Safely walking your small dog

Pipsqueak and Bosco in their new custom harnesses by Oxford Dogma

Spring will be here before you know it! At home in Phoenix, we’re already enjoying our walks with Pipsqueak and Bosco in beautiful weather. Although this time of year always makes our allergies act up: Pipsqueak has episodes of reverse sneezing every year around this time, and I have general seasonal allergies. I learned a trick to gently blow air in the direction of her nose to help calm things down, which is typically effective. If nothing else she loves the one-on-one attention ;)

If you’ve been considering getting your small dog (20 lbs or less) a new harness, now’s a great time. The Comfort Vest Harness is custom-made to your dog’s dimensions and requires a few weeks of time for me to make it. Depending on where you live, that might be perfect timing for springtime walks with your pup!

I talk more about the design thinking behind the handcrafted Comfort Vest Harness in a previous blog post, but one of the primary things that pushed me to get it created was a request from the owner of Doolittle’s Doghouse.

Doolittle’s is a network of caring dog nannies based in Arizona. I initially met one of the nannies at a local dog event and was immediately impressed with her obvious love for dogs and ability to care for them well. And when I met the owner of Doolittle’s, Tori Levitt, I could tell that this is an organization who takes the care of their customers’ dogs to heart. She even calls herself the “Pack Leader & Canine Concierge”, which I love.

Bosco in his new harness
Bosco wearing his newest Comfort Vest Harness, handmade by Oxford Dogma (a.k.a. Mom)

Side story: It was one of the Doolittle’s nannies, Cori, who helped us find our Bosco. We had been taking Pipsqueak over to her place for playdates with a wonderful mid-sized Dachshund. This was the only dog Pipsqueak got along with. When we told Cori we were considering a brother or sister for her, she suggested a young, non-dominant, long-haired (because it may be more mellow) male Dachshund as a possible fit. And that’s exactly who we found in Bosco! 

Tori’s purpose is basically the same as Oxford Dogma’s: we live to make dogs happy, healthy, and safe. When she learned that I make accessories for dogs, the first thing she said was “Do you make harnesses?” At first I thought she was referring to the strappy, nylon webbing style of harness (which I’d struggled with on Pipsqueak), and wasn’t sure how I could contribute anything meaningful to that product. But it turns out she meant the fabric vest-style harnesses. With that little comment, I could see the possibilities and was totally inspired to get to work designing.

She writes on her blog about living with and caring for our dogs, and in this post shares recommendations for walking dogs with care:

“A simple leash is a better solution [than a retractable leash]. Add a harness for the safest way to walk your dog.”

— Tori Levitt, Doolittle’s Doghouse

I’m grateful for Tori’s professional input about harnesses because it helped me create a better solution both myself and other loving pet parents. The Comfort Vest Harness is a perfect fit for my collection of handcrafted products — it’s a balanced mix of function and style, with personalization mixed in.

If you’d like to place an order for a stylish, custom-sized, safe, and comfortable harness for your small dog, visit my shop and request a custom order. Please feel free to reach out with any questions! You can use my contact form or email me at