This is an important question for someone like me, with a mobile practice.
Let me start by saying that I have never been a ‘car person.’ I don’t notice makes and models when I am out and about, and I most certainly do not follow things like car reviews or new model releases. I consider myself lucky to know that there are cars that run on petrol, diesel, hybrid and EVs. That’s where my car knowledge stops.
My 20-year old Toyota had served me well and I always said that 2022 was when it would be time for a replacement before it started costing me a lot of money. I also had to face it, the advertising on my car was starting to look dated because when we originally designed it, I did not have enough photos that were adequate and so we resorted to purchase a stock photo license for some of the design.
Here is what my tried and true Toyota looked like before I traded it in:
Things that were important to me in buying a new car and commissioning a new design were:
an economical vehicle with fuel efficiency and a degree of reliability. These are important for my bottom line and also because people rely on me to get to their homes on time and ready to work. I can’t have a car leaving me at the side of the road.
in terms of the business, I also think that my customers need to know that I am not wasteful with their money. Dog care is expensive and not subsidised in any way. Pet insurance doesn’t cover everything, even when you can afford a policy. Driving around in an expensive sports car or top-of-the-line SUV sends the wrong message, if you ask me. People work hard for their money and to take care of their dogs, my car had to reflect that.
retaining Izzy’s photo on the car in some way. Izzy was my canine sidekick in the last 7 years of the business which were our major growth years. I could not have done it without her and needed to honour her time with me
using photos of real dogs that portrayed the range of services I provide
retaining the Fear Free logo which I attained in 2018, becoming the first New Zealand-based Fear-Free certified professional working in canine massage and rehabilitation
I searched for another Toyota because they come up tops for reliability (this blog post is not being sponsored by Toyota in any way in case you are thinking that). And when I say ‘new car’ what I really mean is a new car to me – but secondhand in the marketplace. New cars are incredibly expensive and my Dad always said that once you drive a new car off the lot, 50% of its value is already gone.
In the end, I chose a blue Toyota Yaris because it had low mileage (a trade-in, not a Japanese import), a better safety rating, 4.5 star fuel efficiency and the right color to go with my branding.
What do you think?
Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand
This week has been a very rainy one in Christchurch. Since I am a mobile practitioner, I spend a fair amount of time in the car. When stopped at a traffic light, I snapped this photo with my phone:
You can clearly see this little white dog sitting on the ledge at the rear window of the car. I watched while the dog moved around on the ledge and onto the back seat of the car, then back again.
If this vehicle had to stop suddenly for any reason, this dog would go flying! Just as the driving safely videos show things like drink bottles flying after a crash, so too would this little dog. If it survived, it would likely need intensive medical care that would be both painful and expensive.
I don’t see enough dogs in Christchurch that are restrained properly using a car harness. It’s very concerning.
I’ve even met and talked with vets about this subject, and many have admitted that although they know they should restrain their own dogs, they don’t! Most vets don’t even ask as part of the annual check-up with their clients whether or not their dog travels in a vehicle and, if so, whether it is properly restrained.
We need more people leading from example….
…like the lovely lady who came yesterday to fit her Labrador puppy, Harley, with an auto harness. She’s training him at a young age to accept being restrained in the car.
Please let me know if your vet encourages you to restrain your dog when traveling in the car. I’d like to promote them via my Facebook page. And send me photos of your dog safely restrained in the car!
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand
Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham say that senior drivers who always take their dog in the car are at an increased risk of being involved in an accident.
Photo courtesy of University of Alabama
Overall and at-fault crash rates for drivers 70 years of age or older were higher for those whose pet habitually rode with them.
“This is the first study to evaluate the presence of pets in a vehicle as a potential internal distraction for elderly drivers,” said Gerald McGwin, Ph.D., a professor in the Departments of Epidemiology, Ophthalmology and Surgery and senior author of the study. “The increased crash rate for elderly drivers who always drive with pets is important in the context of increasing driver awareness about potentially dangerous driving habits.”
The crash risk for drivers who always drove with their pets was double that of drivers who never drove with a pet, while crash rates for those who sometimes or rarely drove with pets were consistent with the rates for non-pet owners.
The study involved 2,000 community-dwelling (those who do not live in assisted living or nursing homes) licensed drivers age 70 and older, of whom 691 had pets. Study subjects took a survey on driving habits, and those with pets were asked about the frequency of driving with pets. Participants also underwent visual sensory and higher-order visual processing testing.
More than half the pet owners said they took their pet with them in the car at least occasionally, usually riding on the front passenger seat or in the back seat.
“That is consistent with previous studies looking at all drivers, which indicate that slightly more than half of all drivers take a pet with them at times,” said McGwin. “And it’s interesting to note that earlier surveys indicate that 83 percent of those surveyed agreed that an unrestrained dog was likely dangerous in a moving vehicle, yet only 16 percent have ever used any type of restraint on their own pet.”
I’d really like to see a study comparing accident rates with properly restrained pets and those without. I support the use of safety harnesses for dogs who are traveling in cars and am consistently amazed at the number of people who allow their dog in the car without restraint.
The research team has published its research in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention.
I’m so proud of the SPCA Auckland (where I used to volunteer, when I lived up that way) for its imaginative holiday promotion for rescue dogs.
The SPCA teamed up with expert dog trainers to train three SPCA rescue dogs to drive a car – a Mini to be exact.
Monty, Porter and Ginny went through extensive training before being put behind the wheel of the Mini. Last night, on national television, Monty drove himself around a go-cart track. Porter took on the dubious task of having the reporter accompany him on his drive – and I think he suffered the nerves for it because he took a turn rather widely.
This video covers the dog’s training and moment of glory:
Monty, Porter and Ginny prove that rescue dogs are intelligent and trainable. If considering adopting a dog this Christmas, make sure you visit your local SPCA and rescue organisations.
You can read more about New Zealand’s driving dogs at www.drivingdogs.co.nz (which brings you to their Facebook page).