The story of how Lulu inspired a game changing eco friendly product!
In Australia, we are lucky enough to have a stunning coastline to enjoy. Personally, my happy place has always been the beach, which is why the second I get the chance I pack the car, load up the dog (and kids) and ferry us over there. The sun on my face, the sound of the waves and smell of the ocean is my idea of heaven.
Leading up to summer time, I would imagine the “idyllic” day on the beach consisting of me relaxing, book in hand, kids safely playing and swimming, and my well behaved pup by my side. Then reality would hit. At times it was easier to just not go to the beach at all, rather than deal with the stress and logistics of how we were going to manage our excitable pup in an unfamiliar environment, all whilst dealing with the kids.
When you become a mother AND a dog mum, your hands become full very fast! Every outing requires so many things to keep the kids and dog happy. Our routine is basically me, carrying a bag full of gear, being dragged down to the beach by my very eager and energetic Aussie Shepherd dog Lulu. We then plonk all that gear on the sand, in what we consider to be the “perfect” spot, where everyone then leaves me to go swim, run, eat, play, throw the ball around…while I watch over everyone to make sure they don't drown, run off, get lost, get burnt, go hungry, are wearing the right cover ups, making sure Lulu isn't jumping on every other kid or dog that passes by, taking her for a swim, then heading back to dryland when she's done…
All to do it over and over again all day, leaving little time for me to really relax and enjoy the beach myself… Sounds exhausting? To be honest, it is!
My family and I have spent the better part of the last 20 years on the south coast of New South Wales in a beautiful part of the world called Jervis Bay. The beaches here are pristine and dogs are welcome in the bay where our family beach house is, however for most part of the day they must be on a leash.
Lulu is not the kind of dog that will sit where she is told and ignore all distractions. And she most definitely can’t be trusted to not take off after a pelican or to interfere with another beach goer's day out and steal their ball in the process. She's a handful (in the best way possible) but when my hands are literally full, it is one big juggling act to keep her safe and by my side.
One year, over our Christmas holiday down the coast, I realised I’d had enough. I’d had enough of the crowds and the anxiety of knowing that my arms were going to be ripped out of their sockets every time Lulu wanted to chase after another dog to play. Plus, my kids were still young and my husband was generally busy keeping them safe in the water. I was so fed up on missing out on all the fun, I decided to try an experiment.
On our next visit to the bay, I took a calico shopping bag down to the beach, filled it with sand, buried it and attached Lulu’s leash to the straps. I figured if sand bags could keep my tent from blowing away, perhaps this could help keep Lulu from running off.
And guess what? It worked!
As soon as she felt the resistance, she stopped. She gave a few tugs, realised she was stuck, then sat down and watched us. It was such a relief. I was on to something big here! But I wasn’t satisfied with continuing to use a shopping bag as a solution.
Having a background in fashion design, I knew I could create something stylish that would serve the same purpose. It was after a few prototypes and feedback from friends and family that made me see that creating a beach bag that served as the anchor bag would be solving two problems in one!
12 months later, after LOTS of testing and prototypes, DOGGY ANCHOR was born!
Doggy Anchor (DA) has been a game changer. Our family beach trips are so much easier, safer and relaxing!
Since launching, a community of beach loving dog owners have trialled and tested DA and have also loved the freedom it’s given them. I feel so much joy when hearing stories about how they can let go of the dog's leash and just enjoy their time, without the anxiety of their dog being able to run off. It also warms my heart knowing that DA is bringing awareness to the benefits of supporting products made from RPET material.
My wish for the future is to champion more fantastic sustainable products on my website. To give the eco conscious buyer a place to feel safe when purchasing products for their beloved pets, knowing that the items have been made with the environment in mind.
Another goal is to host regular beach clean ups, to also draw attention to the horrors that single use plastics are causing to our oceans and wildlife. Hopefully, you and your fur baby will be able to join us on one of our Doggy Anchor beach clean ups in the near future!
Thank you so much for supporting my new business venture. I am a one woman operation and am meeting so many fantastic people along the way.
I would love to hear your Doggy Anchor stories and the amazing products you’ve discovered that have made your beach trips easier. So please send me an email, as I am always up to suggestions and feedback!
Love Melissa and Lulu. xxx