Hot Cars and Dogs Don’t Mix: A Summer PSA

by Kimberly Wade

It’s PSA time, friends, so get ready. Last Sunday, I was at Trader Joes and upon leaving I saw a silver Lexus in the space parked right in front. It was nearing 100 degrees, and the windows were cracked. Yup, you know what I’m going to say next. I heard barking.

I glanced at the car to see a mini schnauzer bouncing from window to window, hollering as loudly as he could. The car was in a handicapped space so I was giving the person the benefit of doubt that he or she would be out soon—even though in this kind of heat, we all know soon can’t be soon enough. I tried to assume the car hadn’t been parked long, so I continued on to my car to unload my groceries.

My head and heart got the best of me. I checked on the dog again. Though still going from window to window, his liveliness was relaxing, and all of my emotions came rushing forward as I decided I was going to call Washoe County Regional Animal Services and watch over the dog until help came.

In the time it took Animal Services to get there I watched the Schnauzer go from active to inactive. He got to a point where he stopped barking and just lay down. I was angry, stressed, sad and helpless. I could have broken the windows, but I also couldn’t forget about the laws—though I was willing to do that. I’m also sure another bystander would have done it or we could have pulled him through the window if an emergency arose.

I saw Animal Services enter the parking lot. In the time it took for me to turn my back, a woman come out of the store, with flowers in her hand. I wasn’t next to the car; I was a few doors down and I knew it probably wasn’t good of me to confront her with all the language I was going to use. But flowers? That’s it? I looked at the time. In all honesty, from the time this all started, it had been over a half an hour—and who knows how much longer the woman was in the store before I came out.

She got in her car. Animal Services pulled up behind her, blocked her car and got out, citation book in hand. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but I could only imagine what was being said. I later “happened” to follow the woman out of the parking lot. The dog was active, thankfully, but you never know what may happen in this situation.

Here’s the thing. I did my due diligence and asked around but also felt the need to share this lesson in a very public, busy area. I can’t understand how it isn’t common sense that it’s too hot to leave a dog (or a kid) in the car in the middle of the summer. We see news stories about this all too often. Dogs cannot cool themselves as easily as people, and once they overheat, extensive organ damage can occur. It’s a form of cruelty, so here’s what you can do if you see a dog (or a kid) in a locked, hot car:

  • In Washoe County, call 775-322-3647. In Carson City, 775-887-2171. Do not report this online!
  • Get the vehicle’s license plate, pet description and vehicle description.
  • If there is a nearby business, request an emergency announcement or ask around.
  • Go back to the vehicle and wait for Animal Services (it is recommended not to enter the vehicle or confront the owner, but I know my fellow animal lovers have done that).
  • If after hours, call 911.

This schnauzer was lucky but I can tell you that in animal welfare, we see overheated animals arrive at our shelters more often than not. So regardless of how they may react, advise your friends to only take their pets with them if they’re going from point A to point B. Our dogs love travelling and going to the lake and hiking… but let’s be smart about this.

Featured Pet: Howdy! I’m Trooper, the typical hyperactive, happy-go-lucky kitten… with a twist! You see, I know what I want and I go for it! I’m not the most polite (sometimes I use my claws) but as I’m young, I need a patient person and cat-savvy home who understands me and can give me the proper training. I’d do best with no other pets or young kids because of my overly vivacious nature… so are you the one for me? Meet me in Reno today!

Adoptable Pets at Nevada Humane Society

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Senioritis Strikes Nevada Humane Society

Meow Meow 35680049 and CHarlize 35680032.jpgby Kimberly Wade

Senioritis. Many people remember this as a term used in high school and college, for those seniors who were just done and ready to move on in life. Others think of it in relation to older people—in fact, I actually asked one of our awesome volunteers who loves to pull the “I’m older than you” card how she defines the word. She said, “stupid things older people do or forget.” It made me laugh, and I promise I’m not judging because I’m quoting her (though let’s be honest, as I’m in my thirties and I’m guilty of this).

Urban Dictionary defines Senioritis as a crippling disease that strikes high school seniors. Symptoms include laziness, over-excessive wearing of track pants, a lack of studying and a generally dismissive attitude, with the only cure being Graduation.

I think we can all relate but it got me thinking… what about senior pets? Do they reach a point where they get lazy and just don’t care? I think the answer… is yes.

Right now we have lots of senior pets at Nevada Humane Society. Some are a little gray around the muzzle, others just lay around on oversized beds and some have lost all desire to pick and choose—they just want someone, anyone, to love them—they’re no longer picky about a family. We know senior pets as those that are typically established in a routine, have basic manners and are content to lounge around on your couch watching Ellen or the Food Network. They have less energy and prefer to either spend more time cuddling with you, or just lay at your feet. Fetch? No thank you! Many times they’ll look at you like you’re crazy and make you go get it!

This time of year, because of the high volume of young or baby animals coming into the shelter, the seniors (even middle-aged adults) tend to get overlooked. But we know seniors are the best. They just want to enjoy companionship, and so often, this can be lifesaving for both people and pets. We actually have a program called Seniors for Seniors, where senior humans (age 55 and up) can adopt a senior pet (age 10 and up) for free. In addition, most of our senior pets are fee-waived anyway—all cats over the age of five are free, and those cats over the age of ten are part of a program called Social Se-CAT-ary, where we offer four vouchers to our veterinary clinic just in case something happens in their older years—kind of like social security for humans.

The point is, our seniors are experiencing senioritis. They’re done. They don’t care what they look like, they’re not working hard to get your attention, and they can be lazy. Their goal is to “graduate” from Nevada Humane Society to a home, and we’re really hoping this will motivate people like you to adopt! We’ve got senior dogs and cats, some totally healthy and some with typical old-age challenges, but those are the ones who also receive medical care in our clinic—and we’ll teach you and provide supplies in order to care for them. They just need to be adopted, in a home, sunbathing in the window, as opposed to here. Yes, we provide great care and plenty of love and affection while they’re under our roof, but as I mentioned above, the only cure for senioritis is Graduation, so let’s work to move these guys and gals along into their next journey in life—a new home. #SeniorClass2017


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