By Sara B. Hansen
When Barry Rubenstein’s golden retriever had to have her second orthopedic surgery, he worried about how best to help his dog recover.
But unlike most pet parents, Rubenstein took matters into his own hands and invented the GingerLead to help support and guide his dog while she recovered.
Rubenstein adopted Ginger and her littermate Wilson when they were 8 weeks old. By 4 months, Ginger was struggling to keep up with her brother and started having trouble going up stairs. When she was 6 months old, she was diagnosed with hip displasia and had a triple pelvic osteotomy on her right hip.
Rubenstein and his wife were told to use a bath towel to help support Ginger’s repaired hip.
But the Colorado couple discovered it was difficult to control a puppy with a bath towel and they found it was especially difficult to help her go up and down stairs without losing their balance. The Rubensteins persevered and Ginger recovered.
She enjoyed playing with Wilson, hiking, swimming and participating in other activities dogs love. She would occasionally limp after playing hard, but would be fine after a few days.
Over time, her limp became constant and she was diagnosed with a luxating patella on her back left leg and Ginger again had to have surgery.
This time the Rubensteins were given a sling to help support Ginger, but it didn’t provide the control they thought their dog needed.
So, they invented the GingerLead, which allowed them to connect a support sling to her collar, and that allowed them to both support and control the dog while moved around during her recovery.
In 2008, Rubenstein applied for a patent on the GingerLead and it was recently approved. The couple manufactures GingerLeads in Colorado and sells them through their website. Although veterinarians primarily purchase the support slings, pet parents also buy them for dogs that are recovering from knee, hip or back surgery. The support leads also help dogs that suffer from arthritis.
Although the slings are made for all sized dogs, roughly 80 percent of GingerLeads are sold for medium- to large-sized dogs. But providing support to small dogs who are recovering from surgery is important, too, Rubenstein said.
“If you just carry them, they won’t recover properly," Rubenstein said. “You want them to do rehabilitation so they will heal properly."
Rubenstein’s goal is to get GingerLeads in the hands of vets throughout the United States and Canada. He hopes someday the support leads are as common as e-collars.
“Our hope is that if a dog goes through orthopedic surgery, they will walk out the door with a GingerLead," he said.
He works hard to keep the leads inexpensive and hopes owners who have just paid $3,000-$5,000 for surgery will consider a $50 support lead insurance to help make sure they dog recovers properly and won’t need surgery again.
Want to know more?
A small Gingerlead is $39.95 plus shipping and sales tax. A large support lead or a tall support lead are $44.95 plus shipping and sales tax. For more information, visit gingerlead.com.
Sara B. Hansen has spent the past 20-plus years as a professional editor and writer. She decided to create her own dream job by launching Dog’s Best Life. She grew up with family dogs and since she bought her first house, she’s had a furry companion or two to help make it a home. She currently shares her heart and home with Sydney, a 3-year-old Australian Shepherd-Corgi mix. You can reach Sara @ [email protected].