Many years ago, I watched the now iconic movie Gremlins. I was probably too young, but everyone was talking about it so my dad treated my siblings and I to an outing at the cinema (that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it). For those of you not old enough to remember, the 1984 horror-comedy was about an adorable little creature, a Mogwai, given to Billy Peltzer by his father. Billy named his new little friend Gizmo and after being warned, Billy accepted the huge responsibility that comes with looking after him. There are rules that Billy must follow; the Mogwai must be kept away from bright light, never made wet and never, ever feed them after midnight. In the movie, things turn ugly when two of the three simple rules are not adhered to.
Much responsibility comes with dog-ownership too. When my husband and I plan to be in and out of stores or offices, we leave the dogs at home where they will be comfortable. We never leave them in the car in soaring summer temperatures – heat stroke occurs quickly, and nothing is worth that risk. If we are outside, or spend time in the lake, we take them with us. Henry and Reese, my little Mogwais, appear to be possessed and about to transform into Gremlins when introduced to a body of water. They prefer to watch from the dock. That said, even though they are groomed every five weeks in the summer due to their thick, curly coats, Henry and Reese are not fans of hot, humid days. They prefer early morning, or late evening walks before the sun rises fully or just as its setting. I was beginning to think my pack would have to become nocturnal until I learned about ‘Cool Coats’.
Valerie Wilson, owner and creator of this wonderful product, is also from Ontario and understands the heat and humidity. When noticing her own beloved companions struggling in the heat, Valerie decided it was time to do something about it. “I searched everywhere for cool coats that were functional, stylish and durable. I bought many different styles of cooling coats and vests on the market and tested them all on my dogs and one by one, I ruled them out”. With years of product development experience, Valerie set about researching leading edge materials to create coats initially for her own dogs. “This was the only way to get exactly what I wanted.” After finding a unique cooling material that was lightweight and would keep dogs cool and dry, Valerie designed a pattern and searched for ‘a top notch production facility that manufactures to high quality standards and got to work.’ In 2007, Cool Coats was born. Today, Cool Coat customers include; owners and handlers of agility dogs, flyball dogs, conformation show dogs, breeders, groomers and companion family pets all over the world. The coats fit a variety of sizes from Papillions to Great Danes, and is available in three gorgeous summer colours.
Saturday morning, we arranged to collect our coats from Valerie. Valerie is passionate about her dogs, her business and her products and it shows. I originally provided sizes via email and explained that Reese was not a typical size, due to her growth being stunted while living her first two years in a small cage (for those who don’t already know, Reese is a Puppy Mill rescue). Valerie suggested physically trying the coats on to ensure a comfortable fit for both dogs and kindly offered to meet with us.
It was before 9:00 am when we set out, and the temperature was already nearing 30 degrees C (without factoring in the humidex factor!). There was a trail not far from the location of our meeting that was at least shaded from direct sunlight by trees. My parents were visiting as it was our Canada Day long weekend, and I thought it would be a nice outing for my mom and me with the dogs (our boys were fishing). As soon as we got in the car I put the air conditioning on. It does not make a difference straight away, and poor Henry was still panting when we arrived at our destination half an hour later. In the future, Henry and Reese will be fitted with their cool coats prior to departure.
Valerie pulled her car up alongside ours, armed with several different coat sizes. As she went about fitting and checked for adequate coverage on the fluffy mogwais, Valerie spoke to both Henry and Reese in a calm, assuring tone. The material reminded me of a wet suit, and I learned it should fit in the same snug manner, keeping the ‘cool’ close to the body.
We stopped at Starbucks; mom grabbed tea and then I went in and soaked the coats, squeezed out the excess water and suited up the pups. Before we had even pulled out of the parking lot, both dogs were ‘chilled out’ in the back seat. The hatch had been open during the fitting, so this relaxed state had nothing to do with the air conditioning. As well as keeping pups cool, Valerie pointed out that it’s fit, similar to that of our beloved Thundershirt, has proven cool coats to have a calming effect.
My husband and I love spending time out in the beautiful summer weather. We have noticed an incredible difference in both Henry and Reese during our walks and have modified the rules in relation to mogwais:
-Keep safe and cool and away from direct sunlight (shade is the best option)
-Add water as needed (often for hydration)
-Never, ever feed after midnight. After a day of fun in the sun, we’re all sound asleep by midnight.
Thank you so much Valerie – your coats have made the difference between night and day (literally).
A note from the team at Must Luv Dogs:
Because we love dogs please remember…
-this product is not intended to prevent heatstroke
-it is not a life jacket and does not float
-do not leave your dog in the car under any circumstances
-always have fresh drinking water available for your dog
Why Cool Coats?
My favourite quote from Gremlins:
Grandfather : He has something he wants to say to you.
Billy Peltzer : You mean you can understand what he says when he speaks?
Grandfather : To understand, one has only to listen.
It’s been three decades since the Steven Spielberg-produced Gremlins first hit theaters and both delighted and frightened an entire generation of kids and it’s being released as a digital download – a modern celebration of the film’s 30th anniversary.
Gremlins (1984) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087363/
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087363/