One wiener dog and his two humans are out to change the way little dogs experience the world.
Django the long-haired Dachshund is a very well-traveled dog. He's such a citizen of the world that he even has his own travel-inspired line of doggy gear, aptly named DJANGO.
In just two years, the Doxie has lived in NYC, Oregon, San Diego, and Philadelphia. He's explored the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, camped under the stars in Lake Tahoe, taken selfies at the Grand Canyon, and watched the sun set in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He's played the slot machines in Las Vegas and eaten BBQ in Nashville.
Django has driven across the country and completed six cross-country flights (always in the cabin with mom and dad) and two cross-Atlantic flights. Most recently, Django joined his parents on their honeymoon in France and Italy. The pooch now has his very own EU pet passport.
Django's parents, Stephanie and Mike, have learned a lot about pet travel, from flight requirements to international pet travel documents to finding pet-friendly accommodations. All of the hard work and fun involved with planning a canine adventure helped inspire Steph to launch DJANGO: mini adventure gear for small pups.
Steph shared some behind-the-scenes and sneak-peak details on Django (the dog) and DJANGO (the brand) in an exclusive interview with Wide Open Pets:
WOP: Django is quite the traveling pup! How did that influence the launch of his own product line?
Friends and family ask why we take Django everywhere. Our answer is always the same - life is more fun with Django around!
The idea for DJANGO was in my head for a while, but it finally came to fruition in late 2016. After living in New York City for several years, Mike and I moved to Portland, Oregon. Almost every evening after work, we would drive east with Django and go hiking and swimming in the Columbia River Gorge. Django's sausage dog legs are about four inches tall, but he would keep up with us on the trails, wade in the cold mountain streams, and fetch sticks around the most stunning waterfalls.
Our adventures in the Pacific Northwest inspired me to launch DJANGO out of our Portland apartment. DJANGO's mission is to help owners of small- and medium-sized dogs get outside and travel with their four-legged friends. We do that by designing high quality, weather-resistant dog gear and pet carriers.
Django may only be 14 pounds and 8 inches tall, but he is the coolest little adventure companion. He is just one example that all dogs, regardless of size or breed, are ready to go outside and explore the world with their owners. This idea that all dogs are adventure dogs became our motto at DJANGO. We want to help every dog and dog owner get outside and adventure.
If you're having a bad day just remember that unlike me and Tom Hanks in Cast Away, you still have your ball(s) #IfThisDoesntApplyToYou #TagAGuyAndSpreadTheCheer #?? . #ThrowbackToAYearAgo #WhenWeHadJustMovedTo #SouthernCalifornia #AndIMadeDadTakeMyPhoto #OnHollywoodsWalkOfFame @tomhanks #CallMeWeNeedToTalk . #DjangoTheGent
Pet supplies aside, do you find it difficult to travel with a canine companion? Any tips for newbie adventure pup parents looking to bring along their dog for domestic and international travels?
Traveling with a pet always makes things more complicated. Not every hotel, train or airline is pet-friendly, so it is necessary to do research before your departure. Your dog's temperament is also important. Does your dog do well in crowded or noisy places? If no, an airplane or train ride may be very stressful for your pup.
We're lucky that Django is very chill and quiet. He also grew up riding the NYC subway and walking down busy city blocks. Django is at ease in crowded airports and is happy to sleep in his pet carrier during long cross-country or cross-Atlantic flights.
International travel is much more complicated and expensive than domestic travel, but it is absolutely doable! We took Django on our honeymoon to France and Italy and loved every second of it. With that said, I did a lot of work before our trip to make sure everything went smoothly. Here is a great resource for how to travel to Europe with your pet: How to Take Your Dog to Europe. My biggest advice is to do everything well in advance of your trip. Your pet may need to be microchipped or given an updated rabies vaccine, and there are often long waiting periods associated with these requirements.
The Reversible Puffer is probably the most comfortable winter dog coat available. It is insulated for the coldest winter months and holds up really nicely after countless washes. So many customers email us to say that the Reversible Puffer is the first coat their dog doesn't mind wearing! We've also gotten many photos of dogs sleeping in their Reversible Puffers--more proof that it is one of the coziest coats!
The City Slicker Waterproof Dog Jacket is sleek, lightweight and incredibly versatile. The non-insulated design makes this jacket a great raincoat during the summer months and effective windbreaker during winter snowstorms. Customers also appreciate the full coverage of the City Slicker. Your dog's back, chest and upper belly are fully covered and protected by the City Slicker--what is the point of a raincoat if your dog's entire underbelly is soaked when you come inside?
Are you working on any other doggy products for the future?
Yes! We are about to launch our first pet carrier, a beautifully designed waxed canvas and leather pet carry bag for walking and commuting. The bag is uber-functional, comfortable and stylish. The bag exterior is durable and weather-resistant, while the inside is lined with water-resistant and tear-proof 230T nylon.
We have a few more designs in the works for later this year, including an airline-friendly pet carrier.
What is your favorite product from the DJANGO line?
While I love our two dog coat designs, right now I am really excited about our upcoming pet carrier launch. So much thought and detail went into this product, and the quality is outstanding.
Do you have a favorite traveling tale with Django?
We have so many great stories, but one of my recent favorites happened during our recent trip to Italy. We spent a few nights in Nesso, a beautiful, quiet and tiny town on Lake Como. Every day we would walk 300 steep steps down to the lake from our apartment door to go swimming. Mike or I would take turns carrying Django down the stairs (Dachshunds are known for back problems so we prevent Django from doing stairs).
Every time we started the hike down to the lake with Django in our arms, Django would scream in anticipation of swimming. Not a howl or bark, but a high-pitched scream. Imagine an old lady who just won the lottery--that is Django every time he approaches water. We were embarrassed, but could only laugh at the absurdity of our small adventure dog making a scene in the most picturesque Italian village on the way to the water's edge.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Below are some great resources for domestic and international travel with pets. We've traveled so much with Django and welcome questions! Feel free to email us at [email protected].
- THE PET POLICIES OF EVERY MAJOR U.S. AIRLINE
- DOES MY DOG NEED A PASSPORT?
- 16 TRAVEL TIPS FOR FLYING WITH YOUR DOG
Has your dog ever tried a DJANGO brand product? Tell us about it in the comments below!
All photos via Stephanie Wiggins.
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