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Buying a new car is a big investment so it has to fit into your family’s lifestyle. In December we traded in our Ford Explorer for a Subaru Outback. I loved the Explorer. I also love the Subaru. Two different vehicles with different things to love. While there’s a little less room in the Outback for the dogs there are some things they like better. So here’s a dog’s view of the Subaru. (Rhyme not intended but recognized.)

Old Dogs Can Still Jump But Why Should They Have To

Caesar will be 12 years old next month. As anyone that meets him will tell you, he doesn’t seem like a 12 year old dog. He lives by the mantra play hard nap harder.

He plays so hard at the dog park. He has the energy of a much younger dog. People that don’t know him or haven’t met him before generally think he’s five to seven years old. If it weren’t for his gray beard/ milk face you’d never think he was older.

This past year I started backing the Explorer into the parking stall at the dog park. This made it easier for Caesar to get in and out of because it’s a little less of a jump for him that way. This is especially useful after an active play session at the dog park when his muscles are a little sore but he’s trying hard not to show you that he’s a little stiff.

Subaru Outback

Arctic Blue Super Sports Wagon with C.B. and optional rally fun pack.

The Outback is not as tall as the Explorer making it much easier for Caesar to jump up into. With the Explorer, Caesar would need to get a running start. With the Outback he can basically just walk into it. Although he still sometimes forgets it’s shorter and tries to get a running start to get up into it.

Start Me Up

Remote start is one of the things I wanted in a new car. Minnesota winters can be brutal. We just had a week or more of subzero temps. This isn’t bad when we’re going from house to car because the car stays pretty warm in our unheated garage. But if you go from outside in subzero temps to the car it can be so cold. And waiting for the car to actually heat up can be brutal. It’s nice to be able to remote start the car while we’re finishing up at the dog park and then get into a toasty vehicle.

We don’t tend to leave our dogs in the car. We worry too much about them getting too hot or too cold. If we find ourselves out with the dogs one of us will stay in the car with the dogs while the other one goes into a store or somewhere like that.

Well those days are over. Initially I’d be reluctant to leave my dogs in the car with it running for fear that they’d accidentally put the car in gear and crash.

Our remote car starter has an anti theft mechanism. The car has to be locked and the keys can’t be in the ignition for it to start. Once you unlock the door the remote start shuts down. It also shuts down after 15 minutes of running.

We used it a couple times and it works well if we need to run in somewhere quickly. I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it if I was going to be gone more than 15 minutes. And even for 15 minutes I spend that whole time worrying about what if there was a freak accident. Or trying to see the car from wherever I am to make sure the dogs are okay.

Carter tells me that I need to think in terms of probability and possibility. Um, I was the math major so I pretty much think in these terms all the time.

He says you have to choose what is most likely not what could happen. He says that since you don’t hear about freak accidents that often that the probability is low. I’d argue that since you don’t hear about it happening that much then a freak accident is long overdue.

Subaru Outback

Dog Tested

The Subaru is dog friendly. I mean c’mon. Have you ever seen a car brand that has more dogs in their commercials? Of course not because that car brand doesn’t exist. If you’re not familiar with the Subaru pet commercials then here you go. Set aside some time and prepare to be entertained.

Owning a Subaru comes with 90 days of free driver’s ed training for dogs. I can’t wait until Caesar and Dixie finally get their driver’s licenses. Then they can drive me around while I beg for treats at every drive thru we go to

Better Gas Mileage

The Subaru gets better gas mileage than the Explorer which means even more road trips! We love going for drives. We frequently take day trips. Now that we get better gas mileage we can take even more. If we hadn’t gotten a V6 we’d be getting way better gas mileage. But as it stands we the same mileage with city driving in the Outback that the Explorer got on the highway. So it’s a noticeable improvement.

Reaching Out Touching Me Touching You

The Subaru has less distance between us and the dogs so they are closer to us. When we first got Dixie we kept the Explorer’s backseat down because we weren’t sure what to expect from her. So they had the way back and the middle seats to themselves.

After a few weeks we put the backseat up and kept her and Caesar in the way back. This didn’t go well. Every car ride resulted in her jumping over the backseat, through the middle seats and crawling through the front two seats. She would rest herself on the armrest. We’d try to get her to move to the way back but she’d have none of it.

Subaru Outback

Eventually she got comfortable in the way back probably because she looks to Caesar for guidance and he’s pretty comfortable back there. Plus he’s a people pleaser and a rule follower.

Now that we have the Outback there is less distance between us. This means the dogs are more content in the way back. And while Dixie prefers to ride with her front legs draped over the seat, she has only once jumped from the way back to the middle seat. And to be fair, I don’t think this was her intention. I think Carter braked hard and she lost her balance and fell over the seat.

Can’t Touch This

And by this I mean the dogs. Sure they’re closer to us than in the Explorer. But we still can’t reach them from the front seats. The fact that we can’t reach the dogs isn’t really a big deal. But there are times when it would be handy.

Ok this is mostly for Dixie. We left the DP (dog park – okay sometimes I forget I don’t have to spell things when I’m typing because the dogs can’t hear me.) I’ve been making a point to try and snap a pic each time they get in the car after the dog park. I snapped some pictures then shut the door and we left.

Carter got a phone call that he answered on the hands free system. Meanwhile Caesar is whimpering in the back. I realized that Dixie wasn’t hanging over the backseat and it immediately occurred to me that forgot to take Dixie’s leash off her. I knew she must be chewing it apart. The few times that we’ve haven’t taken her leash off of her in the car she’s chewed through it.  Needless to say I just ordered her fourth leash which means right now a leash is lasting her about two to three months. If I was smart I would order them in bulk. If I was smart I’d also remember to take Dixie’s leash off her every time I put her in the car.

The Outback fits our family so well. How does your car fit into your family’s lifestyle?
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