I played a trick on Silas Saturday.
On Saturday, we finally got to bring home the new car. The new car looks almost identical to my car. Both are small SUVs, both are grey. (We’re replacing my husband’s truck, so we’re now that family with the matching cars.) For humans, there are obvious differences. They aren’t quite the same size, one is a little boxier, one is lighter colored. Still, I’d bet there are people who wouldn’t notice the difference unless the cars were side by side.
When we came home from the dealer, I parked my car on the street and the new car in my place in the garage.
A while later, we took Silas to the park. He ran into the garage, then immediately stopped in his tracks. Clever dog could tell in that one step that the car parked in my place was not our car at all.
Fortunately he accepted it and, after a little initial hesitation, hopped right in.
I think he’ll really like it. We don’t always buckle him in*, and he seems pretty well able to navigate the critical gap between passenger-lap to back-seat space. Plus, the armrest is a better height for his head. It’s a huge improvement on the truck, anyway, which terrified him.
*On buckling: I’m not convinced that Silas’s car harness is demonstrably safer than being loose. Because a dog seatbelt tether can’t “lock” under sudden pressure like a human one, I suspect that in an accident he would be thrown forward into his harness hard enough to cause injury. His crate is too large to fit comfortably in the car unless I put him in the cargo area, which is both too isolated from the air conditioning (overheating being statistically far more likely in this climate than an accident that would throw him from the vehicle) and very hard on a dog as anxious as Silas. I do buckle him in when I’m driving solo, because otherwise he wants to sit in my lap, but I think of his car harness as a practical restraint rather than as a safety device. I’m not really thrilled with any of the dog-safety options.