Bud Nelson

Just one look at Bud Nelson is enough to tell you that he was the greatest dog who ever lived. He’s an old-timey dog wearing goggles in a scratchy black-and-white photo—if he hadn’t existed, he would have been dreamed up for a steampunk novel or Bioshock game. The human in the photo is Bud Nelson’s owner, a doctor called Horatio Nelson. Horatio was the first man to cross America by car in the year 1903, with his hilariously named co-driver Sewall K. Crocker and, of course, Bud. That made Bud the first dog to cross the United States by car.

At the time, the automobile was still in its infancy, meaning that driving was neither safe nor fun. The car was a roofless monstrosity with little to no suspension to protect them from the mostly unpaved roads, and it would have made a lot of noise while belching out noxious smoke. But Bud Nelson was braver around the thing than some people would have been back then. He was given the goggles to protect his eyes and sat there looking just as happy as he does in the photo, all the way across the continent of North America.

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