Sunday, February 17, 2013

Buckle Up for Safety!

Here I am buckled up in my harness in my secured car seat ( in the back seat behind the passenger seat.  I always have full view of my mom!
After reading a friendly posting on Facebook, I just had to write this blog entry, and I'd like to star with a  few rhetorical questions.  (My vocabulary is quite good!)

One of my many harnesses
  • Do you wear a seat belt in your car (as a passenger and/or a driver)?
  • If you have children, do they wear seat belts if they are of the correct weight and height?
  • If you have small children are they in a restrained car seat?
  • Is your small child's car-seat  properly secured in the  back-seat? 

Safety first-fashion second!
If you answered yes to even one of these questions, then I have one more very important question:

Why should it be any different for your "fur-child"?

I am not promoting a particular crate, doggie car-seat, harness or restraint; I am promoting "travel safety" for you and your pet-family member. From all the articles I read, a secured crate is by far the safest type of travel.  Next in line, is some type of  body harness or my favorite ( because I am safe, stylish and can see out the window  AND my mom), a secured car-seat with your pet in a harness. We, pups, need to be secured;  "Just like a human in a car accident, a seat belt will help to protect your pet from smacking the windshield or flying out of the car in the case of a collision. A seat belt will also keep your pup from hitting the hard interior of the car and injuring itself in situations where you need to slam on your  the case of an accident, an unrestrained 10-pound dog traveling in a car going 50 mph will fly forward with an effective weight of 833 pounds. An 80-pound dog in a vehicle going only 30 mph will have an effective weight of 2,400 pounds — over a ton. (Nicole Pajer, Should Dogs Wear Seat Belts? - Cesar's Way).   

That same article addresses dogs in drivers' laps as well. Whether your dog is restrained or unrestrained in your lap, he or she can be a potential distraction to you, the driver, or worse yet terribly injured or KILLED if your airbag is activated.

According to the USA Today, "The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that looking away from the road for only two seconds doubles your risk of being in a crash...(and)
"It's really up to the owner, but people take a gamble when they put their animals in the front seat," says Kristina Dello of Cherry Hill.

My wish is for every state (or country) to have a law requiring animals be restrained for their safety and the safety of their human family and friends.  In Arizona, where I live, that law is "on the books" but not in effect yet.  According to the USA Today article:

"•In New Jersey, under state law, NJSPCA officers can stop a driver they believe is improperly transporting an animal. Tickets range from $250 to $1,000 per offense, and a driver can face a disorderly person's offense under animal-cruelty laws.
Hawaii explicitly forbids drivers from holding a pet on their lap. In Arizona, Connecticut and Maine, distracted-driving laws can be used to charge drivers with pets on their laps.
In Rhode Island, Democratic state Rep. Peter Palumbo has proposed legislation to make having a dog in your lap a distracted-driving violation after a complaint from someone who witnessed a driver, whose view was blocked by a lap dog, change lanes."
(Jim Walsh, Phil Dunn and Alescha Williams Boyd)

Please read these interesting articles for more information:

States Unleash Laws on Restraining Pets While Driving  USA Today 

Should Dogs Wear Seat Belts?

Do You Buckle Up When You Drive? 

My advice is simple for today:  If you buckle up, buckle "us" up as well! 

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Little Dog Safety

My friends Willie and Casey - RIP sweet Casey!

This past week I lost two friends from my "Facebook Family of Friends" Emmitt and  Gabe whocrossed the rainbow bridge unexpectedly; I  also lost my little friend Casey who died tragically.  Emmitt and Gabe both crossed the rainbow bridge at the vet's office and passed peacefully across the bridge in a loving and caring way, but poor little Casey had a truly tragic passing. I want to tell you about him. 

Casey went outside in front of his house in the morning with his "daddy" and was snatched by a coyote!  His "daddy" was surprised but was  able to scare the coyote who dropped little 5 pound Casey, but it was too late.  Casey little neck was broken, and he died in his "Daddy's" arms. Casey's pet parents were devastated; his brother Willie couldn't understand what had happened, and his poor "Daddy" felt very guilty. This was in a residential area of Phoenix, Arizona, not in the mountains, wilderness or desert. Casey's death probably could have been prevented if he were on a leash.

So as I promised, I would always offer some Therapy Dog advice; here it is.

  • Never, ever let your small pets off leash or out alone.  Even the best trained pet can be unaware of lurking danger. Small pets, especially, can be snatched by a coyote, hawk or owl in a heartbeat.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and "Listen"....for danger as well.
  • When walking a small dog, always carry something to ward off a possible attack by a coyote or even an aggressive dog.
  • Never use a retractable leash and avoid situations where you and your pet encounter another dog on a retractable leash. (I will tell you more about this on another day. You will have to trust me on this one for now.) 

Remember:  Don't shop...Adopt!