Text: Roberta Fischli
Pictures: Maurice Haas
“Our girl has to look after her hips,” says David Eikamp as he opens the trunk of his brown SUV. He unscrews the fastener of the silver-colored transit crate and carefully places the dog onto the ground, explaining that as golden retrievers often have trouble with their hips, he always prefers to lift her down from the back of the car. Eikamp flips the trunk closed and reveals that a friend of his recently had a car accident — “with our dog in the back.” The father of two grins as he watches the young dog disappear into the forest with a yelp, before adding: “It doesn’t seem to have bothered her too much.”
Entrepreneur Eikamp, his wife (who is a pediatrician) and their two children acquired the dog three years ago, and since then they have been walking Happy in this patch of woodland near the village of Cham, Switzerland, almost daily. The crate he selected to transport his pet in the car is a model manufactured by the Swiss brand 4pets. “I wanted a dog crate that was safe and animal-friendly, wouldn’t take up too much space and was easy to get in and out of the car,” explains Eikamp. He has been very happy with his choice from day one. He points out the aluminum tubing frame, which also blends in nicely with the styling of his car, and says, “I have absolutely no complaints.”
Such unconditional satisfaction is one of the nicest compliments you can pay a functional, everyday item, explains Tribecraft’s Nico Spinelli. It’s more than ten years since the team first developed the dog crate system for commercial production in a range of sizes and models, and Tribecraft has been continuously updating the products for 4pets ever since.
Tribecraft’s eye for timeless design did not go unremarked, either, and lots of the dog crates now commercially available bear a striking resemblance to 4pets products: “The similarity is sometimes so great that not even experts can tell the difference at first glance,” says Spinelli. While competing models may often be cheaper than the original, they fall short on quality. In response to this turn of events 4pets’ has developed cheaper models to complement the ProLine range (which is aimed at professionals like the police and emergency services); these have fewer features, but they make no concessions when it comes to quality.
Some private customers nonetheless opt for a professional crate, and David Eikamp is one of them; he is adamant that he is not prepared to compromise on safety. The family like going for walks, “but when we go on longer trips, we sometimes have to take her in the car as well, and unfortunately, accidents can happen — even to the best of us.” He looks over to Happy and adds, “but at least we have the dog crate with the best protection available.” The young hound, which has been obediently trotting along beside him, leaps into a stream with a joyful bark and starts swimming through the brown ooze with all her might. Eikamp shakes his head with a rueful laugh and says: “It’s an added bonus that the crate is so easy to clean.”