Gertie checks over some financing paperwork at Romines Motor Co. in Houston.

Knowing her sidekick has a sincere fondness of Ford Motor Co. products, Gertie was intrigued by the idea of attending a recent customer appreciation event at Romines Motor Co., the Ford and Lincoln dealership in the Permapup’s hometown of Houston.

“I’m a big fan of Henry Ford,” Gertie said. “You know, he’s credited with beginning the assembly line technique of mass production.”

“As usual, I’m impressed with your knowledge of history,” I said. “He was also known for his wisdom and numerous interesting quotes.”

“Yeah, like, ‘Whether you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right,’” Gertie said.

“That’s so profound,” I said.

“And, ‘Failure is the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently,’” Gertie said.

“Wow, how do you know that?” I said.

“I’m surprised you didn’t, what with your obvious familiarity with failure,” Gertie said.

“I walked right into that,” I said.

As soon as we entered the showroom at Romines, a little girl noticed Gertie and some precious hand time ensued.

“Yeah, she’s pretty lucky to be doing this,” Gertie said.

Being a master of sound effects, Gertie couldn’t help making a couple of odd little growling and gurgling noises that startled the girl and caused her to hide behind her dad’s leg. But the youngster was too captivated by the Corgi and came back for more.

“One day you’ll tell your grandchildren about this,” Gertie said.

“Good grief,” I said. “We’re a little conceited today, aren’t we?”

After the little dog and little girl parted ways, we moved toward the custom-made Pachinko game where Romines service manager Troy Thompson was helping people win door prizes.

“So how do I walk away with a new F-150?” Gertie said.

“Um, I think we’re going for hats and oil changes and stuff like that,” I said.

“No trucks?” Gertie said.

“Nope,” I said.

“No SUVs or cars?” Gertie said.

“Sorry,” I said.

“Not even a broken tricycle?” Gertie said.

“Not today,” I said.

“So, how about we discuss all that food sitting on that table over there?” Gertie said.

There were hot dogs and four kinds of chili, among other things, available for visitors to enjoy. Gertie took a serious liking to the chicken chili cooked up by Romines parts manager Joel Dodge.

Chili dog

Gertie (the Permapup) eyes a bowl of chili during a customer appreciation event Saturday, Oct, 25, at Romines Motor Co. in Houston.

“Mmmm, that’s the good stuff,” Gertie said. “Because of my superior senses and taste buds, I can tell what’s in there. But if I told you, someone would have to kill you.”

“I’m OK with not knowing,” I said.

“If I had thumbs, I’d grab one of those hot dogs and make it my own,” Gertie said.

Thompson, who does have thumbs, helped the pup eat a pup.

Gertie eats a hot dog

Romines Motor Co. service department manager Troy Thompson helps Gertie (the Permapup) take a bite of a hot dog during a customer appreciation event on Saturday, Oct. 28.

“Mmmm, more of the good stuff,” Gertie said.

With all the hustle and bustle going on, Gertie offered to assist finance manager Harold Wiggs for a while and took a look at a credit application submitted by a potential buyer of a new Ford F-150 pickup.

“Based on what I’m seeing here, I’d say this will fly with a down payment of about $45,000,” Gertie said.

“But that’s the full price of the truck,” Harold said.

“Exactly,” Gertie said. “At least then you’ll get some money from this loser – I mean customer. Heck, if it wasn’t for bad credit, this person wouldn’t have any credit at all.”

“Oh, for Pete’s sake, Gertie!” I said. “Is that really necessary? And that’s kinda rude, don’t you think?”

“Just sayin’” Gertie said.

Next, the Ford Corgi and I moved on to co-owner Tyler Romines’ office where a computer was connected to an online vehicle auction. Gertie went right into action – and wasn’t impressed.

“I wouldn’t spend a red cent on some of these buckets of bolts!” she said.

“But this is one good way we obtain quality pre-owned vehicles that translate into good deals for our customers,” Tyler said.

“Pre-owned, shme-owned,” Gertie said. “I’ll bet most of these cyber sales bandits could care less about quality and just want your money. And most of those jalopies probably run on moonshine and have gerbils in wheels under the hood.”

“Gertie,” I said, “why don’t we find something less stressful to do and let the professionals at this award-winning dealership do what they’ve proven they can do for close to a century.”

“A century?” Gertie said. “Most of these people don’t look more than 40 years old.”

“No, you see the dealership has been – oh never mind,” I said.

Next Gertie turned her attention to the working, authentic 1923 Ford Model T that sits on display in Romines’ showroom. She got into the driver’s seat and was ready to go.

Gertie in the Model T

Gertie (the Permapup) sits in the driver’s seat of a 1923 Ford Model T in the showroom at Romines Motor Co. during a customer appreciation event on Saturday, Oct. 28.

“You know,” Gertie said, “the Model T was introduced in 1908 and by 1918 half the cars in the U.S. were Model Ts. It had the steering wheel on the left side, something all car manufacturers soon copied.”

“Wow, cool,” I said. “Who knew?”

“I did,” Gertie said.

“No, that’s a figure of – oh never mind,” I said.

On the way home, Gertie professed her alliance to a specific automotive brand.

“If I had thumbs and my legs were a bit more than four inches long, I would definitely drive a Ford,” she said. “Built Corgi tough, go Corgi, Corgi is dog one, have you fed a Corgi lately? – that’s what I’m talkin’ about.”

“I think you you’re confused about some of the slogans Ford has used through the years,” I said, “like ‘Built Ford Tough,’ ‘Quality is Job One,’ ‘Go Further’ and ‘Have You Driven a Ford Lately?’”

“And your point is?” Gertie said.

“Um, never mind,” I said. 

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Gertie is a female Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Email Gertie at ddavison@houstonherald.com.

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