Auckland, New Zealand. On Monday December 10th at
7pm local time three SPCA* rescue dogs, Monty, Porter and Ginny, got
behind the wheel of a MINI Countryman Cooper S and proved you can
teach an old dog new tricks. This world first was shown live on New
Zealand’s leading current affairs programme, Campbell Live, and was
intended to raise awareness for the SPCA to help change some common
misconceptions about rescue or shelter dogs.
MINI NZ has long been a supporter of the SPCA and earlier this year
tasked their advertising agency, DraftFCB, with developing a campaign
that would really make a difference. The Driving Dogs concept was a
“The campaign has been a monumental success with people talking about
SPCA rescue dogs in news and social media all over the world. We hope
that Porter, Monty and Ginny learning to drive a MINI Countryman will
encourage people to make the SPCA their first choice when adopting a
dog”, said Simonne Mearns, Brand Manager of MINI NZ.
The ‘Driving Dogs’ collaboration between SPCA Auckland, acclaimed
animal trainer Mark Vette from Animals on Q, MINI New Zealand and
DraftFCB, began just two months ago when the three dogs were selected
from SPCA Auckland.
After eight weeks of training at the Animal on Q headquarters the
clever canines single pawedly accelerated down a straight road,
maneuvered around a corner, straightened up and finished with a
confident paw brake.
“The bigger MINI Countryman was the perfect model for our drivers,
four doors for four paws. After modifying it slightly Monty, Porter
and Ginny were able to reach the pedals, move the gear stick and grip
the steering wheel. MINI is renowned for personalising vehicles,
however, customising the MINI Countryman for a furry,
four-legged driver was an all time first”, said Ms Mearns.
“We are delighted with the outcome of the Driving Dogs project. MINI
as a brand is full of energy, extroverted and cheeky; this campaign
reinforces this and demonstrates how gifted, talented and intelligent
SPCA animals really are. We hope it will encourage people to consider
SPCA dogs for pets, raise awareness and drive adoptions”, said Mearns.
You can find out more about the dogs by visiting drivingdogs.co.nz meet
Monty, Porter and Ginny online, watch videos of the training, and find
out about their local SPCA and how to adopt. You can also follow us on
Twitter @drivingdogs #drivingdogs or subscribe to our YouTube channel
CAUTION: In the interest of everyone's safety, please don't try to
teach your dog to drive. Porter, Ginny and Monty were trained in a
safe, controlled environment under the guidance of professionals. All
training was conducted with animal safety as top priority in a
specially modified vehicle.