It's National Pet Day on Wednesday, and to celebrate, let's take a look back at how the death of the running board spelled a better motoring life for our canine readers.
I have three dogs and one car that still has old running boards. My dogs love riding in cars (their favorite was an '82 Rabbit Convertible) but I know that no amount of treat-bribery could get them to ride on the narrow running board of my old Beetle. But that's exactly what seemed to be common in the early decades of motoring.
Looking around at some old pictures of dogs in cars, it's surprising how many running-board based dog transport solutions there are. It's not too hard to understand why — dogs in cars can often be a smelly, moist affair, and they really do love that wind-in-the-muzzle feel. Some of the solutions, like the simple running-board based boxes and shields, seem like they'd probably be pretty enjoyable for the dog, at least at low speeds. I'm not really sure how the dogs fared in turns or short stops. Probably not great.
There were other options for dog transport on running boards for those people who wanted to keep their dogs in relative danger, but couldn't stand the idea of them actually enjoying it.
There's the relatively sturdy-looking Bird Dog's Palace, which provides a sturdy external steel enclosure for the dog, sacrificing the joy of open-air travel for some degree of safety.
But who wants that? Why not terrify your dog and put them in danger? You're in luck, thanks to this grand idea from Popular Mechanics back in 1936.
It's a canvas dog-sack, thoughtfully appointed with a head hole, though I think a genital/rectal hole wouldn't be a bad addition as well, to help channel the terror-voiding that any sane dog would do when crammed in this thing. See, the dog can get the wind-in-the-face feel along with the horror of confinement in a sack, all while being precariously hooked and clamped to the side of your car!
They say the rubber tubing on the bottom prevents marring to the car, but it's not clear how the car's finish is protected when your dog, crazed from fear and face-level exhaust fumes, chews his way out of the bag and scratches the shit out of your paint while desperately trying to get in the moving car.
Happy pet day!