Animals & Money: Buying time (and special equipment) for an older dog

Almost every time I walk my aging dog Jolly down the street in a special harness he uses for the stairs, I get stopped by other dog owners wondering where they can get one. Dogs, like people, seem to be living longer these days, but the market for the special tools you need to keep them comfortable has not quite kept up.

Some of the big pet retailers are catching on, but not fast enough. Pet catalog giant Drs. Fosters and Smith has an arthritis section, but the best product I've found so far is a seat-belt harness similar to the one they sell in another section. Before the harness Jolly would have scary slips; now he's slow, but fine. People who live in apartments without elevators desperately need something to keep their dogs safely walking up and down the stairs. Like many big pet stores, they're good for orthopedic beds and glucosamine supplements, but not that much specialty equipment.

I asked my vet if he had any recommendations for a special harness. He said he was just about to ask me where I got Jolly's harness to recommend to other patients. I'm in the market for a harness the gives him a little more support, so I did some research. Here's what I found: