Mock My Ride

Introducing the “new” Food Lady Mobile, the 1990 Toyota Corolla Wagon.  Now dubbed The Waggin’ Wagon, because whenever someone drives past me all they see are ears and tails milling around and spilling all over one another throughout the entire car.  This experience has been a timely reminder of exactly why I crate dogs in my vehicle!

No, I did not buy a 21 year old car as a solution to my transportation problems.  Even for me, who goes about most things in an ass backward fashion, that would be weird to do.

Instead, what I did was *whine* about not having a car to call my own.  And to shut me up (probably) my friend Alison gave me her old car.  She bought a new one, and hadn’t gotten around to figuring out what to do with this relic (made the year I graduated from highschool, incidentally) so she said I was welcome to it.  And beggars cannot be choosers; so she signed over the title, and I took it through AirCare (and it passed! ) and now it’s all mine.

On Thursday somewhere between picking up all my stuff from my dead POS Pontiac, returning the rental car and picking up my “new” car, I managed to squeeze in a test drive on a 2007 Kia Sportage (how do you say that?  Is it like Sport-AHHHjj or Sport-Ijj?) and I *liked* it.

It looks like this:

And the back seats fold down flat forward, which offers some considerable cargo space:

But even so, the wheel wells seem to take up quite a lot of space and I’m not sure I can get 4 medium sized crates in there (I say 4 because I know for SURE I can’t get 5 in there, and I am thinking the WooTWoo, being onedogsamedog / a single entity, can just share one).  I shall have to do some measuring of crates and think on it.

I’m just trying to avoid having another minivan.  The ones I can afford are shite, and the ones I can tolerate are way out of my price range.

Anyway, for the now I am driving the Waggin’ Wagon around and yesterday, as an experiment, I brought all six beasts to work with me to see how we fared.

Tweed is my Co-Pilot (he gets the front passenger seat because he doesn’t like anydog to touch him)

Faith stands behind the driver’s seat and stares at me through my side view mirror, which is really just disconcerting, and probably means I need to adjust the mirror.

Also, she stands there all crouched up because Piper is sprawled out taking up the rest of the backseat and won’t share with Faith.

Mr. Woo spends his time in a small crate in the way back, plotting how he can move up the chain of command and ride loose.

And in another small crate beside that rides The TWoo, who is pissed off …

… because insanity dog aka Dexter takes his chances by stretching out atop those two slippery crates.

In BC, your car has to pass “Aircare” – an emissions testing procedure.  If it fails, you can get insurance for 3 months to have time to make the necessary repairs that will allow it to pass.  I thought for sure a 21 year old car would fail, so my plan was to let it fail, insure it for the grace period (and make no repairs) and give myself time to hunt down a newer car without any pressure.  However, since the Waggin’ Wagon passed, it’s insured for a year now, and I’m thinking life without a huge monthly car payment isn’t so bad for the moment!  Even if the sea of dog swirling about in it is kind of annoying.  So we’ll see.

In other news, in a  few short days Dexter will be 18 months old and eligible to start competing in the AAC.  This is exciting!  He will be competing in his first non-sanctioned fun match in March, just to get his feet wet.  I’m in no hurry to rush his training along.  He’s still finding his feet, and the Sadist keeps saying ominous sounding things like “You do realize he’s not even running close to full speed yet, right?” and “this dog is going to be so damn super when he’s got some experience” and other stuff that make me wish I was both a better person, and a much better handler.

He is just so much fun!

No updates on the mystery that is Faith … the breeders / sellers never did respond to my email inquiry :(  But the woman who surrendered her said *she* got her from another guy, and she remembers him saying in passing that his wife had changed her name to “Faith” because she was originally named after a nut and she didn’t like that.  So I’m more than certain that “Walnut” is indeed Faith, but I guess we’ll never know how she got from Oklahoma to the west coast of Canada!

And nobody has applied for Faith either, which makes me sad.  Well, one guy did apply for her, but didn’t realize she was deaf (which is sort of a hard thing to miss, given I mention it in every.single.paragraph in her bio) and didn’t want her when he found that out.  How come nobody wants my pretty, no issue lovebug?


  1. It’s a good thing I live nowhere near you. Because if I ever saw the Waggin’ Wagon with all that puppy plumage, I’d have to follow you all over town.

    It’s just like when I was a kid and the ice cream truck came by. Ummmmm, puppies!

  2. If your waggin’ wagon is anywhere near as reliable and economic to operate and maintain as our old Toyota, you may have that thing for years to come – and be thankful! IF you can figure out the seating arrangement….

