Adapting a Toyota for Ray!

I could write a small book covering our exploits with finding a suitable traveling spot in the SUV for Ray. In a nutshell however, my SUV is an early Toyota RAV4 and the obvious place (at least to us) was to put him in the very back. He made it extremely clear that the idea was not going to work so his place then became the rear passenger seat.

After numerous misadventures; misjudging Ray’s ability to get his own way; not realizing his Houdini capabilities; buying a steel frame and tethering straps (we contemplated heavy chains and a ship’s anchor to keep him “back there” as a last resort!) , the rear seat seemed to be eventually working out quite well except for one small thing. He still wanted to get as close to us as possible!

Typically, he would sit in the middle of the rear passenger seat, and then lower himself down such that his front feet were on the console between the two front seats, and his head would rest on his feet. Given that there was a space between the front and rear seats, the front half of his body would have been pretty much unsupported. For a change of position, he would sometimes rest his head directly on the console while his feet were on the floor supporting him! We thought that the obvious discomfort would resolve the situation over time but we were (as usual) proved wrong. His desire to be as close to us as possible was clearly more important than his level of comfort.

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He moved around the seat periodically while we were moving and, if caught off guard, showed all the signs of sliding off and into the gap between the front and rear seats. That also was no deterrent to Ray. He really did want to be up with us as much as feasibly possible.

Based on the rationale that a happy Ray is a good traveling companion, I decided to make a bench that would fill the gap between the front and rear seating, and be the same height as the rear seat. In effect, the bench would fill the gap that Ray was spanning! It worked out really well and with a blanket to cushion the bench, he was a happy traveler.

It really proved to be of huge value when we brought Ray home from the vets and he was slowly coming out of an induced sleep! Trying to get a 75lb. reactive dog out of a vehicle can be “interesting” at any time, but add a very unsteady factor to the equation and one has a challenge. Because the bench filled the gap between the front and rear seats, Ray was able to stagger around without falling off and onto the floor! He has no idea just how spoiled he is! Ok … perhaps he does know!

13 thoughts on “Adapting a Toyota for Ray!

  1. Hilarious! This is exactly what Oreo does. He’s a bit smaller, so he’s stretched pretty far. We sometimes stuff a blanket there for him.
    I used to have an 85# Akita and a 2 seater Miata. I had to put a box in the foot area so she could sit. When the top was down, she would put her head up higher than the windshield. I got many funny looks!

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  2. Good plan you came up with 🙂 It is important that the very large ray is restrained, for his sake and yours, but also nice that now he is happy too 🙂
    My mutts sit on the back seat of my little car, with a dog safety belt that I clip to their collars, so no sitting on my head while I’m driving!!

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    • I am amazed at the amount of times that I have seen a dog sitting on the driver’s lap, or otherwise roaming around in the car. As you say, we don’t want to jeopardize his safety or ours by allowing him to become a missile in the event of a mishap. I keep remembering “If you wouldn’t do it to a child, perhaps you shouldn’t do it to a dog.” While the context was in dog training, it would seem to be very appropriate here also.

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  3. I’ve found that most dogs do want ‘to be close’ to their owners, almost to the point of paranoia sometimes!
    Maggie is no exception, and she too liked to sit in the middle of the back seat of my 206 as she had a perfect and unrestricted view of where we were going and her head was level with our shoulders. The drawback was the buttons for the windows were on the panel near the handbrake, so every so often, there would be a buzz and the windows would open. Taking ‘remote’ a little too far, don’t you think? Glad Ray’s a good traveler. It makes all the difference, especially on long journeys. 🙂

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