Yay yay yay, my human is finally awake. I wish he would hurry up and feed me my morning meal. Come on, how hard is it? We do this every morning. Why are you so slow? I mean, how many times have you opened a can of my food? How can it take you so long after all of these years? It is just a can. OPEN IT.

Woo, it is open! I can smell it and it smells like meat and grizzle and fun and awesome and happiness and OH MY DOG you just tried to tip the whole can into my bowl all at once but some fell on the floor and now I get to eat a bit of my breakfast early.

Ah, yeah, that’s the stuff.

And now you are patting me and calling me a good boy and thanking me for cleaning the floor for you. You know what, human? I am a good boy because you make me want to be a good boy. You treat me right and make sure that I am happy and comfortable in my – I mean our – home. You take me for walks so I can do what you call ‘my business’ and what I call ‘dropping some puppies off at the park’ and when I am done you pick up what I dropped out and put it in a plastic bag and respectfully carry it with you.

And you have just put my bowl down on the floor so I can fill my belly with delicious mystery meat. Life is good. This is how our mornings should be.

Wait a minute, why are you wearing your best shoes, the ones I love to chew? You only wear those shoes when you leave the home. Say… what’s with the tiny jail cell you put me in when you take me on trips in the big metal box that moves really fast? You better not be putting me in that cell. Whenever you put me in there you take me to the mean vet who prods my belly and calls me a little overweight, and she puts that glass tube thing right into my poop dispenser without even asking and she never gives me a treat after she is done. I am NOT getting in that cell. No. Barking. Way.

Oh no, no, no. Don’t you try and bribe me with a treat. I am not that stupid. But out of interest, is that a little bit of bacon you have in your hand there?

Well, now I am in the cell. At least I have a little bit of bacon in my stomach to show for my efforts. Though it is not sitting very well at the moment because you are carrying the cell now and it is swinging around a little too much. We are outside our home too and it is kind of warm, even though I know it is still early in the morning. I really, really, really don’t want to go to the vet. I’m not up for being probed, not today.

I know that I am not the smartest of creatures – I mean, I am not as smart as a cat (those smug little demons) – but I know we are not on our way to the vet after all. I know this because a few moments ago, the big metal box that moves really fast just stopped suddenly, and you got out, leaving me alone inside of it. You would not see the vet without me. You are not sick. The last thing I heard you say before you sealed the box back up was something about how you would not be long and that you were just getting a quick coffee and would be right back, and that I should just be quiet.

Through the narrow slits in my cell door, I can see you walking away and despite what you said about being quiet I give a little yell of goodbye. You don’t seem to hear it. I want to keep watching you as you walk away from me, but the bright outside light is beaming down onto the side of the big metal box and it is shining right into my brown eyes, which hurts them and makes me squint. It’s fine, though. I can wait. I waited like… minutes for you to feed me this morning so I can wait a few more minutes while you do whatever it is that you need to do. I might as well lie down on the floor of my cell, then.

I could really use some water. My tongue is getting dry, and it is getting very warm in my cell. I can’t stop panting, which is not helping the whole dry tongue thing. I see a few people walking by the big metal box, but none of them are you and none of them look at me. I could yell at them to get their attention, but I know that if I do, you will call me a bad dog. You do not like it when I yell and, anyway, I am not sure I have the strength. I just used up a bunch of my energy pushing at the cell door with my little front paws, hoping I could get the cell door open or at least move it enough so that the bright outside light was not shining directly on it, and me. But I could not get it to move even a flea’s length. I am trapped.

I know you haven’t forgotten me because we have been together for years and we love spending time together. And you need the big metal box to get us back to our home. So I will keep waiting. But please get back soon. I’m starting to feel really sick.

I know it was bad but I just tried crying out for you. But you did not come. Where are you, human? I need to get free. I need water. I need to get out of the light. I need to lie on the cool kitchen floor at our home and close my eyes. Where are you? I need you but you are not here.

What did I do wrong? I always tried to be a good boy for you. But now I am all alone. I am scared. I try to cry out one more time but I cannot make any sound. My throat hurts and my tongue will not stay in my mouth. And my eyes sting even though I have closed them tight to try and block out the light that pounds against me. I wish you were here with me right now but I don’t think you are coming back. I am sorry for whatever I did to deserve being trapped in this cell in your big metal box with that light – oh, that hot, brutal light – shining down onto me. I’m getting very tired now. Maybe if I go to sleep you will be there when I wake up and this pain will be gone. Yes, that’s it. I will sleep.

What’s that? Is that your voice I can hear? No, it is someone else. I cannot open my eyes to see who it is. I cannot smell them while I am inside the big metal box, but I can definitely hear them. They are tapping on the outside of the big metal box now, which makes my head hurt even more. I push at my cell door with what little strength I can find within me to let the stranger know that I am trying to sleep, but the best I can do is to stick my paw through a small gap in the cell door and let it hang there. Oh, what now? The big moving box is shaking and the strange voice from outside is shouting even more loudly. It is telling me to hang on. To what, I am not really sure, so I hang onto the door of my cell like the good boy that I thought I was.

