Thursday, August 18, 2016

Dog Carts and the Extinction of Memory

Dog cart selling meat scraps for pets.

The first thing that goes extinct is memory.

Who alive, among us today, remembers when dog carts prowled our streets?

And yet in most of Europe, and in the largest cities of the U.S., they once did, pulling small wagons filled with milk, bread, and perhaps ready-to-drink lemonade or tea.

Dogs were used in war too, to pull ammunition and machines guns to the front lines (dogs are harder to shoot than horses), and to pull reels of communication line and barbed wire.

Would a dog-drawn small business work today?

I think so.

Imagine a dog-drawn ice cream, lemonade, or hot dog cart. The novelty of the thing would be a competitive advantage, attracting kids and adults equally. Here's a small-business idea just waiting to happen!

Dog cart, Brussels. Probably milk.

Dog cart with milk canisters. Large terrier is probably a guard dog.

Bakers dog cart, brace of dogs.

Dog cart mobile tea delivery, Brussels, with three dog team.

Baker's dog cart with handles to help the dog up hills,and to slow the cart going down.

Dog cart with ammunition, 1917, Italy. Brace pair.

Dog cart with milk canisters, Holland. Handle to help push and slow cart as needed.

Dog cart with milk canisters.

Dog cart with machine guns, World War I, Belgium.

Dog cart jitney, Canada.

Dog cart, Belgium, with three dogs. Probably a produce cart.

Dog cart with milk canisters, Lucerne, Switzerland.

Silent film star Mary Pickford Dog with dog cart in the movie Pollyanna.

Milk cart pulled by brace par of shepherds, Lauterbrunner, Switzerland.

Dog cart with milk canisters, Rosendaal, Netherlands.


Anonymous said...

Nice idea and a lot of dogs would be up to it...but we (Holland) have laws nowadays that specifically prohibit the use of dogs for pulling carts (for some reason sled dogs and sleds/carts are an exception).


Anonymous said...

I believe dog carts were outlawed throughout Europe(with that exemption for sleddog training) after a long animal cruelty campaign, as many of these dogs were terribly abused and neglected(as were horses); another case of a good idea ruined by abusive people. There has been some effort in the U.S. to outlaw carting or sledding with dogs based on some individuals' callousness and cruelty(which no doubt does occur), but as with any law, it should specifically target the abusers, and not everyone else!...L.B.

Chas S. Clifton said...

Was it Charles Dickens who had a passage about 19th-century English day trippers renting carts drawn by Newfies, the dogs driven so far and so cruelly that they left bloody paw prints on the road?

Can't think where I read that, but it put me off the whole idea of dog carts.

Cat, Tessie, & Strata said...

I've often considered doing just that! My springer loves pulling her cart (we do weight pull).

Hmm... I'm thinking my mother's "world famous" home-made iced tea in a big plastic pitcher...

Barb said...

I've taught several of my Danes to pull carts, and it's a blast! I agree with Anonymous #2 above, something shouldn't be outlawed just because some people abuse it. Make the ABUSE illegal (which or course it usually is anyway) not the ACTIVITY.
My question is, where on earth do you find all of these wonderful old photos?! They are a real treat.

an American in Copenhagen said...

I'm surprised to see so many two wheeled carts in the photos. It's certainly more efficient to use four wheeled carts when you have good roads (which most of these photos show). But when you consider the costs involved ponies have a much better food bill to pulling power conversion rate. And I think you'd sell just as many icecream cones.

It really is annoying how a few can ruin it for the whole. My dog would think he'd died and gone to heaven if he could hang out with me outside all day and sell icecream to kids. And the fact that he got to pull a cart would be the icing on the cake for him.

I think the bigger and more widespread problem is dogs that don't get enough exercise. Carting, scootering, bikejoring, etc. are all such great ways to get your dog enough exercise if he's got more energy than you do (and most do). Too many people anthropomorphize and think that their dog wants to be a lazy couch potato like themselves. I think that's just as cruel as overworking a dog.

