Perhaps you, personally, have not lately been attacked by the national press, and just about everyone else, for committing the bonehead maneuver of going on vacation with your dog strapped to the top of your car. Perhaps that is because you, personally, are not a major league politician who is currently campaigning for the presidential nomination of your chosen political party.Of course, it’s possible you aren’t in trouble for strapping your dog to the top of your car because you’ve never strapped your dog to the top of your car. Not and got caught at it, anyway. Few people do that, these days, unless it’s really necessary. Or unless alcohol is involved.But Mitt Romney did. Back in 1983, Mitt decided to take his family on vacation from their home, in Massachusetts, to Canada. For some reason. The Romneys had five children, and lots of luggage, and by the time their station wagon was loaded up there wasn’t room for Seamus, their Irish Setter, to ride in there, too. Personally, I doubt he wanted to ride in the car with five boys – I wouldn’t - but nobody asked him.So Mitt decided to tie the dog crate to the roof of the car, and let Seamus ride on top. He even fixed a windbreak for the dog, who probably enjoyed the better view, and fresher smells, anyway. Or maybe not, but nobody asked him that, either.Everything was fine for a while, and then one of Mitt’s kids noticed a brown stream running down the back window of the car. So Mitt pulled in to a gas station and hosed down the dog and the crate and the car, and they went on their merry way. With Seamus back in the crate on top.One of Mitt’s sons told that story to a Boston Globe reporter several years ago, and now people all over the country are raising a big hue, and, of course, cry, about the incident. They’re saying Mitt is a Bad Person for making the dog ride up there, and he obviously is not Presidential Material, if he thinks it’s OK to treat animals like that. There’s even a website now called Dogs Against Romney, although I don’t think any actual dogs have been consulted, to date.All this got me to wondering what kind of hideous drugs have been leaching into the American water supply. Sane people don’t make a big deal about something so trivial. Sane people don’t even comment on stuff like that, beyond maybe pointing to a dog in a crate on top of a car and saying to their wife, Ethyl, “Look, Ethyl. A dog on top of a car. How about we go grab a cheese sandwich?”But to hear the whining from the bedwetters and bunny huggers, you’d think Ol’ Mitt had tied Seamus’ leash to the bumper, like Chevy Chase did to that dog in ‘Vacation,’ and drug him all the way to Hockey Land. It’s not like he put one or two of the kids in a crate on top, for goodness sake. Although, if he’d done that, most of the whiners probably wouldn’t care.Just so we’re on the same page, here, let me point out that dogs are animals. Animals are not people. Animals don’t have to be treated exactly the same way people have to be treated. Cows, for example, ride in trailers all the time, and you never hear them complaining about it. Horses and sheep and goats and plenty of other critters do the same thing. When’s the last time you heard anyone griping about ranchers hauling stock in trailers? Well, anyone who eats meat, I mean.For some reason these wimps think this is different, because it was a family pet, as if that put Seamus on a different level than, say, a Hereford. And maybe it does, but if so, I submit that Mitt observed that criterion. How many people do you hear about taking their pet Angus calf on vacation with them? Answer me that. At least he didn’t leave Seamus at home, while everyone else went and had a good time. Or, as good a time as you can have in Canada, anyway.Plus, dogs are very appreciative when they’re confined for a while; far more appreciative than people under the same circumstances. And I can prove it.Lock your dog in the trunk of your car for an hour and let him out. He’ll be jumping up, trying to lick your face, perhaps whining and barking, he’s so happy to see you.Now, do the same thing with your wife or husband. When you let them out, what do you think they’ll say? I mean, assuming you can hear them, as you’re running away.I’m not trying to endorse Mitt Romney, here, but putting a dog in a crate on top of a car is not animal cruelty. Taking your kids to Canada for a vacation . . .I’m not so sure, eh?
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who speaks pretty good Canadian. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or firstname.lastname@example.org