Previously Posted: Man’s best friend

For those new to CabbieBlog or readers who are slightly forgetful, on Saturdays I’m republishing posts, many going back over a decade. Some will still be very relevant while others have become dated over time. Just think of this post as your weekend paper supplement.

Man’s best friend (16.03.09)

Dogs are called Man’s Best Friend and this week’s blog is an excuse to include a picture of’s best friend.

Cute they may be, but not so appealing for some motorists.

According to the vehicle breakdown service, the RAC, dogs are the most frequent animal offenders and several have managed to shut their owners out of their vehicles on garage forecourts by activating the locks with their paws. Its patrols have also attended incidents where dogs had swallowed car keys and damaged vehicles by chewing the wires and steering wheels.

Animals are also to blame for other incidents. One patrol was called out to a car that wouldn’t start to discover a family of rats living in the fuse box, where they had chewed through all the wires. Another patrolman had a more traumatic day; he had to fix a van taking an alligator to a zoo. Another speedy patrol helped restart a transporter taking a cheetah to a zoo before it was dinner time!

A kitten being driven to his new home panicked on arrival and escaped into the dashboard of the vehicle. The entire dashboard had to be dismantled. Similar call-outs involved snakes, mice and hamsters hiding within the vehicle.

A particular favourite of mine involves a patrolman opening the back of a broken-down van to be startled on finding 17 pairs of eyes staring back at him belonging to a cast of falcons.

Another RAC member was mystified as to why he couldn’t unlock his car and, on arrival, the patrol had to point out that he was trying to get into the wrong vehicle.

One motorist had more money than sense when he managed to lock £80,000 in cash inside his boot.

One in three of the motoring organisation’s patrols also reported that they had arrived at a call-out to find amorous couples in the broken down vehicle.

A survey of its patrols found 39 per cent had helped a motorist get to a life-changing event, such as getting to a wedding on time and one even reported helping to deliver a baby.

RAC patrol person of the year Iain Vale said: “Our patrols respond to around 2.7 million roadside assistance call-outs every year and this survey reveals the extent of the very odd and unusual nature of what sometimes awaits us. Whether it’s meeting members who keep their dog’s ashes in an urn in the car, calls asking whether they can extend breakdown cover to their electric wheelchairs, or a new kitten that’s panicked and hidden in the dashboard, we get our hands dirty.”

The RAC’s other bizarre call-outs included:

A hapless groom nearly didn’t marry his bride when he locked the wedding rings in his car.

A £30,000 violin had to be rescued by a RAC patrol from a jammed seat belt so that its owner could get to a concert in time.

One RAC patrol rescued a referee on his way to a football match just hours before the game was due to kick off.

Another patrol rescued a police car, stuck up to its windows in mud having chased a runaway criminal across a ploughed field.

Fat Cats

Don’t worry about the collapse of the banks, the credit crunch and the looming recession, this is really serious stuff. The Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), has just published a report that puts all these other problems in the shade.

Owners of fat cats and obese dogs could be fined up to £20,000 or jailed under these new controversial Government rules! No, it’s not a wind-up and I’m not having a laugh, it goes into detail to remind pet owners of their responsibilities under the new law.

It tells owners to provide “entertainment” ad “Mental stimulation” for pets, making sure upstairs windows are “cat-proofed” to stop animals from falling out and to avoid taking dogs for a walk in the hottest part of the day. Pet owners should also ensure that they give animals a suitable place to live and “somewhere to go to the toilet”.

So don’t forget, the next time your cat or dog is looking bored, entertain them with a song and allow them to join in the family quiz for their mental stimulation. And if your dog asks to go “walkies” and it’s hot outside, just lead him into his private toilet. I shudder to think just how much of the taxpayer’s money has been spent on this patronising and ridiculous Bill that assumes all pet owners are dopey.

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