A dog apparently got tired of waiting for his owner to come out of a West Virginia Walmart, so he took matters into his own paws.
The dog, a terrier mix, slid the car into drive, and it slowly ambled across the parking lot while stunned onlookers watched.
As the canine-driven vehicle approached her, a witness thought it was a joke, according to the Telegraph. But she leaped out of the way as the car bypassed her and headed toward the storefront before smashing into the Walmart.
Meanwhile, the dog’s passenger, which was a companion dog, rolled down the window on his side of the vehicle.
The owner of the two pups, a woman in her seventies, reported that she had left the engine running so she could keep the air conditioner on, to avoid baking her dogs in a hot car.
Here’s one more reason not to leave your dog in a hot car https://t.co/mlwJItyt7s
— Houston Chronicle (@HoustonChron) August 1, 2016
Officers from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department were called to the scene where they discovered the dogs were uninjured, and the owner was able to drive the car home.
News Channel WSAZ was on site to interview witnesses, and they aired a number of comments.
“I didn’t know dogs could drive!”
“Dogs can be your best friend, and in this situation, they can be your enemy, too.”
“It’s not something you hear every day but then I guess it is Wayne County.”
“Next thing, you’ll be seeing them shopping, or something.”
When one shopper was asked about his reaction if he saw a dog driving towards him, he said, “I would laugh for sure but then I would be like, ‘oh wow, dogs can drive.'”
This was not the first episode of a 2016 errant driver dog taking over while the owner shopped.
In March, Mankato, Minnesota, police said that a dog had shifted a semi into gear while the owner was in a nearby store.
The semi was parked across North River Drive. The driver left the truck in idle unattended, and perhaps intending to go pick him up, the dog, a white Labrador retriever, took over. Bumping the shift into drive, the rig went rumbling across the street. Unfortunately, no one had taught him to apply the brakes, and the dog smashed the semi into a tree and also managed to plow it into a parked car.
No one was injured in that incident, and no citations were issued.
Fox 9 reported the story on a Friday, and it was followed up when Cathy Dahl, the woman whose parked car was hit, contacted the news station.
“I thought you’d like to see another shot taken by my husband that shows the dog has remorse! It was my car!
“Russ [Cathy’s husband] said when they were all standing there, the truck driver went into the truck and rolled up both windows. After he left, the dog rolled them back down.”
Thankfully, no one — human or canine — was injured in either of these incidents. Still, the question about why dogs drive remains one to be explored.
Dr. Melissa Bain, a veterinarian at the University of California, Davis, who researches animal behavior and welfare, suggests that sense of smell may be part of the motivation, according to Car and Driver.
A dog’s nose has up to 300 million olfactory receptors, compared to a human’s measly 5 million. This explains the strong impulse in a dog to stick its head out the window.
“I’m not sure they’re getting a high, per se. But they are getting a lot of input at higher speed.”
But Dr. Brian Hare, associate professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University and the founder of the Duke Canine Cognition Center, says the canine love for the automobile goes beyond endorphins that may be caused by wind. He thinks that dogs love cars because they love people.
“The trust bond with humans has been a huge boon to the domesticated wolves who live with us. Dogs have evolved to be geniuses at taking advantage of the human tool.”
The “human tool,” indeed. What greater tool does the human race have than the automobile?
We’d better start keeping an eye on our cell phones.
[Photo by Andy Wong/AP]