Dogs are creatures of pure love. You don’t own a dog; you live with them, grow with them, shower them with love and nurture them. In return they bestow you with unconditional affection and a sense of belonging. When life hits you in the shin and you feel blue, as soon as you turn around and see that angel wagging its tail at you, all your worries evaporate and a sense of immense calm and happiness gives you wings.
Dogs are like babies. Your only transaction with them is of compassion. You can’t take them everywhere with you but you can’t leave them alone to fend for themselves either. At least, you don’t want to. Their company makes you feel elated and content.
You might have guessed by now that even I have a dog. His name is Milo, he’s a Shih Tzu and my precious. I got him when he was just a year old and could fit in a teacup.! He weighed hardly eleven pounds when I got him. His hair was jet black with specks of copper brown here and there and a soft tuft of brown hair highlighted his tiny mouth. His perfectly round, black, innocent eyes almost got hidden in his shabby, dense fur.
The past 3 years with him have been the most blissful, idyllic and gratifying years of my entire life. He’s my little ray of sunshine. He loves me just as much as I love him and maybe even more. He’s obsessed with me. When I come back home, he keeps circling me, wagging his tail as if his dull day finally brightened up. He pulls onto my jeans and won’t stop until I pick him up and he can finally find comfort in my warmth. On a Sunday afternoon, when we go out in the park, in the sun, he gleefully catches up with the neighbourhood dogs, plays with them and gets into little trivial fights. But when he is up against the tyrant and malicious dogs of the vicinity, he pretends to be vicious and brave, growling at them, pretending to be sure of himself, because he knows I will always protect him against them.
Once it so happened, that he started barking at those mean, burly dogs trying to get a reaction out of them, but they didn’t retaliate. Instead they patiently waited for me to leave. Usually I stop Milo from barking at those dogs, but this time I didn’t, wanting to see what the little devil was really up to. I set him on the floor and gestured him to carry on. He quickly dropped the entire “brave dog” façade and sat quietly on the ground, trembling like a leaf, making his classic puppy face for he knew that he was no match to those big brawny creatures. I eventually gave in and took him inside grinning and shaking my head at his little shenanigans. The moment we entered, he jumped off my arms, onto the floor and ran towards the glass door, jeering and growling at the dogs, pretending to charge at them with full force. After several minutes of this futile exercise, he finally tuckered out, walked toward me with a triumphant snigger, rolled up in a ball at my feet and slept the night away. He’s one mischievous pup.
When I’m not at home he stays in my room, messing around with my stuff all day. At night, no matter how many times I put him to bed, he always ends up snuggling next to me in my bed.
He is a sweetheart and a heartthrob of the other female dogs in the neighbourhood.
Dogs can sense how we feel. They can relate to our emotions and empathize with us. There have been so many times when I have lost hope and faith in people, but all it takes for Milo to cheer me up is his snooty smile, his careless and disobedient furry little tail parading around my bed and his small smiley ball being rolled towards me suggesting a small casual game. He thinks his little ball game is enough to lift my spirits and it’s astonishing how effective it is most of the time.
One afternoon, I was resting with Milo curled up in my lap when I suddenly realized that I had to get groceries from the neighbourhood supermarket, so I got up to leave and so did Milo. Since he was so well rested, he was ecstatic and in no mood to stay back home. He wouldn’t let me get away for even a minute. So, I threw a leash on him and decided to take him along with me, as well. A grave mistake.! We walked to the supermarket and as it should be, I read the board which forbade the entry of dogs inside. Not having many alternatives, I had to tie him up to the meter and hurry inside. The entire routine of buying groceries which usually gave me immense joy turned into a tiresome experience. I had to stay on my toes and had to continually turn back and look for him. If I lost sight of him even for a split second, it felt like my heart would give up. By the time I reached the counter my heart was pounding and I was shivering with fear. I took my groceries and barged out the door. All the while that I was anxious and perturbed, worried sick about my dog. However, Milo was playfully running around the meter trying to chase his own tail. His jubilant mood instilled the immediate calm I needed. I grabbed his leash and left. But he was not done having fun, while I tried to balance two overloaded bags of groceries, Milo thought it would be amusing to switch to his crazy-fun temperament. As soon as we came across a tree, I proceeded to walk on from the left side, Milo chose the contrary and started to run in concentric circle around the tree. Now this was a dilemma. Obviously, instinctively I tried to follow him, but he mistook the circumstances to play “Catch me if you can”. After half an hour of chaos, balancing the bags and running after Milo, I managed to unwound him from the tree and finally got home.
