Thursday, April 19, 2012
Bergan: Comfort Carrier Giveaway and Review~ 5/2
Pets are family. Kids to some, cohorts to others, friends to all, and even equals to a few. I've lived with, and loved many species and breeds of animals. (I don't care much for 'ownership' in animals, they're my children, and individuals in their own right.) Ever since making the switch to 'cat household', I've noticed a different type of prejudice towards domesticated felines. They tend to have a bad wrap for being antisocial, lazy, and generally self sufficient. Everyone knows, if you want a pet you can really interact with, you get a dog. After all, you can take your dogs for walks, on vacation, to the beach, and even shopping. Even the pet stores seem prejudice- how many cats have you seen chilling with their owners in the aisles of your local PetSmart? Yes, it's believed felines are bad travelers, and primarily selfish creatures. Naturally, Truffles (and Frankie too) are proof that this is not so. Much like many breeds of canine are often mistreated with generalized presumptions, felines can be just as productive and social, when raised that way!
Of course it is simplest to adjust a cat to such social situations, traveling, and people, if they are raised to be comfortable with this from an early age. You may recall Truffles spent the greater part of her first year alive leaving my side only for grocery trips. When the occasion finally arose, to choose between traveling with her, or arranging for a sitter, I chose the latter. I assumed Ms Truffles would be more comfortable, and less stressed, at home for 4 days, while our family went out of town. Instead, she likely felt abandoned, and alone; Truffles wasn't used to being away from 'Momma', and boy was she busy enough to prove it. We came home, in the middle of the holidays to a tree on it's side and lights from room to room! Naturally, ever animal is different, but in our case, Truffles thought she was a part of the family, and she had been left behind- never again.
It's forward thinking, and a thirst for comprehension, like this, which drives today's featured company. Bergan is well known for their versatile pet feeder systems, and travel accessories, but their biggest accomplishment is far from one of profitable merchandise. In a company, where hierarchy is more of a state of mind, the focus is on common goals rather than competitive advancement, and what is 'right' outweighs what is simplest, Bergan has excelled far beyond their core values. Not only did this company develop and submit the world's first Pet Safety Durability Test for motor vehicles, but they encouraged an entire industry to adopt these standards of safety and quality. For anyone who has ever allowed Sparky to ride shotgun, this is crucial. Their drive for these standards directly influenced the founding of Paws To Click, Pet Safety Travel foundation.
Just like traveling with children, traveling with pets can be just as stressful for both parties. While you want to secure your pet, for safety purposes, you also want them to be comfortable on long commutes. Did you know unrestrained pets cause more than 30,000 accidents per year? When you drive with an unrestrained pet you are endangering the lives of everyone on the road, and in your car. Even the most seasoned of travelers can sometimes experience motion sickness, anxiety, and unexpected excitement, so buckle up! Additionally, when traveling, it is important to remember that, no matter how calm the animal is, you will need a form of containment. Whether to transport the animal to and from your place of stay, through animal un-friendly commercial locations, or just as an emergency point of safety.
I have found that, in providing a designated travel container for our pets, many animals tend to exhibit less stress when they have an item that smells like their home, and even them. Animals will naturally release their own 'comfort' pheremones (from their whiskers and paw pads), and will often 'mark' their property as 'safe'. For this reason it is often crucial to offer some sort of soft, padded, feature the animal can emote on, and associate with, prior to travel. For those attempting pet travel for the firs time, purchase your Bergan pet carrier weeks in advance, and place in a high traffic area within your pet's reach. Allow your pet to naturally interact with the carrier, potentially experimenting with 5-20 minute 'journies' inside. Reward your pet every time you release it from the carrier, and ensure that it is always able to access and enter the carrier at will. With Truffles, we would often take her to 'grandpas' for the afternoon, simply to get her used to the feel of a car drive, and the scent of new places.
