Steeler had been gagging a little while on therapy visits and I was blaming his collar. First it was Steeler who started, and then Chance followed suit. I noticed this gagging mostly when we did big events such as the Bloomsburg Fair as they would tend to pull on the leash to greet every new person who wanted to 'oooh and ahhh' over them. Yes they relish the attention!
Because of their breed I always worry about the possible health issues that come along with them such as megaesophagus. Even though this is a neuromuscular dysfunction and wearing a collar would not be the cause, I still need something to worry about or it just wouldn’t be me! However, something was clearly bothering the dogs enough to make them gag, which in turn was enough to make me worry!
“Peter, we need to get them harnesses.” I said. “They’re choking too much.”
“They’re fine!” Peter replied.
“They’re not fine!” I protested. “Try not to hold the leash so tightly when they greet people.”
“Puuh.” Peter sighed as if puuh is even a word! “Okay, we’ll stop at pet store this week.”
What a love he is!
By the middle of fair week we got Steeler a Lupine harness and the choking gradually subsided. I went with the Lupine brand because they are well made and if the product is destroyed in any way they give you a new one, even if the dog chews it to bits. Impressive since Steeler’s father Bentley had already chewed through two harnesses!
Ever since Chance was a pup he has never liked the collar and I often wonder if it’s because he died at birth and needed mouth to nose or if it’s because he is just as neurotic as I am! After all, dogs can acquire their owner’s personalities! Whenever I approach him with a collar or a bandanna he will try not to make eye contact with me. If he’s lying down he won’t move a muscle, and if he is standing, he lowers his head as close to the ground as he possibly can.
I imagine him saying, “If she can’t see my eyes, she won’t find me!”
When he is lying down and I approach with a bandanna, he presses his head so tightly to the floor it takes two hands to pry it up and squeeze the bandanna under his head. Not an easy task for sure. Once the bandanna is on, he’s ready to go and all is right with the world again.
But alas, when looking for a harness for Chance in our local pet store there were none big enough to go around his 41 inch girth! So, I sat at the computer one day and Googled harness /41 inch girth. Although I can’t tell you the sites that originally came up because I like to keep my blog clean and free of sexual content, I can tell you that after trying to rid my computer of sex sites pertaining to big women in garter belts and stilettos, I finally came upon a site called bigtalldog.com.
So, I opened the big-tall-dog door and went in! This is a store that you should visit if you own a large to giant breed. I’m not just talking harnesses here; there are plenty of other items from booties to art prints. The only problem I had with this store at the time of my order was that they did not accept pay pal which is my preferred method when buying online. This caused a slight debacle. Their methods of payment are credit card or sending a check. So I processed my order and clicked “Send Check” then proceeded to take out my check book and lay it on my desk.
Two weeks later I emailed the company asking when I would receive my harness, thinking of course that I had been scammed in some way. Their reply was that they had it on hold for me but they had never received my check! This is when my ‘younger real memory’ popped back into my ‘now older body’ and I remembered that I had never written the check out! So I put in another order via the phone and three days later I got the harness.
But lo an behold, I would not be Sally if I were totally satisfied to sit around and wait two weeks for something I had ordered to arrive. Nope, I took that time to scour around for an even better bargain just in case the first bargain did not work out, even if it was my fault! So in that time I continued my search for a harness and came upon the Easy Walk Harness by Premier on a site called sitstay.com. The price was right at $18.90 for a 36-46 inch girth so I purchased that one also. After all, with five Newfs I figured I’d eventually use it! I’m also a sucker for a good deal so even if I ended up putting it on one of my kids, one way or the other it was getting used!
So, why am I so thrilled and writing about these products? Well, I had always gone the regular standard harness route, (AKA the cheap route) and if you have ever used a standard harness you know that you have to slip it over the dog’s neck, then try to pass one leg through the bottom, and then slide it under the belly and through a loop to snap it all together and hope that you had adjusted it correctly in the beginning or you would have to start all over again! That can be painstakingly long if you have an impatient dog! With the new harnesses there was no such hassle! My dogs did not have to become the Great Houdini to get into them. In fact it took no time at all to put them on once I understood just how to use them. I had been so programmed to the old harnesses that I admit I was a bit confused at first putting the new ones on.
After all, nothing is ever this easy and hassle free!
So please feel free check out my video, if you can get past the drool, you’ll see how they work and why I like them. Each goes on a bit differently for the right fit and to serve their intended purpose, but it is still easier than wrangling with the old over the neck, through the leg, under the belly, and into the loop type!
Both harnesses get a four paws up from this big 41 inch girth girl in a garter belt and stilettos!
To see the video click here