Melanie Toulouse is a dog lover and a business owner. And she believes she can mix the two together, especially if it helps keep dogs out of hot cars.
Toulouse recently put a sign on the front door of her business, Better Bodies Tanning, urging her customers to not leave their pets in their cars while they come in to tan.
“You are welcome to bring your dog in to stay cool! Please do not leave him/her in your vehicle,” the sign reads.
It earned some attention on social media, as people appreciated the thoughtfulness of the gesture.
When The Chatham Voice brought it to the attention of Robyn Brady, community relations co-ordinator with the Kent branch of the OSPCA, she was thrilled.
“I think it’s great. It’s a fantastic way to encourage people to not leave their pets in cars,” she said.
Toulouse was surprised at receiving any attention for the sign and the open-door attitude to pooches.
“I’ve always let the dogs in before,” she said. “I just thought I’d let people know they are welcome. I have dogs myself. I couldn’t imagine leaving them in a vehicle.”
Toulouse said she unfortunately knows a lot of people who like to bring their pets in their cars, but leave them in there on sunny days.
“I just don’t think they realize it can be a bad thing.”
The OSPCA recently sent out a reminder of the dangers of doing so. Brady said even on a nice, sunny day, it can seem like an oven in a vehicle.
“If it is 24C outside, a car, even if it has the windows cracked a little bit, can get up to 47C,” she said. “Think of how warm it feels like when you get in the car and how quickly you want to roll down the windows. Now, think of how hot it is in the car for a dog that is covered in fur and can’t sweat.”
Brady added a dog’s normal body temperature is 39C. They can only tolerate a rise of just two degrees for a short period of time before they can become quite ill.
Calls to the OSPCA offices about dogs being left in hot vehicles typically start as soon as the weather begins to get warmer in the spring. Brady said their first call came in about a month ago.
“People are looking out for the animals, which is what we encourage,” she said.
Toulouse hopes other business owners will follow in her footsteps.