In the Car with the Go2Dog

Category: News. Written by Jim Moore 

I drive around with my dog a lot. And when I say “a lot,” I mean most all of the time. So much that when I don’t take him, he looks at me with that “Where-in-the-heck-are-you-going-without-me look.”

It’s a look that bothers me, makes me feel guilty. So I talk to him and hope he understands that there are good reasons he’s being left behind – it might be 85 degrees and too hot to leave him in the truck; or I’m going to be somewhere for 10 hours, and I don’t think he’d appreciate hanging out in the back seat for that long.

His name’s Willie, and he’s a golden retriever. When I worked at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, I had the kind of job that allowed me to take my dog with me. This tradition started with my previous dog, another golden retriever named Murph.

As a sports columnist, I didn’t have to go to the office much. I wrote many of my columns from parks. The routine was pretty much the same – I’d make sure I had my laptop battery charged, and off we went – Willie swam after tennis balls in Lake Washington while I wrote and tried, sometimes unsuccessfully, to keep my keyboard from getting splashed by my dog, who always seemed to shake right next to me when he got out of the water.

I’ve had goldens now for 20 years, which means that every vehicle I’ve ever owned has the lovely smell of wet dog. You know that smell, it’s the one you can’t smell if it’s your dog. And it’s the one that grosses everyone else out, especially my wife.

I know a good way to get rid of this problem – never take a passenger with you, aside from your dog of course.

It was worse before I got a 2007 Honda Ridgeline with leather seats. That’s a must for drivers who have dogs that shed – leather seats. The vehicle I had before this, a ’93 Honda Accord, had cloth seats. They have yet to invent a vacuum with enough suction to inhale dog hair, and the heck of it is, that same dog hair that seems glued to the seats always ends up on your clothes.

Savvy drivers who cruise around with their dogs always carry one of those sticky rollers that removes hair from their clothes. Un-savvy drivers like me just try to pick the strands off my fleece sweatshirt, which never works very well, which leads to comments of: “So, I see you’ve got a dog.”

That’s right, Sherlock, I do, and boy is he spoiled. Willie spends most of his time in the backseat, but if he’s in the front seat and it’s a cold morning, I’ll turn on the seat warmer for him too.

There are advantages to driving with your dog. If I’m in a hurry or running late, I have to admit that I occasionally use the car-pool lane illegally.And when I use it, I’ll call Willie from the back seat to the front seat to give the appearance that there’s another living, breathing something in the vehicle. I picture the state patrol guy looking at us going by, and I’m assuming he can’t tell if we were two people, and thus legal, or one person and one hairy mongrel, thus illegal.

At 55 or 60 mph, can he really be certain? I tend to think not. My biggest problem is trying to keep Willie upright in a sitting position so his head is visible above the dashboard. He gets in the front seat and wants to curl up in a ball, which defeats the purpose.

I guess there are disadvantages too. He barks at every dog he sees, which wouldn’t be so bad if Seattle didn’t have so many dogs. And he doesn’t just bark, he goes nutball, barking his fool head off, as if he’d tear that dog apart if he could get out of the truck, when in fact, the opposite is what would really happen.

He’s docile, an I-mean-you-no-harm kind of dog. I’ve got proof. Two years ago my daughter

celebrated her 16thbirthday at Buca di Beppo in Seattle. I parked in the lot across the street. While I

was in the restaurant, a crook smashed my passenger window and took my laptop. But he left Willie alone, so I guess he was a nice crook. I’ve often wondered how Willie reacted when the window was smashed.

Did he:

Try to defend my truck and laptop by snarling and biting the crook?

Or did he wag his tail and wonder why the crook didn’t pet him before he ran off with my laptop.

My truck’s been damaged in other ways. The console and armrests have taken a beating from Willie’s nails – they’ve got little imprints all over them, signs of Willie-ness everywhere, sure to hurt resale value in the future.

Willie and I have gone on several long road trips – three to Cannon Beach, Ore., two to Phoenix and one to Banff. I always find a stream or a lake or some kind of body of water and let him swim along the way.

We typically stay at Super 8’s because they allow dogs for a nominal extra fee. I’ll ask for two double beds, one for him and one for me. But we’ve also stayed at motels that don’t allow dogs, which is always interesting. I’ll try to get a room a long ways from the lobby so I can smuggle him in and pray that Willie has a bark-less night.

I’m not sure why I’m so crazy about my dog that I enjoy taking him with me every day. There are drawbacks but not enough to leave Willie and those looks of his at home.

Jim Moore is a former sports columnist for the Seattle P-I, aka The Go2Guy. He can still be found on as a freelance writer, and is also a contributing writer for

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