Dog takes car for run and crashes into L.I. shop
Thursday, November 20th 2008, 2:46 AM
"I ran inside the coffee house to sign up for open-mike night, and I left my car running because it's cold outside and I didn't want my dog to freeze," said Maher, 60. "The next thing I knew, I looked up to see my van coming at me in the window, with Bentley in the driver's seat grinning at me."
The boxer and Shar-Pei mix, rescued by Maher from the pound about a month ago, somehow managed to put the car into drive as Maher, 60, was talking to Cool Beanz owner Patricia McCarthy.
"Bentley was driving a '92 Ford van!" marveled McCarthy, 57. "I was astonished, very much so."
The crash left the shop's glass front window cracked, some patio furniture busted and the van with minor damage, but neither Maher nor McCarthy was mad at the lovable dog, who was unscathed.
"Aw, Bentley was wagging his tail afterward," said McCarthy. "He really is a sweet dog."
Maher was grateful to McCarthy for taking it in stride - even booking him for Saturday night - but said he had learned his lesson.
"This is the first and last time I'll ever put the car in park," he said. "He's a smart dog - obviously, he can drive a van."
He'll make sure his companion, who loves to ride up front with him, stays warm without the heater on.
"Bentley will be getting a nice doggie coat for Christmas," Maher said.
Sgt. Thomas Healey, of the Suffolk County Police 4th Precincnt, said the case would be classified as a motor vehicle accident - a really, really weird one.
"We've seen a lot of crazy things, like little kids putting the car in drive, but never a dog," he said.