Riding Safely with your Dog  
     
  Each year thousands of dogs are killed or injured in car accidents. You can be sure your dog rides safely with you by securing the dog with a seat belt. Run the seat belt through the back of the dog's harness as shown in the photos below.
Click on the photos below to see a larger view of each photo.
2 large dogs in seat belts
2 large dogs in seat belts.
1 large dog in a seat belt
Run seat belt thru back of harness and secure.
a medium sized dog in a seat belt
Medium-sized dog in seat belt.
a small dog in a seat belt
Small dogs need to ride safely too.
If you leave the dog in the vehicle, always release the dog's seat belt so the dog is not confined in one position for a long time. Leaving a pet in a parked car on a warm day can be deadly. It only takes a few minutes even with the windows cracked for a dog to suffer from heat stroke, brain damage, or even death.

Avoid putting the dog in the front seat because of the airbag.

Put the harness on the dog and the dog's identity tag on the harness. Use the harness on the dog only when travelling or when the dog is on a leash.

Never use a collar, choke chain, or pinch collar.

Write if you have any questions

Note: We no longer use language that accepts the current concept of animals as property, commodities or things. Rather than refer to ourselves or others as "owners" of animals, we now refer to ourselves and others as "guardians" or "partners" of our animal friends. We refer to animals as "he" or "she" rather than "it." Guardians and partners do not buy or sell animals; instead they rescue and adopt. We urge you to do the same.

 
  This email came to us on 03-23-08. I wanted to pass it on to our readers as a hard lesson to learn. Protect your pets. Keep them on leashes when you’re near a cliff, or steep ravine.

“ Hi there I am mostly a bereaved pet owner trying to make sense of a recent "accident." I have been googling "dog falling off cliff" and the like, and came upon your article about how to keep dogs safe in the wilderness. If you have two minutes, can you please, please help me understand how and why my dog died two weeks ago?

This is all I know, as I was not present at the time. We were in the gorge at the Columbia gorge hotel, with my dog. My friend took her outside to pee, off leash. Apparently said "friend" wandered away from the grassy lawn area towards the cliff edge (where it abruptly goes
down to the railroad tracks and then the river) to "take in the view." he says the "next thing he knew" my dog had launched herself over the fence at the cliff's edge.

He looked down and saw her "squirming" in the rocks forty feet below, and then ran to get me. we had to retrieve her by driving around and down to the railroad tracks and then running along them, and then going up the wooded, rocky slope to get her. It took us at least a half hour, maybe more- I had no sense of time because I was terrified. She was dead by the time we got there, though I didn’t have an autopsy done to reveal the exact cause of death.

I am an outdoor person and had taken her numerous times hiking and camping with me and never saw her display any interest in jumping off cliffs. The only thing I can think of is that she saw a squirrel? Do other dogs do this?

I am having the hardest time accepting her death because it seems so UNLIKELY. I have tried searching to see if this is a frequent thing, But all the stories online tell about dogs SURVIVING falls up to 150ft, and her fall was probably less than 40ft.

Look I am absolutely sickened by the loss of her, she was only 3 and I Had only adopted her ten months ago, yet she was an incredibly responsive and well behaved dog. We had a trainer, we worked every day- I am NOT a lazy dog owner- that dog was my life. I guess I would feel better knowing I wasn’t the only responsible dog owner who lost their dog due to a freak fall. Does this happen often? Do they not have a fear of heights?

If I get another dog, I will NEVER let anyone else watch her off leash unless they are totally attentive and competent. Probably I just won't let anyone besides me have her off leash.
I will never be so carefree with a being that means the world to me. my so-called "friend" was taking in the view while he was supposed to be watching my dog, and now she's gone, and I am a total wreck.



Page# 1.
I realize it's a shot in the dark to email you, but I have asked everyone, including my vet and trainer, and spent hours online trying to understand what the hell happened. How, why, and definitely how to prevent it in the future.

