A SCOTTISH seamstress has designed the UK’s first ever canine motorcycle bodysuit.
Aileen Perry, who is exhibiting her products at the opening of Crufts tomorrow (Thu), spends 16 hours a day creating bespoke made-to-measure pooch onesies for dog-lovers across the world.
She was recently approached by a motorbike enthusiast who wanted his trusty labrador to be protected when he took her out in a sidecar.
And Aileen, from Elgin, Moray, managed to come up with Britain’s first ever canine Kevlar motorbike suit, costing about £145, for the hairy biker.
Steve Hawley, from Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, used to hate leaving his five-year-old Labrador Renee at home when he went out on his bike.
He decided to buy a sidecar which would allow him to bring his pooch on his adventures, but could only find “doggles” – eyewear for dogs – as a form of protection.
He got in touch with Aileen and challenged her to create a bespoke, all-in-one suit for his pooch which would protect her if the worst were to happen.
After flying to England for a personal fitting, Aileen spent two weeks finding all the materials she would need for the unique creation.
And two weeks later she presented him with her product – a “perfect fit” Kevlar undersuit.
Support worker Steve, 32, said: “I hated leaving my dog at home whenever I fancied a ride out in my motorcycle.
“She began to try and keep up with the bike whenever I rode away, then lagging behind and watching heartbroken as I disappeared around the corner.
“I know I would never fully enjoy a motorbike ride unless Renee was with me, so I went about finding a motorcycle and sidecar outfit.”
He continued: “All that was left for me to do was to make sure Renee was safe during our travels. I’ve planned a tour around the country this year, so the possibility of ending up in some sort of accident is very real.
“I started looking for suitable onesies for dogs but only found things that would keep her warm, not protected. That’s when I stumbled across K9 CleanCoats and decided to get in touch.
“Renee’s Kevlar coat fits perfectly and I can tell she is much more comfortable when we go out for rides now. She’ll start by sitting up and looking where we’re going but after a while will lie down for a snooze.”
He added: “This year I’m planning on driving from Land’s End to John O’Groats, as well as other trips out, and I wouldn’t be bothering if I couldn’t take my dog.
“I can now load up the motorcycle with a tent, sleeping bag and dog and set off knowing that my best friend is as safe as she can possibly be.”
He joked: “We do get some funny looks when I’m driving along, with a lot of people trying to take photographs – it’s great.”
Aileen said: “The hardest part was finding the Kevlar, because most suppliers just sell 50m rolls.
“A local fabric shop came to the rescue and, after figuring out how to best work with the material, I managed to make the outfit.
“It’s the first time this has been done in the UK, and now I have other clients approaching me wanting the same thing.”
Aileen began to make her unique doggy designs in 2014, and has now had orders from as far away as New Zealand and Canada.
The dog onesies, which retail for between £35 and £50, feature a range of designs including stars and stripes, pirates, the Union Jack and traditional Scots tartan.