When Endrea Davisson drives for CFI, she brings her one-year-old dog, a pit mix named Sanza, for security and company.
Sanza, who turns two in December, helps alert her owner of potential danger and also occupies the tractor’s sleeping quarters for the day — and most of the night. “She’s so spoiled,” Davisson says, joking that the pup is kind enough to share the bed.
Heartland Express-owned carrier CFI’s pet ride-along program began in 1995 and has grown in recent years. This year, it notched over 350 drivers who bring their pets along with them.
“Life on the road can sometimes be lonely, but having a pet along for the ride provides companionship and a partner that can help ease those feelings and support a more pleasant and enjoyable driving experience,” Greg Orr, president of CFI, said in the release.
The furry friends can cheer up owners and make drivers’ homes seem a little less farther away, providing fulfillment and calming.
For Davisson, bringing one’s pet on the road requires a little more planning, such as for rest stops, but it doesn’t slow her down, she said.
Insurance providers advise drivers to avoid distractions while riding with pets. And at least one state, Hawaii, notes restrictions with pets in transit, stipulating that animals shouldn’t interfere with driving.
Other states such as California and Connecticut considered restrictions for animals on laps, which led to attention-grabbing headlines, but bills failed to materialize. Another bill in Maine was also unsuccessful, which called for preventing a dog from sticking its head out the window.
There’s not just tail-wagging on these rides for CFI. Other drivers’ pets have included a cat and snake, Davisson said.
“It’s great having her with me,” Davisson said of her dog. “She’s there for me when I’m having a bad day. She’s there when I need a cuddle. I talk to her, and she talks back to me.”