Sunday, August 12, 2012
Mr. Herzher's Deluxe Wicker Pet Residence Review and Giveaway~ 9/2
It's no secret Time Out For Truffles endorses crate training pets. I openly admit that both of our cats are crate trained, and we own a large kennel they frequently share when our space doesn't allow for loose animals. A prime example would be during our cleaning days, or when moving; both Truffles and Frankie are indoor (spoiled) cats. We live in a 2 bedroom condo that provides ample room for our family, but can pose unique challenges when it comes to the front door. I'm constantly afraid someone will leave the door open, or I will forget to close it in the hustle and bustle of busy days. Of course this does not mean our animals are caged during the day, it is simply a safety precaution. However, when younger, crate/kennel training your pets can greatly speed along potty training and curb undesired behavioral issues. Properly trained pets will automatically retreat to the crate when instructed. Regardless of whether there's a door on the front or not, each animal needs a sanctuary they deem safe and all their own.
When we recently adopted our pup, Nora, I was glad to find her breeder had already begun the footwork for crate training. She was a mellow puppy who had already learned to be separate rest of the pack, and even her humans (which made for zero social anxiety). At 11 weeks, and 2.5lbs, with an expected weight not much more than 4, Nora requires constant supervision and a defined environment when left alone. Puppies, in general, can be naturally destructive with their incline to chew, and energy spurts, but teacups also face the risk of unexpected injuries. Leaving her in the bathroom at night is simply out of the question, and introducing her to her very own crate offered her an immediate sense of home, and defined boundaries at night. As an animal is less inclined to soil where they sleep, the puppy naturally learns to hold their bladder, or wake the owner. Of course, accidents do happen, and that is where choosing an appropriate crate is especially important.
When I set out to find the perfect indoor home for Nora I browsed many traditional wire based crated and plastic kennels. I have always avoided wire hatch containers since an old pup of mine found a way to leverage her paws through the many slots and wiggle the crate within range of an electrical wire (scary!) They also give me the horrible impression of being a prison, or even shelter cell, which is not very comfy for rescues at all! Plastic containers are not much better, they are most often used by owners for transport to the vet, and other unwanted trips, which may elicit unwanted connections and avoidance on the pet's part. They are also, often, incredibly difficult to remove the pet from in an emergency. (Try removing a hissing Truffles curled up in the back of a long plastic tunnel!) Yes, I wanted a 'crate' that we could call 'bed'; something that would resemble furniture for me, and something non-threatening for Nora.
This is how I came across Solvit Pet Products, a company defined by it's commitment to exceeding customer needs, through innovative and functional pet product designs. They specialize in a broad range of pet products, from cat loungers and litter covers to travel aids and furniture protectors. Product after product seems to tackle a very basic pet owner need, while adding a unique refreshing twist. If you lead an active lifestyle and love to take day journeys by bike, you'll find the Houndabout Bicycle Trailer the perfect solution for elderly or injured pets. Don't leave your pup behind because they can't make the entire trip, relive the adventures of their youth with an easy attach bike trailer. Remember those twists? This trailer can also convert to a stroller- for year round use by the entire family, and also doubles as a lightweight containment for your pet during stops and at the destination.
Yes, there are plenty of thoughtfully designed products made by Solvit, but none fit my immediate needs more than Herzher's Deluxe Wicker Pet Residence. This stable pet home is as posh as it sounds with versatile styling that helps it fit into any style home as a piece of decor. While the original Wicker Residence offers all of the same functional design, the Deluxe boasts a real wood frame that truly transforms this pet accessory into a work of art. Featuring Rhino Wicker walls that won't absorb fluids or odors, and a 2 way door for easy access, the Deluxe Wicker Residence comes in 4 size ranges. While Small would, clearly, have housed tiny Nora, I wanted to go with a size up to accommodate potty training and function as a plausible piece of furniture/decor in our bedroom. The Medium footprint is 30" deep and 21" wide and easily accommodates Nora's bedding and a potty pad tray.
