Column | People leaving kids and dogs in cars

Two weeks ago, I went to the supermarket with my mother, she had forgotten something and seeing as I have a car and driving license, it’s easier asking me to go with her, instead of cycling all the way. In any case, my mum and I went by my car, I parked the car neatly in between the lines and helped her walk towards the store. Only one is allowed inside, so I waited patiently outside. Once she was done, we walked back to my car, and that’s when I heard you bark. You poor thing. I noticed that the windows were opened, but we all know how hot it can be in a car, within minutes.

The sun wasn’t out, but it was stiffy, hard to breathe properly. The heat from days before still pressed onto your lungs. I wanted to call the police to free you, yet my mum was scared they’d either arrive too late and the owner was gone, or they’d arrive at the same time, and the owner would become aggressive. I decided to wait in the car, to at least be able to tell her what was on my mind, that I don’t tolerate this. No one should. Don’t bring your dog to the store, leave it at home. Not in a car.

As we waited, 20 minutes passed by, no idea how long you had been in there. The car you were in was already there when we arrived. I couldn’t read your owner’s license plate because of blocked cars, so I decided to step out of my vehicle to write it down. Yet, as I was about to do that, your owner walked over to the car. I wanted to walk over to her, but my mum stopped me. She was scared. What if the woman would hurt my mum instead of me? Sure, she was right, but I couldn’t let her go. But as we argued, she had already gotten in her car, and drove away. All I could do, was make an anonymous tip. And that’s where our story ended.

A week later, same store, same parking lot, I parked my car neatly in between the lines as usual. A decent human being, enough space for cars parking next to me. I waited in front of the store until my mum would come back. That’s when I noticed two small heads staring at me from the backseat window, because I was wearing sunglasses whilst the sun hid behind the clouds. The windows were closed. The sun wasn’t out, but it was again stiffy outside. I couldn’t believe my own eyes. In my mind, I prayed that the air-conditioning was turned on. If not, those kids wouldn’t last long.

I waited for the owner to come back, and once he did, I saw that it was an old man, presumably their grandpa. Who in their right mind leaves their kids in a (hot) car? Why don’t you take them with you inside? Why do you take them anyway when there’s only one person allowed inside with each household? I was so close to calling the cops again, but he came back a lot sooner than the dog owner did. And before I could walk over to him to tell him off, my mum came out of the store and of course, stopped me.

I never managed to write his license plate down, but I hope that those kids are okay. And the dog. I just can’t believe people are so ignorant to the huge amount of warnings on billboards, in magazines, on tv, in newspapers, on how dangerous it is to lock your kids or dogs inside cars. It’s a shame. And in my honest opinion, such people don’t deserve dogs, and can’t be trusted with kids in their car. Who in their right mind does this? Let’s see if you’d like it, being locked up in a car for so many minutes with only a small opening of your window. I bet you’d like to get some fresh air.

To both of you, I hope to never see you again. ‘Cause next time, I won’t let my mum stop me. I’ll tell you exactly what I think of your irresponsible behaviour, and I’ll call the cops on you. But, seeing as the sun wasn’t out, they wouldn’t do much. I know that. I hope that the anonymous tip did something. And if not, I hope that the dog is still alive. In such situations, you always ask yourself what’s the right thing to do, you question your integrity to call upon services or not. Regret is always there, calling or not. Warning or not. It always creeps in afterwards.

Love, Deem/Skye Lewis ❤

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