Updated: Feb 17
The saying goes, "dogs are a man's best friend," and I couldn't agree more! Growing up, my brothers and I were never allowed to have animals in the house, so it wasn't until Colton and I got married and could make the rules for ourselves that we rescued our pups. I quickly realized what I had been missing and the true joy that comes from having your furry companion around you at all times. This spiraled into countless walks in nearby parks, swimming in lakes, and camping trips with our adopted fur babies!
Our Rescue Babes
When Colton and I first got married in the summer of 2017, I was still working nightshift at the hospital. Being home all alone during the daytime was a foreign concept to me. And looking back, I was nervous about it, too. This was a big factor in adopting our first rescue, Bonnie. We went to our local dog shelter and instantly bonded with her. She was about 6 months old at the time, so she's really grown up with us as Colton and I navigated and adapted to living together as a newly married couple.
Bonnie is as energetic as they come and definitely fits the built for what some people might refer to as "extra." She is ecstatic to meet everyone and everyone is considered an automatic friend- whether they're ready for it or not. She is curious and always down for an adventure. Some days it is tiring, but at the end of it all, Bonnie has been a treasure to watch discover the big world around her.
About a year after getting Bonnie, Colton started mentioning how fun it would be to add another pup to the mix. A big selling point behind his argument was a second dog would keep Bonnie entertained. As I was toying with the idea, Colton and I both separately spotted an adorable stray advertised on the website of our local shelter. When Colton showed me the image of the puppy I had been looking at earlier in the day, I took it as a sign and we scheduled a meet up.
Stella was the only ginger colored puppy in a litter of black strays that had been found on a country road nearby. Our first meet up with her was without Bonnie and I was immediately in love. The shelter insisted we bring Bonnie in to meet Stella before we took her home and this occurrence was our first inclination that Stella was probably abused before taken in at the shelter.
Bonnie, being true to her overly eager self, immediately lunged at Stella in excitement at the potential of a new friend. At the time, Stella was in the arms of a shelter volunteer and went totally stiff. I was totally attached to this new pup and desperately wanted to add her to our family, so we somehow convinced the shelter to let us test her out at home over the weekend.
That weekend was rough. Little Stella did everything she could to avoid Bonnie- including growling when Bonnie got too close for comfort. We noticed quickly that Stella reacted poorly to loud noises and quick movements, often running to hide under tables and behind the couch. On my first trip to the vet with her she drooled incessantly in the car ride- to the point of vomiting. This has remained true to nearly every car ride since.
While I don't remember when it officially happened, Bonnie and Stella have now become inseparable best friends. Stella doesn't take well to toys, so our idea of her as a playmate for Bonnie didn't really play out. But we love her just the same. I just wish we could somehow communicate to her that she's safe here. It breaks my heart thinking about the possible traumas she went through to create her anxieties and fears.
Another situation Stella does not thrive in is water activities. Bonnie, on the other hand, is basically part fish. It's sad to watch Stella bark and cry from the water's edge when Colton, Bonnie, and I are swimming. This is what led me to looking into the item I'm about to gush over!
I am speaking from experience when I say my dogs do not like wearing anything beyond their collars. Being a concerned dog-mom, I bought a knit sweater for Bonnie during her first winter with us. I learned quickly that was a mistake. She refused to move when wearing it and getting it on and off of her was nothing short of a nightmare. The sweater barely lasted a month. Because of this, I was worried about investing in life jackets. But I wanted Stella to feel safe and included in all of our adventures, and I'm so glad I found Vivaglory!
Vivaglory is a company with your dog's comfort and safety in mind.
Life Jacket Specifics
Putting the life jacket on and taking it off is a breeze- for both the owner and the dogs!
There are only two areas of Velcro to connect- under the chest of the dog and around it's neck.
Each of these sections are secured by sturdy buckles to ensure the jacket remains in place and your dog remains afloat.
A dog's natural swimming position was kept in mind throughout the creation of this product.
The natural movement of the dog is never hindered through the unique neck design.
These jackets come in bright colors for a purpose- to never lose sight of your dog!
There are also reflective trims throughout the life jacket to enhance visibility in and out of water.
A rescue handle was perfectly placed on the top of the jacket to be able to lift the dog out of the water with ease, if necessary.
Located just in front of the safety handle is a D-ring for leash placement while the life jacket is on.
Vivaglory carries sizes XS to XL and finding the perfect fit for every pooch is effortless with the help of their sizing chart. The determining measurement is the size of the widest area of the dog's chest. Both of our dog's jackets fit like a glove!
Although I don't think there's a price tag you can put on a happy pup, Vivaglory prices are very reasonable. Each life jacket starts at a manageable, $17.99.
This company is committed to customer satisfaction. Vivaglory guarantees against defects in materials and workmanship for up to 90 days; chew or abuse excluded.
With over 2,460 reviews on Amazon with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars, I was confident in the product I was getting before it even arrived. Now that we have received the life jackets, they have become an automatic item on our packing list.
While I don't think water will ever be her favorite, I love that we have helped Stella conquer some of her fears. I cannot even begin to put into words how much my heart swelled when she swam to me for the first time. Now she loves boat rides on the lake! I am grateful to Vivaglory for giving me the assurance that my dogs are safe no matter what water adventure we throw at them!
For more information about these life jackets, click here: https://amzn.to/3gNs3P8