I think Erma Bombeck is being rather optimistic here, implying at least some form of orderly conduct is possible as long as each child has a window of their own. Then again, I imagine she was probably also talking about children of the two-legged variety, rather than those of the four–legged persuasion. Anyone who has ever had more than one dog in a car at any given time will know that, no matter how many available windows there might be, every dog will be absolutely desperate to look out of the exact same one . . .
Adding to the general car-chaos in my household is the fact that none of my girls actually like being in the car in the first place. Even when I do get a day when it appears they have all decided to be good and are happy, smiling and sitting nicely, I can almost guarantee that before we are even out of the driveway they will have somehow managed to transform themselves into a confused and tangled little mass of collars, leads, legs and grumbly, snappy little faces.
(And if (God help me) one of them also gleans that we might actually be on the way to the v.e.t. instead of the beach, any hope of establishing the slightest modicum of doggy-decorum immediately flies out of the very same window they are all still arguing about . . . )
And the fun doesn’t stop there. By the time we eventually arrive at our destination all three of them will have wound themselves up into such a frenzied state that I will need all my wits about me to get them out of the car again.
I know that as soon as I open the car door Maudie will make her break for freedom—and she is fast!! I have to make myself as large as possible in the doorway and make sure I have her leash well in hand before I allow her any space to move at all. (Still being clipped in to her seatbelt has never been an issue when trying to escape the car . . . )
While attempting to wrangle Maudie I will also be watching Molly as she is always an accident waiting to happen. Molly is somewhat clumsy on her feet these days (and a tad portly to boot) and if she were to jump from the car without my help she would be more than likely break whatever leg she landed on first or even completely forget to put her legs under her at all and bellyflop hard on to the ground. (She’s knocked all the wind out of herself one more than one occasion!) She is also a slippery little sucker when she doesn’t want to be caught . . .
And, of course, by the time I have cornered Molly and placed her gently on the ground next to Maudie, I am likely to find that Maudie is, actually, no longer where I thought she was. Somehow she has managed to get herself back inside the car again (why? why?) and is now hiding beside her sister Mabel, who has positioned herself (immovable as a rock) as far away from me as she possibly can, having obviously decided that no matter how much she hates the car whatever is outside is much, much worse. Sigh.
I’ve been considering for a while now what best to do about the situation. Apart from never (ever ever) taking the girls in the car again which, unfortunately, isn’t really feasible, I’ve decided that something similar to the option below might be the way to go.
I’m not quite sure about the legal ramifications though . . .