Heads hanging out from the passenger side window, tongues wagging out like flags against the whipping wind. The scenario is a familiar one to dog owners. Maybe it’s the speed of the highway; maybe it’s the content superiority of riding shotgun next to a cruising owner. The evidence is undeniable – dogs are unabashed fans of the summer car ride. Luckily, carmakers are coming around, tweaking the contours of their most popular automobiles so that Fido can be as comfortable behind the wheel as you are (not literally, of course).
First, the Hummer, for the gung-ho pet owner. General Motors redesigned this former military-issued cargo transport as a street model SUV in 2002. It’s more compact than the classic military behemoth, but not by much. It has 87 cubic feet of interior space, seats four, and is ample enough for a pack of Labradors, let alone a single pet passenger. They’re not cheap, but again not too pricey ($48 K). The H2 has been one of GM’s most rapid sellers since its release, and comes in a rainbow of different colors, not just standard army green.
Second, the future. GM is also developing a new technology that will keep your panting copilot from overheating while you run in for a road-trip pit stop. The low-energy radar sensor technology is so sophisticated that it can detect motion as subtle as the breathing of an infant sleeping in a rear-facing child safety seat, or the foggy huff of a perspiring Golden retriever. The sensor will focus primarily in the rear seating area where pets are most likely to be. Once it detects that another living being, such as a pet, is present and that the temperature may increase to potentially dangerous levels, the sensor will trigger a unique horn alarm. The sensor will then cause the horn to sound three distinct “chirps,” similar to the “S” in an SOS distress signal. Implementation of the technology is planned for 2005 models.
A Breath of Fresh Air
Abe Hirschfeld, the former publisher and chairman of the New York Post, addresses a room of journalists in a Manhattan steakhouse about his battery operated concept-car. It is the last place I would think to find myself (a) as a vegetarian and (b) as a pet-reporter. The car, he says, will eliminate the US’s dependence on the Middle East, while (my ears perk up) maintaining an “environmentally friendly attitude.” Without a gas tank or tailpipe, the car will generate no emissions. No emissions means that all wildlife and humans can reap a health benefit from the mainstreaming of this vehicle. Says Hirschfeld, now 84, “I am a simple man, with only a 5th grade education . . . and this is a simple car.” The car would retail at approximately $12,000. Who knows what the future holds for this vehicle, but from all the trees and animals out there, it’s a breath of fresh air!
For the Best that Pet Lifestyle and Animal Welfare has to offer follow Wendy Diamond on Facebook, Twitter, and right here at AnimalFair.com!