I saw something the other day on the ride home that actually made me laugh out loud.

The weather has been so nice recently that I’ve noticed rolled-down car windows all over the place. I’ve also been driving with the fresh air blowing through the open windows myself. My mom and dad call this “good sleeping weather,” and I have to agree. (We never had air conditioning when I was growing up, so cooler weather is a real blessing.)

The evening I referenced in the first sentence though, involved an open sunroof.

One rule I have for driving that has sort of helped me over the years is to pay attention to what other drivers are doing. You almost have to drive not only for yourself, but for others on the road, as well. As a result of that little rule in my head, I tend to look at the cars that are coming at me and try to anticipate what they may do.

In this case, it was an SUV with an open sunroof and a dog’s head was not only sticking out of it, he was actually resting his chin on top of the roof!

His face kind of looked like Spuds Mackenzie, but he was brown. I have a feeling the appearance of the famous fictional dog may have had more to do with the wind rolling over his head than the actual breed – especially considering he was obviously tall enough to stick his head out of the sunroof and he looked more like an Irish Wolfhound/Lab mix.

It surprised me so much I nearly did a double-take. I actually thought to myself what in the world is that brown thing on top of that car? When I realized what it was, I actually burst out laughing in the car. The scene was so comical, I really had no other choice.

Then, a day or two later, I saw a Corgi in the backseat of a car in downtown Chambersburg. The window was, once again, rolled down and the Corgi had his chin propped on the door. The expression on that dog’s face was so animated, I swear he knew what he was doing.

I actually made eye contact with him and it was as though he was saying to me, “I’m just out on a ride with mom. It’s been really cool. Nice day for it, too.” He wasn’t overly rambunctious at all. In fact, he was sitting in the back seat like a passenger and the window was rolled completely down. There wasn’t even a hint that he might jump out. I actually wonder if he may have been buckled in.

It was one of those moments that I can still see in my mind’s eye – almost like I took a picture of it with my brain.

In both instances, I was reminded how very human our animal friends can sometimes be, and I thought back to some of the animals I’ve met working at the shelter who exhibit the exact same mannerisms.

We had a Pug years ago who came with me to visit kids in preschool, and he was quite a character. I had to drive our old CVAS truck, which had a pretty big console between the front seats – places for drinks, compartments for papers and the like. Well this little guy decided to sit on the console during our drive and, quite literally, watch the traffic on the street. I swear there was something in him that wanted to put his paws on the wheel and actually try to drive – that’s how serious his attention was to the flow of traffic.

Despite obviously seeming to enjoy the ride, it was clear he really wanted to get out. Every time the truck stopped at a light, he would stand up and wiggle his little Pug butt with excitement.

After the third time of doing that, I said to him, “Not yet, buddy. We’re not quite there. Soon, though.”

And I’m not kidding, after I was done talking, he plopped his little tush back down and let out the most woeful-sounding sigh I ever heard. Once again, I burst out laughing in the vehicle. It was just so incredibly irritated and human. I couldn’t help myself.

Sharing a life with an animal really is a joy for a lot of people. In fact, my cats make me smile on a daily basis, and I’m so glad to have them in my life. Their different personalities make them stand out, almost as individuals, and it’s fun to see what they’ll get up to next.

I sometimes think part of the delight we find in our animal friends is the connection we make to ourselves. When we take the time to look for it and open our eyes to see it, our four-legged friends really can be remarkably human.


Jennifer Vanderau is the Publications and Promotions Consultant for the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter, and can be reached at: cvascomm@cvas-pets.org. The shelter accepts both monetary and pet supply donations. For more information, call the shelter at: (717) 263-5791, or visit the website: www.cvas-pets.org. CVAS also operates a thrift store in Chambersburg. Help support the animals at the shelter by donating to or shopping at the store.


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