Shawna Harch was about to meet her friends for a fun night out when she heard barking coming from somewhere near the street. An initial search for the source yielded no results, but when the sound continued, her conscious kept her from walking away.
Harch followed the dog’s calls until she was eventually lead to a locked Mercedes. The windows were up, but she could see a small dog locked in a crate on the backseat. While the sun roof was tilted slightly open, it was obvious the dog wasn’t getting enough air. The temperature was in the high 80s, and it would only take 10 minutes for the air inside the car to jump 20 degrees. After 30 minutes, the car’s interior would be 30 degrees hotter than what it was outside.
Having seen this exact scenario while working as a former PR specialist for an emergency animal hospital, Harch didn’t hesitate to take action. She made a few calls, but help from the police wasn’t coming anytime soon. There were two hours left on the vehicle’s parking meter, and Harch knew the dog didn’t have that kind of time.
Instead of waiting helplessly for police, she decided to take matters into her own hands. She started scouring nearby businesses looking for the owner of the car, but she didn’t find them. After exhausting her search, she took up another tactic. She did everything she could to make the car’s alarm go off. Despite her efforts, the Mercedes stayed silently parked with its overheated cargo panting viciously inside.
Finally, Harch knew she had no other choice. She wrote in a blog post,
No one wants to deal with the possibility of owing money or having legal troubles. But I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if this animal died while I sat on the sidewalk and simply let it happen.
She grabbed a tire jack from her trunk and started swinging it at the car’s window. At first, it didn’t break. Advice from a concerned passerby told her to hit the corner of the glass, and eventually, the window was broken.
A small crowd had gathered at this point, and they worked together to care for the dog. Eventually, two young men came out of a nearby apartment building to find their car’s window smashed and their dog in the hands of strangers. After claiming they thought the dog would be fine with the sun roof cracked, they thanked Harch for her actions.
Harch’s quick-thinking and willingness to do what many others wouldn’t saved the dog, and she hopes her story inspires others to do what’s right, even if it’s not what’s easiest.