Mutt mobile. Canine car. Pooch Pick-up. Datsun Dog. Honda Hound. Berner Bus. Names, throughout the years, we’ve christened our more mature automobiles. Autos that have seen happier days and in the days before dogs, cleaner ones.
Our mutt mobile was a Chevy Blazer, grey with matching Corinthian leather seats, back seat air conditioning, a great sound system, and it came with every button, lever, and knob, right down to the MAGPIE plates. It was the BOMB! It moved us to the high desert of New Mexico, carrying Thugs, our cat, 1,300 miles from California. It hauled all of our “crap” cross-country through valleys, mountains, streams and rivers. It cleaned up real nice, handled the road well, got good gas mileage, and was just an’ all-round good ol’ car.
When we brought Tiamo into our family, MAGPIE was our puppy Porsche. We didn’t notice the wrinkles at first, the first strands of gray hair were few and blended in. At 10 years old, Ol’ MAGPIE was still stylish. The scratches from Tiamo leaping on the car door were barely visible. And, what’s a little dog hair along the floorboard – we’ll have the car wash attendants vacuum it out real good the next time. The broken vent for the back AC went undetected for several weeks, as did the cracked cup holder and the chewed middle seat belt. Malcolm and I both ignored the teeth marks that perforated the back seat – it added character we said. The fuse blew out on the passenger door window from Tiamo hitting, and holding, the up/down button with her paws when she stuck her head out of the window, and the overhead dome light cover had disappeared months earlier, no telling where to. All fixable and all re-breakable.
Slowly, over time, MAGPIE’s age started to show. When the little pups arrived, MAGPIE was the Berner Bus, hauling eight squirming, wiggley BMD puppies to the vet for their shots. As the litter whittled down to Amore and Dolce, along with Tiamo, MAGPIE was known strictly as the dog car. Each dog had their spot: Dolce riding shotgun, Tiamo in the middle back where she could have the air conditioning full blast on her face, and Amore on the back driver’s side seat, one paw on the window. Pealing paint, ripped leather seats, and a cracking dash-board, in dog years MAGPIE had already turned eighty-three and was going on ninety. After years of hauling Tiamo and the girls around, the interior was trashed, covered in dog hair and reeked of dog smell. And yet, we still drove the Dog car, Dolce in the front, Tiamo middle back, Amore on the back left. It was our car of choice, allowing us to bring the girls with us.
When the government came out with the CASH for CLUNKERS program, we jumped at the opportunity to scrap it. Dog car was worth more dead than alive. We traded in Dog car for a more “economical” vehicle. Something that was easy on the road.
But still, we needed a Dog car – and sadly, that meant we elevate our Pilot to the next Honda Hound. We’re at the dog hair on the floorboard stage.