I didn't see the dog's owner anywhere. I hurried into the store, looked around, and told the shopkeeper. They made an announcement, but the dog's owner wasn't in the store. I went back to the car and stuck my hand in the cracked window, and it barely fit. I could feel how ungodly hot it was in the car. The dog pawed the window, frantically.
So you know me, I called 911. Amazingly, the police arrived in about 10 minutes, and by then I was frantic, too. "Officer," I told him, "can you please get one of those tools you guys use, to open the window and unlock the door?"
"No, I'm sorry, I can't. Our procedure is to find the owner."
"But I tried and this dog could die."
I was already taking off my clog and trying to figure out if it could smash a car window.
"Let me try to find the owner," the cop said.
So I ran back inside the store, to look for a blunt object, but when I came back outside, the dog's owner had returned, a thirtysomething man who sauntered slowly toward his car, his pasty face expressionless. This, even though his dog was in obvious distress, a police officer and his cruiser were on the scene, and a small crowd had gathered.
By the way, the man was sipping bottled water.
His dog had no water bottle.
So you can imagine how this went down.
I didn't get arrested, though I tried.
The cop said to the man, "Sir, it's very hot to leave a dog in a car."
The man answered coolly, "I was only gone half an hour. I was at the gym."
I yelled at the man, "A half an hour is too long for a dog to be in a car in this heat! A dog can die in a car in only five minutes! Are you a complete idiot? What is the matter with you? Don't you watch the news? Open the door! This is animal cruelty!"
I also added a lot of really good profanity, and even so, it wasn't as much as the man deserved.
The cop asked me not to make a scene.
I told the cop he hadn't seen anything yet.
The cop asked me to back away.
I told the cop I wasn't going anywhere.
Then the cop backed me away, gently.
OK, so I stayed backed away, but I kept yelling at the man. From a distance, which was even better.
The cop asked the man his name and address, and even as the man gave the cop his information, he refused to open the door for the overheated dog.
I kept yelling at the man and I told the cop I wanted to file a complaint of animal cruelty.
The cop told me that wouldn't be possible, and since I was already yelling at the man, I didn't start yelling at the cop, too, because that would ruin my credibility. Also, the cop was just doing his job, unlike the psychopath who had left his dog to suffer in a car.
In the end, the psychopath drove away, and his poor little dog went with him. And I can only hope that one night, when he's asleep, the dog bites him.
And if the dog doesn't, I will.
Because I'm a middle-aged woman, and it's taken me 59 years to learn that sometimes, you have to stand up.
Happy birthday to me.
Look for Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella's columns in their new collection, "Have a Nice Guilt Trip," coming Tuesday. Also, look for Lisa's new novel, "Keep Quiet," in stores now.