Over the weekend two things happened that caused me to evaluate how much should a person get involved.
The first thing was at a restaurant parking lot, it was hot outside and there was a car parked with all of it's windows rolled up with a dog inside. I talked to a waitress at the restaurant about it and showed her what car it was. She said they didn't have a PA system to make an announcement but said she would ask the people at her table and would ask the other workers to do the same. Nothing happened. I called 911 - told them it was not an emergency and told the operator the story. She gave me the Everett Animal Shelter. I called, told them the story and was told that the location of the restaurant was unincorporated Snohomish County and got another number to call. That Animal Shelter was closed. It had been about 20 mins by now and I didn't know how long it had already been when we got there. I felt bad for the dog but didn't know what else I could do. See if the doors were open? Then what? What if the dog took off into the street or if it was an aggressive dog? Brake a window???In the end I tried to help but really couldn't do anything. I felt crappy about it.
The second thing that happened was me and the kid driving home from doing some errands and again.... still hot in Everett and we drove by a big apt complex and smoke is coming out from one of the roof chimneys. So I stopped and thought about it - why would anyone on the top floor have a fire today? Could the apt be on fire? I was at a loss as to what to do.... call 911? Knock on the persons door? Go up to their apt and see if the door/doorknob is hot? We ended up not doing much, we watched the place for a few mins. The smoke was mostly white and we didn't see any flames. We went home. Since there is a Fire Station down the street from us we would have heard them if they passed us to get to this apt and thankfully that never happened.
I like to think of myself as someone that would act if needed but both of these cases makes me realize that acting at that moment isn't a clear cut thing.