I almost caused a riot outside the bank the other day. ‘sounds political, doesn’t it? Not at all.

I pulled into a parking space to use the ATM, fondly remembering when my son thought anytime someone needed money the machine gave it to him. The concept of having to put it in to later get it out wasn’t yet internalized. Next to my car was an older model SUV of the Japanese variety. In it was a dog. While all four windows were open about 2″ apiece the dog seemed a little spacey.

As I do with every dog I see, I made conversation. This pooch, white and tan, short-haired, looked too pooped to pop. He was wedged into the corner where the backseat met the back door. He didn’t bark, growl, or wag his tail. It seemed all the energy he had was going into his panting, something he was doing rapidly. Troubled, I went to the ATM, waited on line, got my money and turned back towards the car. No driver. It had been 8-10 minutes. I called out, “Anyone belong to this dog?” No response.

Comes the moment of truth. Am I going to go about my appointed rounds for the day and figure it’ll all turn out all right or am I going to go in the bank and give hell to whoever owns the dog? I went in.

At this point, there were two or three people sitting at desks speaking to bank representatives and only one on a teller line. I’m not a detective, but the lady online was clearly the culprit. Her body language was jumpy as can be. she kept looking over her shoulder–not that she could see the car from that vantage point anyway. I said, “Excuse me. Is that your dog inside the SUV? (Oh and excuse me to you. I failed to mention that the temperature was in the 90’s, the humidity made the air feel like you were carrying it on your back, and the sun was searing. You could almost hear the sizzle coming from any skin that was not covered.)

She replied snappishly, “Yeah. I’ve only been five minutes.” Lie. And I told her it was and that it was animal cruelty and against the law as well. She grabbed her money, pushed past me saying, “What business is it of yours anyway?” and exited. I exited with her and said, It is my business because your poor dog is about to keel over from the heat and I’m about to call the cops.” She replied, “Well then mind your own f’ing business and leave me alone.”

Then it got hotter in the person of this short, thin, nicely dressed Hispanic man who had overheard the goings on. He went ballistic. He started screaming at her, “You probably leave your kids in the car too! I know your type, only think about yourself. You’re gonna get someone killed.” Then he almost got himself killed trying to keep her from closing her door while she had already started the car and shifted into reverse. He yelled, “I’m callin’ the cops!” She didn’t stop. Then realizing she wasn’t going to cooperate, he went to take down her license plate. ( ‘piece of advice: don’t ever try to get the license plate number from the rear of a car while it is backing up.) I yelled, “Move!” He did.

Now he was alongside her car and pounding on windows, doors and, fenders while also kicking the tires–for good measure I guess. Through all this, the dog did not move one inch. Didn’t try to protect the car, the owner, nothing. He just leaned and panted. It all ended with her giving us the finger and pealing out of the driveway looking like she’d seen a ghost.

In a nano-second, Mr. Madman Hispanic turned back into mild-mannered bank customer. He said to me, “I’m sorry but I have five little kids and I know how this stuff ends up and it ain’t good. She just hit a nerve and it made me nuts.”

And I was thinking, maybe Donald Trump is right. Maybe we are stupid. Even with the windows open, car temperatures can quickly rise to 180 degrees. It can be mere minutes before an animal or a child passes out, suffers brain damage, or dies.

Think about that. ‘pretty stupid–at least from my perspective.


Bill Gralnick, blogger, author, and dog lover writes in this space every week. To sample his other writings go to his website http// There you will find links to his two books (Mirth, Wind and Ire and More Mirth Wind and Ire–both available on your Kindle or Nook) as well as his op ed blog posts.


Read: It’s good for both of us.


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