Saturday, June 28, 2008

Too Hot For Living Souls

Today in the Pacific Northwest it is in the 90s. It’s a “dry” heat, which means absolutely nothing to me except that I know humidity is just more miserable. We’re not used to this kind of weather though. Summer has been slow in coming, and while I was getting tired of clouds, this heat is no fun for me or the dogs.

Animals can so easily overheat in this kind of weather. I was sick to my stomach yesterday as I drove home. I saw two different trucks with their dogs in the back beds. The dogs looked absolutely miserable - completely out in the open with no shelter (not to mention no security…but that’s another topic altogether) and I presume no water. Their tongues hanging out, panting so heavily I just wanted to roll down my window and yell at the drivers. It was worse because it was stop and go traffic on the freeway - it just seems hotter surrounded by all that pavement.

I was thinking about those dogs this afternoon when I took Quinn with me to the Post Office. I’m sure someone thought I was being abusive to her - taking her out in this heat. What they don’t know is that Quinn LOVES heat. Seriously LOVES it. She will lay out on our deck even in the hottest weather and won’t come in unless we force her. She was born in a hotter climate (Spokane, WA has much hotter summers) but she’s still a black and white dog. She will come in panting like mad but she just loves it. I wonder if the heat feels good on her old bones.

Anyway, my point is that I know my dogs and I knew that she could handle the short trip to the Post Office. I left all the windows down (it wasn’t too busy so I felt safe doing that) and could see her from the post office as I waited in line. I watched her carefully and was prepared to go back out if she looked distressed. She didn’t even pant for the first few minutes. :) And she purposely stayed in the sun with her head hanging out the window. She’s so cute. By the time I got out to my car (no more than 10 minutes) she was panting (not heavily) but still in the sun with head hanging out. I offered her a drink of water from my water bottle and she wasn’t that interested.

I know how my dogs react to heat. I could never have taken Trooper or Kodiak on that short trip. Both would have been absolutely miserable. I also know Quinn’s limits and if I’d left her much longer she would not have been comfortable. All animals have different tolerances.

We can’t even walk the dogs in this weather. In 70 degree heat they get so hot that after we’re done they go immediately to their kiddie pool. Trooper and Kodiak spar to see who can get in and dig around the fastest. It’s hilarious.

Quinn rarely gets in the pool.

So now, in this heat, we have our small air conditioner (window unit in the bedroom) going full blast with the fan blowing on high and the dogs are still inside panting. Our house gets full on sun until around 4 p.m. so it heats up very hot. I need to get curtains to keep the sun out and keep the house cooler. The only reason we got the AC unit was for Trooper. Before we got it the house would get to over 100 degrees. With all his extra fur he’d probably get heat stroke.

While the dogs are miserable, my cats are in heaven. They love to sun bathe and at their new house with grandma I hear they are enjoying laying by the sliding glass door in the sun even in this hot weather. But even cats can get overheated.

Stay cool everyone!

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