I was driving down the street the other morning on my way to drop the kids off at daycare when I saw something that not only frightened me, but made my blood boil.
The car in front of me was zipping down the street at a brisk 45 mph, with a beautiful chocolate Lab enjoying the breeze — from halfway out the car window.
He was actually hanging halfway out the window.
The Lab was leaning so far out of the window that not only could I see his beautiful head, but I could also see both of his front legs and his body all the way down to his hips.
This poor guy was enjoying his morning drive, from … let’s make that 70 percent outside of the car.
In shock at what I was seeing and momentarily forgetting about the 4- and 7-year-olds sitting in the backseat of my car, I commented loudly, “Are you freaking kidding me? Get your damn dog back in the car.”
The kids turned to see what I was talking about, and then suddenly it happened.
The car made a sharp right turn, and the dog tumbled forward. His poor face smacked against the outside of the car door down by the handle; his life being saved only by a hand that at the very last minute appeared to grab his collar and yank him back into the car.
Suddenly my fear turned to anger — anger because a dog was being so carelessly unprotected and anger because if he had fallen out of the car, my children and I would have had the horror of running over him.
People, as a fellow dog lover and a person with a reasonable amount of common sense, I just have one simple request from you: Please, get your damn dog back in the car.
I mean, really, what is up with this? I am really freaking tired of seeing so many adorable muzzles flying past me down the street, enjoying the breeze and completely oblivious to the fact that their lives are in danger because their owners are complete morons.
Yeah, I said it: If you are allowing your dog to ride on the outside of your car, you are a moron.
What else can you claim to be when you are knowingly putting a living creature in harm’s way? I’m assuming that if you take the time to drive your dog around town, it’s because you like him. Maybe you are on your way to the vet to keep them healthy, a dog park for some fun, or maybe you just enjoy their companionship and they enjoy the ride. At what point did it cross your mind that in this day and age of airbags and seat belts that it would be OK for your furry family member to ride outside of the family car?
Because if your logic is that he has more fun outside of the car, then why not just duct tape him to the roof where he can have a totally immersed experience and you get the benefit of not having any dog hair in your car? Or, if he needs some exercise, maybe you could just tie his leash to the door handle and he could run alongside you!
Does that sound insane?
Of course it does (so absolutely do not do that), but it also looks pretty insane to me when I see you driving down the street with your dog outside of the car.
My husband and I used to have the luxury of working at a place where we were able to take our dog to work with us. Every morning before clicking my seatbelt into place and pulling out of the parking lot of my rental townhouse, I’d buckle my Pug into a special doggie seatbelt that fit like an oversized padded harness, which had a place for the car seatbelt to loop through it, securing him to the seat.
Could he see out the window? No, unfortunately he couldn’t because of how short he was, but did I care? Not a bit.
I didn’t care in the very same way that I don’t give a damn when my kids pitch a fit about not wanting to be buckled into their car seats. I don’t care because I put safety over pleasure and I don’t allow myself to be swayed by placing the emotions of “fun” over the logic of life-saving common sense.
I buckle everyone in for safety because I am not a moron.
It’s no surprise that the leading cause of death for children is being in an automobile accident, because due to their small size they are especially susceptible to injuries incurred during a car accident — just like our pets. According to the American Humane Society, it is estimated that 100,000 dogs a year die from riding in the beds of trucks and subsequently being thrown from them. It is incredibly sad to me that so many dogs had to die because they had a moron for an owner, and unfortunately that number doesn’t even account for dogs who were injured when they leapt from an open car window or a motorcycle basket (cue dramatic eye roll), had their heads (hanging out the window) struck by something as they drove down the street, or became projectiles in the midst of an accident or even a sharp right turn.
It doesn’t take common sense to realize that in the event of an accident, anything or anyone unrestrained in the car will be violently thrown about. Can you imagine the horror of not only being in an accident, but actually watching your furry family member be thrown through the windshield to her death because you couldn’t be bothered to properly strap her in?
Do you want to be the pet owner to hold Fluffy as he lies covered in glass and dying on the side of the road, after a car accident that could have been survivable had he been buckled in, and know that it was all your fault?
Because, yes, that would be your fault, moron.
Or even worse, can you imagine the horror of simply slamming on your brakes and having Fluffy thrown from the window he was so joyously hanging out of only a minute before, only to watch in your rearview mirror as the car in the lane next to you runs him over?
In my opinion, if you aren’t going to take the time to keep your dog safe, then you shouldn’t even be a dog owner, because morons should not have dogs. And, in the event that you are selfish enough to care only about yourself, let’s not forget the sheer number of dogs that cause car accidents. According to the ASPCA , 30,000 car accidents a year are caused when drivers are distracted by an unrestrained pet in their car. Whether they are trying to keep Fido in the car or get Fido off their lap, the proof is in the numbers. Get that dog buckled up!
Dogs love their owners. They love them with a kind of love that we can only dream of finding in another human being: constantly accepting, always forgiving, never wavering, and totally devoted. Remember that the next time you get in the car with your dog, because if you are selfish enough to only buckle yourself in, then your dog deserves better.
Your dog deserves better than having a moron for an owner, so please, get your damn dog’s head back inside your freaking car window.
Do you agree with me? Or do you let your dog hang outside out the window? Tell me your thoughts in the comments.
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About the author: Eden Strong is a quirky young woman with a love for most animals with fur. Read her blog, It Is Not My Shame to Bear.