Rescue Dogs Roll the Dice

Published 6:30 am Saturday, December 3, 2016

Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury

   I really don’t know if old dogs can be taught new tricks. A more pertinent question is whether a couple of canines can–or choose to–remember old tricks.

Early on, they understood the “do-you-want-to-go” question warrants their affirmative response. The query usually means trips to the store, bank or post office. The possibility of such trips offers numerous pleasantries, including treats. They love thrusting their heads through partially open windows to access fresh air.

If they were kittens, they’d offer loud purrs upon hearing comments that rescue dogs are highly intelligent. Instead, they kick tail-wagging into high gear, indicating that all–or at least much–is well in their world.

Such trips are interspersed with occasional other “go” offers that result in visits to the vet or the groomer.

Neither is a favorite destination.

On such occasions, they droop, as if betrayed. Thankfully, memories seem short. Soon, the “go” word again is regarded as a signal of auto rides to more favored places.

After experiencing a short ride in a “runaway car,” however, they may re-think their stance on whether to remain eternal optimists concerning the appeal of bounding into the garage and hopping into the car.

I was an eye-witness to the accident, which was the result of a “bonehead” failure on my part. I mistakenly left the gear shift in the “N” position instead of the “P.”

Sadie, our mostly Jack Russell Terrier, and Sailor–perhaps a purebred Dachshund–were in the back seat, having learned recently that when the console lid is raised, hopping to the front seat is not an option.

During the outing to pick up pizza, I spotted our community’s largest commercial building, an attractive new three-story structure under construction. It is topped by an impressive clock tower that is bound to become a conversation piece.

Remembering my intention to write about the clock, I stopped at the grocery store parking lot across the street. (It should be noted that my vehicle was in a parking space, “pointed” toward Renfro Street, one of Burleson’s busiest thoroughfares.)

I stood beside my car, bracing my arm on the open door while trying to figure out how to use my flip phone as a camera. I felt the door leaving me as the car oozed slowly forward, and I attempted to jump back into the driver’s seat.

I fell, wondering why I felt no pain as the rear wheel rolled over the right edge of my size 12 foot.

I had a “worm’s eye” view, sprawled on the parking lot, as my car rolled slowly across four lanes of traffic. It jumped the curb on the other side, soon coming to a stop by a security fence surrounding the new structure.

Embarrassed, I surveyed the scene quickly to see if there were witnesses. There were many. About 15 motorists in the four lanes somehow stopped to give my errant vehicle wide berth.

Seconds later, I jogged across the street, happy to see my dogs had remembered to stay in the back seat. I don’t guess if I’ll ever know if they were obedient, traumatized or realized that if they’d jumped forward, they’d have distanced themselves from the aroma of pizza in the trunk.

Upon re-parking at the grocery store, three motorists drove alongside to make sure I was okay. Then, one of Burleson’s finest arrived in a squad car. He offered to call an ambulance, but I “poo-pooed” such action. My foot didn’t hurt, then or later. Before leaving the scene, I made a photograph—WITH MY FLIP PHONE–and without assistance.

The accident knocked my bumper off, and my son-in-law repaired it. Yes, the pizza was good, and no, I didn’t file an insurance claim. The dogs still enjoy car rides, but now, only with my wife. If I invite them, they head for their beds, pulling the covers over their heads.


   Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: