Thursday, April 1, 2010

Photo Essay: Large Dog Drags Babies Through Park

As you may know, our dog Stella, is a fancy dog. She is a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, to be exact. A "Swissy" for short. When our last dog got sick, we thought we were going to have to pay several thousand dollars for surgery. Alas, we had to put her down since her condition was inoperable. We thought it would cheer us up to blow some of the money we would have spent on surgery buying the coolest kind of dog we could find.

Although Stella has many problems, which I have discussed and documented here and here, there is one thing that she's really good at--drafting. This is an activity that weird "dog people" do with their large breed dogs (Rottweilers, Swissys, Newfoundlands, St. Bernards, etc.). I am not quite weird enough to join any drafting clubs or enter Stella in competitions. I am just weird enough to walk her around the neighborhood pulling an all-terrain Li'l Red Wagon filled with groceries, water jugs, bricks, my wife, puppies, other people's kids.

Since Butterbean and Cobra are still too small to ride safely in the Li'l Red Wagon, I had to figure out a way to attach Stella's drafting rig to the Cougar II (rrraaawwr) stroller. The versatile Cougar II can be used as a stroller, jogger, bike trailer, or cross-country ski trailer. Somehow they neglected to offer a kit for hooking it up to draft animals. So I had to McGyver it.



Here's what I started with




The stroller parts and drafting rig are actually bolted together. The bungee cord is for added safety. Just in case. I'm sure the Chariot company would be fine with my modifications.






We ended up going for about a 2-mile ride. Stella is at her best when she's working. The more she works, the less anxious she is.







Regal looking beast, no?




Maybe not so much from this angle. Her urinary incontinence (a fairly common trait in her fancy breed) is almost under control thanks to hormone therapy and a drug called PPA. Still, better safe than sorry.




The czarinas slumber after a nice long carriage ride. This is why we are reluctant to put them in separate cribs.





Here's some low-quality video of the hijinx:

video

25 comments:

  1. You are so clever! I love it! I used to have a Great Pyrenees. She was enormous! My kids rode her lol true story. Your dog is pretty and I agree, I wouldn't put the babies in separate cribs...they love each other too much!

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  2. Great Pyrenees are beautiful dogs! I knew they were good at drafting, but I had no idea they were saddle dogs too.

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  3. What a great family! So loved this post

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  4. So cool ! I had a Great Dane , but he got sick and had to be put down too. Now I'm just back to one dog...which is a Pekingese...she's big for her breed , but no denying that she is small..

    The babies look adorable together. I think a lot of people with twins sleep them together

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  5. Thanks, Missy! Great Danes are cool dogs--it's a shame they don't tend to live very long.

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  6. Could you make the McGyver harness for a python? Just asking.

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  7. Mark--

    I could try. That would be so cute!

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  8. I just got a backpack for my Swissy. It has two large pockets so I'm sure your girls would fit snugly on either side. Let 'em loose on Cowles Mountain and see what happens.

    -Cesar Millan

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  9. Let's do it, Cesar! Maybe we could set up each dog with one kid and race/fight them!

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  10. We used to dogsit a Bernese Mountain Dog, a relative of the Swissy, I assume by the looks of your lovely Stella. What a wonderful dog. We fell in love with her and hope to have one someday. Very few come up for adoption, I guess their people tend to love them and keep them.

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  11. I am glad you finally allow people to post anonymously.

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  12. Anon--

    Yeah--Berners are basically long-haired Swissys. Neither breed is all that common in the U.S., so they don't come up for adoption much. I had to jump through all kinds of hoops just to be allowed to pay a lot of money for Stella. I'm ambivalent about the process, although Stella is mostly a good girl.

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  13. Stella is a great dog.

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  14. Scout has been on PPA since she was young. Lots of female dogs are. But her incontinence has abated in recent years, if it's any consolation. Hasn't happened in at least 6 months, come to think of it, and she's down half a pill with each meal, from 2 pills with each a few years back. Yay.

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  15. The stroller-dog-rig is pretty much the most awesome thing I've ever seen. I'm truly jealous.

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  16. Shelby--

    I'll bet your beagles could pull a cart!

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  17. Umm, who stole the idea from whom?

    http://www.sweet-juniper.com/2010/04/dog-wagon-part-2.html

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  18. Where did you get the shafts for the cart? I have a bike stroller and I want to convert it to a dog cart.

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  19. Hi,
    I got a bike trailer from goodwill and have been trying to figure out how to hook it to the Aussies. How did you get the hardware/wheels under the front and what did you use for the part that goes on either side of the dog. Any advise would be GREATLY appreciated. We're planning on using it for my daughter when she takes over my sons paper route. He's strong as an ox and can carry the papers on his shoulder but it hurts my daughters back. Please use my email at rbnjrd@live.com. Thanks.
    Rick

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  20. A couple people asked me for some details on how I rigged this thing up. I bought the shafts (part that goes on either side of the dog) and the harness from dogworks.com. Maybe like $150 for the whole shebang? I put my Chariot stroller/trailer/jogger in jogging mode, which means there would normally be a 10" bike wheel out front.

    I put a bolt through the hitch on the shafts (it's designed to fit a Li'l Red Wagon, which is what I mostly use now), and hooked the front fork of the jogger to that bolt where it would normally attach to the quick-release on the front wheel. It made a pretty good connection, but I wrapped the bungee cord around it just in case.

    @Rick--the wheels came with the Chariot. They're meant to be used when it's in "stroller" mode. You might just want to look for a used wagon. If you look on the Dog Works site, I think they even have harness/shaft setups for teams. That would be cool! Good luck.

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  21. You do a great job. I hope the PPA works well.

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  22. It looks great. What did you make the shaft out of?

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  23. I've got the same idea for the dog cart and I have all the pieces except for the shaft. What did you make yours out of?

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  24. I got the shafts and harness from www.dogworks.com I talked to a friend with a machine shop about making one out of aluminum tubing, but he said it would be cheaper just to buy it.

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  25. hmmm, we have a double charriot and a neurotic incontinent swissy. perhaps we should follow your lead ;-) (Actually, since my boys ar 4 and 1, they've surpassed the weight limit she should pull, so we really need another (not neurotic incontinent) swissy to brace draft).

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Don't hold back.

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