  3. Can you put a (two) crate(s) facing outward towards the doors on either side of the back seat, if only to “protect” dear Faith from the Mad Teeth? And maybe lay a blanket or dog bed over the crates in the back for more purchase for Dexter?
    [‘Course my daughter the cop would want to remind you that loose dogs are potential projectiles in the event of another unfortunate meeting of the metal… In your case LARGE projectiles. I bought a “seat belt” for our Sandy, but got out of the habit of using it, due to inherent laziness on my part.]
    I wish we had Sandy past her dog-aggressiveness and our latest fencing upgrade completed (to keep out the neighbor dogs who precipitated said aggressiveness)–I would love to take sweet Faith!

  4. Seatbelts. Not as simple as crates but no car payment is certainly nice!

    There is a gal down here who has, trains and runs deaf bull terriers. This was a memorial done for her dog Lefty, who passed over the bridge this past year.!/photo.php?fbid=1515261642821&set=t.1709712961&theater

    They were utterly inspirational to watch. It might just be that Faith is waiting for that super-special person to take her home. That’s the kind of person Deb is, and she and her dogs shine.

  5. I LOVE Tweed riding shotgun! He deserves to be treated like royalty! I second the idea of keeping the Corolla. Get a rubber mat for on top of the crates for Dexter, install a cargo barrier of some kind, and get seat harnesses for the other pups.

    IF you are not going to crate everyone, AND you don’t trust the Corolla, I highly recommend a late 90’s/early ’00s Volkswagen Passat VR6 wagon if you can find a low mileage one. Huge inside and good gas mileage. I’ve heard the 4 cyl are unreliable, but that the 6 cyl are. Our experience with our ’01 VR6 has been great. You CAN get a large and a medium crate behind the back seat, and if you put the rear seat flat (it folds absolutely flat!), you should be able to get two more medium crates facing the back doors. Ours gets 29mpg on the highway and 22 around town. For all that space… pretty good. We love ours so much, it was christened the Gizmobile. And when my husband upgraded †o his new Volvo wagon, we kept the Passat as our dog vehicle. (Are we the only people whose dog has his own car? Is it Gizmo that’s spoiled, or my husband?)

  6. I think you ought to stencil Waggin’ Wagon on the side for realz. When we got our second dog, we had to train them to each stay on their own sides of the back seat. Much trickier with as many as you have, but I’m sure you (and they) will figure out a workable routine. Having no car payment is well worth having to figure out the seating arrangement!

  7. I think you should get one of these.

    Fuel economy is much better than other vans since it has a 4 cyl engine. If that’s not your thing then try using this to help u decide.

  8. Beep,Maxand Poppet says:

    I have a 92 Geo Prizm Lsi, that is the sporty sedan version of your car. It has been reliable, but not very dog friendly, ride. I do have a 99 GMC Yukon SUV that transports the dogs quite nicely. I can easily fit four BC sized crates in it and five if I work at it. I do have a customized crate that fits two dogs to make it work. I LOVE my Yukon, but can’t afford to drive it as my commuter car, hence the Prizm. From my own research, there isn’t much fuel savings from a 6 to an 8 cylinder, so might as well go for the bigger vehicle and engine.

  9. That Corolla may well go forever. Do the seats fold flat?

  10. Very happy that you have a solution to the transportation issue, at least for now…and how is Tweed’s leg?

  11. Poor Faith! She’s beautiful and sounds wonderful. If I lived on the other side of the country I would be totally interested in her. I hope someone will want her soon!

  12. The Food Lady says:

    “‘Course my daughter the cop would want to remind you that loose dogs are potential projectiles in the event of another unfortunate meeting of the metal… In your case LARGE projectiles.”

    And I would agree, which is why in my ideal vehicle, everyone is crated and the crates are bolted down … as they were in my last vehicle :(

    I think you should get one of these. “”

    Yuck! No! No domestic cars for me.

    “Do the seats fold flat?”

    No, sadly … just part way. Kinda sucks :(

  13. onlyonewoof says:

    Aw, such a familiar topic. I just said goodbye to my 15 year-old Subie wagon this past Friday; unfortunately, it developed too many issues to fix. On a vet student’s budget, can afford it about as easily as you can, but…got a brand new Forester, so I can fit two crates in the back when I graduate next year and (I hope) get another pup. Took it to its first agility trial this weekend, and already have muddy pawprints on the upholstery. Such is the life of a dog car :) Good luck finding your next vehicle.

