As I prepare to head off to San Diego with Frankie, car travel has been on my mind.

Shameless self-promotion alert: These tips, to run in a series this week, are adapted from Chapter 8 of AM I BORING MY DOG? And 99 other things every dog wishes you knew, forthcoming from Alpha/Penguin in September.

#1: Dogs should always travel inside the car.

This might seems like a no brainer, but it wasn’t obvious to once (and perhaps future) presidential candidate Mitt Romney.  It came out during the 2007 presidential primaries that, in the 1980s, Romney was in the habit of crating Seamus, the family’s Irish setter, strapping him onto the roof of the station wagon, and driving 12 hours from Boston to Ontario. Having to hose the excrement produced by the traumatized Seamus off the car’s roof and windows was cited as an example of “emotion-free crisis management.” If you’ll recall, Mitt lost the primary. Note to politicians: Animal lovers vote. (Op-ed writer Gail Collins wrote a series of terrific columns about Mitt and Seamus in The New York Times; see also this the blog post from Free Democracy, “Haunted by Seamus”).

Seamus' fantasy?
Seamus' fantasy?

Note: I don’t condone the activity shown in this picture, taken from an Irish Setter Rescue site. Setters are notoriously unsafe drivers.

I can’t think of a  politician (or country-western singer) to serve as the poster child for this practice, but it’s also very dangerous to let a dog ride in the open bed of a pickup truck. Approximately 100,000 dogs die every year from falling or jumping out of pickups and countless more are injured.

3 thoughts on “Car Travel with Dogs, Part 1: Don’t Be Mitt Romney”

  1. I can’t believe a law can’t be passed prohibiting dogs riding in the back of pickup trucks. I live in North Carolina, so I won’t hold my breath. Maybe somewhere like California.

    And for the record, I wouldn’t trust a Husky behind the wheel, either.

    1. Some states do have laws about transporting unsecured live animals, which have more to do with livestock but can be interpreted to apply to dogs, too. Yeah, it’s really sad. There are some insurance issues — which I’ll talk about in my next post — which might be more helpful in getting people to realize how dumb it is to ride with dogs in the back of pickups.

      Wouldn’t trust a Husky to drive, huh? Which breed do you think would be the best?

  2. Shelties would be horrible drivers….imagine one car, with a sheltie at the wheel, trying to round up all the others…..
    and since Shelties are very vocal , especially while *working*, I would assume they’d be honking that freakin car horn the entire time too.

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