Good Samaritan Rescues Roasting Puppy from Car

By on July 22, 2017

Update: “Gracie,” as Shelley Goergen’s pup became, unfortunately died suddenly after her tumultuous weekend. Shelley and the pup visited the emergency veterinarian after Gracie started vomiting and continuing to refuse eating. The dog had no vaccinations and no vet care prior to her rescue and it was discovered that she had Parvovirus. 

Shelley is asking others to support animal advocates in response to all her and Gracie’s circumstances. RIP Gracie.


JC Penney’s is not the first place one would think to get a dog, but Shelley Goergen left there with one today. “Everything happens for a reason,” she says. And she’s home with a new (she thinks) Pomeranian/Chihuahua mix for good reason.

After shopping, and as she made her way through the Westroads Mall parking lot, Goergen’s attention turned to a couple of barking dogs. The two pups (both very young) were howling through a crack in their car’s window, obviously trying to be noticed. And being July 22 in Omaha, one can imagine how hot the inside of the car was. Outside, temperatures topped 90 degrees today.

Her first instinct was to cool off the dogs with some water. There was a bowl inside the car, but its water was gone as the dogs had spilled it. Neither of the dogs would drink from her bottle. Next, Goergen thought to call 911. And after being redirected to animal control at the Nebraska Humane Society, help was on the way.

For nearly an hour, she waited, slowly inching the window down enough to give the dogs more air. As the heat rose, the dogs, luckily, became more interested in the water. And as the window was pushed lower, Goergen realized she could unlock the doors to free the pups.

Soon before animal control arrived (its response time was high because it was saving another dog in a car at Westroads), a group of siblings met Goergen at their vehicle. A 19-year-old man and his younger sisters and brother were informed of what was happening. Goergen and the animal control officer each spent time teaching the teen about proper care and the possible circumstances of a too-hot dog in a car.

“I told the animal control officer that I should take the dog from them,” Goergen says. Animal control said it couldn’t be involved in anything like that; in fact, the dog owner couldn’t be cited as animal control was not there to witness the dogs in the locked car. After one final talking-to and discovering that the family hadn’t even taken the younger dog to the vet yet (she is eight-weeks-old), Goergen suggested that she would be a better person to care for this puppy. And after a conversation between the siblings, it was decided that they agreed. The eldest brother signed a piece of paper saying he relinquished the dog to Goergen.



Now at home with Goergen, the puppy is cooler and safe. “She’s a bit timid and won’t eat for me yet,” Goergen says, “but she’s very sweet and minds me well.” Goergen has spoken with friends in rescue and elsewhere about placing the dog. She’s had offers already, but isn’t sure she’s giving the dog up. She’s discovered that the dog’s name is Lucy- the same name of Goergen’s last pup that died five years ago. “We’ll see,” she says about the dog’s future home.

Wherever the dog ends up, we’re all glad she is out of the car and in the care of a more responsible person. Thanks to Shelley for being on the lookout and being proactive. She insists that it wasn’t anything heroic, but a dog is alive thanks to her.

Stay safe and keep those dogs cool!

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