In honor of 11 years with Popeye, the spunky (and sometimes punky) inspiration behind our small, family-run business, we're offering 11% off everything at KAMsnaps.com with coupon POPEYE during the month of July. (Not valid with other coupons.)
My husband and I took in a new foster puppy named Popeye. He was paralyzed from the waist down, meaning he couldn't use his hind legs and did not have control over his bowel or bladder. Having fostered about 50 rescue dogs by then, many of them special needs in some way, I thought, "No problem!"
I did my homework. We had a pet mobility cart for a previous dog so I knew where to get one for Popeye. I watched youtube videos on how to manually express a dog. I bought doggie diapers. I was prepared.
Or so I thought. As you can guess, I was utterly wrong.
Like so many things in life, nothing worked out as I planned. Popeye's original 2 carts weren't stable enough for him and kept toppling. The doggie diapers didn't stay on. Expressing a dog is a lot more difficult to figure out than watching some videos.
Not to mention issues I wasn't expecting at all. How his paralyzed legs and bum got scratched up from getting dragged around in the house. The extra stress on his muscles and joints. Unexplained severe allergies that made him contort his body even worse. Diarrhea.
I'm not ashamed to admit I reached a low point just a couple of weeks into his care. I still clearly remember breaking down in our hallway late one night from exhaustion, frustration, and a deep feeling of failure.
But this story has a happy ending. I spent the next many months trying to come up with a solution to each problem one by one. I had way more failures than successes but ultimately, I figured things out enough for life to run smoothly again (mostly).
For those who haven't seen it yet, this was a video I made of Popeye's first year with us. What you don't see are the many unglamorous aspects of caring for a special needs pet, but I hope the video makes it clear that it's all worth it.
I took Popeye in with the expectation that we would foster him for a few months while learning how best to care for him so that we could pass that info onto his forever adopters. Instead, 11 years, 50 more foster dogs, 8 thousand miles of hikes & walks, and 20 thousand diaper changes later, he is still with us. I thought we would help to change his life. Instead, he utterly changed ours.
KAMsnaps.com didn't exist before Popeye. In fact, very few people outside of large commercial manufacturers were even aware of plastic snaps. Back then, the only way to install plastic snaps was with the table press and they were much more expensive than they are today.
Like many others, my first snap experience was with the metal snaps that you hammer in. I learned to use a sewing machine so I could make my own cloth belly bands and leg protectors for Popeye, and I remember nights pounding in those snaps, trying to be as quiet as possible so I wouldn't wake my sleeping husband. Half the snaps fell off because I did such a terrible job of setting them correctly, so I eventually invested in the table press and plastic snaps.
Other pet owners saw what I had made (you can see some of the gear in the video) and became interested in the snaps as well. I established a relationship with the manufacturers of KAM snaps, and started distributing the snaps to local residents who I knew from the pet community to help raise funds to cover the medical costs of caring for our foster dogs. Slowly, I was getting the word out about plastic snaps.
What started out on a very personal scale ultimately became KAMsnaps.com. Today, KAM snaps are very well known and our site has become a leading resource for many, including competitors who sell on other sites. Often people mistakenly think ours is a big company, but we still remain a very intimate mom & pop (& dogs & once in a while, cats) shop.
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