Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Golden Retriever Meets the Wild Bunch

Sure, I write fiction, you say, but this blog is true stuff.
One day my wife and I saw a Golden retriever on a motorcycle on Emerald Bay Road. No, it wasn't a circus dog riding by himself. He was just the passenger. Even so, it kinda catches your eye, a biker doggie dude.
The Golden sat in a custom seat behind the driver. Like the driver, the doggie wore a little helmet and sunglasses, no doubt a nod to the law's requirement for head and eye protection.
I knew that the dog was loving it. (If you doubt that, you're not a dog person. Dog types can tell these things.) If any neighboring drivers had doubts about whether the dog was being forced to suffer in order to conform to human behavior, those doubts were squashed when the motorcyclist came to a stop at the red light at the “Y” intersection. We stared as the dog put on that smile that Goldens are famous for. Then the dog turned his head and gazed over his shoulder as if to see if the car drivers were noticing just how perfect he was.
(Please put aside for the moment your judgments about whether or not riding on a motorcycle is safe or appropriate for a dog.)
This Golden-on-a-motorcycle experience brought up an amazing difference between dogs and all other animals (Owen refers to this in my new novel TAHOE TRAP.) 
All animals exhibit a certain caution to maintain safety. Dogs do, too. But consider this scenario – not to be cruel – but just a hypothetical to illustrate a point. If you held any animal out of the car window while driving at high speed, I'm pretty sure that they would all – crocodiles and lions and T-Rexes included – be terrified. But dogs can't get enough of it. A dog's appetite for a “rush” extends from running or playing or catching a Frisbee to riding in a fast car or even riding on a motorcycle! Or a snowmobile, windsurfer, or a skateboard.
Why is this?
Because the modern dog has evolved over 30,000 years in close association with people, they have effectively become as humanized as an animal can be. They like to eat nearly all the same foods we do. They like to join us in our activities. (As much or more than any other animals, dogs like to “do stuff.”) They want to sleep in our beds or in our laps. They want to join us in our physical games. And dogs especially like to ride in our cars and on our boats.
Which means that if people like riding on motorcycles, dogs do, too.


  1. Thank you for this post. The Golden Retriever is a dog breed originally created for hunting purposes in wooded areas or near the lakes of Scotland. Given the role that these dogs had in hunting activities, namely recovering the prey, their mouth is developed in such way that it cannot further injure the dead animal. See more