A couple of such incidents and others, for example when he was not able to climb up the stairs and not able to come with me on long walks because of his diminutive size, I had to come up with ways to easily carry him around and take care of him. So, I came across the idea of a dog sling. Since Milo’s birthday was coming up, I looked up some ideas to make the dog sling myself.
Since I successfully created one for Milo, I would like to share the same experience with other dog lovers like me.
What is a Dog Sling?
A Dog Sling is a carrier bag that goes around your torso with the aid of which you can carry your beloved dog without actually having to carry or support them with your hands. While doing various chores around the house or running errands across town, you just have to wear the sling like a cross body bag or even maybe a bag pack and safely place your dog in the front or at the back (depending on the kind of dog sling you bought or made) from where it can peacefully and securely give you company.
Things to look for in a Dog Sling –
- Dogs vary in sizes, so you have to ensure that the dog sling that you’re making or buying has ample room for your dog to fit in and that there’s enough wriggle room left in it.
- Cross check the material. The material should be light and breathable. Afterall you don’t want your dog to feel tied up or worse claustrophobic.
- Ensure the durability of the material. You don’t want any mishaps happening to your dog.
- Measure the shoulder strap. You want to leave sufficient space between your dog and yourself for enough range of motion. It varyingly depends upon your own size, the size and weight of your dog as well as your ability to handle the same.
- Confirm the presence of dog collars and hook in the sling to be prepared for the worst-case scenario in which if the dog happens to fall off the sling then the hooks and collar hold on to him and guarantee his safety.
What do you need to make a dog sling?
If you choose to make a sling for the little darling yourself, you will need the following things:
- A sturdy but soft, cushiony, and breathable cloth such as Oxford.
- A sewing machine
- A couple of rings to fashion a strap out of the cloth.
How do you make a dog sling?
Step 1: The first and foremost stage is very essential as it for the whole process and the accuracy of the sling depends on it. You first will have to measure the amount of cloth you will be requiring for the sling. You can do so with the help of measuring tape. Measure the length between your shoulder and your hip and double it. Add an extra twenty-five inches to it. That is the amount of fabric you will be requiring for the sling.
Step 2: You will be required to hem the margins of the fabric. Then fold the cloth over twice and with the aid of a sewing machine, sew the edges. Remember to leave either of the shortest side open.
Step 3: Spread the fabric on a flat surface and fold it alternately such that numerable panels are created of similar sizes (also known as accordion style fold): four inches to be precise and to hold the fold together, stitch it temporarily by a long straight stich with the help of the sewing machine (also known as baste stitching) of one inch exactly.
Step 4: While the cloth is still folded in that particular fold and held together with a temporary stitch, you fold the edge by half an inch permanently stitch it to give the sling a finishing touch as well as to avert unravelling of the fabric.
Step 5: Now, for the rings. Stitch them to the cloth and through both of the rings, you would want to place the folded edge while folding it down to about five inches. Now sew the fabric to form a sort of exterior for the rings. Support this edge by stitching it up multiple times to ensure security for your dog such that when he’s carried, the fabric shouldn’t rip apart.
Step 6: Now test your sling. Throw the edge with the rings onto your shoulder such that the rings fall onto your chest. Bring the fabric up to the rings in the front by crossing your back with the fabric. Pull the edge of the fabric through the back of the rings and then through one of the rings, pull the cloth through it. Adjust your sling, tighten it as per your need and the securely place your dog in it. At this point the dog should be resting on your hip. You can continue to adjust the sling as necessary.
Dog sling come in all sizes for all sorts of dogs and are extremely simple to use. But there are some precautionary measures that one must take to keep it a delightful and reliable experience for both your dog as well as yourself.
- Even though dog slings are of many sorts and of various shapes and sizes, you must take the size and weight of the dog into consideration before buying the dog sling of your choosing.
- You must acknowledge the amount of weight (weight of your dog) you are capable of carrying. After all you don’t want to hurt your self and harm your adorable dog in the course. The ideal weight for your shoulders to handle is thirteen pounds.
- You must ensure that the fabric of the dog sling you’re planning to make or buying is of good and reliable quality. You must cross check the stitching done on the dog sling and if you’re uncertain then a double safety stitch could be a step forward towards a safer course of action.
- If your dog is physically challenged, then you must check and confirm that the dog sling provides plentiful comfort and relief.
- Certify that the material of the fabric is breathable so that the dog can breathe freely and not feel hot and asphyxiated.
- The last but the not the least and the most common, read the instruction manual carefully of your store-bought dog sling for the safeguard of your dog. Every sling is not the same.