Variation on a Theme…

…or, Monkey See, Monkey Do, part II.

Recently, my husband and I realized that cramming Rocky and Jacques (and Jacques’ car seat) in the back seat of the family truckster (a fabulous hatchback) just wasn’t going to cut it. Rocky was too big and had, unfortunately, gotten too old to ride very far squished like he was. My sometimes-too-smart-for-his-own-good enginerd husband came up with the brilliant idea of using the entire open space of the hatchback cargo area for Rocky. (Honestly, it was a good idea. I wish I would’ve thought of it!)

The back seats folded down in a 60/40 fashion, so we put Jacques’ seat on the smaller half of the seat and laid the back of the bigger seat down. This opened up the entire back of the car for Rocky to spread out and ride comfortably. I won’t mention that despite all this effort and space, Rocky still insisted on shoving his oversized head between the bucket front seats. Even with his need to ride “shotgun,” Rocky still had more space than with the previous backseat configuration… until…

We were road tripping one weekend when I heard grunting coming from the back seat. Lots of grunting. And lots of movement. When I turned around to see what all the commotion was about, I saw Jacques out of his car seat (though still tethered to it) and laying ON Rocky. Needless to say Rocky didn’t look very happy about that. I managed to get Jacques back into his car seat and thought that was the end of that. Until… a few minutes later I saw Rocky’s head pop up behind me. Apparently Jacques’” Monkey See, Monkey Do” reflex was in full force. He saw Rocky stretched out in the car, so by golly, he was going to stretch out in the car too! monleyseept2_2

This time, I watched as Rocky plopped down – right on top of Jacques! Jacques eyes kind of bulged out. I couldn’t tell if he was frightened or being suffocated. After I was finally able to stop laughing, I tried to help Jacques move out from under Rocky, but apparently neither dog was going to budge. Jacques seemed pretty determine to stand his ground (so to speak) and Rocky didn’t really care. So, I did what any pet parent would do – I made sure Jacques was at least able to breathe and turned back around. I figured they’d get it worked out. Luckily for all involved, they worked out a sort of arrangement. Jacques would still get squished from time to time, but he eventually figured out where the “danger zone” was and tried to avoid that area.

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We’ve recently bought a bigger family truckster that allows Rocky to have an entire cargo area to himself (complete with personal fan!). Jacques and his car seat get the entire back bench seat. We’ve only tried it out once (with success), so we’ll have to see how it works for the long term. I’m just waiting for Jacques to decide that if Rocky gets the cargo area… then HE should get the cargo area too!

Riding in Cars with Jacques

I’ll be the first to admit that my husband and I were ill prepared to transport a small dog. We were used to carting around 2 large dogs who couldn’t move out of the back seat unless they really, really, really tried. Which they never did… Rocky was too “healthy” – and yes, by “healthy” I mean “fat” – and Niko… I just don’t think he liked my driving. I think he preferred the safety of the cushioned back seats. But I digress. Because we had large dogs, we never looked into doggie seat belts or any other methods of doggie car restraints though I had been curious about how those things worked. (Would this be considered foreshadowing?)

When we picked Jacques up, we put him in the back seat like we did with our other dogs. Within minutes we had a little white dog doing a darn good pinball impression! He bounced off the seats, the windows, the console between the front seats, back into our cargo area (we have a hatchback), back to the console, onto my lap… and started the process all over again. I sat in stunned silence staring at this crazy, bouncing creature in my car while waiting for my husband to turn the car around to start looking for the lady who had brought Jacques to us.

Fortunately for me (and for Rocky and Jacques), my husband is a good sport. A VERY good sport. And very patient. Did I mention how fortunate we are to have such a patient, loving patriarch?? I eventually snapped out of my stupor and was able to snatch Jacques on one of his front seat bounces. I grabbed him and held on tight. (Who knew such a small dog could be such a wiggle worm??!) I decided for EVERYONE’S safety (and my sanity) Jacques would have to be restrained in the car FROM NOW ON – FOREVER.

Ridin' in style...

Ridin’ in style…

For the next few car rides, we used a travel kennel. That did not go over well with Jacques and he let us know about it! After several hour-plus car rides I realized I had to do something else. Jacques was miserable in the kennel which made everyone else miserable. I switched to a doggie car seat/harness combo which he seemed to really like. It raises him high enough that he can see out the window, lets him move around a little bit, and most importantly keeps him from being a doggie projectile. After dangling from his harness a few times and having his attempts to jump into the cargo area thwarted a few times, he finally got the hang of the car seat. He got pretty comfortable with it and was really good at staying in the seat. Now he’ll jump in the car and hop right up in his seat and wait to be buckled in. And his most recent thing is to be just like Rocky… So now he has to lay OUTSIDE his seat next to (and often times on top of) Rocky. We’ll see how this plays out!

He thinks he's all that... and I don't want to hurt his delicate psyche by telling him he's not so...

He thinks he’s all that… and I don’t want to hurt his delicate psyche by telling him he’s not so…

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Once Rocky got more room, Jacques had to have more room too. Luckily he’s still doggie seat belted in, otherwise we’d have a white furry projectile in the car!