Bailey dog trailer
(photo by Tim Ford)

I’ve finally been taking advantage of an impulse-buy I made a while ago.

Well, “impulse” may not be wholly accurate. I’ve had my eye on one for a while now.

I’m talking, of course, about a dog trailer.

I live car-free with a dog, which is not as impractical as you might think, but it does limit your options somewhat. You can’t take your dog on BC Transit, and some cabbies will refuse you (always best to check and book up front with a dispatcher).

A dog trailer would allow me to finally traverse the area with my pitbull/corgi cross, a delightful pooch who is all heart but no legs, and finds long distances tough.

If you’re a dog owner, you’ve probably seen, like I have, that these trailers are usually pretty pricey, hovering around $200-400 for a new one. You can lurk on Used Victoria or Facebook Marketplace, but they get snapped up fairly quickly.

But I caved when I caught an online sale, and managed to get a new one for about $120.

As soon as I clicked that “add to cart” button, my mind raced with possibilities. I could take my dog on little excursions out to the West Shore. Even have a weekend trip to Salt Spring or one of the other Islands.

I could do anything.

I even nicknamed it in my head: the Bailey-Traily, in honour of my little bundle of goodness, Bailey.

So the trailer arrived. Bailey the pit-gi took to it about as well as you might expect. She did not resist, but her very expressive face broadcast long-suffering malaise and dissatisfaction.

Bailey in Trailer
(photo by Tim Ford)

Yet as the ride progressed, Bailey took to the trailer like an Infanta to a palanquin. I half-expected to look back and see her fanning herself with a palm frond, nodding her head to the people around us and soaking in their adulation.

I fared less well.

My bicycle is not, shall we say, overpowered – a cruiser with 4-speeds. And I am not, shall we say, overpowered either – a cruiserweight of limited muscle mass.

In fact, mass was a persistent theme on that maiden voyage. I thought long and hard about masses. The mass of my surprisingly heavy pitbull-corgi, at 13 kilograms. The mass of the trailer. The laws of inertia. The massive hernia I was probably developing.

Nevertheless, I persisted. I was going to get my money’s worth out of this trailer, by jupiter.

Going uphill, I saw the face of God a couple of times, but I made it. But if I thought that was alarming, what really caught me off guard was the downhill.

Look, I love riding my bike. I get giddy like a kid when I fly downhill. And I love my dog. I get giddy like a kid when she does literally anything.

But combining the two? 

As I went downhill, I was alarmed when the bike trailer caught an updraft of wind, and I not only slowed to a crawl, but – I swear I am not making this up – I actually felt the wheels momentarily shift BACKWARDS.

Yes, acting like a sail on a windsurfer, my Bailey-Traily quickly became the HMS Oh Crap. My bike trailer lurched backwards in the gust of air, and my dreams of riding to Salt Spring became dust in the wind.

Bailey, of course, was nonplussed, staring down at me as I flailed about, doubtless wondering why her gilded carriage had ceased it’s forward movement. Mush, her gaze seemed to say. MUSH, human.

Yet despite this tragicomic first attempt…I am still hugely enjoying this purchase. I do not regret it.

But let me caution any fellow dog owners – set your sights modestly, and be realistic about your physical limitations.

Maybe one day I’ll work my way up to hauling that trailer to Salt Spring Island. But I won’t get there simply on an impulse buy and some big ideas. It’ll take perseverance, exercise, and a lot of patience. Plus the love of a very, very good dog.

That’s a good lesson for anyone.

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