My Life with Dogs: Creative Use of Seatbelts

(This story was published three years ago in a now defunct dog blog I used to write. I thought I would share it with you again today. Enjoy!)

As most of you that know me are aware, I have been active in dog rescue for over twenty years. In that time I have been required to move animals from place to place in my own personal vehicle. I find that I get paranoid when there is a dog in my car that is free to be thrown about should I stop suddenly. I also do not want them to be thrown from the vehicle in an accident or escape out the window injured after the fact. Therefore I tend to use the seats and seatbelts in our station wagon in a creative manner. For example, yesterday my daughter who had been up visiting with us for the week from Toronto needed to be taken home with her dog Tia (can you believe there were 9 dogs here all last week and our neighbors were none the wiser? We have good dogs!)

My daughter is 18 and needs to retake her G2 driving test for the third time so we decided to make the trip from Barrie to Toronto down back roads so she could get in some practice driving. So with my daughter driving, my husband navigating (sans pre-plotted route and flying by the seat of his pants I might add) and I sitting in the back seat (where I never travel) with the dog, we set out for Toronto.

Tia (front) naps with our dog Harley.

Tia a three year old mixed breed (really mixed, even the vet hasn’t a clue, but she’s a cutie) with short little legs and a nervous disposition, does not like the car on a good day when an experienced driver is at the wheel. You can well imagine her reaction to a hesitant teen driver just getting her license was much worse. So here I am, my husband has thoughtfully put both back windows down, kind of him and I love him for it, but there is just one problem.

My daughter is driving, my husband is trying to figure out where the heck we are going, the dog just wants out of the car and no one but me has realized the windows are open too far! The window controls are of course locked from the front of the car for the safety of the traveling dog, so I can not close the windows. The dog’s leash, which my daughter has removed and thrown in the cargo area with her oversized purse and the other detritus teenagers carry around with them when they come home from college for the week has obviously found some here before never known hiding spot in which to take up residence. So I grab the dog by the collar right before we come to a stop sign and she tries to go out the window.

Of course before I can say wait a minute I have to find the leash, we are off again so I am left hanging onto the dog by the collar for the next 20 miles or so while I wait for somewhere my daughter can safely pull in and stop (see the trouble with those back roads and a teen driver now? hehehe) Tia is the type of dog who never sits still in the car , so I now find myself being yanked all over the back seat of the car while she roams at will. She is also an oddly shaped little dog with the legs of a bassett hound and the body of a full sized lab, so balance in a moving vehicle is not her strong point. The two people in the front of the car are of course still blissfully ignorant to what is going on behind them as I try to prevent the dog from heading for the too open windows.

So when we finally stop I assess the situation, fold down the seat clip the lap belt over top of it and secure the dogs leash (which I have searched for and found with some cursing and swearing involved,) and tie it off short enough for the dog to be able to move about as far as the back cargo area, but not to go out the window, which I have know made sure is only open the right amount for the dog to stick her head out of, and not her entire body. I then put a harness (which has also been miraculously pulled from hiding somewhere in the vast reaches of the cargo area) on the dog clip the leash onto it and we are off again. Dog is all secure, and I can stop worrying she is going to fall out the window and start worrying about the fact that my daughter with the learners permit is driving. That is of course when Tia the dog who never sits still in the car,decides to lay down in my lap for the rest of the trip!

Until Next Time Remember