Here is a serious problem that we are working on solving:
For a little while now, our friend, Miz Cheri, has been doing her 'getting on a soap box' thing and complaining about how hard it is to find a good vehicle for her dogs. She started out with a Jeep Grand Cherokee in 2000. That worked really well, with the seats down, for driving her Mutt, Boxer, and Great Dane around town. Next, she got a Mini Cooper Convertible - she was glad she kept the Jeep because only the Great Dane could ride in the Cooper (with the top down). After her Great Dane passed, she moved to a few different cars over the years - a VW Jetta, then a Nissan Altima. And, now, she's auto shopping. While there are some auto manufacturers putting out vehicles in Europe that are great for dog families, there really aren't any ones in the U.S. worth considering. In addition to having features that would be good for those with dogs, her other requirement: an auto that is still for 'her' (so not a van, like the dog pound uses).
She has done a lot of research and the best advice out there only rates current autos with no new 'dog features or technology'. She wants options that go above and beyond the typical SUV or Crossover. And we agree - we think the auto industry can do a lot better for us canines!
So, we're not talking about stuff that should be standard - such as, cargo room, windows that roll down, restraint options for safety, and easy in and out hatches. We're talking about things that perhaps they haven't thought of before.
Here is a list of requests that we have for auto makers out there (trust us, Ford, Chevrolet, Honda, BMW, VW, Nissan, etc., you will have plenty of buyers for these specially outfitted vehicles!):
(most of these fit best in an SUV or Crossover)
- special windows, with a film technology that is clear, but deters 'nose prints' from being constantly smeared on them (windex is a staple in the trunks of dog owners)
- if an SUV, a back that can be hosed out without getting the rest of the auto wet, and also provides traction for dogs to have their balance (there is an SUV that offers the washable back, but it is very slippery - Nissan Xterra)
- passenger seats that fold all the way down flat (many manufacturers are cheaping out and just allowing the top of the backseats to fold down, leaving an incline and not a totally flat back)
- special 'resistant to dog fur' carpet and upholstery, whether it be on the floors or wrapped in the back of an SUV cargo space, that does not hold little dog hairs like velcro (!)
- the ability to leave air conditioning on for the times that an errand needs to be done and dogs must be left in the car (this will save doggies' lives too!) - we know you can do this now with most remote keys, but the car has to be running
- a special air filter that cleans doggie smell out, especially right after a dog swimming adventure
- water and food bowls setup for those tailgating moments
- a preinstalled, lightweight ramp for the back of an SUV to accommodate old dogs that can't jump in and out (you can buy these separately, but we think they should be an option already in the vehicle)