The scene is a familiar one. I pull into the parking lot of a store and feel something watching me. As I step out of the car, I bravely look at the vehicle next to mine and come face to face with…a dog. Being the mother of five fur babies, I naturally stop to see what breed the dog is (and to give a friendly wave). Then I become enraged.
The dog has been left alone in the car in the middle of summer. None of the windows are rolled down and the dog is panting like crazy. Of course, the owner is nowhere to be found.
Why would someone leave a dog locked in a hot car? I suppose I should not be surprised since some people are dumb enough to leave their children in a similar situation. Still, all of my dogs were rescued from animal shelters throughout the country. Each has overcome horrible treatment at the hands of their previous owners. The last thing that I would ever do is put their lives in danger for any reason.
My husband and I were parking our car at the local Target a few weeks ago. When I got out, I noticed an adorable dog in the car across from mine. The temperature that day had reached 98, according to my car’s temperature sensor. I was so angry. I said loudly to my husband, “Do you believe that there is a dog in that car? It’s hot outside. That dog could die!” All of a sudden, a woman comes rushing toward the car with her shopping bags and laughing, says to me, “Oh, I’m the owner. I was just gone for a minute.”
Trying to be a good person, I just smiled and walked away. What I wanted to do was pick up the phone and call the ASPCA to report her horrendous behavior. What kind of dog mom leaves the dog alone for “just a minute?” If you are committing a crime, do you laugh and tell the police that you were only being illegal for “a minute?” I don’t think so.
To me, the saddest part is that the dog has no say in the matter. The animal is putting all of its love and trust in its owner. A dog does not understand what your intentions are when you leave him/her alone in a vehicle. One of my dogs gets extremely upset if my husband and I are not in the car at the same time. She will actually whine until the other person returns. Each dog has its own unique emotional needs. And depending on what the dog has suffered in its previous life, the owner may be setting up for flashbacks to occur.
I have a blue Merle Chihuahua who was forced to be in confined spaces for most of his life. When we adopted him, he had never even seen grass or been outside before. As a result, whenever he is scared or upset, he begins to “circle” like crazy. He will literally run in circles around any and everything in the house (including people). You never know what will upset a dog.
Furthermore, pet owners have a responsibility to give their pets the best life that they can. Owning a pet is a choice and the decision should be weighed carefully. Remember, this is a living thing. It should be treated with love and respect. And like the Josh Billing quote says, “A dog is the only animal on Earth that will love you more than he loves himself.”