I'd love to start scootering but it's out of my budget for now. In the mean time we'll just keep biking together--no pulling involved (unless he sees another dog he wants to drag me over to, LOL).

Anonymous said...

Although it would not be practical for me to try and use a dog cart for any kind of serious business, for recreational and excercise purposes, it can't be beat! I presently take my four rescue Siberian Huskies for(somewhat!?) controlled runs with it, and they scream with anticipation if they see me even heading in the direction of the shed where I keep the cart! They almost jump into their harnesses too! They can really run and pull all they want during an outing, and are not limited by a slow, awkward human on a leash! Anyone against carting or sledding with dogs has never seen it done right, and how much the dogs can learn to LOVE it!....L.B.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful collection of pictures. Thank you for sharing them, Patrick.

SeattleAmy said...

What struck me as I looked at the pictures is how many of the dogs had muzzles on...interesting!

Loved the chance to see all of these. Amy

Heather said...

At the turn of the century, many cities had laws requiring dogs to wear muzzles to help curb dog bites (and therefore rabies transmission to people).
-- Heather

Ruthie Houston-Barrett said...

What a fantastic batch of photos! Done right, wouldn't this be fun?

Ruthie (^_^)

Crystal said...

I think this will save millions of dogs lives and get them out of the pound so they are not uthinzed. Crystal

happydogsnortheast said...

Sadly in England this will be illeagal to do. This is the whole problem with many modern domestic dogs, the jobs they once did 'and loved'are gone!

Dave Davies

Sean said...

Ha! Commuting in the dog cart jitney would be a blast.

Susan Traynor said...

We got our first Rottweiler in the late 80's and after she grew up and her growth plates had closed started biking her on lead till we got to the beach where I'd unclip her lead and let her run in the sand or swim. Her choice. Saw a demonstration of draft dogs and was hooked! Got the replacement for the Radio Flyer wagon, a draft harness and began training her. After she was trained, there were many trips through the park and to the beach with the dog pulling a load of kids and all the gear we needed. My guiding rule in those days was the "RULE OF 150" which is just that if the heat and humidity came close to 159F she wasn't allowed to pull the wagon. still have all that equipment after all these years though recycling the wagon to use as my gardening cart.

Sysan now in MI.

Rottn Woman said...

My friend and I use our Bernese Mountain Dogs and Rottweilers to pull carts at charity events, giving rides to small children for a $2 donation to charity. The queue is always long and there is always animated debate about whose turn it is next! The dogs LOVE it.

not too terribly clever said...

Those pictures were inspiring! I have 4 malmute/siberian crosses who all love their gang lined walks and we are hoping to start carting them very soon!

Unknown said...

Hello there
I love the old pics of the dogs and their carts. I wonder if there is any chance of being allowed to use the pic of the mobile tea service on an invitation we are designing for a vintage doggy tea party event. This is for charity so we would prefer no to have to pay a copyright charge. Perhaps you could let me know if you own this pic or know who does. Very much appreciated. Julia AKA Gazehound Vintage

PBurns said...

I do not own the copyright, but no one else does either from what I can tell. Works published with notice of copyright or registered in unpublished form on or after January 1, 1923, and prior to January 1, 1964, had to be renewed during the 28th year of their first term of copyright to maintain copyright for a full 95-year term. With the exception of maps, music, and movies, the vast majority of works published in the United States before 1964 were never renewed for a second copyright term and so are not copyrighted.

Jennifer said...

According to Stanley Coren (Pawprints of History, 2000) dog carts were banned 1n England in 1839 through the actions of the newly formed RSPCA. He says the ban resulted in the death of 150,000 to 250,000 dogs.

PBurns said...

Dog carts were banned in London (and also in Paris) at about that time, but not in the rest of the country until 1900. Rabies, dog bites, and anti-small business were the main drivers.

The "humane" movement led the push to kill dogs and cats in WWII -- killed 750,000 dogs and cats in a week. Story on this blog.