Dogs, trucks and safety

Did you know that approximately 100,000 dogs die each year from being tossed out of truck beds? I see dogs loose, sometimes tethered, in truck beds all the time around here; I always wonder what’s wrong with those drivers. Don’t they consider their canine companions as family? Would they allow their children or grandchildren to ride in such a dangerous place?

Don’t these drivers know that, should they come to a sudden stop, a loose dog will not stop but keep moving? One recent sighting really gave me pause: a flatbed truck (no side rails or tailgate on the bed) loaded with some construction equipment and two loose dogs who were trying to remain stable while the driver was weaving in and out of fast-moving traffic. Whatever has happened to common sense?

Aside from killing a pet, do these drivers ever think about this: What if a 90-pound dog hits the windshield of a car and causes the death of its human inhabitant(s)?

Some people do think about the safety of their canine companions and keep them contained in some sort of fashion. But are they doing it correctly? From what I’ve seen, many don’t because the tether is usually too long, too short or tied to the truck’s side panel. A sudden stop or turning a corner too fast could throw your buddy over the side, causing death by hanging or being run over by your truck’s rear wheels.

The best but most costly choice is a topper for the truck bed, which also prevents dust-driven eye injuries and flying debris from injuring your dog. However, the caveats that apply to enclosed vehicles and temperature hikes also apply here, so leave your dog home in hot weather.

Another option is to securely tie down a sturdy crate, the kind approved by airlines, to keep it from sliding around. It should be big enough so that your dog can stand up but small enough so that he doesn’t fly around in it. Airline crates are priced from $40 to $95 depending on the size and type of crate.

A third choice is “a cross tether to secure the dog directly behind the truck’s cab. This involves fastening a rope to both sides of the truck, with a short leash in the middle for the dog. Cross tethers designed specifically for securing dogs in pickup truck beds can be found at most pet stores” (

However, please do not take your furry friend, even safely secured in your truck bed, with you during harsh weather conditions, like now when it’s so hot. Leaving your canine companion(s) in not only the ambient heat but also the heat radiating from a steel floor while you shop is cruel and inhumane.

In other notes, we’re holding our next photo shoots for the 2014 Happy Endings calendar on July 27 and Aug. 17 at Flower Tree Nursery from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Kim Lamb, photographer extraordinaire, will again be capturing that specialness that you see in your furry (or feathered or scaly) friend.

This year, instead of asking for dog or cat food, the fee is $20 for the first pet picture in the calendar and then $10 for each additional pet picture space (maximum $30). This fee entitles you to a free 2014 calendar (a $10 value).

Also, keep us in mind for our upcoming garage sale to be held on Sept. 20 – 22. We are seeking gently used items for this fundraiser, so if you have some, please let us take them off your hands. Thanks to Spring Valley Rentals, we have been given (pro bono) a storage unit (1105 Taylor Place) to hold donated items from Aug. 1 through Sept. 20.

On the first four Saturdays in August (the 3, 10, 17 and 24), CAPS volunteers will be there from 9 a.m. to noon, to receive your donations.

Can’t make it on those dates, are housebound, or have items too big to handle? Well, we’ll come get them!

All you need to do is call Rita Hand, and she will schedule a pickup for you (home: 775-423-6346; cell: 775-427-3376). Should Rita not immediately take your call, please leave a message, and she will return your call as soon as she can.

This week’s article was contributed by Betty Duncan, a member of the CAPS board of directors.


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