October 10, 2005
Of Dogs, Blogs, and Automobiles
Freedom is the taste of speed on the tongue, of eyes half closed against wind that flaps and flutters your ears around your neck. Head out the car window, a succession of scents overwhelms you. The fried chicken restaurant, diesel fumes, rotting seaweed on the beach, the sweaty men in the road selling newspapers, gas station pumps, and dumpsters...it's endless and blending, a fast flowing, fluid landscape of smells that can be just too much for your average Labrador.
Sometimes it's best just to sit panting and waiting, getting the occasional whiff, biding your time till you sense you're nearly there, wherever it is. So, so often, you just know you're almost there. Maybe it's the bank, where dog biscuits mysteriously appear out of plastic projectiles zinging through noisy, popping tubes. Maybe it's the shore or the lake or the park (hurrah!). Maybe it's the dreaded vet, where you try to disappear behind your human. Or maybe it's Petsmart, just jam-packed with shelves of mouth-watering wonders.
Cars are the portals to other worlds, barely understood by us dogs. We willingly, even eagerly enter these alarming machines because they're our chariots to adventure, chance and companionship. It seems like car makers should have been thinking about dogs for a long time, but it's just not so. Only now has a new kind of car been invented, the "wonderful open-hearted wagon," or WOW. It has a special seat belt for bigger dogs so they can buckle up and it has built-in smaller crates for littler dogs.
As for me, I don't know if I need one or not. Mike and Molly already buckle me up in the backseat, tethering my harness to the seatbelt with some kind of strap. Oh, I know I look pretty geeky and sheltered compared to those daredevil dogs hanging loose in the back of pickup truck beds, eyeballing me in pity and disdain. Those dogs are just too cool for training school. But then Mike stops the car short, jerking me forward, and I'm suddenly glad to be wearing a seatbelt. I worry about those other Labs who could crack their craniums on the cabs of trucks. Truth be told, I wouldn't trade spots with them for a bank vault of dog biscuits.
I remember the good ol days when a dog could run back and forth in the back of a pickup truck. Course, those days when my sis and I would stand up in the back of the truck as Mom used the truck to chase the cattle back into the corral. Or when we'd sit on the tail gate and she'd purposely straddle horse piles so our feet would hit them. Yep, those were the good ol days before we knew we weren't really invinsible and we didn't care if our shoes got dirty.
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