It’s a Dog’s Leaf
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Doggy Safety Seat
for my Nissan Leaf

April, 2012

Mark D Larsen

The Nissan Leaf is sometimes capitalized “LEAF” as a backronymn for Leading, Environmentally friendly, Affordable, Family car. Consequently, potential customers with families would wonder just how accurate that last label is when it comes to safely and comfortably transporting their brood and accompanying paraphenalia. After all, the vehicle is not a seven-passenger minivan, but a hatchback with seating for five. Nonetheless, I was pleasantly impressed to learn that the rear seat will actually accommodate three child safety seats —albeit only the narrowest model available.

In our case, we long ago passed the stage in life when child seats are necessary in our household, although there might be a rare occasion when I would need to put one in the back, should a grandchild ever come to visit. However, we do have a “little girl” who is just as much a part of our family as any child: our Precious Pomeranian Princess Petisa (‘Tisa, for short), who turned one-year old right about the time I took delivery of my Leaf. We previously had another Pomeranian, Ietsje (“Eat'cha”), and knew from experience that, just like toddlers, little doggies are much happier —and so are their Homo sapiens pets— when they are safely and securely restrained while traveling, yet are still able see out the car windows.

For this reason, I determined to find a doggy seat for ‘Tisa that would keep her from wandering all over the car, but also give her a good view. Despite its high price, I ultimately settled on a Snoozer Lookout II model, in denim fabric that is easily washable —and probably the most “universal” casual color. I ordered the medium size, even though ‘Tisa could fit in the smaller version, simply to give her more room to stretch out when really snoozing. Like most child seats, the Snoozer Lookout II is held in place with a seat belt pulled across the side openings at the back, as shown in the photo below on the left.

Below the Belt
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Throw in the Towel
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Although the cover is machine washable, I would just as soon not have to pull it off regularly, so we always drape a towel across the seat to absorb any dirty, wet paw prints, as shown in the right photo above. You can also see that the seat comes with a safety strap that hooks to the dog’s body harness (not a collar, lest it choke her). The manufacturer suggests that you connect the other end of the strap to the seat belt, but I found that it restrains ‘Tisa more securely, and doesn’t get as tangled around her legs, if I lengthen it, feed it underneath the headrest, and tether it to the anchor point behind the rear seat. Another nice feature of this doggy seat is that it has a drawer underneath where you can store items like toys, treats, brushes, leashes, and other canine necessities.

To protect the Leaf from her claws when ‘Tisa is looking out her window, I decided to apply to some clear contact paper to the top portion of her door. This is the kind of plastic sheeting available at any home improvement store, normally used to line cupboard shelves and drawers. Like the adhesive on post-it notes, the bottom side is just sticky enough to hold it in place, yet easily removed for when and if it gets worn out, truly dirty, or damaged. On the left below you can see that I trimmed a piece to apply to the door; on the right you can see it pressed down into place.

Got it Covered
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Pressed into Service
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I later noticed that, when ‘Tisa is riding in her doggy seat, she will often turn around, stand up, and put her paws between the two headrests, so that she can see what’s behind us. I therefore decided to also put a sheet of contact paper there. Because the sheeting is transparent, few passengers seem to notice it when riding in the back, even though the contour of the seat doesn’t allow it to lay completely flat, as show in the photo below on the left.

Backup Protection
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Window Service
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Above on the right you can see that ‘Tisa can look out her window when it’s down while parked, yet is still safely restrained from jumping out of the vehicle. She loves her doggy seat, and jumps for joy whenever I tell her we’re going for a ride in the car. Because she sits up higher, we can angle the air conditioning vents in the front to cool her off more effectively in the back —something that is essential for furry Pomeranians in a desert climate. If it isn’t too hot, however, I sometimes crack her window a bit so that she can catch a whiff of every smell, scent, odor, fragrance, stench, and stink that we pass. That is what she was thoroughly relishing, as though in doggy heaven, when I happened to snap this last photo in my side mirror one afternoon while driving up a canyon road:

Nostril Funnel
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