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Friday, July 10, 2009

Rate Your Ride

Welcome to the beginning of Dogs-N-More. We want to make this a place where we can exchange ideas and experiences, swap resources and have fun. We'll present different topics for discussion and build lists of places to find things that are important to animal lovers. Along the way we can meet new friends, have some fun and give information, support and encouragement to each other.

This is already an International group and we can learn how people living in different areas approach the situations we all face with our pets. Thanks for stopping by. Come back often and join the discussion by leaving comments or sending emails. Send in pictures, too. We want everyone to be part of this experiment.

Our first topic is 'Rate Your Ride'.

What kind of vehicle do you drive? From a pet owner's point of view, what do you like best about it? What do you dislike the most? Would you buy the same vehicle again? If not, why? What feature would you most like to have in your next vehicle? What would you never want to have again? From a pet person's point of view, what is your dream vehicle?

This issue of BARK Magazine has an article titled 'Dog and Driver'. It discusses and compares pet friendly vehicles. It's worth taking a look at if you're currently in the market for something new.

I'll go first. We have a Subaru Outback. I guess we must like it because this is our second one. It's a comfortable ride and we have the steel safety gate across the back so that the dogs can't jump into the back seat or become flying missiles in an accident. We live on a steep hill and would never make it in winter without 4 wheel drive.

The feature I like most has nothing to do with the dogs. It's the heated seats. On a cold winter day, they are absolute luxury. The feature I would change is the door on the back. I would prefer a door that opened to the side like a house door, or a clamshell where the top opened separately from the bottom. On ours the whole hatch lifts and a dog can escape if we're not careful.

We seldom take all ten dogs in the car at once. Usually three or four go at a time. Some ride in the back behind the gate and others use a harness and seatbelt in the backseat.

The feature I would most like to have is a ramp. Bentley was pretty crippled with arthritis as he aged and he was a big heavy dog to lift. Lucy was too little to jump in herself, but she objected to being lifted. A ramp would have been easier for them and us.

Despite the fact that Rob tells me a bright red Ferrari would be the perfect vehicle for us (I'd like to see him test drive one with all ten dogs), a lot of dog people tell me they love the Honda Element. It also gets high ratings in the BARK article. It's roomy, and easy to clean. I'm not sure how comfortably it rides and I don't like the suicide doors, but it has a strange sort of appeal.

Next, Chan is going to give you her views and some more sources for comparing features. Then it's your turn. Let us all know your feelings on the subject. Don't be shy. What, this group shy!! Something you say may make the difference in what someone else decides on. There's nothing like hearing from people who actually drive the vehicle you're considering.


  1. Well, I don't own an Element, but I have friends who do and...let me just say that it is very roomy! It looks pretty small and boxy from the outside, but man is there plenty of space on the inside! I'm not sure if the seats fold down or not... probably. The seats are very comfortable and it's a nice ride. I personally like the car a lot. And it's a Honda, which I like - they last long and are made well. I have a Honda Pilot and 2 Honda Accords. All are fine for my dog - we have one small Standard Poodle that rides with a seatbelt harness. Nice blog btw, can't wait for more!

  2. congrats on your new blog sue and channon, and i love the header.will look at it again tomorrow and read through these posts..look interesting. off to bed. a woofy goodnight to you both.

  3. congrats on the new blog. You girls are very brave to take on a second one. :-) We're here!

  4. We have a Subaru Outback too, I think it's a great car for dogs. We like the heated seats, although ours take about 10 minutes to actually get warm, and by then the blow heater has started going. Is yours faster to heat?

  5. I drive a Jeep Grand Cherokee for the dog mobile and love it. I drive with the seats down and the dogs get the entire back. I would love a ramp some day, but now all the dogs can still jump into the Jeep. My back window opens separately from the entire hatch allowing me to put leashes on dogs before opening the hatch to let them out.

    I love, love, love my heated seats and will never own another vehicle without them.

    I had a friend test drive the Element and while it was very clean up friendly and large - she said the back windows didn't go down out all, they vented like the back windows in vans and her dogs would never tolerate that. It's always something, no?

    Love the picture of the dogs in the header - is that your work? g

  6. Heather (Ellie's Mom)
    Our seats heat up quickly, almost instantaneously. I have always gotten car sick, my entire life, and I can't handle the warm air blowing in my face. The seats are wonderful because I feel warm without getting that blast of warm air.

    You get what I mean about the back door. If you have more than one dog in the back, you really have to move fast to grab them before they scramble out. I know, some better training would help, but they're always so excited about going with us that I'm not sure even training would help.

  7. I had a Honda Element, and it was great - really great for the dogs. I loved the fact that there was no carpet so if there was any doggy vomit, it was very easy to clean up. Also, I transport rescue dogs, so being able to go over the whole interior with windex before putting my own dogs in the car made me feel like I was protecting my babes from foreign germs.

    The only thing about it was that it wasn't great on gas. I traded it in last summer for a Prius, and almost tripled the MPG that I am getting. I love the Prius, and so do my dogs. When I do a transport, I just put down some old blankets across the back seat and then wash them with extra bleach when I get home.

    Bottom line, the Element was great, but nothing compares to the mileage of a Toyota Prius!

  8. I love love love the doggie x-stitch! Who did it?!? I wish I could do it now... I cannot see well enough to cross-stitch and my repaired right hand does not like holding such a little needle either... but I do sooo appreciate a well stitched piece!

    Congrats on the new blog, guys - I will look forward to future posts.

    On the car front, I loved my Blazer, may it rest in peace (in its now-many-pieces). It was dog friendly, crate friendly (if necessary) and kid friendly. The driver got lots of cool electronic levers and switches too! I miss the outside temperature readout among other things.

  9. I have a Pontiac Vibe and I *LOVE* it.


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