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Practicing Safe-Pet

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In addition to pet safety in this summer heat, how about securing your pet for safety’s sake?A very nice Veterinary Technician and I were having a conversation about putting dogs in the back of pickup trucks.I asked her which was more acceptable?Loose or collared.Neither, she said.Loose, the dog could fall out or jump out and then you have a mess of cars trying to avoid running over the dog.Collared, it could hang itself if it slipped over the bed of the truck.This opened into a discussion about a recent incident at her animal clinic.A client of the clinic had taken her large family dog, along with her two small children on an errand.Her two children were both secured in the back seat of the car in their booster seats.The family dog, sitting between them, was not secured.There was an accident on the freeway, where the car she was driving rear-ended another car…doing about 60mph.The family dog, which was not secured in the backseat, critically wounded both of her children during the accident.The dog did not survive the crash.

How very shocking.That story shook me like a bad dream.Time to make some changes in my life.Before she told me that story, I used to take my dog everywhere with me.Not secured.Riding on the console between the seats…of all places!I recall, many times, throwing my arm in front of him to keep him from becoming a hood ornament when someone would pull out in front of me.Like my mom used to do back in the 60’s.Heck!She still does it and she’s 74.I attribute that to my flat chest.My Dad used to call her “The Seatbelt”.Now he calls her “The Airbag” (they have an interesting relationship).Looking back, how stupid was that?Only one hand on the wheel, while trying to avoid an accident.What’s even whackier than that, I used to let him sit on my lap while I was driving the car.Sometimes I’d even let him pretend to drive.And, I gotta tell you, he’s a much better driver than I am. There’s no argument there.But how dumb was that?Looking back, if someone would have pulled out in front of me and I hit them, my airbag which comes out at 300 p.s.i., would have killed that little dog between the steering wheel and my chest. And, at 300 lbs of pressure, that little dog’s body likely would have crushed my chest and killed me.

Like everyone else, I take my dog with me in the car because he’s like a member of the family.Not for one moment did I think that, without securing my little cute-head-fred, I could have killed him or one of us could have been killed by his little missile of a body because he wasn’t secured in the car.So I did what any responsible pet owner would do.I went right down to the pet store and bought him a harness.To describe it, I would say it looks like something Madonna would wear on stage.Well, everything but the “cones”.The cones would just drag on the ground anyway.And, the only color they had in his size was neon pink.I thought maybe he’d be humiliated by the color since he’s a boy.But then I remembered, oh yea.He’s color blind.No biggie.Too bad my neighbor Vernon isn’t color blind as well…he chuckles every time he sees us now…me and my pink collared boy dog.By the way, I read somewhere that of all color blind people, 66% of them are men.Hmmm…and all dogs are color blind.Does that mean 2/3 of all men are dogs???You already know the answer to that.

And another tidbit…don’t leave your dog in the car when you slip into 7-11. Temperatures are way too hot.Dogs can’t handle it.You think you’re doing to slip in there for 2 minutes to grab a gallon of milk.And someone invariably writes a check…you know they will…then you’re in there for 45 minutes.Who the hell writes checks anymore???And, if you think you’ll just leave the car running with the a/c on…think again.It’s a $325 fine for leaving your car running while unattended.Even if it’s locked.

Until next week…practice Safe-Pet (did that come out sounding very wrong??).

Daun Thompson

(Daun Thompson is a comedienne, writer, artist and pet lover… Just not in that way)

Driver Pet Peeves

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As a defensive driving instructor, I hear all kinds of driver pet peeves.  One of the biggest pet peeves has to be tailgating.  But when you have a room full of speed demons and traffic outlaws, what do you think is the number one driving-nuisance?  Oh course, “slow drivers” or the “really slow drivers” under the influence of marijuana!  My students think driving 10 over the speed limit on the freeway is too slow and after every class, I make sure they all get a 10 minute head start out of the parking lot.


Tailgating is a major annoyance to me and I’m sure to you too.  If I’m in the left lane and I see someone coming up behind me, I move over.  Don’t wait until that other driver is on your bumper, move over in time!  If someone is tailgating, don’t do a break check and hope they are covered financially by that funny little gecko.  Simple turn on your blinker to let them know you see them and that you are moving over.


Our world of driving in the U.S. will never be perfect, but all of us have a personal responsibility to help make it a little easier.  What’s your driving pet peeve?  Let me know and I’ll talk to you next week.


Take Care-

Danny Keaton     

Happy Holiday Rush

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As we start our once a year ritual of the holiday season, oh wait a minute, it actually started over a month ago according to the commercials on tv and that holiday music I heard on the radio.  

The holidays are a time for getting together with friends and family and hopfully a time for remembering our blessings.  But we all know how stressful the holidays can be and how we can take that out on the other drivers on the road with us.  Not only do we still have the everyday responsibilities of going to work, picking up kids from school and making appointments, but now throw in holiday shopping, going from one mall to another then to Wal-Mart, going to grandma’s house for dinner and hoping that “Drunk Uncle Ned’ doesn’t show up.  It’s enough to spark road rage with one honk of the horn or being cut-off on the freeway!

When you are on the road please be kind to your fellow drivers.  If the traffic is backed up let someone else in and if someone lets you in, give them a friendly “thank you” wave, with all five fingers!  Give yourself plenty of time for your shopping, try not to be in a rush, I know, easier said than done.  Let’s make this the best holiday season ever with no road rage!!  Together we can make it happen.  See you next week.

Happy Thanksgiving!!-

Danny Keaton