Dawg is eight years old this week. For a Bouvier, that’s getting on up there. My last Bouv only lasted eight years and a couple of months, but she had cancer. As far as I can tell, Dawg is plodding right along. Other than the white on his face, you wouldn’t know he was an old-timer by looking at him. He’ll probably live another two, maybe even four years, Buddha willing and he doesn’t bite anyone else.
To celebrate his birthday, I threw away his doggie carseat. I loved that seat; Dawg did too. But it was a pain in the butt to keep installing it when he and I drove around, and uninstalling it whenever my wife wanted to go somewhere with me. Still, to keep Dawg happy, it was worth it. So why did I throw it away? To understand that, we need to go back to the beginning…
I was soooooo proud of myself. When we first got Dawg, I tried driving with him in the back of the van, but I was always worried that my wheelchair might come loose (it’s done it before) and squish him. But if I put him up front, he wouldn’t stay on the floor in front of the passenger seat because he wanted to look out the window. But if I put him on the seat then every time I turned or stopped, he’d wind up with his front feet back down on the floorboards. Plus the pads of his paws are very hairy (a little genetic thing that’s supposed to help out in snow and/or ice), and the seats are leather, so just sitting upright, his feet would slowly slide out from under him, and back off the seat he’d go.
So I made him his own little “seat” so he could ride up front in the passenger seat when he and I went out and about. It was simple enough: just a piece of plywood, covered by an old bathmat (for cushion and traction). It sat on the front seat twix the glove compartment and the seat back. A couple of inches of the board fitted into the crack that all your change and stuff slides into (you know, where the back meets the seat) and it sat there all snug as a bug. I even put a plastic trash can in the foot well to hold up the part of the board that was hanging out there in mid-air. The way I engineered it, the wood didn’t move unless you took the trash can out, and then you had to store the whole mess in the back with my chair (where there wasn’t really room).
Finally, I hooked Dawg’s harness to the seat belt thingy (they make dog leash adapters just for that very thang) so he wouldn’t go flying out the window (or through the windshield) if my driving took a sudden, unexpected turn. And with the platform there, he didn’t go sliding off the front of the seat into the footwell part of the floorboard when I made unexpected motions with the van. It looks like this:
I built it myself (which appealed to the cave man in me), and didn’t cost me hardly anything (which made my Scot heritage happy). I’ve used it ever since — until the other day. Oh, it still works great, but I discovered that I never actually needed it. What happened was this: I had to haul something bulky in the back of the van, so I removed the doggy seat and slid the passenger’s seat all the way forward. That’s when I discovered, after eight years, that the seat goes almost all the way to the glove box. With the seat slid forward, there’s plenty of room for Dawg, but he isn’t able to slide onto the floor.
Man, do I ever feel slow.