Suddenly there is a huge smashing sound, so loud that I can feel it pulse through my body. I hear hundreds of tiny objects fall onto the top of my cell. They make a sound like my biscuits hitting my food bowl of a morning, but I am too tired and my throat is too sore for the sound to stir any hunger within me.

But then I feel the wind on my face. It so cool and so fresh and so beautiful compared to the still heat of the big metal box. It startles me so much that my eyes open and I raise my head a little. Through my blurred vision, I can still see the outside light shining down. But something is now blocking it from directly hitting me. There is a person reaching into the big metal box. They grab my cell and carry me into the cool air of the outside world. This all makes no sense. There should not be a stranger carrying my cell and I should not be in the outside world without you by my side. But both are happening right now. My cell door is suddenly opened and a rough, but gentle hand is gently patting my body and my head. At first it hurts and I try to pull away but then I hear the stranger’s voice again, telling me I am going to be alright. And then I know that I am not in any danger, not any more.

More voices now, and more pats, this time from hands that are wet with what I think is water. It feels amazing. My body is starting to cool and the pounding in my head is finally, finally quietening a little. Then I notice some water just in front of my nose, in a bowl I do not recognise. But it is water and it is what I need right now. The wet hands that were patting me now help me to rise to a sitting position, and support me while I take a few gentle laps with my dry little tongue. Then a few more. Suddenly I find I cannot stop lapping at the water, and the more I lap the more the voice above me laughs and tells me that I am a good boy. I don’t know whether I am any more, but it is still nice to hear the words, even from a stranger.

Wait, is that you? I hear your voice but it is loud and shouty like it was that one time I lifted my leg and marked my scent on the pile of clothes you left on the floor near your bed. I look up and I can see you running towards me and I wish I had the strength to run right back at you so you could lift me up in your arms and take me back to our home. But something is very wrong. You are still being loud and shouty even though I know I have not done anything wrong. I don’t understand.

Wait, you are not yelling and shouting at me but at the nice stranger who pulled me out of the hot, hot metal box, freed me from my cell, and gave me that wonderful bowl of water. The stranger is getting loud now too and has started shouting back at you. My head is still hurting too much for me to understand what is happening but if you and the stranger are both yelling at each other it must mean that you both did something bad.

Suddenly there is a third voice, who yells just one word; one word I know very well – ‘STOP’ – and everyone goes very, very quiet. I look up again and see that this third voice has come from a very tall man that is wearing a black belt around his waist that looks like it has all sorts of toys hanging from it. He has nice black shiny shoes too and a fancy hat that I somehow know he would never let me bring to him in my mouth. He is talking to both you and the stranger now. You are pointing to your big metal box and telling the man with the toys on his belt to ‘look at what he did to my car, officer’. The stranger now points down at me and says something like ‘your dog was about to die from the heat in your car, you heartless bastard’. I just want to forget all about this morning so I lie down and try to sleep. It has been a rough few minutes and I still feel so weak.

With my eyes closed and my mind at peace, I miss all three of you looking down at me, and then back at each other. I miss the man with the toys on his belt telling you that section 5 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in New South Wales requires people in charge of animals to exercise reasonable care, control or supervision to prevent an act of cruelty, and that leaving a cute little pug in a hot car in the middle of a Sydney summer was not just unreasonably careless, but very cruel. The man with the toys goes on to tell you that you could face up to 6 human months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

I also miss you telling the man with the toys on his belt that you are sorry for what you did but that leaving a dog in a car does not justify someone smashing a car window to rescue it. I miss the stranger saying that he would not have done it if there was another option but that it was a choice between smashing the window and rescuing me, and letting me die.

And I miss the man with the toys on his belt saying that despite the stranger acting with the best of intentions, it is still a crime to intentional or recklessly damage the property of another and that the stranger could also face jail time – up to 5 human years!

But then I open my eyes again and see you walk away, get into your big moving box, and speed off, leaving me with the kind stranger and the man with the toys on his belt; the man who can make humans go quiet with just one word. That man with the toys is telling the stranger that he does not think anyone will face charges over this and then I hear him say to the stranger the words I have been dreading since we left home this morning: ‘better take him to the vet and get him checked out’. I don’t want to go to the vet. Seriously, after everything I have just been through, we are still finishing up at the vet??

But the stranger has just picked me up gently and you know what? I feel safe. The stranger smells like grass and dirt and also a little bit like another dog and I really, really like that smell. He tells me his name is Tim and that he is going to take me to the vet to make sure I am OK, and after that he is going to take such good care of me. You and your big moving box are gone now but that’s fine. I have Tim to care for me, and he is the type of human that will risk his own safety to rescue me from danger, not the type of human who will put me in danger for the sake of a coffee. Everything is going to be fine. Tim is a very good boy and so am I.

For more information on the dangers of leaving animals in vehicles unattended, please visit https://justsixminutes.com.au.

If you do find a dog (or any other animal including a child) locked in a car and are concerned about its welfare, immediately call 000 (112 on your mobile) and ask for the police to assist. I promise, asking the police to rescue a distressed animal is a justifiable reason to use the emergency number. You can also call the RSPCA or NRMA (or your State or Territory equivalent) for help or information, but the police should be your first contact point.