When I posted a story about how a little paralyzed dog named Mango and her pet mom Judy Walter raised enough donations to get 100 specially-abled dogs into wheelchairs, I knew I wanted to interview Ruff Rollin’, the custom dog wheelchair company who helped them achieve their goal.
Ruff Rollin’ is relatively new on the dog wheelchair scene, but the owners have a long history working with disabled animals and they have a true dedication to building a quality custom product. They were nice enough to share what goes on inside a custom dog wheelchair company.
Ruff Rollin’ was founded by Jason and Sierra Christofferson in 2009. Jason has 19 years of experience building dog wheelchairs and managing a company that manufactured them. During that time he learned what he liked about dog wheelchairs and what he wanted to improve. Jason’s wife Sierra has experience in the service industry and spends her days working with pet parent customers.
Their company goal is, “We are committed to one thing; we will provide you and your dog with the best possible experience during a difficult time.”
Sierra and I discussed the role Ruff Rollin’ plays in the dog wheelchair market and she shared her experience helping Mango on a Mission. Here are excerpts from our conversation:
Why did you start a custom dog wheelchair company?
Jason had been in the industry for a long time and we’re both passionate about animals. He learned a lot about building carts for disabled pets and knew where he wanted to make improvements. That’s how we came up with the hybrid support saddle. It’s a combination leg ring and saddle that provides flexibility and sturdiness. Each saddle is built individually to fit a specific dog and they are gender specific to make them more comfortable for pets. Our saddles make it easier for a pet owner to put a dog into a wheelchair, especially if it’s a dog that weighs more than 50lbs.
How do your carts differ from others?
Our carts are completely customized. Nothing is pulled from a shelf. We use lightweight aircraft grade aluminum for the frame and we take a full day to build each wheelchair. When Jason builds a cart he pays close attention to the balance of the frame so that it takes weight off the shoulders of a dog. We try to build the perfect cart for each pet.
We’ve also streamlined our ordering process so people can order their complete wheelchair online. There are no add-ons. We know it’s already an emotional time for owners because they are dealing with a sick or injured pet. We don’t want our process to be intimidating for them. Because of our attention to details we have a less than 1% return rate and we’re very proud of that.
Do you and Jason have a disabled pet?
No we don’t, but we have two cats and two dogs that a great.
Do you make carts for pets other than dogs?
We’ve made carts for lots of cats, pigs, rabbits and a goat. Our smallest wheelchair was for a Yorkie who weighed 1 ½ lbs. and the largest was for a 230lb. Mastiff. Our most unusual wheelchair was for a mini horse named Angel. Her mother accidently crushed her leg by lying on top of her and it had to be amputated. First we built a full support cart for Angel because she lost a lot of muscle mass and later we converted it to a rear support wheelchair when Angel finished rehab therapy.
What did you think when Mango’s pet mom contacted you about taking small payments from strangers to buy a cart for Cindy, a disabled dog in need?
She explained what she wanted to do and I was excited to help. It was amazing how fast the donations came in for Cindy. And when we were left with extra donation funds I was the one who suggested to Judy that she should put the money into an account for future dogs. The program took off and we built carts for 100 dogs during the first year.
We also take in donated carts for dogs in need and hope to start a consignment program in the future.
Ruff Rollin’ has a goal to “provide the highest quality of life” for specially-abled pets. They build a Rear Support wheelchair for dogs with hind end paralysis or limited mobility, a Front Support wheelchair for dogs who need help with their front limbs and a Full Support cart. In addition Ruff Rollin’ offers a variety of other products for specially-abled pets that include boots, drag bags and supplements. Ultimately Sierra would like to see the company to be a one-stop place where owners can get all of the products they need.
Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post and I have NO affiliation with Ruff Rollin’, but I was genuinely impressed with their product and support to dogs in need.