It all started when we found a puppy in a dumpster...
We weren’t dog people at the time, but in 2008 Jen’s younger sister was taking out the trash as she finished her shift as an elementary school custodian. She was scared when she heard whimpering coming from the dumpster. As she looked closer she found an animal cage half-buried with something moving inside. She picked it out of the filth, opened the cage and out came a hungry, dehydrated, frightened, floppy-eared puppy. Not knowing what to do, she brought the dog home for the weekend.
Earlier that year, before we knew we were going to be parents of a new dog, we had purchased bikes with the goal of entering a long distance race. As the novelty of a new pet wore off and our lives settled back into a routine I began daily training for the race, however Daisy was heartbroken every time we left her alone.
Jen’s sister already had an older and somewhat high-maintenance dog at home, so “Dumpster Daisy” was reluctantly taken in by Jen and I. As busy college students, we thought we’d only have Daisy for a weekend or two, but by Monday we were inseparable.
If we were going to keep riding, we decided we would have to figure out a way for Daisy to tag along.
Our first thought was to let her run alongside us getting valuable exercise. That worked for about a mile before she collapsed in exhaustion on the side of the road. Next, we tried putting Daisy in a regular school backpack, zipped up with her head poking out the top. Even on a short ride the zippers slipped open and put her at risk of falling to the pavement. The local pet store had a few options in the form of front carriers, side slings, rear facing carriers, and several different styles that completely enclosed the dog inside.
This began a quest spanning several years and dozens of attempts, none of which resulted in a workable solution. The front carrier bumped into our knees, jostling Daisy around. The sling threw off our balance and made one shoulder ache for days. The rear facing carrier made Daisy motion sick and from the confines of the enclosed carrier she whined and threw her weight around, unable to see who was carrying her or where she was going.
One day, thinking we had tried all options, we put Daisy into a simple drawstring bag, which cinched around her torso leaving the upper half of her body exposed from the top. It wasn’t the safest or most comfortable ride, but we noticed it was better than anything we had tried in the past. Daisy loved feeling the wind in her face as she rested on my shoulders.
After months of bruised shoulders from using the drawstring bag, Jen decided to make her own improvements. Using her sewing machine, she stitched together some cloth she bought from the local fabric store and sewed on some old shoulder straps from an old school bag to create the very first version of a K9 Sport Sack. From the first ride, it was a dream. We finally had a carrier that met our standards of comfort, security, and balance. Now when we came home from our busy schedules we would find Daisy sprawled out on top of the backpack carrier prototype, ready to gear up and ride as one for miles.
Originally, the thought had never crossed our minds that others might be seeking what we had found. However, time and time again we would get stopped on the road by cars asking us where we got our carrier. We had to explain it was homemade, only to see their disappointment as they drove off.
For the next three years life happened. Graduate degrees, the beginning of stable careers, and adding 2 1/2 kids to our family. While still using our original prototype we finally gained the courage to send our bag to a professional prototypist and place a small production run of 100 bags to debut at a local pet show in Las Vegas. Nervously I rode around the show on my bike with Daisy on my back. We sold a few bags, then to my astonishment by the early afternoon every bag was sold out and we were frantically taking backorders and trying to figure out how to get more bags.
Years have passed since that first local show. Our stable careers have now been replaced by a new dream of giving the world a way to take their best friend everywhere. We threw ourselves into the wacky world of pets and their loving owners, discovering the coolest people/animals on the planet. As our customers increased, the feedback rushed in and with new feedback K9 Sport Sack evolved from a simple prototype to one of the most versatile and interactive pet carriers ever.
It’s very apparent that pet owners have done far more for us than we have for them. Although it would take a lifetime, we maintain a goal to give back as much as we can. Thank you for including us in your world and for enriching ours in turn...