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Older used DogMobile needed for coot and aging dog

dogchauffeurdogchauffeur Posts: 6
edited March 2015 in General
Hi, I need a new USED DOGMOBILE, a small wagon or hatch, maybe an older Forester, Outback, Mazda5 or MPV, HHR, Caliber, Rondo, Vibe, Volvo or Focus. For me the chauffeur (68 with a spine fracture) I need something short in length for the driveway but a couple of inches higher off the street than the usual, and with a tall seat-to-roof entry/exit. I know the Rondo fits me great. But one problem. My boss (dog) Willie is smallish, 40lbs and knee-high. He's about 9 yrs now and starting to have a problem jumping from the ground up onto any seat bottom. I have to assume any rear wagon bed is pretty high for him, higher than the foot-wells. People suggest a dog ramp or even a box/crate. They'd be ok at home but a problem out in the world. He and I go out in the car about 20 times a week. So for the next couple of years I'd rather keep him jumping. I've never been able to coax him into jumping up to a foot-well space, usually pretty cramped. If he sees a seat he goes for it. But maybe if I pushed the front passenger seat ALL the way forward and the rear seat as far back as it can go?

Alternately, if the foot-well would still be too narrow, since I rarely have any humans in the second row, I'm wondering about cars with fully split rear seats (like 60/40, not Captains) that fold up leaving a large foot-well for his entry and exit. Or if not the fold-up kind, maybe removing the narrower side of the split rear seat so Willie can just jump up to that foot-well and then proceed up to the passenger side rear seat. I don't need the seating for people.

Finally, Willie requires that I have a power window control for his up/down rear window. No thank you to the Honda Element or old minivans with the pop-out rear windows.


Comments

  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited March 2015
    You may want to look at a Soul too.

    Edmunds.com Names Ten Vehicles as Top Dogs for Pet Safety

    There's lots of dog links here but they are scattered all over.
  • Steve thanks, but a Soul is too expensive for this old man's finances. They do seem like they'd be great for my own needs, except Willie's needs are still a question.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited March 2015
    Yeah, a 2010 automatic Soul would likely run $10,000 retail, depending on how many miles it had.

    And that's the trouble with Subarus - they hold their value pretty well. I've always liked Vibes/Matrixes so maybe hunt for one of those. You could even rig up a ramp going into the hatch so your puppy could scamper up and you wouldn't have to try to lift him.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,142
    I had an '04 Vibe. My Brittany could not jump up to the seats any more. She won't use a ramp either. I do find that she is willing to start the jump if I'm there to give the extra lift at the end. You might have to do that in any vehicle you get. I just got a new Buick Encore, and I have found that the extra height actually makes it easier to help lift her in. So maybe go for the Rondo if you like it and buy a small sturdy plastic step stool. I think buying what works for you and adapting it any way you can is probably the way to go, as the dog is going to have problems in almost any vehicle.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Go look at a Scion xB. Sounds perfect for you and Willie.
  • My budget is about $7k trade and cash. I could afford payments but I've got this other debt coming up, long story. So probably an '03 to '08 @ 80k-130k miles depending. I only drive around 3500 miles a year, mostly around town, so even a high mileage car will likely outlast me with my other health problems. That's why I could consider the relatively expensive Subaru, Rondo or Volvo. Yah, suydam, my last dog was a big 120lb Pyrenees girl I had to help up into cars, especially my DOGMOBILES Montero and Pathfinder. That was before the back fracture. The "small sturdy plastic step stool" is starting to sound decent, for Willie anyway, but it doesn't do anything for my own egress hassles. Photos of the Scion xB seems to show rear seats in a 60/40 and made to be easily singly removed, so I'll have to go take a look. With the xB though I could probably only afford a geeky first gen. I used to be a manual box enthusiast through most of my life but have come to like the ease of an AT. Not too sure about a first gen xB with only 108hp and an AT, and the 5-speeds are hard to find. And again, stever, I'd rather be forced to a ramp after a couple more years.

    What about my original questions about foot-wells and fold-down or removable 60/40 rear seats?

  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,142
    That's why I'm suggesting you get the vehicle that works best for you and figure out how to accommodate the dog from there. I don't think wheel wells would work as they are too narrow. A car that you could remove one of the rear seats is a possibility. An older minivan with second row captains chairs? You would have the budget for an '08 Vibe but check the seat height -- it isn't that different from a sedan. Subaru Forester is much better in that regard.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    The xB has an excellent reliability rating and is usually owned by a mature driver, so I wouldn't worry too much about buying an older one. Acceleration is fine but at 65 mph or higher the engine compartment starts to sound busy, and passing at that speed isn't so great.
  • I tested Willie with a wide and shallow wooden box. Even being coaxed on a short leash he just balked and jumped over it! But, I found a model of wagon where both 70/30 split back seats totally fold up against the fronts, increasing the foot-well access for Willie. I've yet to see this in person or test him on it. Even better if needed, they designed handles on each seat for separate removal. Can you guess what car this is from the photo?

  • PT Cruiser, every year hardtop.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,142
    You know a friend of mine had a PT Cruiser back in the day, and said it was wonderful for his Golden when the dog became arthritic. The human would have to drive a PT Cruiser though. Sweet looking dog!
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • suydam said:

    The human would have to drive a PT Cruiser though. Sweet looking dog!

    I know! I liked their look for maybe the first month they came out. The front looks pretty good but the rear looks pretty bad, especially those tail lights. Notice I didn't put one on my list of likelies at the top here. I remember test driving one maybe 10 years ago and being turned off by the weak motor and the short driver's seat cushion. Nevertheless, a nice interior, the headroom and the Willie seat factors will get me out for another drive. Willie says thanks and hi! B)

  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    I rather like PTs. HHRs are kind of fun too, but the PT body appeals to me a bit more.
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