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If you’ve been following us since the beginning then you probably remember years ago when we were writing about the best dog friendly cars. In fact, I just took a look at the archives and came across a few of my early dog car posts. The first post I wrote was about Finding The Perfect Dog Car published way back on January 9th, 2008! Unfortunately, I never did find nor purchase the perfect dog car.
However, this trip down memory lane did remind me why I first started looking for the perfect dog friendly car and it all started with a little pup named Linus…
Who Shops For A Car For Their Dog(s)? …ME!!!
I was single…
I just turned 30…
I didn’t have any dogs…
My Honda Accord was over 12 years old…
It was time for a new car! This was the first time I had money to get pretty much whatever kind of car I wanted! No one to tell me what I should get. No restrictions (well kind of) on the amount I should spend.
I was always enamored by the old rotary powered Mazda RX-7 sports cars. In 2003 Mazda released the RX-8, a rotary powered sports car that was considered a 4 door car because of the novel suicide doors in the back. I immediately decided this was the car for me and purchased the top of the line RX-8 with sparkling black mica exterior paint and black leather seats.
The Mazda RX-8 Is Not A Dog Friendly Car
The RX-8 was so much fun! Small and fast, my co-workers called it the Bat Mobile and it did kind of look like the caped crusaders ride.
A couple years after picking up my very own Bat Mobile I decided to adopt a little rescue pup, named Linus. The RX-8 was a fun car, but a dog car it was not.
When Linus was a puppy I used to take him to my parents house during the day while I went to work then school. Every day we’d go for a ride in the RX-8 and every day he’d throw up on the leather. You can really feel the road in the Mazda and while this is cool for a high performance car it was not so nice for a little puppy. After two weeks Linus got used to the bumpy rides and everything was great until…
Dog Rescues And Foster Puppies
Actually the rescuing dogs and fostering puppies wasn’t that big of a deal. I used my mother’s CRV to transfer the pups and bring them over to the vet’s office, but besides that they mostly just stayed at the house. I did this for about a year and got by with the RX-8/borrow the CRV combo. Fostering over a dozen dogs and puppies during that time.
Then one day I decided to raise a guide dog puppy for Guide Dogs of America and that’s when the RX-8 no longer cut it.
Raising Guide Dog Puppies
As a guide dog puppy raiser we take our puppies almost everywhere with us and when our pups ride in the car they have to learn to ride on the passenger side floor boards. While this wasn’t a problem for Stetson the problems arose when I had to tote two doggies around. Stetson on the passenger side floor boards and Linus rode in the back seat.
Why The RX-8 Is Not A Dog Friendly Car
One dog was okay, but two dogs was a problem. Here are the issues with the RX-8 and 2 dogs:
- It’s a little cramped when you have two big dogs in the RX-8. Linus was a little too big for the back seat and when Stetson got full size he was a little too big for the floor boards.
- While the suicide doors were cool they were also impractical with the doggies. Getting Linus in and out was a pain! Also, if we were in a parking lot and there was a car next to us it was really difficult getting Linus out because we couldn’t swing the rear suicide doors all the way open 🙁
- There was no way to fit a large crate in the RX-8.
- Very little trunk space. So if I needed to bring anything large for the dogs it wasn’t happening. I couldn’t even transfer my collapsed dog crates or x-pens!
- It was a luxury vehicle and I was petrified any time the boys scratched the leather, doors, interior, or side panels (cringe!).
- It was a manual transmission. I know I should always concentrate on driving, but every once in a while I had to do something with my hands to control one of my dogs. This is much more difficult when driving a stick.
If you saw last weeks post about buying a dog car then you probably saw the picture of the parking break. At least the CRV is over 12 years old. If Dublin had chewed on the parking break on my RX-8 I might have gone postal! Thank goodness Dublin uses old cars as chew toys and not new, luxury cars.
I loved the RX-8, but it was not a dog friendly car so I ended up selling it and borrowing my mother’s Honda CRV until I had a chance to find the perfect dog car…five years later and I’m still looking for the elusive perfect dog friendly car!
Have you had a luxury car or sports car that didn’t work quite so well with your dogs? Did you have to change over to a more dog friendly vehicle? Tell us about it in the comment section below.
Top Picks For Our Puppies
- BEST PUPPY TOY
We Like: Snuggle Puppy w/ Heart Beat & Heat Pack - Perfect for new puppies. We get all of our Service Dog pups a Snuggle Puppy.
- BEST DOG CHEW
We Like: Best Bully Sticks - All of our puppies love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Bully Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
- BEST DOG TREATS
We Like: Wellness Soft Puppy Bites - One of our favorite treats for training our service dog puppies.
Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.