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SPCA’s driving dogs star on David Letterman’s Late Show

Friday 7 Dec 2012 3:06 p.m.

The SPCA’s driving dogs have appeared on David Letterman’s Late Show, with the television host claiming he “loves this as (much as) life itself”.

The clip, which first featured on Campbell Live, inspired Letterman’s “Top Ten” list on Wednesday night, which was entitled “Top Ten Signs Your Dog Is A Bad Driver”.

The video rendered Letterman speechless. “Honest to God, isn’t that…?!” he laughed.

He went on to list his 10 “Signs your dog is a bad driver”, which include:

  • It insists on driving with its head out of the window;
  • He slams on the brakes for every bitch he sees;
  • He always takes his eyes off the road to lick himself.

Late Show audiences are used to seeing odd things from New Zealand appearing on the “Top Ten” list – including Prime Minister John Key who in 2009 delivered his “Top Ten Reasons to Visit New Zealand”. It later emerged Tourism New Zealand had paid a public relations company up to $10,000 to lobby for the appearance.

The SPCA dogs Monty, Ginny and Porter have become worldwide canine sensations since the Campbell Live story, which showed animal trainer Mark Vette and his team teaching them how to drive.

Their exploits have featured on the BBC, and on the New York Times and Huffington Post websites.

The SPCA says it is astounded by how far the video has spread.

“My initial hopes with the campaign were that it would encourage local people in the Auckland region to think about getting an SPCA dog before any other,” says Auckland SPCA CEO Christine Kalin.

“Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would receive the international coverage that we have.”

Ms Kalin says Monty the giant schnauzer has been especially popular with Australian audiences.

But the biggest test is yet to come. D(og)-day is on Monday night, when one of the dogs will drive a reporter on live television.

Ms Kalin admits she’s already nervous.

“There’s an element of risk to this… All it would take is for a rabbit to run across the track and the dog’s attention will have gone elsewhere!”

The three canine ambassadors will be adopted out after the driving campaign, and the SPCA has already had a lot of enquiries from people eager to give them homes.

“The most important bit is making sure these dogs have a home for life,” Ms Kalin says, “and the best possible home from the point of view of what they need.”

And after the number of appearances they’ve made worldwide, they might also need a celebrity agent.

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