|Murphy sports his new harness|
As much as I believe in words and the power of hyperbole, I can't say enough good about this harness. My first impression when I opened the box was "WOW!". As many of you know, I was a horse person long before I was a dog person. I was a dressage enthusiast (with an eventer daughter) so I have seen and handled my share of high-end horse equipment. When I lifted my new harness from the box I was transported back to a time when I had just received a new piece of expensive tack. The smell of leather was delicious and the quality of the harness was evident from the first glance.
The leather is smooth and soft with all of the edges beautifully finished. The stitching is tight, neat and even. All of the hardware is shiny and strong and clearly of good quality. It is lined with real sheepskin in all of the appropriate places. There is so much to it, it looks like it should have some weight to it, but it's really quite light-weight. If all I was going to do was look at this harness, it is a thing of beauty. But of course that's not it's purpose, is it?
As beautiful as it looks, the real beauty is in it's use. Everything is well thought out, the handles are in exactly the right places and it fits my dog perfectly. I have one of those opinionated dogs who is quite particular about his equipment. If something doesn't feel right, he just stands in the center of the room staring at the floor, or running around trying to dislodge whatever it is that irritates him. I have always welcomed his opinion even when it was inconvenient because it is his body, after all. When Murphy first saw the harness, he gave it a tentative sniff and then looked at me like "that's for me, isn't it?". I gave him a treat, put the new harness on and adjusted it, and he was cool with it right away. It was one of those really rare times when there was no adjustment period needed, so clearly the harness is comfortable. Murphy sits, lays down, moves freely, etc. as well as he does when he's naked.
This harness is exceptionally well-designed. Murphy's initial reaction clearly speaks to it's comfort. There are quick-release buckles (on the correct side of the dog if you work your dog on the traditional left side...awesome!) which makes on/off super easy and quick. The chest piece is high enough not to interfere with the dogs forelegs, and the whole thing is very stable. I have found that just grabbing the sturdy handle in those moments of need kind of short-circuits the vertigo. The pull handle has already gotten me out of a jam or 2, too. I have not fallen at all since receiving the harness, and only had one close call that was staved off by my bracing dog and the sturdy leather handle. Yes, this harness is 'all that', and more:-)
In addition to the harness I also bought a working dog leash, a harness pack and a couple of patches. Of course all were of impressive quality as well. The leash is beautifully made of leather that matches my harness nicely, it's a perfect weight and has rings in exactly the right places. The patches are two-sided and Velcro back-to-back and fit quite nicely on the harness straps. the graphics are vivid, neat and detailed. The harness pouch is a Sherpani 'Zoe' wallet modified slightly to attach to the harness. It's the perfect size and exactly what I hoped it would be. Katrina suggested I get the pouch in red to match the red accents on the patches and it was a good call:-) The combo looks quite striking on my black dog.
In my box of goodies there was also a key ring, and clip-on service dog button and most importantly, an envelope with an owner's manual outlining correct adjustment and fit, cleaning how-to's, and helpful tips about introducing the dog to the harness and harness use. Once again, I am as impressed by the support as I am by the beautiful harness. I have no trouble at all recommending Katrina and her company Bold Lead Designs. If you want great service, high-quality equipment that does exactly what it's supposed to and ongoing and friendly support, there's nobody better:-)