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.