For the Love of Pets
Dogs in Cars, Part 2: More Warm Weather Safety
Recently, I found myself in Twin Falls on an 80-degree day with a dog in my car. I had been pet-sitting the dog, and my friend was going to pick her up on her way back home. However, I got there at least an hour early and now had to practice what I preached in my earlier blog post. I clearly couldn’t leave Nikki in a hot car, so I had to get creative about what to do with her.
My first stop was PetSmart, where Nikki was welcome to come along. I made sure she got a potty break and then got her some water so she was well-hydrated on this hot day. Next up, Home Depot. Being that Nikki is a miniature dachshund, I figured I could sneak her in. We started at the outdoor garden shop where I held her in my arms. None of the employees protested and when I went to check out, they even had dog biscuits waiting for us! Clearly this was a dog-friendly establishment.
I decided to push my luck and went into the actual store. I avoided any and all employees, but as luck would have it, I ran right into one. He asked me about my dog (who I was holding in my arms and trying my best to be inconspicuous) and I responded, “Sorry, I didn’t know your pet rules. Do I need to take her out of the store?” The friendly gentleman said, “Absolutely not!” I then put Nikki on the floor, and she got to walk the aisles with me. I had her on leash, of course, and was pleasantly surprised that Home Depot has a pretty easygoing pet policy. While they don’t encourage dogs shopping with you, they won’t kick you out of the store either. I was glad Nikki could enjoy the air conditioning with me and that I didn’t have to sneak through the aisles with her.
My last stop was Target. I didn’t need to get much, but I knew there was no way I could bring Nikki in the store. I didn’t think they would appreciate a little dachshund’s head sticking out of my reusable shopping bag, so I had to decide between saving the earth and saving my friend’s dog. I closed all the windows, left the car running and turned the air conditioning on. I had my spare set of keys so I could lock the doors and not lock myself out. Ok, I get that this is not ideal, and certainly not “green,” but I was in Target for about 15 minutes and in a pinch, this solution worked. In the end, I would be happier seeing a cool comfortable dog in a running car, rather than a dog dying of heatstroke.
When my friend came to get Nikki, I was relieved. Having a dog with you on a hot day is a lot of work! I learned that keeping my dogs home or asking a friend to care for them while I am gone for the day is far easier than trying to keep them cool when they are with me. It is also worth asking stores if they’ll allow your leashed, vaccinated and well-behaved dog to come in. After all the effort it took with Nikki, I am certain my dogs won’t be travelling to Twin Falls with me anytime soon.
[Nadia Novik is the Operations Manager and Veterinary Technician for the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley.]