In 2008, a car accident changed Max's life. The car was hit from the side, the airbags inflated, and the seat belt kept the humans secure, but my Miniature Pinscher, Max, who was sleeping in his bed in the front seat, was thrown across the car. He landed hard on the floor by the foot pedals. The impact created a severe hematoma on Max’s spinal cord, and he couldn’t use his back legs. He was paralyzed. I was devastated.
Four hours of spine surgery and six months of therapy got Max unsteadily back on all four feet again. (Surgery was done by Dr. Podell, who was amazing.) Over the next two years, the combination of vet bills and therapy cost close to $10,000, cash. I have auto insurance, but the most it could do was get me a new puppy and only if Max had died. Of course, that wasn’t an option.
Once Max was walking again and I could take him with me, I felt strongly that he should be buckled up safely in the car, just like a child. I went shopping, fully expecting a range of small dog seatbelt options, but what I found was disappointing. Bulky harnesses that had to fit over Max’s harness. A lack of quality assurance. Glued and plastic parts that seemed like they’d melt in a hot car or break down with use. And nothing specially made for small dogs.
That’s why I created Doggie Seatbelt: to not only provide my own small dog with a quality safety belt, but also to share my story and raise awareness about the dangers of traveling with a dog loose in a vehicle. And so that no one else has to go through what Max did.
Max will never be 100% healed. But with Doggie Seatbelt, at least I know he’s as safe as he can be.
--Melissa Ramirez, Founder, Zerimax, Inc.