In the 1980s, there was a recurring sketch on Saturday Night Live about Toonces. Toonces was the “Driving Cat,” the cat who could drive a car. This sketch was often on at the end of the show, where the stranger, less traditionally funny bits are shown. The primary joke was that, well, there was a cat that could drive a car. But there are a few Kiwis out there who apparently think that teaching pets to drive is a pretty good idea.
That’s right, the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (the country’s SPCA) figured that the best way to address the problem of people not wanting to adopt canines was to TEACH THE DOGS HOW TO DRIVE. No, this is not an early April Fool’s Day joke or a piece from The Onion.
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The thought process was, apparently, that if the SPCA could teach a dog how to drive, then this would show reluctant potential adoptees that the dogs are smart and easy to train.
Okay, sure. We’ll go with that.
To be fair, the cars were adapted for, er, canine physiology, so that the brake pedal was accessible for their paws. According to the SPCA website, “The dogs underwent five weeks of indoor training to encourage them to touch and move brakes, gear sticks and steering wheels, and received doggy treats as rewards along the way.” This actually sounds a lot easier than the process I went through when I got my license. At the very least, I received no Scooby Snacks.
Plus the dogs got some help: “No animal has ever driven a car before so what we’re going to do is we’re going to do a straight and we’re going to head off, so we’ll start the car, get into position, brake on, gear in place, back onto the steering wheel, accelerator, take off and hoon along the straight and then stop.” Of course, in New Zealand, “hoon” is to drive at a high speed. But I am sure these dogs knew that. They drive better than me and already have a more refined vocabulary!
Check out the video below if you don’t believe me, and, if you live in New Zealand, you can see a live broadcast of the driving doggies on national TV. This is, of course, either the greatest moment in world history, or the beginning of the Canine Revolution (News - Alert) that will lead to the human race being enslaved and forced to wear collars, drink from bowls and sleep in the doghouse. Which, to be fair, I do most of the time anyway…