Driving Dogs

Out West, “drive ’em, dogie” means moving motherless calves along the trail.

Here in Westport it refers to a new trend:  people driving cars with their dogs on their laps.

An alert “06880” reader emailed us about this disturbing development — one we’ve noticed too.

What is it about our town that turns normally intelligent people into spectacularly poor decision-makers?

(Photo courtesy of Dogster.com)

Are folks here so attached to their pooches that they can’t bear to leave home without them?  Do they think their pets will be so bereft sitting in the passenger (or, worse, rear) seats that they need to plop them (the dogs) in their (the drivers’) laps?

We’ve already seen an epidemic of texting, reading, nail clipping and mascara applying while driving.

What’s next?

We’re afraid to ask.

11 responses to “Driving Dogs

  1. Richard Lawrence Stein

    Dan if there is any proof needed for the stupidity of this crazy activity that ranks up there with DUI or texting while driving a man died I believe on Greenfarms road this summer because his pooch jumped on his lap causing and accident. I don’t want to be an ageist or sexist but it seems older woman are most visually guilty of this behavior from what I see around town…. Seriously does your dog need to be anywhere in the front of a vehicle

    • Richard…you mention the incident that immediately came to mind when I read Dan’s post. It was ANOTHER driver, however, whose dog jumped into his lap, causing the fatal accident. “Oops, sorry”…Driving with dogs in the front seat should be illegal for this very reason. I have friends who have restraints for their dogs (which actually protect the dogs, as well) or they remain in the back of the car.
      There are so many distractions on the road these days. It’s like the old adage from Hills Street Blues: Be careful out there!

    • Outside Observer

      I agree that it is dangerous but I see many white-haired MEN driving with their little white dogs in their laps too.

  2. In Westport the dog is a demigod. We buy multi-milli0n dollar doggie toilets. We let them soil our beaches. Why? Because we lack perspective?

  3. My wife has a Yorkie and whenever we take it somewhere we put it in a little back pack type conveyance which is able to fastened with a seat belt.

  4. By the way…. it is illegal to ride with an animal in your lap. I it just not enforced.

  5. katherine hooper

    love the pic dan!

  6. doggie driving on your lap is NOT a new trend- people including myself (dog is dead now though) have been driving w/ dogs on their laps as long as lap dogs have been in cars. It was just the go to place for my pug. It’s not safe but i’m not sure we were as aware as we are now of the danger because of the distracted driving campaign- holding a cup of coffee or eating while driving is considered distracted driving does that make food and coffee the demigod??

  7. The Dude Abides

    What’s next? How about the gal in Florida, who was stopped for giving her “privates” a trim while driving. She was on her way to a date with her ex-husband holding the steering wheel for her. As for dogs, Gordon Gekko strikes again: “Those WASP’s love their dogs more than people.” Of course, who wouldn’t want to snuggle with “Poof Poof” while driving 50 mph in your Range Rover while wearing a baseball cap and sun glasses??? Attention deficit disorder.

  8. okay Dan — I think you know me a little bit by now, I grew up in Westport, and now I am a North Carolina girl. I dive a pickup truck and I own hounds . . . hownds? . . . hound dogs. And we don’t have garbage pickup down here, so I gotta drive to the dump every week with my garbage and my recyclables and this means taking at least one, sometimes two of the hounds with me. They ride “shotgun” in the tiny cab of my Ford Ranger, with no restraint whatsoever, windows down all the way, radio turned up to eleven. I don’t “tarp” my garbage, so I let caution fly and hope that nothing flies out the back on the 8 mile drive to the dump. The dogs feel unfettered on this drive and none of my neighbors look askance at me and my dogs as we fly by on the country roads (we have big wide roads down here to accommodate the timber trucks) at a good pace of 60 mph or so … hound dog ears flying in the wind! I don’t know what kind of pocketbook dogs are riding in the laps of the ladies who lunch up there, but I highly doubt they are taking the kind of open road liberties (with garbage!) that my hounds take once a week and sometimes more, depending on the cumulation of junk round this house.

    In the high heat of summer I showed up at the dump one day without my dogs — I thought it was too hot to take them along and they were hollering at me as I drove away with the garbage without them — when I arrived at the dump, the old man who’s been attending our dump for a good 8 years now, met me at the gate, he put his hands on the empty passenger side window sill of my old truck and looked at me gravely — he was very concerned, he asked, “Where’s the dogs?” I immediately wondered if he would let me enter the dump without my dogs, I told him, “I left them home today, too hot to drive them around. ” The dump man looked relieved, “Oh I thought somethin’ had happened to them…drive on girl, drive on.”

    So that’s life down here Dan, the dump man expects my dogs to visit every week, its the cycle of life, the cycle of life . . .

  9. The Dude Abides

    Wow, Shannon, I am not sure what kind of weed they are growing in Carolina but I would sure like to get my hands on some. The “cyle of life” man, far out. Just today I saw a bicycle being thrown out at our dump.