Critter Alley

Critter Alley

Sunday, July 31, 2011

One Hot Day

On Friday I made a quick trip to our local grocery store to pick up items for the weekend. I jumped out of my car ready to scurry into the cool respite of the store. It was after 10:00 a.m. and already the air steamed with bright sun, heat, and humidity. The first thing I noticed was a car parked near mine. Inside was a young Golden Retriever, panting heavily. The two front windows were cracked open a couple of inches each.

I walked around the car and talked to the dog, waiting for the owner to appear. After about 10 minutes, one of the young baggers came out to collect carts. I pointed out the dog and suggested the car owner be paged. She went inside to speak with her manager. Within a minute or two, she returned to say that this type of thing happened all the time, and her manager said there wasn't anything they could do about it.

My next thought was to call the police. Sweat tricked down my back like a broken faucet. I was burning up and it wasn't me locked in a hot car. So I pulled out my phone to make the call when a man who appeared to be in his fifties walked toward the car. Both hands were loaded with grocery bags. I called out to him and our conversation went something like this...



"It's really dangerous to leave your dog in a hot car."

"I had the windows cracked and the sun roof partly open." (Indignant)

"It's not enough to keep from killing your dog in this heat."

"I know my dog and he's fine." (Annoyed)

With that remark, he jumped into the car and sped away. In frustration, I couldn't help but shout after him.

"Next time I'll call the police!" I think I even shook my fist at him in some sort of power-to-the-people type gesture.

I'm not sure if he heard my somewhat childish parting shot or not. Not one of my finer moments. I went inside the store and cooled more ways than one. Then I realized something. Never once did the man make eye contact with me. The way I read human nature, that's a sure sign when someone knows they made a mistake.

Although our interaction didn't end well, I decided this seed of discussion would bear fruit later on. I'm sure the man cared about his dog and probably thought he'd be inside the store "just for a second". He intended no harm. But unfortunately, even a few minutes in a hot car can be deadly.

The bagger's description about this type of thing "happening all the time" is really sad. Are we doing a bad job educating the public or do some simply choose to ignore facts? Perhaps getting out the message to one person at a time is the most effective way to make things change. I'm not a huge fan of confrontation, but uncomfortable as it feels, speaking up appears to be the best approach. In any event, I'm pretty sure that man in the parking lot will never leave his dog in a hot car again.

After all, who wants to tangle with a cranky red-faced sweat-ball of a crazy old lady?


K9 Katastrophie said...

We are so proud of you!! Thank you for speaking up for the ones who can't! I bet you anything he won't be leaving the dog in the hot car anymore!


Pee.s. Tomorrow we are having a give away and commentathon at my blog! Pleae come join us!

Stella said...

Good for you! Whether he does this terrible thing to his dog again, or not, your words will always be with him.


Berts Blog said...

You are our Idol right now. You did a great thing. I think you handled yourself quite well.

My Vickie is livid as we read your post. WE hope, like you said, that the seed i splanted in his head and he never does that again.

We bow to your bravery.

Bert and My Vickie

Linda O'Connell said...

I'm with you, and I have done the same thing before. A pat on the back to you, Pat.

Fireblossom said...

My wonderful petsitter (my Bosco's chick on the side, who takes care of him at lunch time when I work) says she thinks the world is divided into two kinds of people...those who think about how others feel, and those who don't. In any case, hooray and huzzah for you. That sweet baby needed someone to speak up for him, and you did. It was so the right thing to do, even though I'm sure it was upsetting.

Lassiter Chase and Benjamin said...

I don't think I would have continued to shop in that store if the store didn't care about paging the owner of the car. I am glad you stuck up for the dog.

Oskar said...

Good for you for planting that seed with the man. Hopefully you saved that dogs life.

Nubbin wiggles,

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

I just gave you a standing ovation. Good for you...not just because you noticed the pooch and worried, but because you acted. Hopefully, the man won't do that again. These things do make us wonder, "What is wrong with people?" As hot as it is right now, we don't even bring our dogs with us. It is just too hot to leave them in the car, even for a few minutes.'s been too hot to have them walking outside in the middle of the day! Our time at the dog park has been limited to early Saturday mornings before the heat index climbs.

So glad you spoke up for the hairy kid. He needed your help!

Cat and DOG Chat With Caren said...

YAY YOU for giving that moron a piece of your mind!

I say we take him, put HIM in a hot car, crack the windows a tad, crack the sunroof and leave HIM in there and see how he feels. Bet he would feel differently now wouldn't he?

Lynn said...

Ha, I liked your last line about who wants to mess with a red hot... okay whatever you said. Geez, I think the heat has ate my brain! Good for you for speaking up!

Tammy said...

Hooray for you for having what it takes to stay with the dog and talk to the man. Who knows--maybe the man wasn't the only one who learned something. The bagger, the manager, and any onlookers also got to see the importance of stopping and helping. :)

Pup Fan said...

You totally did the right thing! I really don't understand how people haven't gotten the message by now...

D said...

Well I am proud of you!

It took a lot to have that encounter and maybe, just maybe...he won't do it again. You willingness to confront him, when his lack of eye contact clearly stated he knew better, may make him think twice before he repeats that decision!

Christina said...

That man will remember you and maybe think twice before doing it again. My friend in AZ had this experience the other day and they called the police. 2 police cars showed up as the woman tried to sneak out of the parking lot. I dont know if they did anything to her but I hope it scared her enough not to do it again.

Thanks for caring about that dog. More people need to speak up.

The Word Place said...

Good for you, Pat! Lady loves to go, but during hot weather, she gets left behind. It rained the other morning and turned quite cool, so I loaded her up and headed for a drive-through breakfast, which I ate in the car with her. She was a happy camper. But I wouldn't 'run in' somewhere for five seconds and leave her in the car on a hot day! She's much aggrieved when I leave without her--but she's also healthy and alive. And winter's coming when she can snuggle down on a blanket in the back of the SUV and ride to her heart's content and all will be forgiven--I hope!