TodayApril 17, 2022

Kids Cars and deaf dogs too

A dog named Piglet

My next-door neighbor, Sheri, ran over her dog today. I wish I could say that there was a happy ending, but there’s not. Piglet was buried next to Aunt Mixer a 15-year old Australian Shephard that lived a long good life.

Piglet was a special white and black dog that snouted at the ground. She probably felt vibrations that other dogs couldn’t hear. Piglet was deaf. When Sheri found out that Piglet was deaf a friend told her she should euthanize the dog.

Sheri is the St. Francis of Assisi of Wisteria Hill (Id call it Wisteria Lane, but none of us are desperate housewives). Over the years Sheri has taken in every breed of animal that has walked on her property. Its only fitting that she used to own three preschools. Animals and small children are the innocents of the world and if Sheri ever stopped to think about it she would think it was God’s wish for her to take care of all the innocents of the world.

Sheri tried to give Piglet away once, but the woman brought Piglet back. Piglet was used to being outside and the woman locked her in the apartment. Piglet barked to get out. She probably would have stopped barking if she could have heard the people shouting at her, but she couldn’t.

Shortly after Sheri realized that Piglet belonged to her and had bonded with her she realized that Piglet responded to sign language. Sheri took a sign language class and was signed up to take another class this semester.

Sheris Dodge Ram pickup is parked next to her house. She walks out the back door, right past the back of her pickup. She can see if there is anything in the back of her before she gets in the truck. In order for her to get out, she backs out and then goes forward, like most people coming out of their garage. Like most people that backup she has a vehicle that has no sensors or backup camera to show you if there is anything in the back of you.

While I was in Detroit at the Auto show I ran into the group. According to, since 2002, at least 160 children were backed over and killed, many in their own driveways by relatives, because they could not be seen in vehicle blind spots. Legislation passed by the Senate in S. 1072 in the final transportation bill is currently being negotiated in conference committee to evaluate backup warning devices to see which are most effective in detecting small children behind cars.

My first thought when I heard about it was that it would cost more money. I don’t need it, I heard myself saying, though it’s a nice thought. Then I got home and heard about Piglet.

I went to see Sheri, who couldn’t look me in the eye because she was still beating herself up. “I’ve had so many animals over the years, but Piglet was the one I bonded to the hardest,” says Sheri. Because it was one of the innocents, Sheri, because it needed you more than the others. Like a small child who can’t be seen and you cant hear when you are in the vehicle, they are innocent and need that extra touch of attention.

If you’ve got small children and backing up is an issue please consider looking at the backup sensors or backup cameras available. My favorite backup camera just came out on the 2006 Infiniti M car. It not only shows you what is behind you but the path you will take with the way your wheels are positioned. If you change your wheel position the yellow line changes the trajectory path to show you your new position.

I can’t help thinking of the people who have done the same with their child and wonder how many sleepless nights they will have, waking up saying to themselves, “if only”.

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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