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In Memory Of Two Dogs And A Car

Illustration for article titled In Memory Of Two Dogs And A Car

I spent this past Saturday night burying a dog. Well, 3 am Sunday morning, but still. The dog was this charmingly dumb but very sweet little Pomeranian named Beezus. Around two weeks before that, one of my other dogs, a shaggy terrier named Dirty Girl, died when I was en route to go drive the GT500. In short, it's been a bad month for good dogs.

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This isn't exactly news, but having two of your dogs die in such a short amount of time is pretty awful. They're survived by a third dog, a blind Australian Shepard/Chow mix named Virginia (whom I've written about before). One thing they all had in common, aside from a love of dropped food and occasional room-clearing farts, is a shared love of cars.

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Dogs may be the only animal outside of man to actively and genuinely appreciate cars. For the vast majority of animals that encounter cars, they're just these loud, death-bringing juggernauts or, for the ones that occasionally ride inside them (I'm looking at you, cat pals), metal terror boxes that are, at best, endured. Dogs can actually appreciate a car trip. They actually have preferences and opinions about cars. I know because I've seen it.

Dirty Girl, the terrier, was found by my wife and I when we first started dating. I was driving around Koreatown in my 1967 Volvo P1800S (the key I've mentioned before) when we saw this filthy, limping dog. We opened the door to see if there was a collar or tags, and the filthy dog jumped in the back seat, and gave us a look like "What the hell took you so long? Drive!" We had her ever since.

That dog was fond of the P1800, as it was her ticket out of filthy asphalt and dumpster scraps to a world of floor pillows and not-quite-the-cheapest canned dog food. But all three dogs definitely had an agreed upon favorite car: a 1982 Volkswagen Rabbit Convertible.

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I liked that car as well— it was a Wolfsburg edition, which meant it was GTI-spec, with a 5-speed and the 90 HP engine. Light and nimble, it was a blast to drive. From a canine perspective, it had two very key traits: a ratty enough interior to make dog occupation acceptable, and, of course, no top. For a dog, the convertible part is absolutely key: as an olfactory-focused being, riding in a convertible, nose up in the rushing air, must be like the most intense sensory rush imaginable. I'd drive with them in the back seat, and look in the rear view to see three dog noses, nostrils flaring, as they drank in the rich smellscape of the city.

Illustration for article titled In Memory Of Two Dogs And A Car
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They loved that car. There's not many convertibles out there that really work well as dog cars, but the basket-like shape of the Rabbit/Cabrio, along with the otherwise stupid always-partially up rear side windows made an ideal shape for keeping dogs in and safe while exposing them to the maximum amount of outside. Safer than the back of a pickup, but with about as much exciting wind. Decent-sized bench seat to easily handle three dogs, a reasonable trunk for dog equipment, and not so nice that you'll be upset if someone pukes.

I remember leaving them in the open-topped car when running into a store for a quick errand, and how they looked when walking back to the car. They were all sitting in that back seat, bolt upright, with looks on their faces that sure as hell seemed like pride. I know we anthropomorphize dogs, but that's how it looked. Three dogs, very proud of their little ratty car.

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After we sold the Rabbit the dogs ended up riding in the back of a Passat wagon. Adequate, but not remotely as much fun. Which just proves the point: dogs are gearheads, with lots of opinions about cars. Just like us.

So, Dirty Girl and Zuzu, I hope you're both somewhere with lots of dropped food and an '82 Rabbit convertible to drive you around whenever you want.

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DISCUSSION

Haddy
Kit 'Haddy' Iwamatsu

I buried my Husky/Wolf a few months ago. He loved riding in my F350, scout, and my van, but refused to ride in my SRT8 or my GT. He didn't like performance cars I guess. he would hop into the truck when i was going to work, and I wouldn't notice till I got to the end of the driveway. One time, he hopped into the drivers seat of the UPS truck. He loved riding in trucks. I sometimes would take him with me to sonic and get him a plain burger.

He walked with his tail down, ears back, and head low like a wolf, and was shot while walking along the northern edge my property near a new housing development. The person who shot him somehow missed his pitch black inch and a half thick collar on his white body. He was about 300 feet in front of me chasing a rabbit while I was on my quad spraying trees for bagworms. The shooter was fined 500 bucks for discharging a firearm in city limits (runs up to the northern edge of my property) and was forced to pay me 4500 in restitution. That was the estimated cost to get another of his breed. He never even apologized.

50% hybrids cant be owned in my state anymore, those who were here were grandfathered in. So I wont be getting another one like him ever. I miss him. Even if he thought he was a 150 lb lap dog sometimes.