Once upon a time, I was not aware of the many options for restraining your dog in the car. In fact, the idea of getting a seatbelt or other restraint for Bella never even crossed my mind.
(Hey, back in the day people didn’t even use car seats for their kids. A friend’s mom once told me that she brought her infant son home from the hospital in a drawer. Like an actual drawer removed from a dresser. Strapped into a car. With a baby inside. It was a different time. I bet if you told people in the ’70s that the future would include seat belts for dogs, they’d have laughed you out of the room.)
Anyway, when I was a kid, we never restrained our dogs in the car. Our Chihuahua rode in my mom’s lap, while my Toy Fox Terrier rode with my sister and me in the backseat. Maybe on the seat itself, maybe on the floor… wherever she decided to nest. Sometimes our Chihuahua would even take a nap in the back window. I even remember taking a trip in my parents’ Datsun – the back seats were folded down, creating a giant playpen for me and one of our bigger dogs. (Needless to say, we were lucky that the years passed without incident.)
When we adopted Bella in 2002, it didn’t even occur to me to restrain her in the car. We took a few local trips, which went as well as possible considering that she managed to get carsick on all of them. Then, we piled into the car to go visit my parents. That’s when it all went downhill…
We were driving down the interstate in my oh-so-stylish Dodge Neon – a fetching gold color, no less – when the following scene ensued…
Bella decided that she really needed to see what was happening outside. Not only did she need to see it, but she needed to see it from the back window. So, our not-so-graceful pup decided to scale the backseat like a mountain range.
As she scrambled her way up the face of Mount Backseat, the humans in the car began to panic. We were barreling down the highway at sixty-five miles per hour while our new dog decided to perform her own stunts. Surely, this would not end well.
And it didn’t. After grabbing at the edge of the window as if she was Wile E. Coyote hanging on to a cliff, she eventually plummeted towards the back seat. Like so…
By this time, we’d managed to find a place to pull over and assess the damage. Luckily, no Bellas were harmed in the making of this anecdote (although my nerves were).
We purchased a canine seat belt shortly thereafter. (To learn more about securing your dog in the car, click here.)
So, tell me… have your dogs ever pulled any crazy stunts in the car?