DEAR ABBY: Summer is the season for celebration -- beach trips, picnics in the park and barbecues. But it can be a dangerous time for dogs.
Every year, thousands of dogs die after being left in overheated parked cars. Heatstroke can come on quickly and result in brain damage or death. Dogs are prone to heatstroke because they can cool themselves only by panting and sweating through their paw pads.
If you see a dog left in a car on a warm day, take down the car's color, model, make and license plate number. Have the owner paged inside nearby stores and call local humane authorities or the police.
If you see a dog exhibit any of the following symptoms: restlessness, excessive thirst, a rapid pulse, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, rapid heartbeat, fever, vomiting or lack of coordination -- get the animal into the shade immediately and call the veterinarian.
You can save a dog's life! -- LAURIE IN MILWAUKEE
DEAR LAURIE: Thank you for an important letter. I recently read that so far this year, 19 children have died after being left in automobiles! During the summer months, leaving any living creature in a car -- even with the windows cracked -- is an invitation to a heart-wrenching tragedy.