I've had great success 'travel training' Ms. Truffles, who actually seems to prefer carriers as 'safe spots'. It's worked in our favor, that she has almost crate trained herself to retreat to the carrier when she feels she is in danger or trouble. As a multi-cat household, and with various types of excursions, I have learned there are different features and uses for various types of pet carriers. Some animals will want complete privacy, and minimal interior space, while others prefer to get up and move within their carrier, and even interact with the world outside them. Bergan's Comfort Carrier, featuring Pet Connect, series features two sizing choices (Small- pets up to 10lbs, and Large- pets up to 22lbs), in four modern color choices. Bergan was kind enough to send Frankie and Truffles a Large Comfort Carrier, in Black, for feature here on Time Out Truffles.
Of course the Comfort Carrier meets all V9DT Travel safety standards, and is airline compliant for both pooches and felines. One of the first features I noted was the simple illustrative tag for safe car installation and travel. This carrier safely secures into most standard motor vehicle restrain systems for travel. Inside the carrier was a neatly folded, optional, padded shoulder strap. Also featured are multiple storage pockets for treats, toys, and waste baggies, as well as an easy yo remove (sturdy) Fleece Travel Bed. For those trying to easy their pets into travel or confinement, I suggest removing the bed, and introducing this part of the carrier to the pet's environment. Then you can simply transfer the bed into the carrier, and it will instantly be familiar upon introduction!
The physical design of the bag is exceptional in frame (providing lots of structured space) and aeration. Thanks to a mesh top, front panel, and side wings, the Comfort carrier allows for a 360 view of your pet, with some privacy. This, however, can be a downfall for some pet owners with exotic, or 'pure bred', desirable pets. Sadly, pet theft is a reality when traveling with rare animals, so keep that in mind when choosing the best Bergan carrier for you. Personally, this suits Truffles perfectly. A seasoned traveling cat, she is used to the privacy and confinement it does offer, but is also appreciative of the awareness the mesh panels allow. Thanks to the extra space this Large Comfort Carrier offered our 6lb (2 year old) cat, Truffles was so comfortable, she allowed me to shoot photos for 20 minutes, front flap wide open, without a single escape attempt! In fact, I didn't bother to coax her out, I just set it in the living room, and let her exit on her own.
A nice, unique, safety feature the Comfort Carrier is the easy snap zipper locks. To ensure fidgeting paws, and tiny hands, don't release Fluffy or Fido, Bergan has designed a second zipper security system involving easy to use snaps. These interlocking snaps keep the zipper ends from drifting. It would be nice to see this concept improves upon by offering a few notches (on the zipper pulls) to secure with an optional lightweight lock. The side strap also features a built in ID card, essential for any piece of travel luggage, and great for pet sitting, or Vet visits. Some additional bragworthy points include the decision to line the carrier with an easy to wipe down, cool (light) colored material. Also, Bergan uses a feature they call 'Pet Connect', which consists of a side zipper entry for owners to physically pet, and soothe, their pets, without fear of escape. I cannot tell you how many times I have been 'fooled' by sad face Truffles, only to be conned into a kitty pushing their way out of the entry slot! It's nice to have a way to pet her without having to stuff a kitty back into the front!
While I could continue to ramble about the Comfort Carrier's rigid frame, and easy of transport (over the shoulder or by velcro handles), my favorite aspect of this carrier is the front entry flap. This zips all the way down for an ingenious second home, once you have reached your arrival destination, or even at home! Thanks to the breathable mesh top, and side panels, I feel safe leaving the front panel down, and allowing Truffles to wander in and out as she sees fit. The more comfortable your pet is with it's traveling equipment, the more comfortable, both pet and owner are traveling! Bravo Bergan!
The Bergan Comfort Carrier can be purchased online at Amazon.com, or in store at a variety of retailers such as WalMart and PetSmart.
One Time Out Truffles or Momma Told Me follower will win a Bergan Comfort Carrier!
a Rafflecopter giveaway