Dogs trigger locks in SUV, prompting rescue efforts
'They were just like happily looking out the window wagging their tails'
Three-year-old Shih Tzus named Fergus and Dougal are doing well after they locked themselves in a vehicle in Borden-Carleton, P.E.I., Saturday afternoon.
Mel Glidden said there was "a little bit of mayhem" after she, her husband and her sister discovered the dogs were trapped in a locked SUV that had the keys inside.
The group was travelling from Moncton to P.E.I. and stopped at the Esso gas station on the other side of the Confederation Bridge. Paul Glidden discovered he couldn't get back into the vehicle after stepping away from it momentarily.
RCMP Const. Jamie Parsons was on patrol in the area and the travellers flagged him down. He determined it was an inside job.
"The dogs were moving around inside the vehicle and the paws hit the lock button and that locked the doors," Parsons said.
Since the constable didn't have the tools to get into the truck, the group called a towing company.
"I was there more so for moral support, I would say," Parsons said.
A community effort
But Mel Glidden said the constable "was absolutely excellent," and that he followed up on the status of the truck and passed along that one of the dogs were starting to pant.
Meanwhile, no less than 20 patrons of the gas station tried to help, searching their cars for wire hangers or tools that could be used to spring the dogs free, Glidden said.
At one point, the group figured since the dogs had locked the truck, they could try to get Fergus and Dougal to open it with some coaching.
"We were moving our little hands around," Glidden said. "They were just like happily looking out the window wagging their tails."
Glidden said although she might have started to feel a little panicked, she never believed her dogs were in any danger as the air-conditioned truck had just been turned off and it was not too hot outside. The temperature Saturday afternoon was in the low twenties.
"They had a big comfy bed in there. They had water. You know, they were happy," she said.
After about half an hour, Johnston's Towing arrived and helped the dogs escape.
Within a couple of minutes the dogs were back in their owners' arms having a drink of water.
"They just didn't even know anything was going on," said Glidden.
She said she was grateful for everyone who took the time to help. She is now kicking off a month-long holiday on P.E.I, with Fergus and Dougal by her side.
Although the incident was an accident, Parsons said it's the time of year where people should be wary of leaving their pets behind in their vehicles.
Thanks to Constable Parsons & Johnston’s Towing 👍 <a href="https://t.co/q9M2EVLQIp">pic.twitter.com/q9M2EVLQIp</a>—@maureenhanley2
But he cautioned people not jump to conclusions and call the police right away if they find dogs stranded in cars.
"Responsible pet owners will leave a note saying that the air conditioning is on or they'll have the windows cracked or whatever and there's water inside," he said. "Sometimes it is just a short period of time and the owner had taken precautions to leave their dog safe inside the vehicle."