START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

How Would You Save a Dog in a Hot Car?

How Would You Save a Dog in a Hot Car?

For Labor Day, my partner and I decided to take our dogs out of New York City to enjoy a long weekend upstate. We have cottages we love to stay in with a door that opens onto a yard, a meadow frequented by deer at twilight, and a short hike to the forest and a swimming hole. For people and dogs who want to escape the city it is a paradise. We spent that weekend playing outside, dodging thunderstorms, and hiking around nearby nature preserves. On Saturday we crated the dogs at the cottage and my partner and I spent the afternoon wandering through shops in town. We were excited to get back home to our pups when we were confronted with a terrifying sight and a difficult ethical dilemma.

More from Dogster Magazine: Incredible Photos: Two Dogs Escape a Burning Building

When we got back to our car, I was startled by hearing lots of barking in the deserted parking lot. Then, I saw him, a little black dog sitting in a white SUV next to our car. It was hot and the worst kind of soupy humid. The windows of the SUV were cracked, but we all know that doesn’t actually make a car safe to leave a dog in. The little dog was clearly distressed and unfortunately seemed even more upset by seeing us near his car; he became more and more agitated the longer we stayed. Reluctantly we climbed into our car. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I couldn’t leave without doing anything. Pulling my cell phone out of my purse I dialed 911 …

The benefits of vacationing in a small town was that the 911 operator didn’t laugh at me for making this sort of call. Instead he took down the information about where the car was parked, as well as the license plate number, and said that an officer would be coming by to check on the dog. It was a small town, I think officers have time to do things like check on dogs left in hot cars in places like that. I need to believe that’s the case. As I hung up the phone with the police and we drove out of the parking lot and back to the cottage where our dogs rested comfortably, I wondered how anyone could be so cruel to leave their dog locked in a car on the last day of August.

More from Dogster Magazine: Please Don’t Tell Me You Chain Your Dog

That afternoon I posted to my Facebook and Twitter that I had made the 911 call and got a lot of feedback from friends. Most were supportive of my having made the call, talking about how it was the right thing to do, and their shock that someone would have been so cruel to a dog. Other, more radical friends suggested that a 911 call hadn’t been enough, that a dog’s life hung in the balance and that I should have acted. They suggested that after calling 911 I should have broken a window on the SUV to free the dog. I’m not suggesting that someone who does that is in the wrong, more so that it’s not an approach I would feel comfortable doing.

I don’t know what happened to that dog I saw this weekend. I like to think that the police got to him in time and somehow educated his family about the dangers of keeping a dog in a parked car. Of course I don’t know if this is what actually happened, if the police responded to the call, if the dog was OK by the time that they got there, if the family even would have cared about the dangerous situation they left their dog in. It was difficult to know what to do in that moment when we saw the dog. Although I have no way of knowing if my action of making the phone call was able to help the dog, I still believe it was the right decision, and in a really challenging situation was the most I was able to offer the poor dog.

More from Dogster Magazine: 8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Adopt a New Dog

How about you? Have you ever been put in a position where you have seen someone abusing or otherwise endangering a dog? How have you responded? Are you more likely to call the authorities like I did, or do you adopt the take-things-into-your-own-hands approach to situations like this?

Photo: Boxer in red car by Shutterstock

Related
8 Things to Never Say to a Dog Owner
Euthanizing Your Pet: Should You Be Present?
6 Ways to Deal With an Off-Leash Dog

Read more: Animal Rights, Dogs, Pets, Safety

This post was written by Sassafras Lowrey, regular contributor to Dogster Magazine.

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Dogster

At Dogster, we believe life is always more meaningful with a dog. Get a daily dose of news, views and cuteness over at Dogster Magazine.

131 comments

+ add your own
11:43PM PST on Feb 26, 2014

It is a misdemeanor in our state to leave a dog or cat in a car with the windows rolled up. I have found this several times and will go into the store and get them to announce there is an animal in the car that needs to be rescued. I have also called the police a couple of times. In two instances, it was a small local store and I went in and found the person before it was too late. Never, ever leave your animal in a car that can get over heated, nor in the winter time where it can freeze to death. This applies to children as well. We have had too many children and babies die being left in a hot or freezing car.

8:41AM PST on Nov 5, 2013

I've encountered this many times during my travels... I have left 'flyers/notes when I didn't have flyers', have called 911, have actually waited for owner of car to return & confronted them, have actually gone into store/restaurant and told them situation, so many times, all required a different course of action. Some went favorably, some did not. I also had to learn lessons and change my ways of dealing with it because it was often 'heartbreaking' for me to watch an animal suffering in the heat and feeling helpless. I've never had to break a car window, but that action would only get me in trouble. Each time, I did my best though to get the owner to understand that this was NOT the right thing to do. Why bring your pet (in a hot car) in the first place if you (the owner) has to run errands, etc.? I just don't understand that. I wish people, IF they LOVE their pet - and, most do, would realize how HOT a car gets (for their unattended dog/pet) even with the windows rolled down an inch by having them have to do the same - give them a little sample of what they put their pet through 'unknowingly or unintentionally - at some point, we all must know the difference - sadly, trying to 'educate' people is NOT enough. I see this happen, too often, summer after summer. This not only happens to pets... it also happens to (some very young children)/infants. That's an automatic call to 911. Well, the question is: 'What would YOU do in the same situation?'

10:44AM PDT on Nov 1, 2013

I never leave my dogs in my car. For heat and burglary.

8:59PM PDT on Oct 10, 2013

The heat can be so strong now, people should take care.

2:48PM PDT on Oct 10, 2013

might break the car to the honest, then call 911 on them

8:04AM PDT on Oct 4, 2013

It is not enough to ring 911, but wait for their arrival of appropriate help and make sure, in this case a dog, is OK.

2:40AM PDT on Oct 1, 2013

Yes so what I would do is first take a good look as if the dog is just relaxed and its not even hot then you'll just get in trouble for breaking their window. But if I think that it is hot then I would judge is it an emergency and no time for anything then I will not hesitate to smash the window in and then call the police. If its not an emergency but the dog just doesn't look too happy then I would call the police anyway.

8:36PM PDT on Sep 29, 2013

I don't think breaking a window is a smart move at all, too much flying glass, and extra trauma to the dog traped inside. Carry some kind of small device that will allow you to unlock the door. Car thieves must use something small and effective that will get them in , in just a few seconds. Carry an extra leash as well.How about a whole kit for just such emergencies with a collaspable water bowl and a bottle of water. Leave a note for the owner and tell them where you're taking the dog. And anything else you might need to carry out the rescue with as little distress to the dog as posible. Being furious at the owner while you're doing this will not be helpful to the animal at all, so above all, get a grip and proceed with purpose and compassion.

5:43PM PDT on Sep 27, 2013

Get someone to distract the dog, so it's not at the window I'm at, and break the window. No time for phone calls, you have to ACT!

7:23AM PDT on Sep 26, 2013

Call 911, then if its desperate, might smash the window in!

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Great idea, thank you very much for sharing.

I think that much of the problem is that men associate eating meat, especially beef( as raw as possi…

Ideal treat for all instead of just the chocoholic

Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.