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What Is This Guy Thinking?
Dogs in pickup trucks—it only looks cool.

Driving home from a snowshoe hike with our dogs yesterday (we got a major dump in the mountains outside Seattle), we came upon a truck with an open flatbed. What caught my eye was the enormous U.S. flag across the cab guard. Obviously, this driver wanted to send a message: He was a patriot, couldn’t we see from the flag?

If I sound snide, it’s because of what I saw next: In front of the flag, actually, flush up against it, was German Shepherd. He wasn’t tethered in any way, and if we hadn’t been driving 65-miles-per-hour down a crowded, four-lane interstate, we could have reached out and grabbed him. My husband snapped this photo with my camera phone. It’s not a great shot, but you get the idea. Here’s the other thing, as the truck pulled off an exit and we sped by, I saw that the cab was extended, i.e., there was a perfectly good—empty—backseat for his furry buddy.
It’s as dangerous as it looks. “It’s estimated that more than 100,000 dogs die from falls from pickup trucks each year,” writes Joanne Helperin at Edmunds.com, an automotive information website. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) lists a variety of dangers for dogs in pickups including bumps, swerves or quick stops launching the dog into traffic. Even if the dog isn’t injured or killed in a fall from a truck, another driver can be hurt or cause an accident avoiding the animal. I was surprised to learn that a restraint can increase the dangers.

And while I have my ire up about my sighting, I’ll reserve some for the Maryland Senate, which, in February, voted down a proposal against dogs in pickups.

Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com
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Submitted by Bird Coop | March 27 2009 |

Some people just don't get it, what if this guy had to swerve from something in the road like a tire or piece of junk and the dog went flying out of the back of the truck and landed on your windshield, did anyone get his license plate number?

Submitted by NorasDad | March 30 2009 |

Twenty or thirty years ago I watched an Irish setter fall from a pickup on the freeway, and desperately try to make it to the shoulder. He was hit by at least three or four cars.

The pickup driver hit the brakes for a moment, and then kept on driving.

Submitted by Carolyn with Ma... | March 28 2009 |

Aside from the danger to the dog, there is a certain amount of discomfort as well -- bumps in the road with (I assume) no padding in the truck bed, rushing air. Not a very considerate way to treat your best friend!

Submitted by Kathy Konetzka-Close | March 30 2009 |

Reading this just makes my heart ache and my blood boil. I mean, really—how dumb can you be? I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but this is dangerous on so many levels, and I can assure you, there’s not a wound more difficult, frustrating, or painful to treat that a degloving injury caused by being dragged behind by a car—assuming the dog was leashed in the back of the pickup in the first place. I don’t understand the type of individual that believes this is a good idea, but I suppose until we get everyone to realize the danger of allowing their children to ride in the back of a pickup (which I still see from time to time), it’s too much to ask that they treat their dogs with the same forethought and compassion. Geez.

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