‘Miracle dog' left in car 15 hours, survives

AMELIA, Ohio - Josie stood up, stretched and opened her mouth to pant. As the metal door slowly opened, it creaked loudly as the veterinarian let the mostly white dog out of her cage for some fresh air. He leashed her up. She hopped out. Her four paws' nails hit the concrete floor in an effortless pattern — tat, tat, tat, tat.

She was more than ready for her walk.

As Dr. Dan Meakin of All Creatures Animals Hospital in Amelia, walked her down the long hallway, he remembered when she came in just 48 hours earlier.

"She's really a miracle dog. She had a will to live," Meakin said.

On Tuesday, the 9-year-old American Bulldog was found unconscious, with a temperature of 109 degrees. A dog of her size and age's normal temperature is 102 degrees.

Josie was left in a parked truck for 15 hours, with the windows up.

It was 86 degrees outside, but inside the truck, it was 160 degrees.

Jeff Demasters, caretaker at the Arbors of Anderson apartments, found her in the complex parking lot after a tip from another resident came in.

"The truck had a rear-sliding window in it. Popped the rear-sliding window open, reached in the truck, unlocked the door. Got out of the bed of the truck, opened the door, and the American Bulldog fell out of the seat, right onto the pavement," Demasters said.

She was breathing so hard, he said, that the entire truck was shaking in the parking lot. She couldn't catch her breath from the heat exhaustion.

"[There was] no air whatsoever, nothing," Demasters said. "The entire inside of the truck was just covered from her sweat, so bad. When I opened up the window, the heat just blasted me in the face. It was insane and I wasn't going to let the dog sit there and die. She was basically cooking from the inside out."

Demasters took her to Dr. Dan Meakin at his Beechmont Avenue office, just minutes away.

"When she arrived at our clinic she was comatose. Her heart rate was rapid. She was in shock," said Meakin. "We administered emergency care and treated her for the shock."

Josie's owner's daughter was supposed to be watching her. The Union Township Police Department and Animal Control are now investigating the incident.

Meakin said that he treats about five heat emergencies every summer, but that the emergency animal hospital sees far more every year.

That's because, he said, it only takes a dog 10 to 20 minutes to overheat in the car, especially when it gets to be 80 degrees or hotter.

If this happens to you, Meakin said you should cool the dog down, but not to quickly.

"You don't want to put ice on them. You just want to put a lukewarm towel over them. You want to put a fan on them," he said. Next, the dog should be taken to the vet for IV fluids.

For now, Josie waits for her owner to take her home.

Her owner said that he is grateful for the rescue and Dr. Meakin's help with the dog, who he has had since she was 9 months old.

No one has been cited for the incident; however, the Union Township Police Department and Animal Control are investigating the case.

Dr. Meakin's tips for you and your dog this summer:

  • Outside dogs should have shade and a baby pool to swim in if they get to hot.
  • Only take dogs with you in the car if you can take them inside with you where you're going.
  • Be aware of the weather for the day and plan accordingly.
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