I’m on record as noting that I live in Ashcroft despite the heat, not because of it. I don’t like it when the mercury gets into the mid-thirties Celsius and beyond, and when people ask in surprise why I choose to live here I reply that the relatively few really hot days in summer are more than outweighed by the temperature throughout the rest of the year.
In short, you will not see me among those heading to Yuma or Phoenix in winter. I don’t begrudge those who seek out warmer weather; I simply prefer being able to keep cool without the aid of air conditioning, fans, ice water, and a bare minimum of clothing that would have been considered scandalous until relatively recently. You can always add layers of clothing if it gets cold, but there is a limit to how much clothing you can remove without frightening the horses.
The coming of the hot weather also means I get to write a fairly depressing piece reminding people about the dangers of leaving your pets — particularly dogs — in your vehicle when things warm up. The subject has received a lot of attention in recent years, which has in turn led to several ugly altercations between well-meaning bystanders trying to rescue what they they think is a dog in distress and its owner.
I recently received the following letter on the subject. As there was no address or phone number I couldn’t verify its authorship, which is why it’s not in “Letters to the Editor”, but it has the ring of authenticity and lived experience, so I’m including it here for the edification of the reading public.
“Dear Pet Parents: I wanted to say a word or two about the hot weather in general, and cars in particular. As your dog, I feel I’m kind of an expert here, but since no one ever asks me, I thought I’d write a few things down.
“I know you love me. That’s why you bought me that beautiful dog bed I hardly ever use, because your bed smells like you and I want us to be close. And your bed is much more comfortable. I mean, if the dog bed is such a great thing, why don’t you ever sleep in it? Answer me that.
“It’s why you keep buying me chew toys, although why you do that when there are perfectly good shoes and cushions lying around is beyond me. Honestly, you could save yourselves a lot of money by forgetting the toys and letting me really go to town on your shoes, especially those brown sandals. You know the pair I mean.
“You take me for walks, and make sure my food and water bowls are always full. And I usually love it when we get to go in the car, except when it’s to the vet’s. I hate that place. Although come to think of it, I usually feel better after a visit there, so maybe it’s not so bad after all. Let me think about that one.
“Anyway, I get that taking me places in the car is your way of showing how much you love me. You want me to be near you, and I understand that, because if there’s one thing dogs understand it’s devotion. But when it’s this hot, I’d really rather stay at home, if it’s all the same to you.
“I mean, at home I’ve got shade, and my food, and nice cool water to drink. I can just lie there and relax, or get up and play with a pair of shoes. It gives me my own quiet time to reflect on things. Also, those sofa cushions won’t destroy themselves, and when you’re not here I can really go to town on them.
“So when it’s this hot, please leave me at home. I’d really appreciate it. Love and barks, Rusty.
“PS: Please get another pair of those brown sandals; the ones we have are getting kind of soggy.
“PPS: I’ve thought about it, and I still don’t like going to the vet’s. You can take the cat anytime you want, though; she loves it. Honestly. Would I lie to you?”