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  • Dec
  • 18

The Perfect Dog Gift: Buckle Up Your Buddy

Posted by at 5:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

dogpartyIt’s that time of the year again, when we are all looking for that perfect gift for our canine companions. I have a whole chapter on selecting dog gifts in my book, Let’s Have a Dog Party, but I wanted to share an excerpt here on a priceless gift that you can give your mutt today: safety!

Don’t curl your lip or turn up your nose at the idea of a car seat, car bed, and/or safety belt. My beloved Ms. Bea loved going out in the car and always insisted on sitting in the front seat. You could put her in the back seat, but unless you had the strength of ten strong men, you could not keep madam in the back. I didn’t worry because–fatal flaw–I fancy myself a really good and really safe driver …

Of course the day came when the man in front of me decided to take a speck out of his eye while driving, slammed on the brakes–perhaps because he found the speck was a shiny quarter, I don’t know–and I rear-ended him. Ms. Bea lurched forward and hit her head on the passenger side dashboard.

I’m sure she suffered a nasty headache, because she never, ever would ride in the front seat again. If I glanced at her in the rearview mirror, she was invariably peering forward, trying to make sure I didn’t misbehave.

I’m not the only one. I don’t want to regale you with horror stories, but I do want you to know it isn’t just me. There is a certain person I know whose name shall not be mentioned, but is a Florence Nightingale to dogs, taking in the sorriest of the lot and babying them back to health and a sense of security. One little dog she adores – we shall call the dog “M” – used to ride loose in her SUV. The woman-who-shall-remain-nameless was on her way home one evening, stopped at a light, looked in her side mirror for some reason, and saw there in the crossroads behind her, her little dog, M!

Yes, M had leaned too far out of the window. Or, to put it another way, the window had been rolled down too far, and M had tumbled out! Our much-chagrined and very lucky driver did a quick U-turn and scooped a miraculously unscathed M out of harm’s way. Had she not glanced in her side mirror, who knows where M would be today? Two good reasons not to put off getting car-safety gizmos for your dear dog.

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  • Jen says:

    I got rear-ended a few months ago with one of my dogs in the car. I had JUST rolled up the window about 30 seconds prior to getting hit; when I was going at lower speeds, I’d often leave it down enough for her to poke her head out, but something made me roll it up moments before impact. She was so terrified at the impact (which, thankfully, was actually very small) that she crawled under my feet in the floorboard, and it was all I could do to get her to move because she turned into lead. I had to open my door a little to be able to manuever my arms under her to lift her up, and as soon as I did, she immediately started trying to get out of the car. I had a good hold on her and got her in the back safely so we could move the car out of the middle of the road, but it terrified me thinking what COULD have happened. If the window had been down, she’d either have been very hurt or would have escaped the car. The windows only get cracked now, no exceptions!! People think they are making their dog happy by letting them stick their head out, and they are, but the risk is too great! She is now trained to stay in the back only and is not allowed to get in the front til we are parked in the driveway. I have tried two different dog seatbelts, and she’s too smart for them and wriggles out of them in mere seconds even though they’re the harness type and are right for her size. I don’t want to put in a barrier between the front and back because then I cannot reach her if I need to. So even though she’s good about staying in the back and I keep the leash on her during riding, I would feel better if she were belted in…but if she won’t stay in the belt, what do I do?? She’s the type dog who will chew out of it if she can’t wriggle out.

  • David says:

    Another good reason not to keep the windows rolled too far down while riding with your dog is, as I have heard veterinarians advise, the risk of a small bit of debris getting lodged in you dog’s eye(s). The debris may be so small at first that it may not necessarily be much of a bother to your dog and they certainly will not be able to tell you about it- until it becomes infected and turns into a much bigger problem.

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