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The Plight of Dogs During Arizona Summer

Now think of the blast furnace that greets you each time you open the door of your car during the summer months. When it is over 100 degrees outside, the temperature inside a parked car will rise to 140 degrees in 15 minutes. At that temperature, a dog cannot cool themselves at all. Quickly brain damage, seizures and death can occur.

Terrible as these things both are, they are not the only horrors awaiting dogs here in summer. At the shelters, the lines of people waiting to surrender dogs that, among other things, they have no place to leave while they go away on vacation grow longer each day. Many of these dogs are seniors, have health issues or are of types that simply are not often adopted. The most euthanized dogs in shelters are “Pitbulls” (a term with no accurate or factual definition any more), Chihuahuas, dogs with medical issues and senior dogs…in that order. The surrendering persons either falsely believe that “someone will adopt my dog” or they simply don’t care. In the United States, we euthanize almost 4 million dogs each year. It’s not an unfair estimation that close to 1 million of those are during summer.

Summer is also the time when mosquitoes carrying heartworm are out, when valley fever spores are most prevalent and when ticks are active. Heartworm and valley fever will both infect many dogs again this summer, like every summer, subjecting them to painful and completely preventable deaths. Tick fever, lyme disease and other tick-bourne illnesses will harm many other dogs, and are preventable as well.

Please keep your dogs indoors where they belong this summer, make sure they are vaccinated and protected against diseases and parasitic organisms, don’t walk them without first checking ground temperatures with your hand, don’t leave them in cars ever, don’t betray them by surrendering them at the shelter when they are sick or old, and care for them like you would any other cherished member of your family.

The idea that a dog is just a “pet”, an object in your home is outdated and was never acceptable to begin with honestly. If you don’t currently have a dog or dogs in your life, visit a local shelter or contact any of the many local dog rescue organizations today. You’ll save the life of the dog you adopt plus the one who will have space in the already at capacity shelter because of your kindness.

Matt Dellaro is the founder of To Always Love Animals Rescue (TALAR) in San Tan Valley, AZ.

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