Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The mini-mini van

Thank you for all of your helpful comments and feedback on my search for a dog-friendly, eco-friendly vehicle

I especially appreciated the accounts of harrowing near-tragedies with automatic windows. Yes, vehicles with roll-your-own windows are still made--or at least they were in 2010. One of the finalists in my search was a 2010 Pontiac Vibe, which looked like a great dog car, had roll-your-own windows, and whose salesman, Woody, was an avid dog-lover who had rescued his dog from the arms of animal control when she was confiscated from a house in Florida where she'd lived three days in a crate with no food or water. 

In the end, Woody notwithstanding, we decided on a 2010 gray Honda Fit, with a (theft-deterring) manual shift and (hopefully dog-safe) automatic windows.

It's a little car with a large interior space, a little-big car. As we were looking at cars, we asked about fuel efficiency and we looked for rear compartments that would accommodate a dog, a large dog.

The Fit won us over because not only is it reputed to get fuel economy in the upper thirties or more, but we could easily envision Lamar comfortably reclining in the rear hatch. 

Extra bonus, we found that we could almost lie down in the back with the rear seats folded down. 

It won't be deluxe camping accommodations like we had with the van, but it could house all of us in a pinch, I think.

We have not yet had time to break it in with a journey to a hiking trail with all the dogs. The real test will come once Florian learns how to drive the stick shift. 

Will I be subjected once again to the singular pleasure of a road trip with two dogs sitting on my lap, with heads hanging out the window? 

Or will they content themselves with the rear seat and windows all to themselves?

I am a little worried about the automatic windows, but it would be hard to imagine a situation less safe than some of those we had in the van.

Are YOU a stickler  for safety when you travel, or do you let the dogs all hang out there? Do your dogs enjoy car rides, or tolerate them?


  1. Congratulations on your new vehicle! I hope you have many years of travel and adventures with it!

    We've been debating the whole "how the dogs travel" issue for a while. I've heard horrible stories of dogs being ejected and killed from a crash, or dogs that escape and run because they are terrified, but I also hate the idea of them being trapped and crushed in a crate, or snapping their neck or back from a harness. Right now they still ride free in the back and for the most part once they realize it's a long ride, they lie down. I wish I had the answers.

  2. We have an SUV...our dog-mobile. Freedom, Casper and Nikki ride in the back unrestrained. They're real good about laying down and snoozing while we travel. I realize that if we have an accident, things could be bad, but I haven't found anything I think would make it all that much better. I'm always interested in other folks' experience and ideas though. I'm glad you found a vehicle! I hope it works well for all your travels. Look forward to hearing more.

  3. Congratulations on your new thief-proof vehicle!

    Georgia tolerates car rides. It's against the law here for dogs to be in the front seat or actually, to ride without being harnessed or somehow restrained. Not too many people know (or care) though. We've pretty much given up ourselves but she's NEVER allowed in the front. Too big and clumsy. An accident WOULD happen.

    I forgot to mention the auto window thing. It helps to teach the dogs a command like "head in!" Happy travels! X

  4. The Honda Fit is a magnificent choice of vehicle :) my dogs know when to pull their noses in, I say something like 'window' and they get out of the way. Nic did shut Barbie's head in the window once but apart from a Greyhound Scream of Death, there was no damage...

  5. Hmmm...I have to ride in a secured crate in the back of my mom's SUV. My brothera and sister ride on the back seat and on the floor. We're all buckled in but we can jump up and bark at things, cars, ugly people and dogs whenever we like. I don't think that my peeps really like that but I don't think that they want us chained to the floor either. Good choice though Kirsten.

  6. wow all dogs are behave and i love them so much. im very proud of the owner because he really raise his dog in a good way.

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  7. Congrats on the vehicle!

    The pack loves car rides, regardless of the destination. Nobody is allowed to travel without being crated. There is a large crate bungee corded in the backseat of the car and it's equipped with a padlock, 'cuz I am a bit paranoid. With them in the crate and locked in, I can leave the windows further down and not have to worry if I stop somewhere.

    I always cringe when I see dogs on laps, especially in the front seat. Yes, when I was growing up I remember laying in the back window of the car on road trips. Doesn't mean it was a good idea!

    As for "camping" in your vehicle, why not just pitch a tent? (it's one of our favorite things to do!)

  8. Looks like the perfect "ride" for your family! I love the room in the back for the dogs. Kaya and Norman do not seem to mind car rides but I don't think they love it. They mostly just lie down and I forget they are even in the car. I taught them early on to stay in the back just because I usually have misc. items on the front seat and didn't want them climbing back and forth. Norman likes to stick his head out sometimes but I've never worried about the window. I always call him in before I roll it up. I'd be scared to let him put his paws up on the door though!

  9. Congratulation for your new vehicle think you have a great idea on driving.Both you and your dog looking food for dogs

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