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Toronto Humane Society Takes a Stand Against Dogs Dying in Cars

THS and Toronto-based agency Rethink have teamed up for a unique plan that aims to end in-car heat exhaustion deaths in dogs.

Go to any grocery store or mall parking lot and you’re bound to see it: a panting dog in the backseat of a car patiently waiting for its owner to finish that quick errand. Factor in the broiling summer heat, however, and what was once an innocent matter of convenience suddenly becomes a deadly predicament for the one left behind. But a recent initiative in Toronto has laid out a multifaceted solution that may serve as inspiration for other cities to follow suit.

The Toronto Human Society and agency Rethink have collaborated to create a layered system that includes a targeted website, on-site petsitting service, and an innovative temperature monitoring collar to hopefully end a sad situation that claims hundreds of dogs’ lives a year.

It’s understood that many places don’t or can’t allow pets in their building, leaving owners with few options—but THS’ map of dog-friendly businesses opens up those options by allowing people to find and share suitable spots in across Toronto. In addition to #DogFriendly, THS is currently in talks with malls and retailers to set up Doggy Havens, areas where THS volunteers watch an owner’s dog as they shop. And the idea has found roots with Scarborough, Ontario recently giving the green light.

And for those times when, unfortunately, leaving your dog in a car is inevitable, Rethink has engineered a clever collar that sends a text to a dog owner’s phone, alerting them if their pet is in danger of heat exhaustion. The Dog Caller, which sends a message once it reads a temperature of about 80°F, is in the prototype phase at the moment, but THS and Rethink are working with manufacturers and designers to have the collar widely available by 2013.

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