Rearranging my “Dog Van”

I have had a nagging chore waiting for a long time- rearranging my dog show van. This van exists mostly to drive the dogs around to shows and training, but I also use it a lot to haul other things-lumber, furniture, and now this last weekend, the llama. I anticipate I’ll be hauling sheep in it now too.

Probably a year before Chessie died, he stopped being willing to ride in his crate, so I’ve long owed the van a good cleanout and the removal of one dog crate. Hauling the llama was the final reason I needed, as I had to remove a lot of stuff to make room for her.

 To the left is the configuration I’d had for a very long time, to fit four dogs, a lot of show gear. Behind the lefthand crates, I had excercise pens and a dolly. I realliy liked this setup, and it was important to have it efficient in the days when I was competing every other weekend. I have been struggling with how to change it now that I’m down to three dogs, and also not showing very much. It is obviously a mess, too, I hadn’t cleaned it in a LONG time, even after hauling bales of straw and hay in it!

Tonight I took almost everything out, swept it, and came up with a way to fit three crates along the side wall. This will be nice, leaving me more room for lumber. But, I have yet to figure out what to do with all the rest of the gear. Some of it is piled back into the back of the van, and the rest is in the usual place for dumping projects-the living room!

In my van, safety for the dogs and me is aprimary concern. All of my crates are held down by cargo straps that hook to eye bolts, attached to 1x4s in the floor. If I got in a catastrophic accident, I wouldn’t want things flying around hitting me,  nor the dogs getting injured. On each crate, there is a laminated info tag on a clip, and an extra leash. So, heaven forbid I ever get in an accident and am incapacitated, a good samaritan could leash all my dogs, and take them, with instructions, to the nearest vet for care. The cards have guarantees that I’ll pay for care, the dogs’ tattoo and microchip info, and emergency contacts.

I came up with this after hearing accounts of several dog show friends who were in car accidents. I’ve heard of loose-in-the-car dogs flying through the windshield, other dogs running loose on the highway in a panic, and one person’s dogs got stuck in an out-of-town shelter in limbo for 48 hours until they were “put up for adoption” and her friend could go buy them back! Everyone I know who’s gotten in an accident with crated dogs reported that the dogs were unscathed. So, I’m pretty religious about dogs riding in crates. They prefer it too, they feel much safer when they are not sliding around in an open vehicle.

Here are the three remaining crates along the side wall, behind the driver’s seat. And  clean floor!


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