At the time I wrote this it was 90 degrees in downtown Seattle. One of my tasks at work when it gets this hot is to measure the bridge gaps to make sure the metal hasn’t expanded so much in the heat that the bridge gets damaged by me trying to open it.
So, I’m standing at the crosswalk, waiting for the light, when this couple comes up, with their two chihuahuas. The dogs were prancing nervously. They were pulling on their leashes, clearly not wanting to be there.
I couldn’t stand it. So I said to the couple, “Can I show you something?”
I took out my heat measurement gun and pointed it at the pavement by their dog’s feet. “The pavement is 118 degrees.” (Frankly, I was surprised it was that cool. My temperature gun may need calibrating.)
“Oh, okay,” the man said, and they continued their walk, not picking their dogs up.
It took everything in me not to tackle them to the ground, grab those poor dogs, and run like hell. Because what they were doing was torture. I was witnessing torture.
When I mentioned this on Facebook, a friend said I should have stolen the man’s shoes. I wish I had thought of that. That would have cut their walk short, for sure.
I’m ashamed to admit that I learned about hot pavement the hard way. I was on a road trip with a dog many years ago, and I stopped at a rest area to give the dog a break. It was brutally hot. The pavement was black. But we were going to the grass. The dog hopped out of the car, and couldn’t have been on the pavement for more than 3 seconds. That night his feet blistered and peeled and we went to the emergency vet.
A good rule of thumb when walking your dog in the summer months is to put your hand on the pavement for 7 seconds. If you can’t stand it, then neither can your dog. Simple enough.
What I will never understand, what will always haunt me, is that when I showed these people that the pavement was 118 degrees, they didn’t immediately pick up those poor little dogs. Another friend said we seem to be entering a “people don’t care” period in society.
That’s not acceptable. Not when you have helpless dogs depending upon you for their health and safety. Not when you have power over the less fortunate or the subordinates of this world.
It’s called being responsible. It’s called being compassionate and empathetic. It’s about having at least one or two brain cells rattling around in that vacuous head of yours.
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