Those New Zealand shelter dogs we told you about last week — the ones being trained to drive a car — succeeded. And two of them may soon be moving to new adoptive homes.
The New Zealand Herald reports that adoption offers have been pouring in for two of the three dogs that made their driving debuts on Campbell Live.
Monty and Porter seem to be in high demand, while Ginny, a 1-year-old whippet mix — though she can drive as well as the others — isn’t generating lots of interest.
The dogs underwent eight weeks of training, culminating in piloting a Mini Cooper around a track Monday.
It was all part of a promotional campaign by the Auckland SPCA to show how intelligent, and worthy of adoption, shelter dogs can be.
Auckland SPCA CEO Christine Kalin said many adoption offers have been received for two of the driving dogs – Porter, a 10-month-old beardie cross, and Monty, a giant schnauzer cross.
She thinks Ginny receiving less “airtime” might be the reason there is less interest in her.
As for Porter and Monty, the SPCA is still determining which of the many applicants will get to adopt them.
“The key issue for us is about finding the best home possible for those dogs because they’ve done an exceptional job of being ambassadors for all SPCA animals throughout the country,” Kalin said.
You can find more details at the Auckland SPCA website.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, animals, applicants, auckland, car, dog, dogs, drive, driving, driving dog, driving dogs, drove, ginny, intelligent, monty, new zealand, pets, porter, shelter, spca, success, trained, video
Three shelter dogs in New Zealand have been taught to drive a car by a local SPCA, and one of them will be demonstrating his skills behind the wheel on live television next week.
The SPCA in Auckland had the dogs trained in how to shift gears, brake and steer — all part of a marketing campaign aimed at demonstrating the intelligence of rescued dogs.
The SPCA hired animal trainer Mark Vette to teach driving to the dogs — Monty, an 18-month-old giant schnauzer whose owner was unable to control him; Ginny, a one-year-old whippet cross who was rescued from abusive owners; and Porter, a ten-month-old bearded collie cross who was found roaming the streets.
The dogs underwent five weeks of indoor training to encourage them to touch and move brakes, gear sticks and steering wheels, and received treats along the way, New Zealand’s TV3 reported. Once they mastered the basics, they were given a mock car to practice with.
“No animal has ever driven a car before so what we’re going to do is we’re going to do a straight and we’re going to head off, so we’ll start the car, get into position, brake on, gear in place, back onto the steering wheel, accelerator, take off and hoon along the straight and then stop.”
(Not speaking New Zealandese, we can’t tell you what “hoon along” means.)
“In this case we’ve got ten behaviors we’re all putting together, so each behavior is a trained behavior and then you put them into a sequence,” Vette said. “So it’s a lot to do, and for the dog to actually start to get an idea of what actually is happening takes quite a long time.”
On Monday, Monty the dog’s driving abilities will be tested on the television show Campbell live, shown nationally in New Zealand. (You can learn more about the project on its Facebook page.)
“I think sometimes people think because they’re getting an animal that’s been abandoned that somehow it’s a second-class animal, SPCA Auckland chief executive Christine Kalin to Newscom.AU. “This really shows with the right environment just how much potential all dogs from the SPCA have as family pets.”
(Photos: Auckland SPCA)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abandoned, adoption, animals, auckland, bearded collie, brake, car, dog drives car, dogs, drive, driving, gear, giant, ginny, learn, mark vetter, mix, monty, mutts, new zealand, pets, porter, rescue, schnauzer, shelter, shift, spca, stray, taught, trainer, whippet
Joel Vandouser, 43, was charged with operating while intoxicated,endangering a minor and resisting and obstructing police.
Mason Police Chief John Stressman said officers had spotted the suspect driving, apparently under the influence, with an 8-year-old child in the car. They followed him to his home, according to the Lansing State Journal, where the tussle took place.
