Don’t cook your pooch

Summer, which officially doesn’t start for another two weeks, has crept in early again this year. So now is the time to send out early warnings about dogs left in cars. As all who live in a desert know, temperatures can rise quickly and become unbearable.

People who have never lived in a summer desert say, “But it’s dry!” Yeah, but it’s like living in an oven. In the summer, a closed-up car/truck, parked in sun or shade, is what I would call an oven. Wouldn’t you?

I am among the many who don’t understand why some people insist on taking their dogs when they do chores that require driving somewhere. I do believe that most deeply love their dogs and consider them their kids. Perhaps there’s so much love that both two- and four-legged creatures experience separation anxiety.

You are, however, putting your dog at high risk for heatstroke and death. Excuses abound; here are a few.

“I’ll be back in just a few minutes.” What if you aren’t? People have heart attacks in stores, and they trip over things and get broken ankles. When in pain, it may be difficult to remember to tell someone about your faithful friend, waiting for you, back in the oven. What if you’re unconscious, so can’t utter a word about your loved one?

“But I always leave the windows cracked a few inches.” Or, “I park in the shade.” So what? It will still get really hot in the car, not as fast, but it can be just as deadly. If the outdoor temperature is 85 degrees, a closed-up car interior will reach 100 degrees in 7 to 10 minutes and 120 degrees in 30 minutes. If it is 100 degrees outdoors, not uncommon around here, then in 15 minutes the car’s interior will be 140 degrees. Dogs can suffer brain and organ damage after just 15 minutes.

Then there’s this: “I leave the AC running, so it stays cool.” Suppose your few minutes turns into 40 minutes because you ran into a friend and started chatting. We all know how fast time goes when we’re not paying attention to it. Unfortunately, for unknown reasons your car conked out as soon as you walked into the store. Returning to your car will give you grief that can be unbearable.

As a final note on this subject, do you know this? “Leaving a pet animal (especially a dog or cat) in a car under unsafe conditions is a crime in Nevada [NRS 574.195]. And not only do you face fines and jail . . . law enforcement can legally confiscate your pet and put it down” ( If your car is locked, police officers will break your window(s) to free your furry friend.

CAPS asks its readers to please call the local police, city or county, if you should see a pet in an enclosed vehicle; they will respond and help save an innocent life.

In other notes, congratulations go to Bob Taylor, who won the fabulous floribunda crabapple tree that Flower Tree Nursery donated and raffled for us. We thank all who bought tickets and give a thundering Paws Applause! to Flower Tree for continuing the quarterly tree raffle started by our friend Susan Henderson. All proceeds from this raffle directly benefit the dogs and cats in our care.

For the dogs in our care, we need to overhaul their living quarters. The kennels are thoroughly cleaned every day of the year, and the “new” shelter just celebrated its 11th birthday. Chain link fence separates each kennel, but many are too loose; a strong and active guest can easily knock a loose fence half over. To protect our charges from harm, all fence sections must be replaced.

Like most small nonprofits, we run on a shoestring, so we are again asking our community for help with the construction material (and, perhaps later on, time). A more economical and longer-lasting solution is to use cinder blocks in place of the fence.

If you have the following to donate, we’d gratefully accept them: cinderblocks (need 360!), rebar, masonry mud, grout and paint. We also will gladly accept monetary donations specifically for this job.

For further information, please call the shelter (775-423-7500) during normal business hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This week’s article was contributed by Betty Duncan, a member of the CAPS board of directors.


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