Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dog in a Hot Pickup Truck

Today Isaac and I went to Kroger to pick up a few things.  As we walked across the parking lot to the store, we passed a pickup truck.  I heard loud yapping and looked over to see a small curly-haired dog in the truck.  The temperature outside was mid-70's.  The driver's side window of the truck was rolled down just a couple inches.

It gets far too hot far too quickly in a closed car on a warm day.  When it's just 72 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car, even with a window down a little bit, can reach more than 100 degrees in just 30 minutes.

I went directly to the customer service desk and talked to the manager.  I explained that it was too hot for a dog to be left in a car and that I was worried about the dog's well-being and asked if she could page the customer to come to the desk and let then know that.  She said sure.

So Isaac and I got on with our shopping.  I was delighted that the manager was so agreeable and understood the concern.

When Isaac and I left the store about 25 minutes later, though, the dog was still there.  I don't know if the owner didn't respond to the page or if they just didn't share my concern for their dog's health.

I decided to write a note and leave it on the windshield of the car.  I tried to be as polite as possible.  I said something like, "Hi.  I noticed your dog was left in your truck for quite a while.  You probably don't realize this, but it's really dangerous to leave a dog in a car on a warm day.  When it's just 72 outside, the temperature in a car can reach more than 100 in less than 30 minutes, even with the window down a little.  At that temperature, dogs can have heatstroke and die.  Please leave your dog at home next time you come shopping.  I'd hate for anything to happen to your dog."

While the dog had been very yappy when Isaac and I passed the truck on the way into the store, it hadn't barked at us on our way out.  It did not bark at me as I approached the truck.  When I lifted the windshield wiper to put my note on the windshield, it looked up and barked a couple times, but seemed rather listless.

I went back to my car and sat there for a couple minutes, watching to see if maybe the owner would come out of the store.  I was worried.  I suspected the dog was getting dehydrated.  I didn't think it could be in that truck too much longer.  I have no idea how long it was there before I even arrived, but now it had been more than half an hour.

I decided to call the police.  I called the non-emergency number and spoke with a woman who seemed to understand the seriousness of the situation.  She said she would contact the dog warden.  I asked if she knew how long it would take the warden to arrive and stressed the urgent nature of the situation.  She said she didn't know.

However, she called me back about two minutes later to tell me the warden was on her way.  She said the warden was at the dog shelter (which is about three minutes away from Kroger) and was already on the way, so she should be there any minute.

I didn't wait around to see what happened.  I was really happy with the response I got, though.  The manager of the store, the woman at the police department and the dog warden all seemed to understand the seriousness of the situation, which actually surprised me a little, but also made me very happy.  I thanked the woman at the police department profusely.

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