Joe - leapingSewing -
a better than so-so solution!

Where Joe - their nearly-17-year old Jack Russell - is concerned, Niki and Pete of Bishopston, near Swansea will go to any lengths to give him the best life possible.

In the photo alongside you can see how active Joe has always been - it must have taken quite a run-up to the pool edge for Joe to be so far up, so far in!

Joe - at the Smart ClinicNiki contacted us after seeing our jackets in the hydrotherapy pool at the Smart Clinic Cardiff. The photo alongside shows Joe doing a few lengths of the pool at the Smart Clinic under the watchful eye of clinic owner Lowri Davies.

When Joe was 14 and a half, it had become necessary for his front left leg and shoulder to be removed. Prior to the operation Joe had been a real water-baby - and the operation didn't change him one bit! 

For years Joe went sailing with Niki and Pete off the Mumbles, and was in the habit of jumping over-board at any diving seabird. Several different types of dog life jacket were tried but, as Niki recalls: "They were all inferior compared to the type you stock". Joe had also been using his most recent jacket on the Gower beaches and rivers for many years. It had become worn out and the time had come for replacement.

'Toy' size jacket with added panelNiki contacted us, explaining that with one foreleg missing Joe required more buoyancy under the chin, but that as a strong swimmer he didn't need much support along his back. Niki described that she'd previously been using a piece of pipe lagging, elastic-banded to the chin area.

Niki wondered if there was anything we could do to help.

We were happy to suggest to Niki that, together with a suitable 'Toy' size Classic life jacket, we also send her some spare buoyancy panelling, and that an hour or so with the sewing machine should solve the problem. The extra panel which Niki added can be seen in the photo above.

Joe - swimmingSo Niki sewed; the photos right and below - taken at Three Cliffs Bay on the Gower and with friend Dane in the family pool - show what an effective, aesthetically-pleasing, solution Niki created!

Let Niki have the last word: "Swimming has been Joe's main form of exercise and rehabilitation. He struggles in water without a life jacket.

"I would reassure people whose dogs are about to join the tripod gang that's it's no big deal - Joe was 14 and a half when he lost his leg and is now heading for 17 a very happy dog."


Last updated: 26 March 2015

All content of is Ian Evans 2010