Health and safety regulations, which many think are the bane of life in modern Britain, have influenced pretty much everything we do. Now, the dreaded words are being applied to the simple game of fetch with your pet dog.
Safestix – a rubber substitute for, well, a stick – have hit the shelves in the UK amid advice that real sticks can be harmful to your dog’s health and prevent any unnecessary claims on your dog insurance.
The 2ft long pliable toy was dreamt up by Paul Blair, a sergeant in the Army, after Razzle, his four year old Jack Russell terrier, was hurt during a game of fetch.
After failing to find a safe alternative to a piece of wood, 39 year old Blair spent 18 months with designers, vets, and his wife Helen, 29, to make the toy and hopes that it will be a hit during the run up to Christmas.
“I was just throwing a normal stick for my Jack Russell. He ran on to it in an awkward way and a splinter came off and punctured the inside of his mouth.”
“I started researching similar injuries online and found that they are very common so I decided to do something about it.”
Fending off possible criticism usually levelled at health and safety measures, he commented:
“I’m not trying to be the fun police but I do want to get the safety message out to educate dog owners about the dangers of throwing sticks.”
Convinced that he was on to a good thing, the Parachute Regiment sergeant put every penny of his savings into the project, and also managed to get support from his friends and family.
He now plans to retire from his 16 year long career in the Army to develop the Safestix in the United States and Europe.
Photographs from safestix.co.uk