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DAILY SUNSHINE: Rescue dogs taught to drive cars in New Zealand

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 13th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In New Zealand, rescue dogs have been taught to drive using simple commands. While the three dogs in question are not yet ready to take the steering wheel in the Indy 500, trainers hope that these new skills will come in handy for humans.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Dogs are currently used by the police for search-and-rescue missions or drug hunts. In addition, the blind use seeing-eye dogs for street guidance. Dogs are known to be extremely heroic and loyal, saving numerous owners from fires, storms, and assaults. In this spirit, New Zealand's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals decided to teach them how to drive.

What is this, you say? Driving is an activity most humans can't even perform properly. However, in a recently released video, the SPCA showcases three dogs named Porter, Ginny, and Monty being taught to drive a Mini Cooper. The video focuses mostly on Porter making a right hand turn on a giant racing course. The car has been outfitted with custom, extended push pedals so most dogs can reach and control the mechanics.

"We train them to do different actions, touch is the first thing and then we teach them to touch the different objects with the right paw and left paw," dog trainer Mark Vette told reporters. "They've all come through at this point and they're all going really well."

Although the sample video shows Porter making a simple and slow turn, the idea that dogs can eventually learn to drive cars just as well as Google's self-driving cars would prove to be an amazing development.

Will dogs become the new designated drivers? In the meantime, the video can be viewed on YouTube. Be sure to stay tuned for the very important message at the video's conclusion.

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