The trip to the vet was also the first time William rode in the SMART car that is currently the Gossipsmobile. When I acquired the car, I was worried that William might be injured should the little car's nine airbags deploy, but I was assured that the SMART car had a smart passenger seat. It knew when the occupant didn't weigh enough to withstand the force of an airbag. What I didn't consider was William's propensity to lounge in the car instead of sitting up straight or the close proximity of the passenger seat to the driver's seat.
In spite of William's aversion to cars, getting him into the little car turned out not to be a problem. He wasn't going in voluntarily, but, in his old age, he has lost a lot of muscle mass and consequently a lot of weight, so I was able to scoop him up--with some effort--and place him in the car--something I was never able to do in the past.
Things seemed to be going very well as we headed out Route 9, bound for Mountainview Animal Hospital, but just as we reached the "End 45 mph" mark, William released my seat belt. Fortunately, the seat belt did not pop up with a force great enough to strangle me, and I might have ignored it had it not been for the car flashing and beeping at me. Without taking my eyes off the road, I managed to refasten my seat belt, and we made it safely to our destination.
Leaving the vet's office, I was wary of taking any risks with my unpredictable dog beside me, so I turned right onto Route 9, intending to turn around and head back toward Hudson at the snow plow turnout just this side of the traffic light. When I had executed the reversal and was ready to pull back onto the road, the car stopped dead. I was stupefied! Flummoxed! How could this happen? The car was only six months old!
Then I realized what had occurred. The ignition key for a SMART car has a big round end that houses the electronic lock and unlock buttons and the panic button, and the portal for the ignition key is between the seats, just behind the gear shift. William had pushed the key with his paw and turned off the car.
I restarted the car and got back on the road, but I drove home steering with my left hand and shielding the ignition key with my right, lest William turn off the car again when there was another vehicle traveling behind us. I don't think the brake lights go on when the ignition key is suddenly turned off.