Anyway, just a quick recap of how I improved our dog's front seat accommodations. First, a description of the need:
I started by considering the potential utility of existing devices on the market:
|Nope - these are only available to span the entire seat width.|
|Nope - I ordered this exact item, and then found it too flimsy to support a dog platform. Fine for preschoolers on airplanes, perhaps.|
I hit pay dirt with a 55 cm exercise ball. They are cheap (less than 20 bucks), very durable, and can conform very well to the space (partially inflate it, place in the seat foot well, and then continue inflating).
I coupled the exercise ball with a quarter-inch plywood platform which has a tang at the back. The tank inserts into the crease where the seat and seat back meet. I painted it with three coats of oil-based enamel so that it will stand up in high humidity environments.
This configuration makes use of an off-the-shelf 2' x 3' crate pad (although I did make a nylon liner for the memory foam so that the outer gray cover can slip off and on easily for washing... it's a bear to keep clean without this improvement, because the memory foam results in such high friction with the fabric of its cover). The leading edge of the crate pad gets folded over the plywood so that it won't scratch the dash.
When the dog and I are traveling solo, her seat will look like this (below). When my husband flies out to join us, I can:
- Place the crate pad on the floor.
- Deflate and stow the exercise ball.
- Store the plywood behind the driver's seat.
Well, that's assuming that the dog will actually give up her seat, because she vastly prefers this to life on the floor of the van.
Here is a link to an Air Forums thread describing other options and products along these same lines. But not as cool, I don't think. The exercise ball was really the breakthrough on this project. Without that, I couldn't keep the plywood stable enough for a 53 pound dog.