Unless you are buying this product direct from a pet vendor, where it is already assembled, you will likely begin with a very heavy square box. I was a bit perplexed to find no paperwork inside, and spent several minutes hunting for instructions online, to no avail. I am sure this review will be of great help to man new buyers, though we did mange to figure everything out on our own with some intelligence. Included in the box are 2 side Rhino Wicker panels, 1 front 'gate' door, 1 back frame, 1 bottom metal grate base, to top Rhino Wicker panel, 4 wooden moldings, and a small bag of wooden pegs, wood glue, and screw pairs. Now, we decided to forego the wood glue, as we may intend on tearing it down to move or store someday, though the glue would be used with the wooden pegs at time of assembly for extra stabilization.
We first began by placing the back panel, inside facing us, on a soft (non scratch surface). We then placed all of the wooden pegs in the pre-drilled holes along the wood frame and molding. Next, paying attention to the alignment of the holes on both ends of the molding, match up the wooden pegs and connect the 4 pieces. Then, gently turn the residence on it's side and insert the (very long) screws into the drilled holes on the front of the (back) residence. Use the included L wrench to tighten the screws and secure the frame. Turn the residence back onto it's back. Next, slide the 2 side wicker panels into the guided slots on either side. Slide the top and bottom panel into the guided slots. Insert the wooden pegs into the remaining holes on the front panel and careful align and lower it onto the completed frame. Use the remaining screws to secure the front panel. Place the included (sticky) felt feet on the bottom of each raised leg. Some of the Rhino Wicker may have bubbled or expanded in shipping and storing, be gentle to wiggle panels into the guides when assembling.
When you are done, you can insert the provided plastic basing tray and open the gate via either of the (left or right) pinch triggered latches. Because this residence comes with a removable basin tray, it is incredibly easy to clean. I cannot stress enough how wonderful this it! Whereas I had to haul the entire crate out to the yard and hose it down before, I can simply remove the tray and clean it in the tub or sink now. The plastic surface is also great for cleaning with antibacterial wipes or sprays, though your pet will likely need soft bedding to buffer it from the hard surface. The double latch door is fairly easy to open, and can be a little touchy from time to time. There are small guide holes for the door latches to dig into, when closed, and I frequently miss them when closing the door. It's important to double check that both the top and bottom are securely within the guided chambers, when securing your pet.
Assembled, Mr. Herzher's Deluxe wicker Pet Residence is truly a wonderful piece of pet craftsmanship. It fits in with my bedroom furniture as a gorgeous bedside accent, and could even double as a table for lightweight plants, frames, nick-knacks, next to a couch or in the living room. Because of the Rhino Wicker, it does see to have an almost 'patio' feel, but the ark wood frame really helps tie everything together. Another one of my bragging points is the semi-private design that enables me to see a clear view of my pet from the front, or peek in from the sides, without giving the pet an impression of being exposure. (No more blankets thrown over crates to calm restless animals.) We currently house Nora in the Pet Residence when we have to run out for a quick errand, and to sleep at night. She took to it immediately, and loves all of the space. Surprisingly, there has been no chewing on the woven wicker, which is a very wide weave that detracts from snares or fidgeting. It's also incredibly sturdy, without the typical rocking you'll find in wire based kennels; making it much safer for energetic pups.
***Please note: Time Out For Truffles understands that each puppy's need is different. While this pet residence is most suitable for adult and non-teething young dogs, many puppies will be encouraged to chew and should be supervised until you know how they will behave with the wicker accents. The Wicker siding on this crate is tightly woven, tough, and around a metal frame. My unit does not have any snags or loose ends- though larger breed puppies may be able to tear apart the sides with their claws, to aid in chewing. Nora is a teacup puppy with good chewing manners, your puppy may not be the same. Always supervise crated animals when training, teething, and in new surroundings. We do not suggest leaving your animal unattended in the Pet Residence for long periods of time, after all you wouldn't leave your baby in a playpen unattended for hours- be safe!
One very lucky follower will win a Mr. Herzher's Deluxe wicker Pet Residence of their own!
a Rafflecopter giveaway