Jeep Dogs

You’ve seen them out on the trails, and you’ve probably even scratched the head of a few in your day. You may even be lucky enough to count yourself amongst those of us who have them. They’re our favorite trail companions, they’re our Jeep Dogs.

It’s because we love them so much that we want to protect them and do what’s right for them. It’s also why we want to include them in our favorite activities. It was while I was reading an article recently, published by Jeep Jamboree, USA, that I discovered a little-known fact.

Did you know that this well-respected Jeep event organizer discourages Jeep owners from bringing their dogs along for many of their off-road forays?

Here’s their official statement on the subject:

“Jeep Jamboree USA strongly suggests that pets are not appropriate on Jeep Jamboree USA events. Long hours in vehicles, association with people unfamiliar to the animal, access to inappropriate foods, restricted park areas, leash rules and laws, and many other drawbacks make including pets in the events punishing to the pet, the owner, and the other participants.”

Now, before you roll your eyes and start defending your rugged outdoor dog’s off-road prowess, let me tell you that I’m a JeepHER, culpable of the crime of bringing my own Jeep Dog along for a high-level rated Jeep Jamboree trail ride. It was only during that ride that I realized my mistake.

Although our dogs are always tethered when we ride in any of our vehicles for safety purposes, as Jaxon was that day, along with having a soft and oversized dog bed for his comfort, he did NOT enjoy his ride. Selfishly, I wanted the companionship of my dog and thought nothing of how his 40-lb body would be tossed around inside my JK, regardless of his tether.

While there were a few stops throughout the day, he was fearful for much of the ride (which turned out to be roughly 5 ½ hours in total) and downright panicky at points, trembling, pulling against his tether, and desperately trying to find a way into my lap.

Our dogs typically lay down and go to sleep after their initial excitement of going for a ride wears off, but due to the roughness of the terrain and obstacles, he wasn’t ever able to lay down for more than a moment at a time. To say he experienced a high amount of instability and bouncing around would be an understatement.  You can see the difference in his demeanor in the photos below:

I’ve encountered numerous other Jeep Dog owners out on the trails who, instead of showing empathy for their dogs, laughed and joked how their dogs reacted fearfully or were tossed from the back seat of their Jeep to the front seat. In fact, on the same 5 ½ hour ride I took Jaxon on, a fellow JeepHER was proudly bragging about her senior dog who was being flung about inside her Jeep while laughing heartily about it.

Seeing the look on Jaxon’s face and watching him trying to hunker down while shaking in fear, I absolutely regret taking him on that trail ride. Make no mistake, it won’t happen again.

In the future, my Jeep Dog will ride by my side for rides in the Jeep, but it won’t be on rated trails.

Do you have a Jeep Dog? What are your thoughts about taking them out on the trails with you? Share in the comments so we can all learn from one another!

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Jeep Hair, Don’t Care

Maybe it was while you were driving down Main Street or on the highway as you set out for a road trip, but you’ve seen her. You know you have.

Hell, maybe you are her.

She’s the one cruising along without a worry in the world, hair blowing in a torrent of road wind because she’s got the top and doors off her Jeep.

She’s the woman who unabashedly steps down out of her Jeep Wrangler at the supermarket or gas station with that classic windblown look we’ve all come to know and love as “Jeep Hair, Don’t Care.”

She might attempt to pat her coif back into some semblance of neatness. Or not. Either way, she’s a badass, and it’s her prerogative.

As women, society typically dictates that we present well. Meaning, makeup must always appear to be freshly applied, lip gloss popping, nails perfectly manicured, legs and pits shaved, never a drop of sweat, and nary a hair out of place on our heads.

But there comes a time when unbridled freedom must ring true.

The times when we let our hair down and ride topless are the most liberating. Much like the release of coming home and popping the clasp on your bra after a long hard day at work, there’s nothing quite like riding down the road with some classic rock on the radio and your hair whipping wildly all around your head.

While many of their male devotees continue to scoff (forgetting or purposefully ignoring the history of the Jeep’s origin), the Jeep brand has increasingly embraced their ever-growing female tribe. Last year, Jeep partnered with Snapchat to offer a custom Jeep Hair, Don’t Care lens to ring in their nationally recognized 2nd annual Jeep 4×4 day on April 4th.

Breaking free of the societal shackles otherwise known as “acceptable standards of grooming for women” is not only liberating in a figurative sense, it quite literally encourages us to push our own everyday boundaries to explore areas outside our typical comfort zone. We’re free to embrace the wild yearnings and wanderlust of youthful adventure, if only for the 20-minute commute to the office.

Sure, you probably won’t see her on the next cover of Vanity Fair or Cosmo, but damn, you know you want to be her.

Proud of your windblown hair? Share your favorite Jeep Hair, Don’t Care photos in the comments!

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Women and Jeeps: A Brief History

No, Actually. It Didn’t Start with Barbie

Barbie wore pink, kept herself well-groomed, and never got her hands dirty. Then she got a Pink Jeep! I’ve always felt sorry for Barbie but never more so than when she bought that Jeep. I saw it as a cry for help. The poor girl was so conflicted living in that overbearing pink haze.

Her soul yearned to fly in a topless Jeep along dirt trails, splashing across streams, and on up to the top of the hill. Coming to a stop at the top, she props her dirty flip-flopped feet on the dash and chugs a bottle of water; pure nirvana. For poor Barbie, it was just a moment’s fantasy.

Give the girl credit though; she did buy herself that symbol of carefree delight. But she compromised when she bought it in pink. I doubt Barbie drove her Jeep anywhere other than shopping – the original “Mall Crawler.” For sure she never took it out early Sunday mornings to compete with Ken and the rest of the boys on a hill climb.

Where It All Began

The bond between women and Jeep began in the factories at the outset of WWII. The army needed a durable and versatile all-terrain vehicle. Women on the home front answered the call. They flooded the factories to assemble and test drive the Jeeps before sending them overseas. They knew they were doing their part.

women building Jeeps
Women building military Jeeps at the Willys Overland Factory in Toledo, Ohio (c.1942)

Women served in the war on all fronts, many of them driving Jeeps as part of their service. Date night meant a Jeep; sometimes as a destination. When the war ended, the young girls back home were thrilled when their Dad, brother, or uncle brought home an Army Jeep. It was joyriding at its best. The great-granddaughters of those women were the first to rock their own Jeep Power Wheels. So what if it was pink?

Considering the way Jeep made its initial mark in our world, it’s no surprise that Jeep is synonymous with youth. Jeeps do what all other vehicles do; get you where you need to go. The difference is a Jeep can sometimes take you places other vehicles can’t. Most important for many is, wherever you go in a Jeep, it’s fun!

Where the Dirt Road Ends

Women never forget their first love and for many, that was a Jeep Wrangler. About two-thirds of all cars are purchased by women. Automakers, in their effort to capture that demographic, have manufactured gender specific cars. One even manufactured their model in pink. Few women bought those cars. It turns out women buy Jeeps for the same reasons men do. Sitting behind the wheel of a Jeep inspires confidence and control. It also promises carefree fun.

As adults with careers and families, women may leave the back roads behind but not necessarily their Jeeps. They choose newer models that represent responsibility like fuel efficiency, safety, and dependability, such as the Jeep Patriot, Cherokee, Compass, and Renegade.

Hit a bump in the road while driving a new Jeep model and you won’t get jolted from your seat. It’s time for luxury and modern electronics but one thing has not changed. A Jeep woman is still a Jeep woman; she’s still having fun behind the wheel.

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