New Zealand SPCA trains shelter dogs to drive cars

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AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – Okay, if you had to make a choice, who would you rather have driving you around town?

Toonces, the cat who could drive a car, or Porter, the dog who really can drive a car.

Standby for another shaggy dog story.

Monty, Ginny and Porter may be the world’s first, and only, dogs that can drive.

The folks at the SPCA of Auckland, New Zealand, came up with the idea of training shelter dogs to drive to show everyone that these canines are more than mere mutts.

They rigged a MINI Cooper the way you would a special-needs vehicle for people, except these people are pooches.

The start button is on the dash with the accelerator below, the steering wheel with special places for the paws.

And just like with people, the dogs learn to drive in the classroom, from special instructors using low-tech wheels that resemble the kind of backyard car you`d make for your kids, if your kids were dogs.

And then, after weeks of study, porter, the bearded collie-cross, took the real wheel, an event carried live on New Zealand TV.

As part of his test, Porter did the tricky trick of steering the mini cooper around one of the course’s turns, which he did with flying ‘collars’, except for a brief detour onto the grass.

Good boy. And to this ruff rider we can only say: you’re the man, dog.