The manufacturer’s April Fool’s Day announcement of a new partnership with the RSPCA made many drivers believe they might see a canine at the wheel of a VW Amarok. Those who spotted the model with the number plate FR5T APR could be convinced it’s a hound making the rounds.
By teaming up with the animal rescue charity, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles claimed to have given three dogs training in operating the Amarok’s steering wheel, gears and brakes. Tulip, Jacob and Harry were the lucky test drivers using the model in ‘paw-wheel drive’.
It’s apparently been an incredible learning curve for the four-legged trainees, who began by learning to steer with a wooden trolley pulled by string. With the help of a team of humans, they worked their way up to using mock car controls and then specially-adapted safety harnesses. A shaggy dog tale (or ‘tail’) indeed!
So that the dogs could use real Amarok pick-ups, they were ‘trained’ to sit upright on their haunches and rest their front paws on the steering wheel and gearstick. Extensions for the rear paws to operate the accelerator and the brakes are presumably as long as Pinocchio’s nose. If only man’s best friend could really drive him home from the pub.
There’s a serious side to this story, however: the charity needs more volunteer drivers. If a hound can do it, so can you. The RSPCA wanted to show just how clever rescue dogs can be.
If you think you’ve spotted a doggy driver, let us know in the comments section below.