Well before Chevy Chase dragged his poor pooch along the highway in Summer Vacation, Dad unfortunately made the mistake years earlier. Suzette never forgave him.
As we moved through the middle of America, the heat was off the charts, at least as far as we had every experienced. With a busted air conditioner (these were the days when you could hang one from your window), we had resorted to hanging wet towels in the windows and hoped the evaporation cooled us off . The parakeets were gasping for air with beaks wide open. The turtles sloshed around in their tiny pool. Suzette, the poodle, had her tongue hanging out and drool was going everywhere.
At every pit stop we had assigned tasks. After hitting the bathrooms, we had to fill the gas tank, check the oil, fill the burlap water bag on the bumper, buy refreshments, wet the towels and walk the dog. Dad had the assignment of walking the dog at one remarkable stop. The heat was intense, so the family looked like a race car pit team, running around to prepare the wagon for the next stage. We piled back into the car after completing tasks, anxious to at least feel some moving air as we accelerated. As we started to roll back on the road, we heard an odd sound…it seemed like distant whimpering. The sound did not initially register with us, then Mom shouted, “WHERE’S SUZETTE!” We all looked back to the managerie…and no Suzette. Looking out her window, Mom screamed, “STOP THE CAR!!!!!”
Poor Suzette had been valiantly running alongside the car, her leash looped over the antennae. Dad clearly had had one too many tasks to complete. Mom leapt out and rescued the poodle before it had a heart attack.
Suzette had always been a little neurotic. This unfortunate incident would not help her disposition one bit.