Client: Internal project
Category: An activism website I created to prevent dogs from suffering in hot cars

The problem

Dogs throughout America (and the world) are suffering and dying from heatstroke, as a result of being left in hot cars. In most cases, this occurs because dog owners are unaware of the dangers of leaving them in cars, even on seemingly “cool” (eg 70 degree) days, and even if the windows are left partially open.

This public unawareness is largely the result of the fact that local authorities – police departments, shopping mall and movie theater managers, animal shelters, etc. – are also unaware of this danger. Or worse, as I documented in an investigative report, they publicize dangerously incorrect medical information that, according to veterinarians, if followed, would likely make a dog in possible heatstroke worse, or kill it.

Because of this knowledge deficiency, when intelligent but uninformed people encounter a dog in a hot car, they often will leave the scene without doing anything, either because they don’t recognize the danger, or hope that the dog won’t be left there for long. Even if they do sense the danger and call the police, in many cases they are told that the local laws do not allow for a dog to be rescued from a vehicle, unless it is clearly in “distress” – meaning that it is displaying symptoms of heatstroke.

In reality, this means that the dog is already suffering the early or advanced signs of brain damage, and/or damage to other internal organs. And in many cases, it is too late to save the dog; it will die an agonizing, painful death – a death that was 100% preventable, had its owner, the general public and local law enforcement had the knowledge and ability to save it.

The solution I developed: HeatKills.us

In 2013-2014, I built the first HeatKills website (HeatKills.org; archived here), to present carefully-curated scientific information about heatstroke and dogs, in a simple, visual way.  The centerpiece of my approach is this infographic:

During the seven years it existed (2014-2020), HeatKills.org became a widely-cited online resource within the dog-loving community, in America and beyond.

Unfortunately, as I explain at HeatKills.us/About/, HeatKills.org was destroyed by the negligence of my domain registrar, and will soon be in litigation.

In the spring of 2023, I rebuilt a slimmed-down version of the site, at HEATKILLS.us.


I did all of this work in honor and loving memory of Shayna, the “miracle dog” who helped to save my life after 9/11, about whom I wrote my first book:

Shayna, circa 2008.

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