Saturday, July 5, 2014

For The Love Of Dogs

It isn't like me to seriously get serious. Not often. There are a lot of posts on this old blog that touch on serious subjects, but there's always a hint of humour, a scoop of sarcasm, and a little lightheartedness. Unfortunately, there isn't anything funny about the subject on the docket today. I've been mulling it over and there's no kind way of saying it. So, I must tackle it with facts and heated passion alone.

I fucking loathe people who leave their dogs locked in a car on a hot day.

The other day, I watched a dog panting his little lungs off while the owner dined at the restaurant next door. While he (the owner) was indulging in eggs Benedict and a nice cold glass of orange juice, this little dog went from alert to lethargic. And it wasn't the hottest day, either. There was a cool breeze. The windows were rolled down a crack. He had food and water. But this isn't enough. Even if there is a breeze, the sun is pounding down on that metal car.

This went on for an hour. When the dog went from normal panting to the harsh open mouthed panting of a dog on his way to expiration, just watching wasn't an option. Except, this was when the owner came out. He didn't want to listen to me. He didn't want to give me the time of day, until I told him I had his license and would report him for animal cruelty if he didn't listen.

Here's what I told him:

  • Dogs regulate their body heat differently from humans. If we sit in a car hot car for ten minutes, we may just be 'uncomfortable' but a dog could die in this short amount of time. 
  • A dog pants in order to cool down and sweating through their paws, not over their body. The harder they pant in the car, the more oxygen they use. If your dog doesn't suffer from heatstroke, they can and will likely suffocate.
  • If the temperature outside is 22°C/72°F, then the temperature inside a car can reach 47°C/117°F.
  • Some dogs are more prone to heatstroke, brain damage and death than others like dogs with short snouts, muscular dogs, really young puppies, very old dogs, long haired breeds and dogs that are on medication or are sick. 
  • Leaving a window open isn't enough. Research has shown cars with windows cracked still reach the same deadly temperatures. 
  • Laws are changing and leaving a dog in a hot car is now considered animal cruelty. 
I asked this irresponsible owner why he didn't use the outdoor patio at the restaurant and take his dog with him. He said he didn't know there was a patio, but it was right out front. I suspect he didn't want to sit out in the muggy heat and eat his breakfast. The owner said he lived on Hornby and what was he supposed to do 'leave the dog at home'? Yes, I told him. I think the dog would have been better off at home than suffocating in his car. 

In the end, I said, "What's the worst that could have happened?" 
He said he didn't know. 
So, I answered for him. "Your dog could have died. Would your breakfast have been worth that price?" 

No. He said it wouldn't have been worth it. 

There is no excuse anymore. Everyone knows not to leave their dog in the car on a warm day. Still, thousands of people do it daily. They can't leave their animal at home. It's part of their family. But I don't think there's anyone out there who loves their dogs more than I do and I don't bring them with me if I'm going into a shop or out for lunch. Why? Because I'm not a complete moron. 

So, yes, I fucking loathe people who leave their dogs in the car on warm days, let alone hot days. Actually, I don't especially like anyone who leaves their dog in their car for extended periods of time at all. There, I said it. Personally, people who do this aren't fit to be animal owners and should have them taken away, along with their kids, because if they don't know how to properly treat a dog then they certainly don't have the know-how to raise a child. 

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