Well, after waiting about five minutes, I was worried because Penny was panting. We were sitting under a concrete overhang at the side of a carpark. It was stifling. And Penny was getting hotter. I moved her out into the carpark and lifted her onto a planter, hoping a breeze might come by and that being a metre above the tarmac and beside plants might be cooler.
She started panting faster and we abandoned human number two and headed home, where I threw water on Penny and tossed treats into her water bowl to make her drink.
How could she have become so overheated at 10:30 pm?
An article in Friday's copy of The Age might explain our bad experience. There's a thermal image of a Melbourne city street corner at 3-4 pm on December 8, 2011, when the day's top temperature was recorded at 32.4° C (90° F).
Below a large plane tree on an inner-city corner, the temperature was 38.3° and nearby hard city surfaces were - get ready for this - 80.7°C ! I've checked the article a couple of times and that's what it said. 80.7°C is 177°F.
Apparently our built-up cities suffer from the heat-island effect.
I noticed yesterday that the back steps of our house, made of concrete, were too hot to stand on in bare feet, after sunset, so how hot must it have been for Penny, walking to the supermarket that evening, even if the ambient air was a bit cooler?
We dog owners need to be more careful when we take our pets out, even if it is only for a brief outing.
And we need more trees in our suburb!
We need more trees in our cities, in our gardens, everywhere on our continent, and everywhere on our planet.
At my favourite garden centre, there's a sign that goes something like this:
The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago.Looking around on the internet, I found lots of references to this quote. It seems to be an old Chinese proverb. I'm very glad most of the trees in our garden were planted about forty years ago.
The second best time is now.
Here's a link to the article in The Age newspaper about the dangers of creating heat-islands in our cities.