Jingle of keys and let’s go for a ride are music to the ears of dogs who love riding in cars

Riding in the car with the windows down? Yes, please, says almost every dog, everywhere.

For many dogs, there is almost nothing better in the world than riding in a car with their humans. Whether a short drive around town or a longer road trip, it seems that most of our canine companions can’t wait to get buckled in for their next adventure.

There are many theories why dogs love car rides so much. One leading idea is that riding with the windows down provides dogs with a sensory overload. Dogs have an excellent sense of smell with up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses compared to a human’s 6 million. As the car quickly moves down the road, the scents change, giving your dog lots to smell.

Some dogs enjoy a trip in the car simply because it means they get to be with their family. Dogs are, by nature, social creatures. They’d much rather spend time out with their people than staying at home solo.

Dogs may also associate car trips with good outcomes. If you regularly take your dog through the drive-thru, for example, your pup may be dreaming about a “pup patty” or a “puppachino.”

Same with visiting new places. If most car rides end with a trip to the dog park or a nature hike, adventurous dogs may get excited just at the thought of hopping in the car as soon as they hear the jingle of the keys.

If you are looking for a short car trip destination with your dog, I recommend you mark your calendar for the dog-friendly San Marino Motor Classic on Aug. 28. You and your pup can enjoy a day of strolling through hundreds of mint-condition collector cars at beautiful Lacy Park in San Marino.

I first attended the San Marino Motor Classic in 2019, the day before I started my new position as president and CEO at Pasadena Humane. Having just moved to Pasadena from Virginia, I was dazzled by the cars, in addition to being star struck when I spotted Jay Leno in the crowd.

Turns out Mr. Leno is an animal lover, in addition to being a car aficionado. When he stopped by Pasadena Humane’s Wiggle Waggle Wagon —  not to see the modern RV, but to visit with the adoptable dogs — he ended up making a celebrity out of Blue, helping to get him adopted.

The Wiggle Waggle Wagon will be at the event again this year with adoptable pets. Even if you are not interested in adopting, you will be supporting Pasadena Humane’s lifesaving work by attending the San Marino Motor Classic. Pasadena Humane is a primary beneficiary of this year’s show.

We are incredibly grateful to the San Marino Motor Classic for many years of supporting the animals in our community. Since its founding in 2011, the San Marino Motor Classic has awarded in excess of $2.3 million to local charities, including more than $1 million to Pasadena Humane.

If you’d like to help our volunteers staff the event, please send an email to volunteer@pasadenahumane.org. 

If you go

9 a.m.-3 p.m. Aug. 28. Admission $35 in advance; $40 at the door; $150 VIP, includes lunch. Lacy Park, 1485 Virginia Road, San Marino. sanmarinomotorclassic.com/

Dia DuVernet is president and CEO of Pasadena Humane.

This blog post originally appeared as a column in the Pasadena Star-News on August 12, 2022.