Annie's Mailbox: Family dog left in the heat died there

Dear Annie: I've done something terrible and I can't sleep. My heart is broken. We contracted with a tree removal company to take out a large weeping willow. The workers arrived before 9 a.m., but they were frightened of our dog, "Rocko," so I moved him to another part of our yard, along with his water and food dish. Two hours later, I left for work.

The weather became surprisingly hot and humid, and when my husband arrived home, our beloved Rocko was dead. He was 14 years old, and maybe it was coming, but what if it was the heat and the lack of his favorite shade tree? It never occurred to me that it would get so hot.

My eyes are swollen from the tears. How could I have ever let my "good boy" suffer like that? I will never get over feeling so sad for my husband and kids. Rocko was a wonderful dog. I just wish I could know that he died from old age and not my stupidity. Can a dog die from the heat in less than four hours - especially one with a lot of fur?

- Brokenhearted in Michigan

Dear Michigan: Unfortunately, dogs with a lot of fur can easily overheat. We spoke to Dr. Bernadine Cruz, a nationally recognized veterinarian. She is sure you thought you did the best you could to put your beloved pet in the safest place possible with food and water. Unless you had a post mortem, there's always a chance there could have been other issues involved in Rocko's death besides heat and insufficient shade, including age, obesity or an underlying illness.

As sad as it is, please know your letter may save another pet's life by reminding pet owners to take all precautions possible and discuss any questions with their vets. For further information, readers can go to avma.org/care4pets.

Dear Annie: Thousands of homeowners are facing foreclosure of their family home for one tragic reason or another. They can receive help through state and nonprofit agencies at no cost.

Unfortunately, homeowners often seek help from scam artists who prey upon those in need. These scammers set up their ads and websites to look legitimate. Please tell your readers to seek help through the aforementioned agencies.

- Certified Foreclosure Interventionist, Maine

Dear CFI: We appreciate the opportunity to keep our readers informed. Anyone who is facing foreclosure can contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (hud.gov) at 451 7th St., SW, Washington, D.C., 20410 for referrals to state agencies that offer foreclosure counseling and assistance. Readers also can contact the Homeowner Preservation Foundation (hopenow.com) at 1-888-995-HOPE (1-888-995-4673).

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