Thursday, July 15, 2010

Paw Print City: Pet Peeves

Maybe it’s the heat. Or it could be that half of my four-footed family members were not feeling up to par last night, which always leaves me a bit out of sorts. Whatever it is, I feel inclined to scribe my occasional rant against what I believe to be sub-par pet parenting during the dog days of summer.

First on the list: Dogs in cars.
I can’t believe I even have to write this one down anymore. In fact, I can’t believe anyone who writes about companion animals still has to take fingers to keyboard about the absolute idiocy of leaving your unattended dog in a car during the summer months, but every day I come across stories of dogs dying, or very nearly dying, after being left inside a vehicle while their owner shopped/ate/relaxed in air-conditioned comfort. Stop bringing the dog if you are going somewhere the dog is not allowed. Really, it’s that simple.

Next up: Walking in the heat.
Seriously, I don’t give a fig if the sun worshippers of the world choose to go jogging during the hottest part of the day. But how about giving the pavement (or sidewalk) a little touch test before bringing along the dog, O.K.? Because let me assure you of two things --- One, in Bakersfield, the pavement gets hot. Really hot. And two, dogs don’t have all-terrain tires on the ends of their legs. They have feet. And despite what you think about the toughness of their paw pads, they can burn their feet just like you can. My rule on walking in the heat is pretty easy; if it’s too hot for me to go barefoot, it’s too hot for the dog to comfortably walk.

Third: Dogs in truck beds
I’m usually a pretty mellow driver on the road-rage scale, but there are few things that can instantly light my fuse faster than to see a dog in the back of pickup truck on a summer afternoon, especially of there’s room inside the cab (and there usually is). The bed of a truck isn’t much cooler than the pavement on a Bakersfield afternoon, which means it’s too hot for a dog to be standing/sitting on. Plus, in an open bed (meaning no camper shell or kennel), the sun is beating down on the dog during the entire ride. Think that’s “fun” for the dog? Give it a shot yourself on any day when it’s 95 degrees-plus outside --- no sunglasses, no hat, no shoes and at least a 30-minute trip --- and get back to me on how much you enjoyed the outing.   

This isn’t about me being some wild-eyed “pets are just people in little fur suits” kind of person. Most people who know me know good and well that’s not how I view companion animals, since to do so takes away from the joy and wonder of their “otherness”. It’s because I don’t see them as little furry people that I feel compelled to ask people to get a little perspective on what they are asking of their pets when the summer temperatures soar. You’re the human in your relationship, not them. Show a little humanity.

No comments:


Blog Design By Sour Apple Studio © All Rights Reserved.