Cool Vests aid Iraq's military dogs

An entrepreneur's chilly vests help keep the military's four-legged helpers cool in the scorching desert.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)

chilly_dogs.03.jpg
For $129, your dog - like Fortune Small Business mascot Jack - can wear a Chilly Dog Cool Vest.
ray_booska.03.jpg
Glacier Tek's Ray Booska

(Fortune Small Business) -- The U.S. military canines that sniff the roads of Iraq and Afghanistan for deadly bombs tend to be German shepherds and Labradors. Bred for cooler climates, they suffer in the blistering heat. And when they're hot, they pant more, which diminishes their ability to detect explosives, putting American soldiers at risk. By the end of the summer, however, when temperatures can reach 135° F in Afghanistan, Ray Booska will have outfitted all the military dogs in the Middle East with his company's RPCM Chilly Dog Cool Vest, which stays at 59° F for three hours.

Glacier Tek, Booska's company, doesn't have a government contract to equip the dogs, just a desire to support U.S. troops and their four-legged friends. "These dogs save the lives of our sons and daughters," says Booska, 43, "and we're going to do everything we can to help them."

He became concerned about hot dogs when the Space Coast War Dog Association contacted him. The group, which supports military working dogs, wondered whether Glacier Tek, based in West Melbourne, Fla., could develop a dog product similar to its cooling vests for humans.

Booska, a former Army military police officer, tested several models on his retired police dog, Fritz, before settling on the final design: a shell made of polyester webbing filled with a nontoxic coolant that works like gel ice packs. The vests recharge in 15 minutes when placed in a freezer or body of water that is less than 60° F. The dog vest retails for $129, and it accounts for 17% of Glacier Tek's annual revenues of about $3 million.

As of mid-July, Booska had donated 500 of the vests to handlers in the war zones, the costs of which are covered by Glacier Tek and donors who are sending contributions to supportmilitaryworkingdogs.orgTo top of page

Mush, puppy!: Originally designed for extreme athletes, Diggler's scooters have gone to the dogs.

War demons haunt Iraq vet's new venture

Sniffing out sales: A pet apparel business watches sales soar after securing a deal with Wal-Mart.

Bombs away: Startup aims to defuse nuclear warheads
To write a note to the editor about this article, click here.




QMy dream is to launch my own business someday. Now that it's time to choose a major, I'm debating if I should major in entrepreneurial studies or major in engineering to acquire a set of skills first. Is majoring in entrepreneurship a good choice? More
Get Answer
- Spate, Orange, Calif.

Sponsors
More Galleries
Meet the kids dressed as Oscars red carpet stars By now, you've seen the red carpet looks from the 2015 Oscars. But you haven't seen 5 year-olds dressed up like A-listers at the awards, until now. Photographer Tricia Messeroux and designer Andrea Pitter recreated the pint-sized looks in just 36 hours. More
Flying economy doesn't have to be miserable For those willing to shell out just a little extra, several à la carte services offer experiences usually reserved for First Class passengers. More
Consumer Reports' Top Picks - American cars are back The magazine's favorite cars include three American models for the first time in years, thanks to a big boost from Tesla. More