By Sara B. Hansen
When Barry Rubenstein’s golden retriever had her second orthopedic surgery, he worried about how best to help his dog recover.
But unlike most pet parents, Rubenstein took matters into his own hands. He and his wife Liz invented the GingerLead to help support and guide his dog while she recovered.
The Rubensteins adopted Ginger and her littermate Wilson when they were 8 weeks old. By 4 months, Ginger was struggling to keep up with her brother and started having trouble going up stairs.
Ginger was diagnosed with hip dysplasia when she was 6 months old. The treatment: a triple pelvic osteotomy on her right hip.
Their vet recommended Rubenstein and his wife use a bath towel to help support Ginger’s repaired hip.
But the Colorado couple quickly discovered the towel provided little control for an energetic puppy. Rubenstein said it was was especially hard to help her go up and down stairs without losing their balance.
The Rubensteins persevered and Ginger recovered.
She enjoyed playing with Wilson, hiking, swimming and participating in other activities dogs love. She would occasionally limp after playing hard, but would be fine after a few days. Over time, her limp became constant and she was diagnosed with a luxating patella on her back left leg and Ginger again had to have surgery.
This time the Rubensteins were given a sling to help support Ginger, but it didn’t provide the control they thought their dog needed.
So, they invented the GingerLead, which allowed them to connect a support sling to her collar. That allowed them to both support and control the dog when she walked.
Rubenstein received a patent on the GingerLead. The couple manufactures GingerLeads in Colorado and sells the slings through their website. Although veterinarians primarily purchase the support slings, pet parents also buy them for dogs that are recovering from knee, hip or back surgery. The support leads also help dogs that suffer from arthritis.
Roughly 80 percent of GingerLeads are sold for medium- to large-sized dogs. But providing support to small dogs who are recovering from surgery is important, too, Rubenstein said.
“If you just carry them, they won’t recover properly,” Rubenstein said. “You want them to do rehabilitation so they will heal properly.”
Rubenstein wants vets throughout the United States and Canada to stock GingerLeads. He hopes someday the support leads are as common as e-collars.
Dog owners routinely have to pay $3,000-$5,000 for orthopedic surgery. That’s why Rubenstein works to keep the leads inexpensive. He hopes owners will consider buying the leads as insurance to help the dog recover properly and prevent additional injury.
“Our hope is that if a dog goes through orthopedic surgery, they will walk out the door with a GingerLead.”
Need a GingerLead?
A mini Gingerlead is $35.95 plus shipping and sales tax. A large support lead or a tall support lead are $65.95 plus shipping and sales tax. For more information, visit gingerlead.com.
Sara B. Hansen has spent the past 20-plus years as a professional editor and writer. She’s also the author of The Complete Guide to Cocker Spaniels. She decided to create her dream job by launching Dog’s Best Life. Sara grew up with family dogs, and since she bought her first house, she’s had a furry companion or two to help make it a home. She shares her heart and home with Nutmeg, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy. Her previous dogs: Sydney (September 2008-April 2020), Finley (November 1993-January 2008), and Browning (May 1993-November 2007). You can reach Sara @ [email protected].