Road Dogs

Driven by concern for his dog, one entrepreneur gives car-loving canines everywhere a brand new leash on life.

What: A canine vehicle restraint harness
Who: Carl Goldberg of Ruff Rider LLC
Where: Boulder, Colorado
When: Started in 1995

Carl Goldberg's dog, Maxie, almost lost his life when the unrestrained Labrador took out the front windshield with his head in a car accident. From that day on, Goldberg vowed he'd never expose his beloved pet to danger again. With the guidance of Maxie's vet, a $500,000 investment and six years of development, the Ruff Rider canine vehicle restraint system was created to benefit pets and give their owners greater peace of mind.

Shaped as a figure eight, the safety harness is both ergonomically and orthopedically correct for dogs. It directs overload forces to the clavicle, the strongest part of the animal's body, without interfering with its normal movement. Available in nine sizes with three movement settings, the versatile Ruff Rider system fits all canine breeds.

"There are 26 states with laws stating it's illegal to transport a living animal over the road in a moving vehicle in a way that [might] cause torturous injury or death," says Goldberg, 52, who insists that no real pet lover should ever expose his or her pets to the hazards of the road. So far, pet lovers have agreed: 2001 sales reached $350,000, and Goldberg expects sales for 2002 to exceed $1 million.

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This article was originally published in the May 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Road Dogs.

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