  14. Popular dog vehicles around her (east coast, US) are the Honda Elements. I see them all the time at the shows, with 4 crates or more in the back. You might be able to pick one up cheap off a lease, if you don’t want to pay for a brand new one.

    I have a 2000 jeep cherokee that’s got lots of square room for crated corgis (they’re good for over 200,000 miles/kms, if taken care of), but probably not big enough for multiple BCs.

  15. The Transit also doesn’t have rear air/heat, unless they’ve changed that…

  16. That is a cozy arrangement you have there! I don’t think I could handle that, especially on a hot summer day! But how cute!!

    Bark magazine had a great article in 2009 (Mar/Apr 2009) on what cars work for people who have dogs:

  17. Caroline & Lucie says:

    Nice ‘new’ car …. much more gas wise to work from the stix? Walked with a deaf BC / Aussie cross today in Langley. She was great! Attentive, friendly with all dogs and people. Didn’t know she was deaf until her person mentioned it. Hope Fath finds a forever home soon, I wish I could have her!

  18. I have a Scion xB, and I can fit 5 dogs in it in the following ways:

    Option 1: Seats folded down, a 42″ crate fits behind the front seats and the crate door opens out the side door of the car. Two 40-45 pound dogs can easily share this crate. A 36″ crate with a side door fits behind that, access via the hatch back. Two 30-35 pound dogs can fit in this. Other dog gets buckled in front seat.

    Option 2: 1 dog buckled in front seat, 3 dogs bucked in back seat, gate thingy behind back seat and one dog in way back. I really don’t like to put a dog back there, though.

    My friend dog a Ford Escape, we put one of those skinny (“side-by-side” skinny ones) 42″ crates behind the front seats, and then behind that we put two 30″ crates side by side. She gets two bcs in the 42″ and one bc and one beagle mix in each of the 30’s. Still have front seat available for buckling as well.

    Not sure of dimensions but you should be able to find them online and compare to those of the Sportage. (I wonder how to say that too.)

    Hope this helps!

    For the Waggin’ Wagon – can you remove the backs o the back seats completely so you can put crates in?

  19. Glad to hear you’ve got some wheels again, FL–being a carless student, I know how big an asset it can be, dogs or no dogs.

    And despite the absence of an email response, it sounds like things are pretty certain re: Faith/Walnut. Maybe however she got from Oklahoma to BC will remain a mystery. Also, I’m starting to wonder if no one having applied for her is a sign for me :) My folks’d kill me, but I have a helluva soft spot for that dog. Hope someone applies for her; what a beauty.

    And how is Tweed’s leg?

  20. The crate company midwest makes “skinny” crates. The dogs can lie down, but there’s not much width to them. I can see possibly three fitting side by side, and one being length wise. (Lightest dog in that one, so you can put them in and push them sideways across the front of the others and then seatbelt one in the front seat.

    My 92 acura integra hatchback can fit two skinny crates side by side and then I have Maya belted into the front seat when I’m transporting.

    Or, there’s this..

  21. If you think it would help – you could probably unbolt the back seatbacks and that might get you more crate space.

    Glad you have wheels that will allow you the freedom to search for the next car in peace.

  22. My parents swear by doggie seatbelt harnesses, though they only have one dog (quite big– part lab, probably part shepherd, maybe part moose). Mom hit a deer while driving with Loki, and he was startled but okay. Had he not been belted in, he would have probably been launched into the back of Mom’s head, which would have been very bad for both of them.

  23. We drive a Toyota Echo sedan (not suggesting it as an option for you), and transport two 40 lb BC’s and a 50 lb Lab cross on the back seat (not in crates). My husband made two little bench type things that fit in the foot wells of the back seat. The tops are even with the seat, and fill up the whole space, so between the ‘benches’ and the seat it makes one big platform back there. Thought I’d pass that on in case it would help you at all. One or both are easily removable (he made them so they are a 60/40 split), so if you only have one passenger in the back seat, you just take the small ‘bench’ out and you can still fit a couple of dogs on the other side.

  24. Have you tried mentioning Faith on the deaf dog lists? The Yahoo one ( is huge.

  25. FWIW, I also have a 2005 Scion xB and a friend recently bought one also (05, automatic) for $10,000. I’ve looked online and that seems to be the asking price for that year XB. The xB after I think 2008 or 2009 is smaller, they re-designed it and gave it a larger engine and made it less breadbox-looking. I like the original xB, it’s as big as a barn inside!

    Amy, I might try your crate configuration in my xB. :) It’s a reliable little car that gets great gas mileage and I love it.

