Our Story

Shelly & the Vir-Chew-Ly Indestructible Dog Leash

MuttGear, LLC. was born out of the experience of our company Founder, Joslin Larson. Joslin tells the story of Shelly, the inspiration behind the Vir-Chew-Ly Indestructible Leash.

Our Very Own "Lassie"

The runt of the litter, Shelly was small, sweet, and perfect. My sister and I loved her instantly. For years, we had watched Lassie on TV and wanted a Lassie of our own. After a strong begging campaign, our parents finally agreed to buy us a "mini-Lassie," a sheltie. Shelly was everything we wanted - fun, smart, and protective - only smaller.

The Accident

One day when I was 12 years old, Shelly was killed by a car after she had chewed through yet another leash. I can still remember holding her as her spirit left her body. Shelly wasn't just a pet; she was our companion and our confidant. She loved us unconditionally. I've never forgotten that afternoon.

Serving as an Inspiration

It was the memory of Shelly's unconditional love that helped me work through some personal tragedies and abuse and encouraged me to own dogs again. In 2008, Shelly became the inspiration for the Vir-Chew-Ly Indestructible Leash made by MuttGear, LLC - "Keeping Dogs Safe, One Leash at a Time." Every leash I make is a tribute to Shelly, and the love, support, and friendship that dogs provide us every day.

Rediscovering a Love for Dogs

In 2003, nearly twenty years after Shelly's death, I decided to bring dogs back into my life. I brought home Jake, an Australian Shepherd. Jake's a chewer. Rawhide, shoes, towels - you name it and he will chew it. One of his favorite "chew toys" was leashes. Nylon or leather, he went through dozens of leashes in rapid succession. Despite his chewing, Jake brought me such joy and healing that I decided to get another Australian Shepherd, Judo.

Trying to find what wasn't there

Two chewers and several hundred dollars later, I got fed up with the leashes I was finding on the market. Even $25 couplers didn't work. Jake would just chew through his and Judo's straps and I would find them sitting in front of the door of whatever coffee shop or store I had walked into. Going back to the pet store, my only other option was a chain link. I went to the hardware store. After some trial and error, I developed a leash using aircraft cable, carabiners, and fasteners. It wasn't pretty but it was functional and Jake couldn't chew through it.

Taking Action

So I did it: I made a virtually indestructible leash that could help me prevent losing another dog. Then what? I started selling my Vir-Chew-Ly Indestructible Leashes to local pet stores which quickly let to nationwide accounts and online through amazon.com.

Giving Back 

It has been my wish and a dream come true to help keep dogs safe with a product my dogs needed.  To have the chance to help other loving dog owners help keep their pets safe makes both me and Shelly smile!