Friday, July 17, 2009

In less than ten minutes

Recently I was in Austin to help my niece buy a new car. I drove up Wednesday and came back yesterday. Because I have a screw loose in my brain, I had some weird notion that it would be cooler in Austin than it is in Houston. But guess what, not only is it NOT cooler, it's hotter. I almost melted about a hundred times or whenever I walked from air-conditioned house to air-conditioned car.

On Thursday, it was 108 degrees HOT. Merciful heavens, that is hot.

The Austin trip was a good one on many, many levels. There were only two snags, and both of those were on the drive home. Impossibly, even with my occasional screw-loose thinking, in the heat of the late afternoon when we stopped off at a convenience store and parked the car, there next to us was a beautiful brown dog. A beautiful brown dog panting in the heat of the car he was locked in, with one window open about three inches. The hair on the back of my neck stood up in a chill. My friend went into the store and looked at the long line of people waiting at the cash register. She faced the line and asked who had the dog locked in the car. The man that answered it was his dog did so with a leer that said to mind her own business. He bought his items and left.

Later, we stopped at a McDonalds in La Grange to use the facilities. Inside a truck parked in the full sun were three chihuahuas. The truck was off, the windows rolled slightly down. The little dogs went crazy barking when we walked past. My friend stayed outside while I went in the restaurant, and I stayed outside when she went in. Looking at the poor dogs, I felt outrage. A woman came out the of the door and stood looking at me. Are these your dogs? I demanded. She answered that they were. It's very hot in your car, they cannot survive that kind of heat for long. She tilted her head and informed me that there was water with ice left for them. I tilted my head and informed her that it was not enough.

I realize now that in both cases, I should have written down the license plates and reported these people who were abusing their animals. I realize now that ours were the only voices those dogs had, the only voices to speak up for them. Saying something to the owner was not enough. Did those people intend to put their dogs at risk? I doubt it. But they were ignorant to how differently dogs handle heat than humans do.

I've done a bit of research on what happens to dogs when they are left in hot cars. It's not pretty. A car parked in the sun on a day where the temperature is 85 outside, can have its interior temperature rise to 160 in ten minutes. I wasn't sure what our options were but I know now that I should have gone to the manager of that store and of McDonalds. Or, I could have called the police. I thought I did what I could do. I won't be so misinformed on the subject again.

This morning, I apologized to Cheyenne for my ignorance. And then I let her play ball in the house.

Misc 057 Misc 060


ghost said...

thats the kinda heat were dealing with here in north texas. most folks dont spend much time in it if we can hlep it.

Lilla said...

Kudos to you and your friend for saying anything at all. The internal temps inside a car, even with the windows down, can get oppressingly hot in the south. Haven't these people ever heard of heat stroke??? Wonder how they would lke to sit in their cars, in the heat, for the same amount of time they subjected their dogs?

CreekHiker said...

The managers of the stores stare at you like you're an idiot. Call the cops or ASPCA. Take down the license plate. This kind of thing really pisses me off. This time of year, I do all of my errands before 9 am or after 8 at night when I take the girl. Luckily, with my old jeep, I feel totally safe leaving all the windows 3/4 of the way down.

I used to go to church with people who did this! Mind you, they would arrive extra early to get the only parking spot that would have shade for over two hours! Finally, I wrote down all the facts you discovered and left a note on their car adding, "How very Christian of you to treat animals this way!" They stopped bringing the pups!

Network Geek said...

Pictures. If you had your camera, you could take pictures of the dogs and the license plate, as evidence of what you saw. If nothing else, you could use your phone's camera. The thing for the ASPCA officers is to get them evidence, if possible, with a timestamp on it. Then, they can prosecute.

But, yes, kudos to you both of you for even saying anything. Most people wouldn't. Honestly, I haven't seen that kind of thing in a long, long time, so I'm not sure what I would do now if I did see it.