Here’s the truth about me.  Are you ready?  Okay.  I am a dog lover – the wet nose, floppy ears, wagging tail, fur flying everywhere type.  You can’t have a pup without fur flying everywhere.  And of course, the cuddles that ensue.  I believe that every car should have a dog in every seat.  Window down, muzzle out, ears flapping and drool flying.  Or a pooch in the back of a pick up truck.  Particularly, a Chevy S10.  Sadly, ever so sadly, just nine days ago, we had to say farewell to my fuzzy best friend – my companion for 9 1/2 fun, story-filled years.  Leo, my canine companion, Leo the Lovely is gone. Leo was an amazing dog.  Part comic, part teacher, and 100% cuddler.  Plus, he was a fine lookin’ dog.

Leo kept us well entertained.  Be it tearing down walls,  opening kitchen windows (from the sink) and jumping onto rocks, or sneaking in to the car (he was ALWAYS ready for a drive and adventure).  Leo went on hundreds of drives, and countless road trips with us.  Here are just a few of the Leo and the car stories.

One fine day, my sister had dropped a basket of fresh eggs all over our front steps.  While we were scratching our heads trying to figure out what to do, Leo squirmed his way through us and started eating the eggs.  We figured, “What the heck, he’s happy…”.  He was.  Until we were in the car with my friend and sister.  My sister and Leo were in the third-row seat when Leo went “ZEEEEEAAAAAAAARGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!” and threw up all over my sister.  It smelled pretty bad, and looked it, too!  Then, we were heading home when we heard the whining.  We stopped the car and diarrhea of Biblical proportions came out.  Need I say more?

Another great story of ours is the train station.   The very sound of it sounds forbidding…Anyways, we had gone down to the City of the Angels for an 80th birthday party.  We had taken my dad’s truck (for reasons still unknown to me!), and the dogs were in the camper shell.  We left on a train bound for Burbank.  Leo wanted to join us.  Leo jumped out of the camper shell via the 8″ X 6″ window.  Leo then supposedly ran around the parking lot before coming back to the truck.  He sat there whining and looking at poor old Bongo in the camper shell.  Eventually, a family saw Leo and Bongo.  They put two and two together, picked up Leo and heaved him into the window.  All would have gone well, except Leo got stuck in the window.  Half of him was inside, half was outside!  The family called my dad, as they had seen his tag before.  Then, they called him again to tell him that Leo was stuck!  Then, they called again to say that Leo had popped in through the window and was safe.  However, my dad didn’t get the message until we got back in the truck.  Then, he was wondering why he had six voice mails.  We didn’t believe them (for obvious reasons!!!)!  But, it’s a great story.

Then, the time that my mom had just come back from the hospital, and Bongo and Leo escaped.  I was in the car with my cousin Robin when we saw Bongo and Leo.  We stopped, Bongo came down, squeezed through a fence hole not much bigger than an iPad! We opened the door, Bongo jumped in, and we started going home.  Bongo started sucking a Pepsi that was in the cup holder (the only time that I’ve heard of a dog sucking a soda at that!).  Leo was still on the hillside when my dad came to get him.  At this point, Leo had been skunked AND taken a bath in a vineyard pond.  Leo jumped into the cab of my dad’s truck and started looking happy.   My dad didn’t buy it.  My dad had just gotten his truck up fitted with a work body (a week before!), and opened the camper shell and shoved Leo in there!  My dad took Leo home, hosed him off, and then took tomato paste and mariana sauce and slathered poor Leo in it.  All of Leo’s white spots were pink – for a while!  Then, Leo spent the whole night whining.  My parents couldn’t figure it out, so Leo went to the vet first thing in the morning.  His tail was sprained.  The poor dog went around with a cast on his tail for about three weeks.  Then, all was relatively well.

Yet another story of Leo was the time that he tore my dad’s truck up trying to get to my mom.  We were at my aunt and uncle’s for Thanksgiving and Leo had a panic attack.  He scratched the glass on my dad’s truck’s windows, shredded a panel (my dad never got a replacement panel!), and bit the trim along the doors.  My dad was pissed.  To say the least.  I was the one who saved Leo from an almost-certain death that year.  I told my parents that Leo had a big heart, but he couldn’t control himself.  My desperate ploy worked, and Leo stayed.  We are glad that he did.

Then, there are the countless car trips that we took Leo down with us and he hogged the whole rear seat!  We just can’t forget the time that we were in my dad’s truck and my sister cracked gum in Leo’s face.  Leo got so scared that he crawled over the center console to sit in my mom’s lap.  Leo was no small dog, weighing in about 70 pounds.  And this was in the Central Valley.  He wouldn’t budge until we got home.  I think that somebody was happy!

Yet another story of Leo involves eight loaves of Pita bread.  We had gotten a bag of Pita bread in L.A. and were driving up when Leo ate ALL of the Pita bread!  We saw the loaves sticking out for days!  Anyways, Leo was in the third row seat and passing gas that could be a credible alternative to tear gas.  Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much!  We then spent the rest of our drive back up the Interstate 5 with the windows down!

I’m sure that Leo is pigging out on Pita bread in the backseat of a car with the windows open (for obvious reasons) with Bongo in the countryside.  Then, after the drive, it’s off to some imaginary racetrack where he gets as many laps as he wants.

10 thoughts on “The Missing Part of the American Dream – a Dog in Every Car!

  1. Sweet post. Leo was a wonderful dog, and deeply missed. He loved the car (and all the food crumbs in it! ), and loved going places.

    Dad says “don’t forget how Leo ripped the headliner, as well”.

  2. Oh, the fun we had on those car trips! I was the unlucky one who got barfed on. 😦 YUCK!
    We will always remember our furry companion.

    What a lovely tribute to Leo the Lovely. Great post by the way!

  3. Very sweet, Candler. Leo was full of personality and you captured it beautifully. He was lucky to have landed in your family.

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