Sunday, 20 August 2017

How my big dog gave me a business to take to Crufts

A WOMAN from Nuffield is to sell bespoke beds for large dogs at Crufts.

A WOMAN from Nuffield is to sell bespoke beds for large dogs at Crufts.

Dru Ross, 50, came up with the idea in 2011 when she couldn’t find a bed big enough for her German shepherd Ludvic. Sadly, the dog died a little over a year later, aged 11.

Now she is to attend the famous dog show in Birmingham for four days from today (Friday) to display her range of stock.

She offers four fabric designs in a range of colours, with the biggest beds measuring 57in x 41in.

Mrs Ross, an environmental consultant, said: “Ludvic was big for a German shepherd, weighing 39kg and measuring 25in at the shoulder, and I couldn’t get a decent bed for him.

“He was a long-haired dog and when he went out in wet weather he would come back up to his ears in mud. Moisture goes through to the core of the bed and both the dog and bed would be wet. That was the starting point.”

Mrs Ross, who is married to civil engineer Hamish, 48, found a suitable manufacturer and has the bed covers made by A Stitch in Twine in Wargrave.

She uses foam and memory foam made by the Foam Company in Didcot rather than polyster to prevent the bed from being flattened by the weight of a dog.

Mrs Ross, who is based at home and mainly sells online, said the material also lasted longer and she offers a three-year guarantee.

She said: “The fabrics are waterproof but they are proper fabrics. Quite often you get a waterproof bed but it’s very slippery. We use upholstery fabrics that were developed for the healthcare industry. It means they are breathable, antibacterial and urine-resistant and they have washable covers. They are posh but practical.”

Mrs Ross also offers soft-top cushion beds, folding travel beds, bolster pillow beds and customised beds for different shapes and sizes. Her products range in price from £175 to £390.

Her buyers of the big beds have included the owners of retrievers, great Danes, Labradors, deerhounds and Rhodesian ridgebacks.

She is looking forward to Crufts. “It will offer us visibility,” said Mrs Ross. “It’s hugely expensive so I originally shied away from it but people in the industry said, ‘if you don’t go to Crufts, you don’t exist’.

“We want people to see the quality of bed that we’re producing. Some people are not keen on internet shopping and because we’re doing a slightly different thing with big dog beds people need to see them.”

“He was a long-haired dog and when he went out in wet weather he would come back up to his ears in mud. Moisture goes through to the core of the bed and both the dog and bed would be wet. That was the starting point.”

Mrs Ross, who is married to civil engineer Hamish, 48, found a suitable manufacturer and has the bed covers made by A Stitch in Twine in Wargrave.

She uses foam and memory foam made by the Foam Company in Didcot rather than polyster to prevent the bed from being flattened by the weight of a dog.

Mrs Ross, who is based at home and mainly sells online, said the material also lasted longer and she offers a three-year guarantee.

She said: “The fabrics are waterproof but they are proper fabrics. Quite often you get a waterproof bed but it’s very slippery. We use upholstery fabrics that were developed for the healthcare industry. It means they are breathable, antibacterial and urine-resistant and they have washable covers. They are posh but practical.”

Mrs Ross also offers soft-top cushion beds, folding travel beds, bolster pillow beds and customised beds for different shapes and sizes. Her products range in price from £175 to £390.

Her buyers of the big beds have included the owners of retrievers, great Danes, Labradors, deerhounds and Rhodesian ridgebacks.

She is looking forward to Crufts. “It will offer us visibility,” said Mrs Ross. “It’s hugely expensive so I originally shied away from it but people in the industry said, ‘if you don’t go to Crufts, you don’t exist’.

“We want people to see the quality of bed that we’re producing. Some people are not keen on internet shopping and because we’re doing a slightly different thing with big dog beds people need to see them.”

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