As the police officer broke the window, I could see the situation was dire. As much as I wished this were fiction, I could audibly hear the cries from the crowd and the lingering image of the tortured face in the back of the car was eerily memorable. I have fallen victim to another barrage of Facebook videos that have struck a chord which echoes, and continues to resonate deeply, within every fibre of my being and I am currently writing this post from behind swollen eyes and continual sniffles.
Once things like these videos are seen they cannot be unseen and I will most likely have nightmares tonight. The torture and suffering that occur are so preventable yet these tragic situations continue to unfold before the eyes of those who are stupefied and forced to take action to avert fatalities, only if they get there in time. It’s a horrible trend that is so easily remedied, but still continues to happen.
Leaving children or pets in hot cars is inexcusable. There are NO plausible circumstances that make this a forgivable choice. A child or a pet does not have the capacity to voluntarily surrender their right to basic care. They unknowingly give us their permission to nurture and protect their essential needs and wants. It is the responsibility of the adult to put the needs of others before we consider the unencumbered ease of performing mundane tasks alone. If speed and agility are your goals for your shopping adventure, find someone responsible to care for your children and pets while you shop. Even if you think you will only be there “for just a second”, remember you are not the only factor in the equation of your shopping experience.
Life happens. And while some unforeseen aspect of life is happening to you in Aisle Four of your grocery store, life is slowly being taken away from the living, breathing thing you left in your car because you were going to “be right back”.
I err on the side of caution when it comes to my dog. She may not agree with my choice to leave her at home while I shop but at least I know she will always be there to greet me when I return home. She does not have the aptitude to formulate the reason she is in a cool house while I shop for our basic necessities and the temperature inside my car reaches lethal levels.
Sure, she is disappointed when I leave. Sure, I get the cold shoulder on my way by the window. But I know I have done the right thing by not subjecting her to a life-threatening situation and I know the gratitude I feel seeing her happy face when I return home is enough rationale for me. She is still conscious and thriving because I chose to “be mean” and leave her at home.
Please, please…..”be mean” to your pets. Leave them home alone on that hot, sunny day while you pick up those one or two items that will only take you “a couple of minutes”. Tomorrow they will not remember that you left them at home. But tomorrow you will feel the horrible regret of leaving them in a car that reached an inner temperature of 140 degrees in 15 minutes and possibly took their life.
Children should never be left alone in a vehicle, period. Take your child in the store with you. Face the evil stares from people as your child throws an epic temper tantrum in the middle of the store. Budget that extra 15 or 30 minutes it will take you to put back every item your child has mysteriously grabbed from the shelves.
Or be the parent who chooses to leave your child with somebody else while you shop. Feel guilt free if your grocery shopping takes you an extra 15 minutes and enjoy the fact that you don’t have to keep looking outside, wondering what the temperature has risen to inside your vehicle while the life you left inside of it, the child you promised to protect and nurture, endures temperatures that are unbearable and fatal.
For the sake of your child or your pet, make the choice to leave those loved ones at home with someone else to watch them even if you know it will disappoint them. No item in the grocery store will ever be worth the life that may have been put at risk while you shopped for it.