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To make the world less dangerous for pets, Lindsey Wolko had to design an indestructible dog.
2 years and thousands of dollars later, her nonprofit Center for Pet Safety in Reston, Va., possesses a set of crash-test dog dummies that were battered, throttled and sent flying to test car safety restraints.
The unusual study of travel products advertised to animal owners was published previously this month and will be followed by tests of car crates, carriers and barriers. Lifejackets are on the short list of products to be tested the moment financing is found.
A decade ago, Wolko’s dog, Maggie, was critically injured when Wolko braked to prevent a traffic collision. Regardless of a restraint, the English cocker spaniel smashed into the back of the driver’s seat, spraining her spine and hip and getting her back legs twisted in the harness.
Once Maggie recovered, Wolko, an automotive engineer, began carrying out basic safety tests on her pet and other dogs.
Frequently, nevertheless, she discovered the safety equipment, toys and cleaning products were generally untested and either failed to work as guaranteed or fell apart.
In July 2011, she got her nonprofit credentials and officially opened the safety center and started building a bulldog dummy.
The 55-pound bulldog is anatomically correct, packed with computer equipment and has the same center of gravity as the real animal. The model was used in the pilot project reviewing 4 products.
MGA Resource Corp., an independent lab in Manassas, Va., carried out all the crash tests making use of Wolko’s dog dummies.
When the pilot results were published, Subaru of America Inc. signed on to finance the rest of the research.
The final tests included a 75-pound golden retriever, 45-pound border collie and a 25-pound terrier mix.
The Sleepypod Clickit Utility Harness was the only one out of seven that safeguarded all the dummies in 30 mph crashes.
The rest had hardware issues, construction problems, connection point breakdowns, the stitching broke or there was catastrophic failure and the dog flew off the seat or out of the harness, she said.
source: The Columbian