Greetings to those of you reading this post first-hand and also to those reading with the assistance of Google translate. Today is the humpy-est of all the days of the week and the last hump day of June 2017. Use your minutes and hours wisely today.
For the topic of this piece, I am writing about the events surrounding my belated birthday dinner with my mom. My mom and I had agreed upon the Red Lobster location in the Chesterfield Valley (17204 Chesterfield Airport Rd) off of highway 40 at 5:30 PM CST for the day of Tuesday, June 27th. On this day, I worked late and then drove west on highway 40, leaving work about 4:55 and arriving at the restaurant by 5:08 PM. I parked on the side of the restaurant where Mimi’s Cafe was next door. Upon parking my car, I rolled down the windows and turned off the car to wait for mom. With the car’s radio and engine now silent, I heard a dog whining. Initially I was not able to locate the source of the sound but after about 15 seconds, the sound repeated. I got out of my car and carefully listened until I was able to pinpoint the source of the sound and walked to the vehicle.
Inside this dark colored Mazda CX-5 SUV, featuring tinted windows with Missouri license plates U– –S that don’t expire until October 2018, (apparently was purchased at West County Bommarito), I noticed a small dog. Both the front and rear windows were lowered about two inches. But inside the vehicle there was this small shaved poodle-type dog whining and crying. A visual scan confirmed that there were no humans in the car and that the car was not running. So I left this person’s vehicle and approached a Red Lobster worker who was arriving for her shift. I requested that she or her manager call the police because someone left their dog in their car while they went inside to eat and it was 85 degrees outside. She said she would pass the information along to her manager. Now granted the vehicle was in partial shade where it was parked but just standing next to the vehicle in dress pants and dress shirt, I was sweating. Inside the dog was moving from seat to seat to try to stick its head up to the incoming breeze, all the while whining and panting.
After about 10 minutes I went inside and asked to speak to the manager. When she approached, I asked if she had been notified to call the police about the dog in the car on their parking lot. The manager said they had not called the police but they could. She also said, “I can call but they aren’t going to do anything about it.” I said, please just do so and I’m going to go wait by the car with the dog. At about 5:30 my mom arrived for dinner after she had sent me a text a few minutes prior to confirm if I had arrived at the restaurant yet. I replied I was in the parking lot standing next to a car with a dog in it.
When mom arrived, she looked inside the car and then called the police and gave them all the vehicle’s information including the license plate number. She then went inside to ask the management to make an announcement. After several minutes, she returned stating the restaurant did not have an intercom system but she went table to table and found the dog’s owner. The dog’s owner acknowledged that he had his dog in the car but she should ‘mind her own business’. She proceeded to inform him that the police had been called.
About 90 seconds after mom came out and gave me the rundown, this older, balding man emerged from the restaurant and approached the vehicle. I asked him if this was his car, he said yes it is. I said it’s illegal to leave your dog in a vehicle on a hot day. He said, “no it’s not. I’ve had that dog for nine years and I do this all the time.” I asked him how he would like to sit in the hot car for a half an hour or more? He proceeded to get into the vehicle and light up a cigar without answering. After about five minutes, the side door to the restaurant opened and the manager escorted an elderly woman out with a to go bag. She hobbled slowly to the vehicle, the man got out, situated her on the passenger side, got back in, started the car, pulled out and left.
With the a-hole off the premises and the police nowhere in sight, mom and I were pretty disgusted and agitated with the situation. Mom placed a call to the police for them to disregard the dog in a car complaint and they told her the officer would be told to disregard. Since we were a bit disenchanted with the employees of Red Lobster being dismissive of the situation, we decided to move across the parking lot to their next door neighbor Mimi’s Cafe. We were seated in a booth and enjoyed a nice meal. During the meal my phone was blowing up. Why was that? Let me tell you!
After I initially went into Red Lobster to try to get the manager to call the police, I came back out snapped a picture of the person’s license plate with my phone and posted it on Facebook with the caption “Waiting in Red Lobster’s parking lot for this POS who left his dog in the car to come out”. In the span of about 25-30 minutes I got over fifty responses and several instant messages asking for updates. I know many pet lovers in my circle of friends, so naturally, they were concerned and angry that someone would be so callous and self-centered as to put their pet at risk while they leisurely enjoyed a meal in air conditioning. We didn’t get the desired result we wanted (the Chesterfield Police to show up) but at least we cut short this couples’ asinine dining experience. My other concern was in the dog owner’s statement that he ‘does this all the time’ with the dog. Putting his pet at risk was of no concern to him (or her apparently). What would’ve happened if they had experienced a medical emergency and had to leave their vehicle there until the next day? What if the temperatures were over 90 degrees and the vehicle was no longer in the shade and the animal had no food or water? OK this was a worst case scenario type deal but still they proved themselves to be unworthy pet owners. Companion animals are dependent upon their owners and reasonable precautions should be taken for their welfare…not cracking a few windows two inches on a mid-80’s temperature day where the temperatures get significantly higher inside the vehicle.
I do not know how to step down from this experience or issue. Like the story I did on the baby bobcat, this situation was not something my gut was willing to dismiss. If mom and I hadn’t decided to eat at that Red Lobster, would someone else have reported the dog in the car? I doubt it. While I/we were waiting for the police, many people noticed the ruckus the animal was making but didn’t bother to investigate and proceeded into the restaurant as if nothing was amiss. It’s that kind of attitude that makes me greatly sad for the future of this country and the world. If we as individuals do not point out the things that are wrong and try to correct them, then the society of the future will be nothing but an apathetic mass of people milling about with their faces parallel to the next iCreation as we devolve into zoo animals.
Wooo. Heavy. Cheerio and good day.