Gone to the Dogs


Blue Tick Coon Dog

Dogs riding in the back of a pick-up truck is a time-honored, southern tradition, and one that humans intend to keep. Never mind that a dog could be thrown out and injured, or a human could have an accident trying to avoid hitting a flying dog after the truck swerves suddenly.

The idea of not being able to haul their dog around in their own truck has humans in a dither, especially since they’ve been doing it for years. Keeping a dog in a cage or putting it in the cab is not the same thing as letting it run and leap into the truck with ears flying in the wind and dirt flying in the eyes. “Dogs like it,” they say. Never mind that dogs, like children, are not capable of knowing what’s in their own best interest.

Only a few states have laws against dogs riding on the outside of a vehicle.
These are in New England and on the West Coast. That figures. Any good ol’ boy knows that he can’t trust a Yankee and that California is full of weird folks who live out there because they can’t fit in anywhere else.

The humans that usually become the most upset about dog protection laws are coon hunters. “Today it’s the yard dogs – tomorrow the coon dogs,” they say. As you may know, humans hunt coons by driving around back roads in a truck until the scent dog gets a sniff of coon. Then the tree dogs are released and the chase is on till a coon is treed. Specially trained, coon-hunting dogs are high dollar dogs costing $1,000 to $12,000 each. For that kind of money, you’d think hunters could climb up a tree and shake the coon out personally instead of just chasing it. Obviously, humans who run around in the dark chasing after coons with a pack of dogs cannot be overly bright.

Humans believe this law is just another example of government sticking its nose into something that’s none of its business. They say animal activists, who know nothing about outdoor sports, and “bleeding hearts” that feel sorry for racoons are influencing lawmakers. Actually, coon hunting has evolved into a state of the art sport, and killing the coon isn’t necessary. The sport is the competition of one dog with another to see which can sniff out a coon and which can tree one the best without getting sidetracked by possums, foxes who don’t climb trees but run forever, or skunks who fight back. It’s not the killing; it’s the thrill of the chase that matters.

And so it goes. Dogs remain unprotected and are allowed to ride in open vehicles unrestrained without benefit of kennel cage or harness. Not only hunting dogs, but also yard dogs and pets can ride in trucks without any fear – at least of the law. Some good ol’ boys say that a dog in the back of a truck is the best burglar alarm there is, a point hard to argue with, but that doesn’t mean they have to ride there.

The love affair between human and animal is a long one. They not only work and hunt for humans, but are pets and companions as well. Dogs are valued for their loyalty and unconditional devotion to their human. They have long been called “man’s best friend”. It seems that we would want to take better care of our best friends, doesn’t it?

Copyright 2004 Sheila Moss

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
This entry was posted in Creatures, Humor, Sports and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Gone to the Dogs

  1. Lois says:

    Amen to that. People just don’t like change. Even if it is common sense, people don’t like change.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sheila Moss says:

      Maybe that’s it. My dog has her own doggy car seat — not that she is spoiled or anything. It would not work for a large dog, but they do make harnesses to buckle them in.


  2. energywriter says:

    You said it. I used to see a lot of that. I grew up in Ohio, otherwise known as Northern Kentucky.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. stomperdad says:

    Nevermind the dogs, my brother and I used to ride in the back of my dad’s truck. I totally understand why the dogs love it. Would I let my kids ride back there? Not. A. Chance! Would I put my dog back there? Nope. But once upon a time it was the thing to do. Once upon a time cars didn’t have seatbelts, too.

    Liked by 1 person

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