Dogs can lead the blind, assist law enforcement in stings, work as shepherds, so why not learn how to maneuver a motor vehicle? Three New Zealand rescue dogs have just actually been taught how to drive a car by the Auckland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) according to the Daily Mail.
The off-the-beaten path project is aimed at increasing pet adoptions from animal shelters. The group of cross-breed rescue dogs from Auckland were taught to drive a car-- steering, pedals and all to show the potential of the unwanted canines. The animals drove a Mini Cooper Countryman which had been modified for better paw control. The car's brake and accelerator were moved nearer to the steering wheel for better accessibility. The shifter and steering wheel had extra padding so that the dog's paws could secure a more controlled grip. The car also had a speed restrictor so that it could stick to a walking pace.
The modified vehicle driven around a racetrack by the multi-tasking mutts (a beardie cross, giant schnauzer and a beardie whippet cross) was captured on video (featured, left) where they are viewed being put through some eye-opening paces. They were strapped in with seatbelts and then followed commands from their trainers, who walked in front of the car.
Porter, a bearded collie-cross, attempted to steer the Mini around one of the racetrack’s bends while a television reporter sat in the passenger seat.
Even though Porter went through his maneuvers pretty successfully, he ran off the track onto a grass verge at one point as the reporter nervously asked trainers “Can we stop now?”
All in all, there were a few mishaps but the animals still managed to stun their onlookers in the end.
Auckland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) chief executive Christine Kalin said she was stunned at the global response and thrilled the shelter’s message had reached such a wide audience. “Some people think that by getting a shelter dog they’re somehow getting a second class citizen, we’re with these dogs every day, we know how wonderful they are,” she told the Daily Mail. "The dogs have achieved amazing things in eight short weeks of training, which really shows with the right environment just how much potential all dogs from the SPCA have as family pets."
What a howl!
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