Friday, October 2, 2009

Why Mina wears a dog seat belt

This is Mina chilling in the front seat of Henrietta the Ford Escape Hybrid. The Escape has sensors that turns off the passenger side airbags when small children or companion animals sit up front. Airbags pose a real threat to children and other animals when deployed.

Several years ago I was driving from the pet store with Mina. A motorcycle was ahead of us when he nearly crashed. As I slammed on my brakes to avoid hitting the now still bike, Mina went sailing into the windshield. She hit the glass with a sickening thud. For a heart-stopping moment, I thought I had inadvertantly killed my dog. As my panic subsided, Mina made her way over to me and kissed my face. She was fine, but not because I had done anything particularly spectacular to protect her.

I headed back to the pet store and purchased a safety harness that Mina has used ever since. We've had other close calls over the years, and I am so thankful that Mina is safe and sound with her restraint harness.

I'm not so sure what to do with Celeste. She is anxiety incarnate when in the vehicle. Her awkward build makes it difficult for her to sit comfortably so a harness in the back seat isn't effective. She is a bundle of nervous energy and has to keep moving in order to remain semi-calm. She pants and pants and paces and paces some more. I've taken to putting her in the cargo area in the very back where she can pace but at least has some protection in the event of a crash. I've considered a crate but she gets even more anxious in a crate in a car (she loves her crate in the apartment). Maybe I can figure out a way to harness her safely in the cargo area and still allow her to pace - yes?

Take home message: Make your car as safe as possible for your dogs. If your dog is restrained during an accident, not only are her chances of survival increased, but she is not likely to get loose during rescue.

1 comment:

Mary said...

Have you considered putting up a barrier between the cargo space and the passenger space?