We have this dog, well really we have two dogs, but this story is about a product ever-so-necessary for one of our dogs. One dog is 11 and he’s pretty calm and set in his ways. He’s still up for a good run, but he’d just as soon lie on the comfy bed as go outside. In fact he won’t go out if it’s raining or too cold. He’s 11 (almost retired) what do you expect. Our other dog, she is 3. She’s a complete and total nut. She is afraid of cameras when she is inside and when she is outside she moves way too fast to get a good photo of her. This is the best we could do and as you can see her feet are a complete blur. This is because she rips through the woods at dizzying speeds. This is her story.
BoBo is accident prone as one would be tearing through the woods at breakneck speeds only 30” from the ground. She is a German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP), the perfect hunting dog. The GSP was bred to be the multi-purpose hunting dog, built to run and hunt all day. We don’t hunt, but she does. And she is very good at it. She has brought us all sorts of animals, turkeys, grouse, deer and actually a moose. She is fearless and she is slightly crazy. In fact the breed is slightly crazy and although you would never find a nicer breed, if you don’t have hours a day, every day to spend with them, I wouldn’t recommend one. Trying at times, these dogs have enough energy to power the US energy demand for over a year and as such are the perfect dogs to test the durability of hunting dog clothing and other equipment. And this is where the real story starts.
BoBo has sustained numerous injuries. There were the rather frequent run-ins with barbed wire which brought about a variety of different quantities of stitches and veterinarian visits. In fact I’m sure her bills are building a new wing at the veterinarian’s office. And then there was the time that she ran so fast into a stick that it rammed itself through her right front legpit (I’m sure that’s not the right term for it) tore into her muscle, through the fascia, scraped her bone, and tore through the fascia and muscle on the other side of her leg, before hitting the skin on the opposite side of where the initial puncture occurred. At that point the skin at the original puncture point finally tore which ultimately resulted in a slightly hobbled (but only slightly) and moderately skinned dog. Her lack of motion was really the only indication of a problem because although the fur peeled back and exposed the muscle near the entry point there was surprisingly little blood. Nonetheless, 15 staples and 30 stitches later, she was put back together, and as soon as the anesthesia wore off, she was trying, pretty successfully, to run around again. Clearly healing is not a concept in her puppy vocabulary, only running.
It was at this point that we decided that she needed some protective gear. Since they don’t make body armor for dogs we went the next best route. Get her gear for hunting dogs. She is a hunting dog after all. So off to the Cabela’s catalog we went in search of something which would at least deflect the objects that were clearly in her path. It was there we found the Cabela’s Ripstop Chest Protector. This vest made of an “abrasion-resistant 600-denier ripstop material,…reinforced with a layer of heavy-duty 900-denier material through the chest and belly area.” buckles over the dogs back . I do not have enough good things to say about this product. BoBo has not once injured herself since we got her one, and in fact we have quite a bit of evidence that she has encountered things which could have torn her up. Barbed wire wounds have a very distinct “L” or “V” shaped tear and there is no less than 2 of those in her vest. But the tears are in the vest, and not in the dog, and so for that we are eternally grateful. Although the vest itself is a bit of a mess, the dog is, thankfully in one piece. The cost of the chest protector ($29.99) more than covers the cost of the vet bills and the tragedy of that horrible dog cone.
The material is very stiff when it is new and takes some time to break in. A few washings and some use will do the trick. The only issue with this product is that with the short haired breeds (such as the GSP) there are three areas that needed extra padding so that they don’t rub their fur off, or rub their skin raw. The three areas are: The leg holes, the elastic “V” shaped areas on the back of the chest protector and on the bands that go across the dog’s back to clasp the chest protector in place. You can see where I sewed fleece onto the chest protector to protect against such a thing.
Because this vest is so fantastic we got BoBo another one and bought one for our older dog. He doesn’t run anywhere near as quickly or as furiously as she does, but he is sensitive and it protects him from the massive numbers of raspberry bush thorns that we have in our area. We had to make one additional adjustment for him, and cut additional space in the “U” between the fleece patches so the edge of the chest protector did not rub on, and irritate his wee – it only seemed fair.
This is one of the greatest products ever created. I highly recommend this chest protector. It allows complete freedom of motion for the dog and freedom of worry for the people. Although admittedly, nothing is completely dog-proof, for this product to be BoBo-proof is a testament to its durability and effectiveness.