Neither Bag Lady nor Shopping Siren are overtly political sorts.
However, Mitt Romney, we are adamantly anti-strapping-dogs-to-roofs.
In a story that's nipping at his heels all these 19 years later, it seems Romney once placed his Irish setter in a dog carrier, strapped the carrier to his station wagon's roof-rack and drove with his wife and five sons on vacation from Massachusetts to Canada. The incident's been dubbed "Crate-gate." (Seamus the setter lived, though one wonders how he quivered and quaked at future offers of, "Let's go for a ride, boy!")
Large brood? No room in the car? Nonrefundable tickets to Niagara Falls' Maid of the Mist?
You have other options.
So, this week, a column we never saw coming: Alternatives to strapping your dog to a roof.
We hope it goes without saying, but please be kind to your political animal.
* Overnight boarding, The DOGGz INN (Auburn,) $27/one night, $169/week
On its Web page, the company refers to boarding as "supervised sleepovers and slumber parties." That sounds amazing. At least 18 times more amazing than "terror at 65 mph."
* Premium SUV, Enterprise Rent-A-Car (Auburn,) $137/day plus fees
A Chevy Suburban or Ford Expedition XL with room for seven passengers. That would be driver, wife, sons and dog all, gasp, under one roof. For wind in the hair, just crack a window.
* Kurgo Auto Zipline, Pet Life (formerly The Kennel Shop,) $39.99
This contraption involves a harness, a leash and . . . a zip line connected to the ceiling of your car. We're not kidding. Hey, at least it's not the roof.
* Kurgo Co-Pilot Seat Cover, Pet Life, $34.99
Sure, sometimes Fido sheds on the seat, but that's no reason to kick him to the curb. Or the back bumper. (Do you remember Chevy Chase's "Vacation?" Bag Lady does.)
* Kurgo Skybox booster seat (30-pound maximum), Pet Life, $59.99
Secure the booster box to the car seat, then secure your pooch's harness to the booster box. Easy. Spot can enjoy the view, and you can enjoy traveling without all that head-splitting yowling.*
(* The dog's yowling. We make no such promises regarding the children.)
* Petco auto safety vest, PetCo, $13.49
Dog harness that attaches to a seat belt. In slimming black. Hey, Buddy also cares if he looks hippy.
* Petco premium pet stroller, Petco, $89.99
For trips around the neighborhood after you've arrived at your vacation destination. (Poor Seamus was probably a bit weak in the knees after hitting au Canada; he might have enjoyed the lift.) We had a hard time believing any self-respecting, non-petrified pooch would want to get in a stroller, but the Yorkshire terrier on the box sure looked happy. Certainly, he could have been paid for the photo shoot in treats. Or maybe he just found out he's one of the most popular dog breeds in America. But we like to think he was honestly excited to get a lift. (But should you get this for Rocky, we suggest tossing a handful of kibble into the stroller and then zipping up the mesh enclosure really fast, just in case.)
Best find: Sherpa's Pet Trading Co. original deluxe bag (22-pound maximum), Petco, $71.99
Soft-sided carrier in a very attractive red. Expensive, sure, but with this carrier you can forget driving. According to the packaging, this bag is approved for use on all major airlines. Fly first class and sip a mimosa while Princess munches on a homemade organic treat next to you. Ahh, the dream.
Think twice: Petmate Kennel Cab, Pet Life, $35.99-$69.99
Add bungee cords to this crate for a tale that will keep tongues wagging. Or you know, don't. A dog's life is ruff enough.
Bag Lady and Shopping Siren's true identities are protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who are still waiting on a promised vacation to Dog Town, Calif.) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach them at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.