Every small prince or princess would love to wander around free, ears flapping in the wind, rhinestone puppy collar glistening in the sunlight. The reality is, though, that there are times when it's safer for them (or just more convenient for us) to travel in a protected way. But often, pet carriers only solve s specific problem; they might provide airline-approved cabin baggage requirements, they might provide a way to be carried on our backs or shoulders, they might provide a way to travel in a car. Rarely, however, do they provide more than one or two of these features.
It's why Princess Meredith thought that the Pet Pilot was such a great idea; it's many of these - and more - all rolled into one.
Like luggage trends for we two-legged folks, the Pet Pilot looks like a small piece of carry-on luggage - compact, rectangular, with a wheeled base and extending trolley handle and a cornucopia of little zippered compartments that all have their own function.
The Pilot comes with three zippered compartments that fold back to reveal mesh "windows" for your pet to breathe and see through (a small one on each side, and a large window in front that takes up nearly half the carrier itself. The mesh windows can also be zippered open to allow your prince to poke his head out while being rolled around.
On the back, a large zippered compartment opens to reveal huge padded backpack straps. You can convert the carrier to a dog backpack carrier in literally one quick step. This is fantastic, particularly for making your way through crowded airports or other heavily populated areas. (Goes without saying that your princess will also love their bird's-eye view of the action!)
Three other zippered compartments allow for storage of water bottles, treats, toys and leashes.
Inside the carrier, a padded "pet seat" gives your pet a bit of cushion during transport - but we'd be tempted to throw a small pillow or blanket in there as well, just for additional comfort. The pet seat is adjustable - by default, it rests about 2/3 of the way inside the carrier but can be removed and readjusted to the very bottom of the carrier to allow for bigger pets (like Princess Meredith). A collar or harness attachment rests inside to ensure your dog can't jump out if their "windows" are open. Additional straps can be connected to the front to allow a seatbelt to be looped through the carrier for car travel.
The hard sides make the carrier ideal for air travel, and the Pet Pilot's flexibility means that you can even remove the "pet seat" altogether and just use the carrier as you would any small carry-on luggage: packed full of your own things.
We loved the carrier's flexibility - its ability to turn into a backpack with very little effort scored big points with both the Princess and her mom - and the big windows were wonderful. Window size is a feature a lot of companies forget to maximize in their designs.
While the carrier fit the Princess pug without a problem (she hops in happily to go for a stroll) we'd hesitate to recommend the carrier for long trips for larger dogs. It's really best suited for tiny dogs if you're going to have the pet in there for hours at a time, particularly in the case of long road or air trips.
But for everyday urban travel, this carrier's a winner for teeny dogs right up to Princess-sized furkids! Four paws up for a brilliantly designed carrier.
You can find out more about GW Little from their web site at www.gwlittle.com.