Sunday, July 7, 2013

Workin' like a dog.

The holiday weekend afforded Dave and me a large amount of free time. He started making sounds about yardwork, so I showed him my plans for Josie's cart and asked his opinion about a few measurements. Before I knew it, we were in the garage sorting through the scrap lumber.

My original sketch would have placed the shafts really low on the dog's body, and I wanted them to be level with her shoulder. Unlike 4-wheeled wagons which support their own weight, 2-wheeled carts have to be balanced so they don't put a lot of weight on the dog's back. We designed side pieces that extended down from the cart bed to raise the shafts up to a comfortable height.

Originally, they were just going to be triangles, but Dave encouraged me to fancy them up a little bit, and with the help of a scroll saw I cut a scalloped edge and a heart from each one. It was my first go with a scroll saw and I didn't do a great job. My hearts are a little lopsided. Dave says it adds to the charm.              

And as I always say, if anyone wants to make a big deal of it, they can build me a cart. 

After a lot of sawing and gluing and screwing things together, it started to look like a cart!

We re-purposed wheels from a old golf caddy. They are solid rubber, so I never have to worry about getting a flat or keeping the tire pressure up. We decided to make the shafts in two pieces so that we could fit the cart in to the car when we want to go places. All it took was two holes on each shaft and some Clevis pins to hold them together.

Once we got the wheels on and the shafts put together, I put the harness on Josie and adjusted the traces (straps that go from the harness and attach to the cart front). Dave slid the shafts through the shaft loops at her sides, I clipped the traces in place, and Josie took her first steps as a real beast of burden.

Pepsi as her first cargo. I think they owe us a royalty for product placement, or something,
because Josie makes  it look good!
She showed no hesitation, just walked on ahead -- in fact, I had to keep reminding her to slow down! When we came to the corner, the outside wheel clipped the curb and gave a little bounce that made her pause and look back, but only for a moment and then it was full steam ahead again.

The cart still needs some finish work and a coat of paint -- and we're thinking about wooden slats for the sides instead of my original plan for woven reed. And the bells. It still needs the bells!

What a good dog!

That's right. It's gonna look even more awesome than this! And you have to admit -- this is pretty awesome.


  1. Great job! What are you going to have him haul. Groceries?

  2. Actually, as our grocery store is only three blocks away, bringing home the shopping now and then is something I have envisioned. Josie needs a little more cart training before we go ahead with anything too major, because she gets very excited around other dogs and needs to learn that she can't go bounding away while she's in harness -- mayhem would ensue! But yes: groceries, renaissance faires, urban hikes/picnics -- all part of her working plan. Such a useful pup!