Stuck on you: the Spicer family’s bumper stickers. /CONTRIBUTED
Photo: KARIN SPICER
Photo: KARIN SPICER

Bumper stickers share pet ♥

When my family heads up to Lake Michigan we check off the state license plates we see. This fall we found 41 states, the District of Columbia, one Canadian provence and Bermuda.

On our way back, we weren’t having much luck finding any more license plates to add to our list. Out of sheer boredom, we started looking for dog- and cat-themed bumper stickers.

It wasn’t difficult to spot dog bumper stickers, but the search for those celebrating feline wonderfulness wasn’t that fruitful.

Americans have been putting messages on their vehicles since long before the 1927 invention of Henry Ford’s Model A cars with bumpers, writes Paula Brewers for navitor.com.

The bumper stickers we see today were an innovation of Forest P. Gill in 1934, and in 1935, R. Stanton Avery created the first self-adhesive label, according to prosportstickers.com.

The first messages were advertising slogans printed on canvas wheel covers, horsefly nets as well as painted signs. From advertisements we moved to tourist spots, political preferences, organization affiliations and social statements.

All of the stickers we found were social in nature. Drivers’ feelings for their pets were clearly on display. Many vehicles sported more than one bumper sticker, and many had a furry one on board for the ride.

Drivers made their breed preferences known through bumper stickers. We saw four: “Poodle Power,” “Rottweiler Lover,” “Samoyed Mom” and “Got Pomeranian?”

Those who preferred rescued breeds had their bumper stickers, too, including “Rescue Is My Favorite Breed.”

A few bumper sticker messages were adapted from popular people messages. “Baby on Board” was replaced with “Pooch on Board” or “Paws on Board.” “My dog is smarter than your honor student” was a spin-off from “My kid is an honor student.”

Human moms displayed their love for their furry children through multiple bumper stickers. We spotted “Fur Mama,” “Mutt Mom,” “Dog Mom” and “Mother of Dogs.”

We didn’t spot any human dads espousing their love of dogs or cats through bumper stickers. These bumper stickers may exist but from Lake Michigan to Bellbrook we didn’t see any.

Those who support rescue dogs displayed their feelings with a multitude of messages. Some of our favorites were “Adopt Don’t Shop,” “Rescued By a Dog” and “Shelter Dogs Rock.”

One rescue-oriented bumper sticker made me laugh the minute I saw it — two large paw prints flanked the message “Foster Failure On Board.”

We have two friends who need that bumper sticker. Our friend, Melissa, tried to foster a dog for a weekend and decided to adopt almost the minute she met him. The other friend, Christy, fostered five kittens, which included bottle feeding. Even though she already had four cats, one dog, two human sons and a husband, she couldn’t restrain herself and kept two of her fosters.

By far the largest number of bumper stickers we saw made social statements. The messages were all funny and true. “My dog lets me sleep on the bed,” “Never trust anyone who doesn’t like dogs,” “A dog is the only relative you get to choose,” “Forget the dog — beware of the kids” and “Dog hair = style.” My favorite was “My windows aren’t dirty that’s my dog’s nose art.”

During our eight hours on the road, we only saw one bumper sticker dedicated to the feline. The message was simple: “Crazy Cat Lady.” No cat or dog was on board. The driver? A man.

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