Few people would allow their dawg to drive the car, but it has happened. Some years back, a friend of mine named Leroy had the day off. He was out and about on errands driving what he referred to as his old “fishing” car. It was an older Chrysler product that had seen better days, but was good enough to spare the regular family sedan the indignities that are sure to occur on fishing trips and such. It was his “knockabout” ride, and he could even let the dawg go with him.
I say it was a dawg: it was a poodle. Those things often look more like animated adds for perfume and hair spray products, but they will still hump your leg and mark territory wherever dry-cleaning and re-upholstering costs are likely to be the highest. But he liked his poodle, and often when a leisurely day would permit, they’d traipse off somewhere together trying to keep adventures requiring strenuous exercise of any kind to a minimum.
He had just left his insurance company’s office when he remembered a piece of mail that needed to be dropped off. There was a branch post office adjacent to the insurance company accessible from the same parking lot. He was only going to be in there a moment, so he left the car running. Car thieves were less prevalent in those days, especially in small South Georgia towns, so it was not uncommon.
Maybe he spoke to the dawg saying something like: “I’ll be back in a minute.” I’m sure he did NOT say to the dawg: “Back the car around and pick me up by the post office door.” Maybe he didn’t say anything at all. Leroy is a quiet man, and not subject to just rattling off like I do for no reason.
Dawgs like to look around and seldom sit still while waiting in a car if there is the slightest thing to be seen going on nearby. It is their nature to peek about, and to let out a curt warning announcement to any stranger that happens to walk too closely by.
The poodle had taken up first watch position behind the steering wheel with paws on the dash. I’m sure he looked quite natural in that stance. Such a commanding posture would’ve surely caused innocent bystanders to think it was the dawg’s car. If not, what happened next would’ve convinced them, as the dawg became the pilot and the ship began to pull away from its mooring.
A slip of a paw took the shift lever from “park” to “reverse”. All the while, the dawg maintained his position at the helm causing a bit of paralyzing concern to come over the countenance of several witnesses. It was surreal like a cartoon in the funny papers, but an elderly lady approaching in her car didn’t find it funny.
The pup-driven vehicle maneuvered its rear bumper into the grill and headlamps of the elderly lady’s car. It happened quickly, and did so before the poodle had time to apply the brakes. He just didn’t (or couldn’t) reach the pedal in time. What the lady saw when she looked up probably caused her to question the levels of prescribed medication that she was currently taking.
Bless her heart, the lady was quite upset. Apparently she had had a recent rash of such incidents break out, causing a strain on her limited list of excuses. That day it was kind of like her “one last chance” to take the car out by herself to see if she could go to and from the store without hitting anything.
As he came out of the post office, Leroy saw a crowd gathered around his car which was NOT parked where he’d left it. The puppy was excited and jumping around all over the front seat, and had even managed to toot the horn a couple of times. It was a fine circus. As he approached, Leroy heard the lady say:
“My husband ain’t gonna believe I got runned over by a dawg!”
Although that happened about sixteen or seventeen years ago, it vividly came to mind the moment Brenda mentioned Cosmo Topper’s collar being lost with his license attached to it. I remember joking about him not driving until it was found.
When I’d asked Leroy about the outcome of the incident, and he told me the poodle was cited for failing to yield right-of-way, but his license was not revoked. I also remember him saying it was a most interesting chain of events.