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Dog clothes biz turns to local group for help

November 16, 2008 7:26:16 AM PST
Small dogs are not the only ones with wardrobes. Big dogs have them, too. A shelter volunteer who created a business that provides employment opportunities to a Chicago-area organization for people with developmental disabilities is making it possible. What started with a phone call 12 months ago has become an amazing story with happy results for everyone.

In 2004, Puma, a chow-chow and golden retriever mix, was found at the Anti-Cruelty Society by Rita Green, a volunteer. After adopting Puma, Rita became concerned. First it was Puma's eyes.

"Ever since I adopted her, I've tried to cover them not with glasses, because I think they're too cumbersome, but with a visor, and I've ordered many visors and purchased many visors for her, and nothing ever fit," said Green.

Then it was her coat.

"She's got this thick furry coat, and when it rains outside it's not a pretty sight, when she's all wet, and she doesn't smell too well either," said Green.

So she created Tailored Dog.

"Our products range from visors to raincoats, to winter hat and coat ensembles, and we also have a one of kind line that's custom made," Green said.

Chicago Association of Retarded Citizens, CARC, was hired to manufacture all the products, which are not easy to make.

"There are many different steps, a lot of them, like angle type sewing," said Kristin MacRae.

President Kristin MacRae says this is a perfect partnership.

"We do the manufacturing, Rita provides the fabrics and the design, and we make them, and Rita sells them," said MacRae.

Raincoats and fleece coats keep dogs' furs warm and odor-free. Visors and hats assure that dogs' eyes are protected from sun and winter glares.

Tailored Dog is recommended for dogs who weight more than 60 pounds.

"The visors sell for $39.99 and the coats sell for anywhere between $149, and the winter coat and hat ensemble which can be sold separately sell for $269 as an ensemble," Green said.

In addition to employing people with disabilities, Tailored Dog also supports no-kill shelters.

"A portion of the proceeds go to no-kill shelters," Green said. "We're very adamant. Puma came from a shelter that does euthanize, and I was a volunteer at the time I adopted her and decided that we really want to support no-kill shelters."

Although Tailored Dog is new, it's already making a difference.

"It's been an interesting process but one that thankfully has created jobs for people with disabilities," said Green. "These are jobs that are staying in the United States, so many of the clothes, especially dog or pet clothes now, are made in China. These, you can see, are made right here in Chicago by people with disabilities."

If you want to protect your big furry family member, Tailored Dog has something for you. For more information go the Tailored Dog web site, www.tailoreddog.com. For more about the Chicago Association of Retarded Citizens visit the CARC web site, www.carc.info.


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