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Road Record; A DOGS LIFE.

Some owners have lots of cars and some cars have lots of owners. But for Brian Spiers, the ownership of his 1991 grey Citroen BX is shared with several family friends.

Brian is a modern-day Noah with six dogs to cram into his five-door hatchback. Righa, Charlie, Abbie, Georgie, Bell and Moki rarely travel together but Brian has clocked up 100,000 miles with at least one of them in the car.

Brian, a retired BT engineer, said: "The Citroen has been great for travelling to dog shows. "Ideally, I would have something a bit larger, but you'd be surprised just how much will fit in the car." One deerhound, three German Shepherds, a collie and a terrier cross can put any car under a lot of pressure, but the BX is fitted with Citroen's variable suspension, which gives the car better ground clearance than most 4x4s.

When he travels to dog shows all over the UK, Brian usually has Righa for company. Righa is a rare deerhound, a breed which has a strong resemblance to the Irish Wolfhound, although slightly smaller, and which was the original hunting dog of the Scottish clans.

Facing extinction earlier this century, the deerhound has been rescued by careful breeding. Brian said: "This dog is an important part of our heritage, and when I go down to England With Righa, it's like I am an ambassador for Scotland.

BRIAN'S first car was a 1962 Humber Hawk which cost pounds 60. He recalled: "The best thing about the Humber was its price tag. Although I drove up to Orkney with six people in it, it really was a dinosaur." Other cars have included VW Beedes, a Saab and a Nissan Micra.

With grey colouring, square lines and extended ground clearance, Brian, the Deerhound and the Citroen have a number of features in common. It's not unusual to have pets resembling their owners, but when cars start doing it, you have to take notice. Brian, however, reckons the Mitsubishi Shogun would make a perfect addition to the family. And if Mitsubishi ever needed a mascot, they could do no better than Righa.

LIVE AND DANGERS

My dark secret is that when it comes to my own car I am not the boss writes Conrad King.

A one-year-old Norwegian Elkhound called Emmylou has Imprinted her personality so firmly into my Volkswagen that I feel like a tolerated guest. The seats are covered with impossible to remove hairs the boot is full of toys leads and a water bowl and even my mound of empty Coke cans can't compete. Ammylou is the Queen of the Road. With car and pet ownership at all-time highs some cars are going to be shared with the family pet While this means you can have your pet close to you there are a number of dangers involved in transporting any live animal and a dog wandering around inside a ca can prove a major distraction.

The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommend that pets are restrained on car journeys - seatbelt harnesses or pet cages are the best way to do this. It may seem cruel to restrict the movement of your pet but in the event of an accident - or even hard braking - your pet can be killed or seriously injured. The consequences of a dog weighing up to 12 stones being thrown into the back of a driver head can be fatal for both parties. It's not just on the move that cars can be a death-trap for dogs. Even in mild weather, when a window left open a dog left in a parked car can overheat in minutes. Or when you return to your car your pet might not be there. The police the SSPCA and thieves all have an interest in releasing dogs from in-car captivity. if it s the SSPCA who have taken your dog from a parked car, they will also pursue a prosecution which could result in a hefty fine and a ban from keeping pets. This may sound harsh but despite repeated warnings hundreds of pets die each year from being left in cars. The SSPCA recommend that you always carry water and a bowl for your pet especially in summer. If you see a pet locked in a parked car call the police or the SSPCA.

You'll find their number listed in he phone directory under "Animals" .
COPYRIGHT 1997 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 16, 1997
Words:737
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