#45 Seeing a big dog sitting in the driver’s seat of a parked car

What was your worst job ever?

Yes, we were chatting about bad jobs the other night and I said unclogging grease traps with my bare hands was at the top of my list. Pulling out that rusty Black Box of Death from under the triple-sink released a foul Rotting Meat Scraps From Six Months Ago stench that was seared forever in my brain.

Scott said his gig was worse: scraping out urinals at the bar he worked at in high school. Being the low man on the grill meant whenever someone created a horrible mess he was thrown a handful of paper towels and told to get to it.

We all thought Scott might have won the title but our friend Tyler said collecting shopping carts in the grocery store lot was worse. “Think about it,” he started. “There’s that constant search for lost carts, snapping them all into mate-mode, and then pushing the world’s heaviest Shopping Cart Train back inside without hitting anything. Rain, slush, snow, it doesn’t matter, you just freeze for hours and hours all by yourself.”

We sent Tyler’s argument to the Bad Job Jury for deliberation and it eventually got ruled out. Why? The jury argued that Cart-Picker-Upper Guy gets fresh air, good exercise, and the added bonus of laughing out loud whenever he sees big dogs sitting in the driver’s seat of a parked car.

Yes, he gets to imagine that dog trying to figure out how to drive in case some killer disease wipes out the entire human population while his owner grabs milk and bananas. “It’s up to dogs now,” you can hear him thinking, gamely pawing the slippery steering wheel, staring at you with sad tired eyes. “Don’t just look at me… where’s the stupid emergency brake?”

Seeing a big dog sitting in the driver’s eat of a parked car is a loving sight — ranking with sunrises over glittery oceans, old people holding hands, and kaleidoscoping blue-green lights at the edges of the horizon. That’s because big dogs in driver’s seats are the car equivalent of a Friendly Pet Welcome at the front door. Except you can actually see the welcome about to happen through the glass.

So I say whether it’s pushing carts through snow and seeing adorable big dog faces, mopping dusty school hallways and catching little kid embraces, or spilling coffee in turbulence just to land in sandy new places — what we’re saying today is that every tough job has its silver linings, quiet pleasures, and hidden little sighting of


Thank you for making The Book of Awesome a bestseller for 22 straight months!

Photos from: here, here, and here

35 thoughts on “#45 Seeing a big dog sitting in the driver’s seat of a parked car

  1. Not awesome – hopefully the window’s down or the driver is inside! It’s funnier when you’re driving and you can see it.

    But leaving your dog in the car alone is not OK – even if the window is down. That’s neglectful and against everything that so many people who are involved with reducing animal cruelty fight against.

    1. I agree — only funny when the owner or someone else is with the dog, or it hasn’t been in there for very long at all. Otherwise, leaving the animal alone in the car is NOT cool.

      But, assuming those photos are innocently taken, they are extremely cute.

      1. I have a rescue dog that I leave in the car all the time. She likes to ride but not get out. I leave the windows cracked or all the way up if it’s in the 40s or below. Don’t do it in the summer for obvious reasons. What’s wrong with that? She loves it! It’s not like she’s hot or anything.

        1. Nothing at all — I did mean to specify summer in my comment, but seems I forgot.

          Although I did a double-take with your comment! I was thinking, “Windows all the way up if it’s 40 degrees?! Why?!” Then I realised you weren’t talking in celcius. ;)

          1. Nothing’s wrong with that! :) It’s just the silly people out there who don’t pay attention that you have to be careful of :) and a lot of them lurk around the Internet!

    2. Check the backgrounds in these pics. Bare trees, snow…seems to me these pups were in warm cars for a short period of time. Dogs left for a long time are lying down on the seat…
      Your heart is good. Noone you know or appreciate would ever abuse an animal.

  2. I won’t even say what the worst thing I ever had to do was, because whether they fully knew it or not, resulted in restoring someone’s dignity.
    A child in a car, cause for alarm! A dog~ window’s down, it’s all… “What’s up Dawg?”

  3. Ha ha the first photo is hilarious. Do the dogs move to the driver’s seat by themselves when the owner leaves?
    For those who instantly think these dogs are suffering: I feel more sorry for dogs standing in the rain/cold outside shops, so the car is a much better alternative if the dog is not allowed to follow its owner inside.

  4. I think everyone is being a little ruff on this post. Personally, I have no bones with it and assume that these dogs weren’t left for long at all. But if seeing something like that still gives you paws, I think you’re just barking up the wrong tree.

    Personally, I think the dogs seems to love being in the drivers seat.. It seems to give them a new leash on life.. And that’s all I’ve got to say in this little tail.

    1. Oops – that post above was me.. but somehow my name got overwritten in the normal name field. Hopefully you still saw my poop-brown square!

    2. Love it!! Everyone’s failing to see the point of this awesomeness! I think it goes without saying that the dogs they’re referring to here aren’t being scorched in the heat or left for hours on end by themselves.

  5. Often times when we’d pass such a car, my husband would growl in an ever-so-slightly-defensive doggy voice, “I could drive if I wanted to.”

  6. You can just tell that the guy in the top pic wants to hit the road! When dogs rule the world, guaranteed they only drive convertibles!

    1. I imagine he’d come out looking a lot like Bridget Jones did in the convertible scene…d’sc-arf-arfed!

  7. Ok just when I think you are winding down and getting tapped out – you come up with another even more Awesome bit of Awesome!!! As a lifelong underemployed person I strive to find that quiet pleasure everyday.

  8. Whilst I agree leaving a dog in a car for a long period of time is a bad thing, I also do it with my own dog. If I’m just nipping into a store for five minutes to get milk or something. He does this. Its because he misses you. It’s sweet.

  9. I remember when I was a locksmith about a billion years ago and I opened a car full of three Pitt Bulls for a very distraught woman who had accidentally locked them in the car in the 105 degree Texas heat. She’s upset, so of course the dogs can tell and THEY are upset, and I’m some complete stranger who is trying to break into their master’s car while their master is standing there crying. I didn’t get bitten, thank God, but I did get knocked on my ass before she could step in. Still a dog person though, it wasn’t their fault, they were just doing their job.:)

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