Vandouser was taken to a local hospital afterwards. The bitten officers was also treated. News reports don’t indicate whether the dog was taken into custody, but the police chief noted that a pair of police uniform pants were ruined during the incident.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 17th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arrest, bit, bites, bitten, dog, dogs, driving, drunk, drunk driving, intoxicated, law enforcement, mason, michigan, officer, pepper spray, pets, police, tasers
But it apparently concerns one state legislator enough that he has proposed making it illegal.
Dogs would be forbidden from sharing the driver’s seat with motorists under a bill introduced in the General Assembly by Rep. Peter G. Palumbo, D-Cranston.
The proposed fines are $85 for a first offense, $100 for the second and $125 for subsequent offenses, according to the Providence Journal.
Palumbo said he submitted the proposal on behalf of a constituent who told him of a near accident she said was almost caused by a driver sharing the front seat with a dog.
Early results of a reader poll on the issue showed more than 70 percent supporting such a law.
The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
(Photo: John Freidah / Providence Journal)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 10th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, dog, dog on lap, dogs, drive, driver, driving, fines, front seat, illegal, lap, law, legislation, pets, proposed, rhode island, safety, tickets
Less than a week after her owner was charged with animal cruelty for pulling his dog on a leash while driving his van, a mutt named Cricket has a new home — with an officer in the police department that made the arrest.
Cricket now belongs to Michael Lake, a police officer in Warren, Michigan — one of a handful of officers who offered to adopt her after she was taken away from her owner after his arrest Sunday, the Daily Tribune reports.
“I mentioned it first. I guess I drew the lucky straw,” Lake said. “She’s such a lovable dog.”
Police arrested resident Keith John Parker, 43, after several people reported to police that a man was pulling a dog on a leash while driving in the parking lot of the County Line Flea Market.
Some witnesses told police that the dog had difficulty keeping up and apparently tumbled at one point. When confronted by officers, Parker said he felt the dog needed to go for a run, police said.
Parker was arraigned this week on misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty and drunken driving.
Warren Police Commissioner Jere Green said Parker, who’d had Cricket since October, agreed to relinquish the dog.
Police said Cricket had a wound above one eye, and had lost a claw. Lake was scheduled to take her to a veterinarian yesterday.
Officers aren’t sure what breeds are in Cricket, or how old she is, with estimates ranging from 7 months to 7 years.
Lake has another dog, a German shorthair pointer. “They should get along great,” Lake said.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 1st, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, animal cruelty, animals, arrest, charged, cricket, dog, dogs, driving, drunk driving, drunken driving, injured, keith john parker, leash, michael lake, michigan, officer, owners, pets, police, pulled, relinquished, surrender, van, vehicle, warren
We won’t speculate that dogs are evolving into humans, but we will point out this happened in a town named Darwin, in Australia’s Northern Territory, where, to the amazement of onlookers, a dog took a double-decker bus for a drive.
Witnesses told the Northern Territory News that the dog was was sitting in the driver’s seat with its paws on the steering wheel when they saw it rolling down the road.
“It ran for a couple of hundred meters, swerved across the road, went up on the footpath and was just about to run into a parked car when I stopped it,” said Phil Newton, a sales associate who ran after the bus, jumped in through a window and pulled on the handbrake.
Behind the heal was Woodley, a two-year-old koolie, a breed similar to the kelpie and heeler.
His owner, Richard McCormack, 62, said he’d parked the motor home on a slight hill, and was only gone a couple of minutes. Apparently, the dog was just copying what he’d seen his human do.
“The handbrake is on the dashboard and he’s seen me release it many times,” said McCormack.
“I came out and saw the bus going down the road. I couldn’t believe it,” said McCormack, adding that he plans to make some modifications to the handbrake to keep Woodley from doing it again.
“He’s still my best mate,” he said.
(Photo: NTNews.com / by Patrina Malone)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 23rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, australia, behavior, copying, darwin, dog, dogs, double decker bus, driving, evolution, human, humans, koolie, mimicking, motor home, northern territory, pets, richard mccormack, woodley
Here’s a Chevrolet ad I’d never seen until recent weeks.
When his master dreams he’s taking his Camaro for his spin, the dog decides to get in on the action. With no window to stick his head out of, he gets up, walks over to the edge of the bed and sticks his head in front of the fan to soak up the breeze.
It’s a simple concept, but one that — intentionally or not — seems to capture part of the essence of dog, that being their unending agreeability: “Sure, I’ll go along with that. I’ll adapt. Whatever you say. Or dream.”
All of our “Woof in Advertising” selections can be found archived here.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 20th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ads, advertisements, advertising, animals, camaro, chevrolet, chevy, commercials, dog, dogs, dogs in advertising, dream, driving, fan, marketing, pets, sleep, woof in advertising
Cursed cruise control
A mind-numbing way to drive
Much less live your life
(To see the entire collection of ”Highway Haiku,” click here)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 4th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: america, control, cruise, cruise control, dog's country, dogscountry, driving, haiku, highway, highway haiku, interstate, poetry, road, road trip, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace
“Crop names in fence lines next 14 miles,” reads a sign on Interstate 90, somewhere west of Moses Lake and east of a town named George.
I like this idea. For one thing, it turns a fairly boring drive into a learning experience. For another, possibly, it makes people a little more aware of/involved in the place they’re at — as opposed to the text they’re sending, the video game they’re playing, or the cell phone on which they’re blabbing.
It’s kind of like a picture book for kids: Here is the field corn, here is the alfalfa. You don’t even have to turn the page, just your head. On your left, potatoes; on your right, peppermint. Here is a field of … wheat. Here is a field of … grapes (wrathless variety, it appeared). Here is some Timothy. Timothy? (It’s a kind of hay.)
For 14 miles, on both sides of the highway, I got a lesson in agriculture — thanks to, I’d guess, the state or some agricultural commission. I wanted to learn more about crops, including why every state seems to package its hay differently. But the lesson came to an end; and as I progressed west, instead of crop signs, the only ones I saw in the fence lines — not counting those of politicians — said “For Sale.”
It struck me as a good idea, though, all this labeling and identifying — one that, if carried to extremes, could both create jobs and lead to a more informed public.
In addition to crop identifiers, why not farm animal identifiers: Sheep, goats, cows, llamas? Tree identifiers that would help us differentiate between our birch and our aspen? Factory identifiers that tell us what’s being made inside that big building? A much needed explanation of what silos (a) hold and (b) are for? The American public would get a better understanding of the importance of farming, and everything else we take for granted.
(Label this idea satire, but only kind of.)
Of course we don’t want drivers reading signs so much that they neglect their driving, but it’s nice to see signs that inform, instead of those that merely advertise, or give harsh orders — as if we were dogs or something: “No this … No that … Stay in lane … Right lane must exit … ”
I’m tired, too, of the signs that scare us: Dangerous Crosswinds Ahead, Watch for Ice, High Accident Area, Gas: $3.15.
We tend to readily identify dangers, we profusely post rules, we slap advertising everywhere — so why not label the run of the mill good stuff, like cows and creeks, steaming bowls of oatmeal and doers of good deeds?
My label-everything-on-earth plan could help the economy. Think of all the jobs. Think of the stimulus. We would need more signmakers, more sign putter-uppers, more sign repairers, more sign changers — for when the crops are rotated, or the landscape changes.
Maybe knowing what’s what would help us appreciate our Earth a little more, teach us to better “live in the moment.” Or maybe not. In any event, here’s the one I want to see:
A sign that the economy is improving.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 9th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agriculture, alfalfa, america, animals, crop, crop identifiers, crops, dog's country, dogscountry, driving, earth, economy, farmers, farming, farmland, farms, fence line, field corn, george, grapes, jobs, labels, living in the moment, peppermint, pets, road trip, rural, signs, stimulus, tourism, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, washington, wheat
Posted by jwoestendiek November 7th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, conifer, diversi-tree, diversity, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, driving, evergreens, golden, haiku, highway, highway haiku, pets, poetry, road, road trip, tamarack, travel, travels with ace, tree, trees