You sound like someone who loves dogs, and actually have a lot of experience with this, so I thought you might be able to help me out. I got my dog from a no-kill shelter in Longview, called rescued paws, so we are neighbors of a sort.

Any information you can provide will be very much appreciated. I Simply can’t let this rest until I have a better understanding of it, and I am nearly driving myself nuts trying to wrap my mind around it. it's like dog suicide, but that doesn't make any sense.

Well thanks for doing the work that you do- it takes amazing skill, patience, and endurance and I’ve always admired it. I had even considered enrolling my dog in rescue classes after seeing a rescue program. Sophie was my girl's name, and she was an amazing dog. I miss her so.
So you can attach faces to our names, I’ve attached a photo, you don't have to open if you are paranoid about viruses. But please do respond. I am just a shell without her.

With much gratitude, R G Portland, OR

My response back to Reagan.
Hi Reagan, First let me start by saying how sorry I am for your loss. This whole deal really sucks.
From every thing you said, your dog died from massive internal hemorrhaging. Very common for blunt force trauma.

Q The only thing I can think of is that she saw a squirrel? Do other dogs do this?

A Yes. I've recovered two dogs alive after they fell over cliffs. One after he fell 350 feet on the Eagle Creek trail and another after she fell over 450 feet over a cliff near Sandy, Ore. Both were very lucky to survive. They hit brush and trees and water on the way down and survived.

I've also had to recover several dead dogs from cliffs. One from the exact area where you lost your dog.

R’s comment” I am having the hardest time accepting her death because it seems so UNLIKELY. I have tried searching to see if this is a frequent thing, but all the stories online tell about dogs SURVIVING falls up to 150ft, and her fall was probably less than 40ft.

My response. A dog can die from a fall of 5 feet, if they land wrong and fracture their spine or suffer internal injuries.

R’s comment. “Does this happen often? Do they not have a fear of heights?

My response. About 7 times a year we respond to dogs over cliffs. In the gorge, on the coast trails, and in the mountains. Most dogs don't usually have a fear of heights. Some do.
Your dog probably smelled a critter or saw a bird and thought, “ok play time”.

R’s Comment. My so-called "friend" was taking in the view while he was supposed to be watching my dog, and now she's gone, and I am a total wreck.

Page# 2.
My response. This is one of those, “Oh crap, I wish I should have done something different” thoughts.
The fact is that dogs, just like people, are independent thinkers and can make choices for themselves. Sometimes they make bad decisions like we do and sometimes they pay the ultimate price like we do.

R’s comments. I got my dog from a no-kill shelter in Longview, called rescued paws, so we
are neighbors of a sort.

My Response. I live in Longview. Thank you for giving her the time she had with you. Anything is better then staying in the shelter.

R’s Comments. Any information you can provide will be very much appreciated. I simply can’t let this rest until I have a better understanding of it, and I am nearly driving myself nuts trying to wrap my mind around it. it's like dog suicide, but that doesn't make any sense.

My Response. When you get time. Write her a letter. (bring a box of Kleenex). Tell her what it meant to you to have her in your life, what happened in her death, and how you feel now about her loss. This will help you explore your four stages of loss. Anger, Guilt, Denial and then final Acceptance.

The hard lesson here is to remember to always keep the dog ON LEAD. All it takes is one second of distraction and your dog is gone forever.

I almost lost my dog the same way. I was doing a search and my dog was off lead, she got out of the vehicle and ran towards the cliff (it was late at night and I couldn't see where she went). I blew my whistle (her command to stop). When I found her, she was 1 foot from the edge of a 200 foot cliff down to the ocean. If she hadn't stopped when she did, I would have lost her that night.

I'm sorry for your loss. Sounds like Sophie was quite a gal.

R’s comments. Please do respond. I am just a shell without her. With much gratitude
Ragan G Portland, OR

My response. I'm here if you need someone to talk to.

Harry

 
   
Last revised 11 /25/02.
 
 
 
 

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