Friday, February 4, 2011

The Pet Carrier That Nearly Ruined Christmas!

   Since the moment we brought Cassie home I tried to acclamate her to simply lying in the back seat of the car while I'm driving.  Well, that was fine when she was ten pounds and I could still drive with one hand and hold her at bay in the passenger seat with the other.  However, now that she is 50 lbs and very excited about car rides leaving her loose in the car is just not an option.
    We've tried seat belt harnesses, dividers and putting her in both the front and the back seats.  Finally on one 5 mile drive home from training when I had pulled over for the 3rd time to get her back in her seat belt (she really is a houdini dog) I decided that it was time to buy a crate.  Well, maybe Christmas time wasn't the best time to try it out, but I am a glutton for punishment.  So one day on the spur of the moment I picked up a collapsible dog crate from Target and brought it home to try it out...what a mistake:

The Boots & Barkley Large Pop Open Dog Kennel:
    I start in my defense:  At this point I still wasn't sold on the idea of carrying a dog kennel around in the back of my car, so the facts that it is 1) cheap ($25) and 2) collapsible had the impulse shopper in me interested.  In addition, I was increasingly desperate for an end to my daily stops along the side of the interstate to re-fit a seat-belt harness.  I brought the Pop Open Kennel home on a whim and carefully read the brief instructions (that were also unclear).   From the beginning, I was never able to get the thing back into the tight circle it came in (even though that was meant to be a selling feature).  It wasn't frightening to Cassie, but I did do some work with getting her used to being inside the kennel when it was zipped up. She seemed fine.
   On Christmas morning my husband sat in the passenger seat straddling a bucket of brining cornish game hens while holding Lilly, who was instantly asleep in his lap and Cassie jumped right into the Pop Up Kennel that my husband had meticulously fitted into the backseat.   To say she didn't like it was an understatement.   We made it to the end of our neighborhood before trouble started with scratching and clawing at the filmsy material of the kennel walls.  The next problem came a quarter mile down the road, when Cassie somehow tipped the kennel towards the footwell, which resulted in her becoming trapped within the collapsed sides of the kennel in the footwell screaming frantically for help.   It was a terrible start to Christmas morning!  I pulled over, extracted my dog from the kennel and ripped it out of the car, folded it as much as possible and threw it in the trunk...My husband spent the rest of the ride to my parents' house in the backseat with Cassie, while Lilly slept by herself in the front seat.  When we finally pulled into my parents' driveway, I had to wait with Cassie until my father could bring Tobey's old Crate up from the basement so we could enjoy opening presents without chew marks!

  Moral of the story folks: If your dog won't sit still in the car and can get out of seatbelts like mine can, just buckle down and buy the biggest hard-sided crate that will fit in your car.  I did (The Petmate Kennel) and I've not seen the shoulder of the interstate since.


  1. Penny is always restrained in the car by a good harness that keeps her in the middle of the rear seat. I'm quite happy with it, but as it's an Australian product, I guess there's no need to send you the details.

    By the way, do you have air bags? My understanding is that dogs should never ride in the front with air bags, as the exploding air bag can kill the dog. At least, that's what it says in my car manual. It has been quite a bother since I bought a new car, because Penny always rode in the front seat previously.

  2. Yes, that is what is recommended here in the US too. I should probably have added that caveat, so thanks for pointing it out! Dogs like babies are not supposed to ride in the front seat, but my car has a special sensor that only turns the passenger seat airbag on over a certain weight. It turns a little airbag light on when someone sits down (and a nasty seat belt binger keeps going if the seat belt isn't fastened). That is why Cassie started riding in the backseat, she quickly made it past the weight limit to turn the airbag on!

    It is a very good point though, not all cars have the sensor and therefore the airbag release can be fatal for the dog. Though I was also told by a state trooper that if a dog is anywhere in the car unrestrained a high speed crash will almost always end very badly...Sorry to be so grim, but we do have to be careful! I think a seatbelt harness will be designed to prevent as much injury as possible (just like a human seat belt)! So Penny should be safe! Good for you for looking out for your pup!

  3. I don't know why I'm just now reading this and commenting on it...I bought that same (cheap) Boots & Barkley crate from Target and actually never used it because I finally decided that my new puppy would be able to claw her way out on the way home from the breeder's and that it wouldn't provide any protection for her if we were actually in a crash. Oh, and I could never get the dumb thing folded back up the way it came either! I ended up just throwing it away. Piece of junk! Anywho, enough of my tirade.

    Elyse and Riley

  4. Great post! Bringing home a new four-legged friend, whether it’s a pup or an adult, is like bringing home a new baby – you need to be prepared, and you need supplies. So, I was looking for articles on buying collapsible dog crate and then I came across yours inspiring read.


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