“ Manufacturer: Outward Hound / Type: Dog Carriers „
I am back on my favourite topic - dogs - to review a papoose carrier designed for small pets.
Some of you will already know that I have a Collie cross and a Yorkshire terrier; both adorable, but with vastly different needs when it comes to exercise.
My Collie, Moses requires long walks and loves to run greyhound fashion around fields, whereas Mollie, my Yorkie, prefers to stroll at a leisurely pace, examining all scented messages left by other animals on the grass, gate-posts, telegraph poles, pillar boxes and along hedgerows, before leaving her own signature.
If that isn't time consuming enough, she just has to stop and greet every moving, breathing object within range, dogs, horses, cats, or people; its all the same to her. You could almost say she likes to live life in the slow lane compared to Moses.
Her little legs however, have to move twice as fast as ours to keep up, and therein lies the problem, she tires long before Moses is ready to return home, and her stroll gradually dwindles to a very slow dawdle, as if she had doubled in dog years since starting out on the walk - bless - well she is nine, not exactly old, but getting there.
Now , the upshot of all this is that I end up carrying her on the return journey, and although she is a titchy 3.25 kilo pooch, my arms feel as though they have just completed a round or two in some weight lifting contest.
On one of my lazy days, I watched the Alan Titchmarsh programme when new and unusual pet accessories were being shown, one of which was a papoose carrier like those for carrying babies, but designed for dogs.
It was exactly what I was looking for. The web-site where we were supposedly able to get more information on the item, didn't give any on the carrier at all, so later I trawled other websites to find one of similar design, now that I knew they existed.
Success! I discovered Doghaus, a Derbyshire company, who stock several designs of pet carriers; among them was the Pet-A-Roo Pet Carrier which, as the name implies, is worn like a Kangaroo pouch - only a bit higher up on the body.
After reading the information and taking a good look at the design, I knew for certain this was just what I needed; the site was secure, so I ordered one straight away, paying by credit card, a total of £31.98, which included VAT and postage costs.
The item was dispatched the following day and received a day later, taking three days from order to receipt. I was notified that payment had been received and also when the carrier had been dispatched.
Good communication from Doghaus, I thought.
My pet carrier arrived, in the usual type of mail order plastic bag, simply packaged in a colourful, open ended cardboard casing, on which were pictures and descriptions of the contents. An illustrated sheet of instructions on how to carry your pet and fix the strapping safely, was also included.
I was pleasantly surprised at how light the carrier felt, though why I should expect it to be heavy, I know not.
The Pet-A-Roo carrier is made from a light-weight, but 'tough 600 denier nylon fabric,' has two broad, adjustable and padded, cross-over shoulder straps and a narrower waist strap to add extra stability and comfort for wearer and pet, by preventing the pouch bouncing around with every step taken.
Each strap ends in a strong, plastic, quick-release clip, the type now found on many dog collars. (Not to be confused with those of the clergy.)
Its dimensions, for anyone interested, are as follows.
The rectangular, bucket shaped papoose has a padded seat or base measuring 21.5cm x 27.5cm (8.5'' x 11'') The front, not padded, is 25cm (10'') high, whilst the rear, padded section onto which, the shoulder straps are attached and which, for the purpose of this review, I will call the 'bib,' extends a further 11cm (4.5'')
These pet carriers, come in two sizes; small, for animals up to 10lbs in weight, or medium for those weighing between 10lbs and 20lbs (4.5kg - 9.0kg) The measurements given are for the medium size carrier.
In the centre of the 'bib,' is a clip to attach to the pet's collar, for obvious safety reasons. The top of the front section has a draw string to reduce the opening size if required.
Each side is made of a strong, yet soft, nylon mesh for ventilation, both of which have one 9cm (3.5'') deep pocket. The front section has a long, zipped pocket of the same depth. Just above the zip is a stitched badge with the word "Outward Hound," below the picture of a happy looking hound.
There's a good range of colours to choose from. Red, blue, green or black, and when ordering from Doghaus you can select a second choice, should they not have your first in stock.
The whole unit can be washed in cool water and line dried - not on radiators or driers.
~~~~What did Mollie think of her new Roo-pouch? ~~~~
She loved it; took to it like a duck to water and sat there looking as if she were royalty, proudly surveying her kingdom. A piece of bling round her neck would have completed the effect.
Her first outing was to the vets for her annual jab. There and back was too long a walk for her. Driving her was out of the question because she cannot - or is it 'will not - tolerate car journeys. So journey by Pet-A-Roo it was.
I lost count of the number of people who ooooh - aaaahed and cooed at her as we passed by, most thought she was a puppy. Mollie lapped up the attention and Moses enjoyed a well pace walk. I wore a contented grin on my face, happy at last we could all enjoy a tut-free walk; albeit just to the vets this time.
As with most items, I do try to ensure that quality matches cost. I was not disappointed, for the quality of the Pet-A-Roo carrier was excellent; it was comfortable to wear, safe and most importantly, comfortable for Mollie too, and when not in use folds down flat, taking up very little storage space; it is fully washable and one of the most useful doggy accessories I have purchased.
In my humble opinion, the medium carrier is perfect for puppies, Yorkie size dogs, toy breeds such as Poodles and probably Westies - but not for fully grown Westies. However, it is not suitable for anyone suffering back problems.
Although some literature on the packaging states that it is especially designed for dogs and cats and can also be used to carry other small animals such as rabbits and ferrets, I do wonder at the ease of keeping them calm and captive, I would have thought the conventional carriers would be better for them. I can't see a feisty cat being the easiest of animals to persuade to enter the pouch without a fight either, but what do I know - I haven't tried?
May 2011: Having constantly used this for some time now, I have found that sometimes Mollie will get her claws tangled up in the mesh at the sides, which is a pity, because otherwise, it is a comfy carrier all round. I have now bought her a new model that does not have mesh sides.
The website for Doghaus is www.doghouse.co.uk
To date, I have not seen this design of carrier in any of the pet shops around here.
I have now stopped using this carrier, still as good as new, but Mollie now has newer modes of transport.
I stopped using it after Mollie developed arthritis in her back legs.