Local Spotlight on Chicago Canine Concierge
Does your pup accompany you on car rides? Whether quick trips to the store or long road trips, you should always have your pet properly restrained on the go. If you think it’s not a necessity, we strongly encourage you to read Melissa Ramirez’s story about how and why she created her life saving pet product, My Doggie Seatbelt.
We met Melissa, her husband Joe, and their darling Miniature Pinscher Max awhile back and before that meeting, even we were the type to “sometimes” use a seatbelt or barrier for our dogs in the car, but mostly made excuses about it being a short trip or that we were good drivers, etc. Did you ever consider what would happen if another driver hit YOU while your dog was unrestrained in the car? Here’s a look into the lives on Melissa, Joe and little Max and how My Doggie Seatbeltcame to be.
In 2008, Melissa’s husband Joe was in a car accident. His car was hit from the side, the airbags inflated, and seatbelt kept him secure, but their 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 and they were devastated.
Four hours of spine surgery and six months of therapy got Max unsteadily back on all four feet again. Over the next two years, the combination of vet bills and therapy cost close to $10,000, cash. They had auto insurance, but the most it could do was get them a new puppy and only if Max had died. Of course, that wasn’t an option.
Once Max was walking again and they could take him on the road, Melissa felt strongly that he should be buckled up safely in the car, just like a child. She went shopping, fully expecting a range of small dog seatbelt options, but what she 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 she created My Doggie Seatbelt: to not only provide her own small dog with a quality safety belt, but also to share her 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.
We chatted with Melissa to get a better idea of WHY her product is the best on the market and here’s what she had to say:
What makes the My Doggie Seatbelt better than the other options in the market?
The belt is specially made for small dogs, so you can use it along with a harness that fits your small dogm well (A pug has a very different body than a min pin. The product has been independently tested up to 25lbs (quality assurance), sewn instead of glue, and we use metal parts rather than plastic. Also, the belt is made locally in Chicago, and we give back 5% of profits to charitable dog organizations.
Tell us a little bit about why we should bother to use a restraint or belt for our dogs in the car and why it is important?
Just like people, we know that statistically we have a better chance of surviving an accident if we are buckled in, so we buckle ourselves and our kids, but our dogs hang out the window!.
Do you plan on expanding into other dog safety or dog product lines in the future, like for example your own brand of big dog restraints?
Yes, I do. While I could go in the direction of developing big dog restraints, there are some good quality products in the market for big dogs. I actually started selling the Roadie Ruff Rider (seatbelt for large dogs) on my website and will continue to add products that are made in the US and have been tested. I want to focus on innovative products that really address unmet needs, the one I’ve identified and will pursuing in 2012 is dog boots! While there are a lot of boots in the market, the main problem is that they are difficult to put on but then they don’t stay on. The concept that I’m working on is for “easy to put on boots that actually stay on”. More to come on this!
Where can we find My Doggie Seatbelt both locally and online?
www.mydoggieseatbelt.com and locally at Paw Naturals in the West Loop and Wolf Bait in Logan Square
Additional My Doggie Seatbelt Product Details Benefits:
• Help prevent serious injury to your small dog in an accident or fast stop
• Avoid expensive vet bills in case of accident
• Minimize driver distraction that can lead to at-fault accidents
• Prevent injury of the driver and other people passengers (a 10 pound dog could be thrown with more than 80 pounds of force at another passenger, if the pooch is not secured)
• Keep your dog safely inside while stopping for gas or while the windows are open
• Helps your dog feel more secure and safe while traveling
MY DOGGIE SEATBELT is offering FREE SHIPPING for December from their website to Chicago Canine Concierge Local Spotlight readers who order using the code: CCCFREE