Inspiring stories from canine-loving inventors

While I was eating my biscuit and reading the morning paper, I came across a fascinating article in Modern Dog Magazine about entrepreneurs who created businesses based on their love of dogs. Not only do these innovative products make pet owners’ lives easier, but they make our lives better too!

I also enjoyed reading their background stories. It’s inspiring to see people take risks and follow their dreams. That’s why I’m dedicating today’s article to these brilliant canine-loving inventors.

Buddy Belts

A harness designed to take pressure off a dog’s neck when walking on a leash

When Roxanne Pettipas took her one-year-old dog Buddy for walks, she noticed he kept gasping for air and thought that the collar might be putting too much pressure on his neck. She tried to find harnesses to fix the issue but found everything to be too large and didn’t fit Buddy properly.

As an art teacher, Roxanne is naturally creative and accustomed to using all sorts of materials for art projects. During one of her classes working with rubber, she had a light-bulb-moment and thought she could create something that could work for Buddy.

Roxanne designed a bra-like harness with holes where the cups would be, and did a test-run on Buddy. She was pleased to find he was no longer choking and much more comfortable. As time passed, she started experimenting with different materials such as leather, and her design continued to evolve.

Soon people started stopping her on the street, complimenting the harness and asking where she bought it. Upon request, she started hand-making them, and the demand continued to grow.

After a few years, Roxanne decided to start her business, Buddy Belts. The harnesses come in different colors and designs, and fit dogs ranging from two pounds to over 100 pounds. Her company also sells accessories that include leashes, ID collars and more.

I recently put in my order for the red leather one – red has always complimented my light brown fur.

Eco-Friendly Pet Beds

Durable, stylish and environmentally sustainable pet beds

As a successful management consultant for Fortune-500 companies, Will Chen did quite a bit of traveling. Over time he became burnt out and realized he wanted more out of life. He quit his job without knowing what he was going to do next.

Will bought a pug puppy with his girlfriend Deb, and Momo quickly became part of the family. Will started to think about how many other pet parents care about their pets’ well being and began researching the pet industry. He found that consumers in the U.S. spent billions of dollars in 2016 alone!

He started brainstorming ideas for a pet business after buying a bed for Momo. Shortly after buying the bed, Momo destroyed it. And when Will tried washing it, it got even more mangled in the washer and dryer.

This inspired Will to start exploring fabrics that would be more durable and washable. He also reached out to local artists to see if they could come up with a unique design to suit a variety of living spaces – luxury, modern, and so on.

Not only did Will focus on durability and style, but he also wanted the beds to be eco-friendly. During his research, he discovered many pet beds use a petrochemical-based filler, which is low in cost, but damaging to pets and the environment. He ended up creating his own filler – Planet Fill, made from recycled plastic bottles – which, according to the latest data, has kept more than three million bottles from entering landfills.

As a result of these environmentally conscious efforts, Will’s company, P.L.A.Y. (Pet Lifestyle and You) was awarded Gold Certification from Green America, a non-profit organization that promotes eco-friendly consumerism and other positive social change.

Will also started the Warm Bellies Initiative to donate beds to animals in shelters. He partnered with The Pet Finder Foundation, a non-profit organization that works with 12,000 shelters in North America. P.L.A.Y has donated over 17,000 mats to shelter animals.

How impressive! What we need is more people like Roxanne and Will in the world. I hope their stories inspired you as much as they inspired me. If you have an idea for an animal wellness product, please share it!


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