September 11, 2015 | Posted in Discover These Doggies!!

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Bud

Bud was a plucky bulldog that fate plucked from obscurity and endowed him with perpetual fame. He became the first dog to complete a cross-country journey of the U.S by automobile. And, he did it in what was the first ever automobile journey across the breadth of the country. This epic event began in 1903.

He accompanied Dr. Horatio Nelson Jackson and his co-driver Sewall K. Crocker on the trip. The trip was the result of a wager that the intrepid doctor laid with another gent who maintained that cars were a passing fad and that it was impossible to cross the breadth of the country on an automobile. It is a matter of historical record that the three adventurers accomplished the feat in sixty three days. They did so on a two-cylinder; 20hp Winton that Jackson christened Vermont, in honor of his home state.

Bud became a part of the journey somewhere in Idaho. Jackson had been entertaining the idea of a dog as a mascot for some time and took a liking for the animal. Bud was purchased for $15. He adapted quickly to a life on the move. It was not always easy to travel by Vermont which had neither a windshield nor roof. We can only guess the number of bugs our intrepid warriors must have inadvertently swallowed. Things became easier for Bud after the men fitted him with a pair of goggles. Bud would sit in the front and through experience and keen sight learnt to brace for troughs and bumps on the path. Jackson would fondly recall that he was the only member of the crew that did not use foul words even under the most trying circumstances.

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Exhibit at the National Museum of American History recreating H. Nelson Jackson first intercontinental automobile trip in a 1903 Winton touring car, the Vermont.

Animals have always helped man by traveling with them to uncharted territory or by actually preceding them to pave the way for safe travel by man. Laika did it for us when she became one of the first animals in space. The sheep, rooster, and duck that went up in a hot air balloon in 1783 demonstrated the safety of the contraption. It emboldened the Montgolfier brothers. Bud did the same, he enlivened the dull hours of long driving as Jackson and Crocker took turns at the wheel eating up miles and miles of dirt road. No doubt, the begoggled Bud proved a strange sight for country folk, many of whom had never seen an automobile in their lives.

This epic adventure came to an end on July 26, 1903. The three adventurers were heroes and toasts of the town. We have no reliable information on how Bud handled his celebrity status but we do know that after this epic saga, he settled down to a life of relative peace and quiet. He would guard the Jackson residence in Burlington, Vermont. On occasions, he would be treated to an automobile ride, no doubt rekindling memories of days gone by. Bud lived a full and happy life. After he left for the happy hunting grounds, the Jackson family always had a pet dog at home.

Even in this day and age, it takes some doing to plan and execute a cross-country car trip, not to mention if there’s a dog on-board. But Bud did it in style.