT
An officer in a South Carolina K-9 Unit, AND A DOG HANDLER, left his black Labrador K-9 officer inside the patrol car without the engine running and all the windows rolled up (leaving the engine running and A/C on is no guarantee; engines can die, and so can the dogs left inside). By the time he returned to his car, irreversible damage had been done. The dog was rushed to the vet but died the next day from the devastating effects of heat stroke. Apparently, even police officers, whom we are told to summon when we see a dog left inside a hot car, are ignorant of the danger. Why can't people, even officers of the law, understand that it's never okay to leave a dog unattended and closed up in a car?
I got a frantic call from a friend last Friday who went all Dog Day Afternoon on a lady who left her 3--count 'em 3--dogs shut up inside a hot car while she shopped at an Asian food market. Good for my friend! The woman didn't leave her toddlers in the car to cook, just her dogs. From the verbal lambasting she received, I'm sure the woman clearly got the message not to do this again.
Perhaps it's time to stop being all nicey-nice and politically correct about this persistent problem, waiting patiently for official help to arrive that often never does in time to save the dog. That's especially true when the officers, like the one in South Carolina, are as ignorant as the thoughtless pet owners themselves. Surely, we wouldn't be expected to wait for the police to arrive if it were an infant or toddler dying in a hot car. Dogs are just as helpless to save themselves in such a situation. They can't open the car door or roll down the windows to escape.
Why, why why won't store owners make it standard practice to post reminders in their front windows for patrons who might be stupid enough to bring their dogs along on shopping trips and park them in the lot: DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS IN THE CAR WHILE YOU SHOP! I've even seen people do this on hot days in front of pet stores! My local Raley's Superstore recently posted a warning to customers not to bring dogs into their store unless they are service dogs, but not one word is mentioned about not leaving your dog in the car to die while you shop at their store. Take your dog home, leave it in a cool, safe place, and come back to to your shopping. If you are traveling with your dogs and have to make a stop, have someone take the dog to a shaded area. Maybe stores and shopping malls should provide a Cool Dog Oasis in their parking lots with grass, shade and cool water for pets. If airports are installing pet potty areas inside terminals, why not cooling stations around town for pets?
For more information on Red Rover's "My Dog Is Cool," campaign to educate people about the dangers of a hot car and help save a dog's life, please visit the link provided. Their feature story today is about a dog saved from a South Carolina puppy mill. What's with those South Carolinians, anyway?