  26. It’s hard to believe that nobody wants Faith. :( She’s gorgeous and I would love to have her if I didn’t already have my limit of dogs. Also I don’t live in your area.

    I’ll chime in and say my 2000 Subaru Forester’s cargo area is too low for the Midwest medium wire crate (36′ x 24″ x 27″) and locally the next size down is so small I feel bad putting my dogs in it. I do know that the soft-sided crate I bought to use at classes will fit . The seatbelt harness I initially tried with my shy dog’s training to ride would just get twisted as he tried and tried to get closer to me. Luckily my dogs got calmer the more they rode loose in the car. There’s no longer the tornado of dogs, hair and stuff when I take all three with me. Maybe your pack will settle down as they ride loose more? Probably a variety of solutions will work best. I can see some dogs ride well with the seatbelt harness. And SUV crates are an awesome idea.

    My dream car is the Honda Element since it looks perfect for a crate setup and has no carpet to vacuum. You could wash it out with a hose I am told.

    Robin in MT

  27. Have you looked at the Honda Element?

  28. In Europe we used to smaller cars (otherwise no parking near a shop in 2 miles) and in Holland we take a bicycle with a big metal hook at the side. The dogleash is put on the hook en off we go :-)
    One dog at the time because both our girls like to run at the front.
    Dogtransport by car happens in a much smaller car then the ones everyone here suggesting you should buy. It takes a bit creativity to ajust the car to the needs but its possible.
    We use a 20 year old Suzuki Swift tot drive around with our 2 border collies.
    The backseats are fold down and some gardenseat-coussons and a big blanket offer some comfort for our beloved ladies.
    When the backseats stand up straight the are clicked into a metal thingie. 2 short leashes are tied to it when the backseats are fold down. Our dogs wear a harnas (makes little walking shoppingbags out of the doggies) and the leashes are tied to the harnas. They can move arround but never collapse into the frontwindow or the frontseats when we have to hit the breaks firmly to let any elderly citizen cross the streets. Works fine for us!
    The old Suki is our doggietransport and when we have to travel a bit further than to take the daily dogwalk at the riverbanks we use our Fiat Punto.
    Slightly bigger but 15 years younger and faster. In this car we use litle seatsbelt for dogs. Just click them into the seatbeltthingie and on to the dogharnas. Easy and enough moving space for our girls at the backseat
    So 5 dogs in a Suzuki Swift… i would travel all the miles to your country just to see it happen :-)
    You go girl…

  29. I am sorry to hear that Faith hasn’t found her forever home yet. Sending lots of good energy her way…
    And yes, a car with no payments is a great car! What a nice friend you have…

    Petra Christensen
    Parelli 2Star Junior Instructor
    Parelli Central

  30. Hello FL-
    Just wanted to comment that I am an owner of my 2nd Kia Sorento and prior owner of a Sportage. I LOVED my vehicles for CUR’s. The vehicle is built on a car chassis so it has the 4 wheel drive I needed but drives and gets gas mileage like a car. I can’t say a bad thing about my Kia’s. I hope Faith finds her real home soon and I like Faith better for a name anyway:) She is a gorgeous lady.

  31. Look, I know misery loves company, but did you have to drag me into this? My car just got totaled last night from someone rear-ending me and now I’m on a new car hunt as well, with many of the same requirements.

  32. Ya know, you can TAKE out the back seats all together. It’s quite easy and likely build a platform for the dog crates. I did that with my 98 SAAB 900 and it worked out quite well. It should only be 2 or 3 bolts per seats. Kinda scary if you think that’s all that’s holding someone in the back seat.

    Only had 2 dogs at the time, but their crates were just behind my seat and I also had all the storage in the very back.

    I secured the platform to the bolts that had been used to hold down the seats, and zip tied the crates to the platform. I drilled several holes in the platform and used big zip ties (about 5 per crate).

    I was very happy with the design and felt that the dogs were pretty safe and so was I from flying canines.

    Only downside, was I only had room for 1 person to travel with me. We had another vehicle so that wasn’t so bad for us.

    Also, my current car is a 2009 Matrix, and the rear seats DO fold flat. I have 2 wire crates (400 size) in the back and you could fit two 300 size crates in front of them. Right now, only have 3 dogs. I like the Matrix, it gets pretty good gas mileage *(28-32 mpg), and is pretty fun car to drive. Only thing that I don’t like about it is it has lots of blind spots, so you have to be careful.

  33. pam in oz says:

    What is dexter ON? and can I have some??

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