My dog Marshmallow is so clingy. She wants to be next to — or, better yet, on me — all the time. A true little lap dog, Marshmallow’s codependent dreams came true recently when we tested out a new product called the Roodie.
A blue pullover-style hoodie with an extremely large, zippable, front pocket, this successful Kickstarter project turned me into the mama kangaroo to Marshmallow’s joey. When I’m wearing this thing, I am also wearing her.
The front pouch on the hoodie is a very deep pocket, about 14 by 9 inches. Inside the pouch, there’s a removable lining — it comes in handy if your dog sheds a lot. A zippered pocket on the outside of the pouch means you can carry your phone, keys, treats, and/or poop bags in a separate pocket from your dog.
The maximum weight for the Roodie is about 15 1/2 pounds. When the folks at Roodie offered to send me a sweatshirt, my Marshmallow (a Jack Russell–American Eskimo–Poodle mix) was tipping the scales at exactly the max weight. I thought maybe she would be too big for the pouch, but when the shirt was delivered, I found she fit right in, and Marshy immediately snuggled down into the pocket.
Since then, I’ve done a lot of things with Marshmallow in the Roodie. I’ve watched TV, worked on my computer, Swiffered my house, and even gone for a couple of walks. From an ergonomic standpoint, the Roodie works best when I’m sitting, or walking for only a short period of time. Carrying a dog in the pouch makes the pocket hang quite low when the wearer is standing, so when you walk, the dog is basically bouncing off your thighs. It’s unpleasantly reminiscent of walking while heavily pregnant. The extra weight also puts a lot of pressure on your shoulders.
The hoodie’s seams have stood up well to the stress of carrying my 16-pound dog, and yes, that is over the maximum recommended weight of 15.43 pounds. A recent trip to the vet revealed Marshmallow has gained some weight during our review of the Roodie — something I attribute to her new habit of hanging out under my human baby’s highchair at meal times.
Wondering if my ergonomic issues had more to do with Marshmallow’s Cheerio steeling than with the Roodie’s design, I headed over to my sister’s place and borrowed her dog, Sophie, an 11-pound Shih Tzu. The 12-year-old pooch has always been attention seeking, spoiled, and cuddle obsessed, and although she was initially a little weirded out about being put in a pocket, within a few minutes she became so relaxed she actually fell asleep. The Roodie is definitely Sophie approved, but even though she’s 5 pounds lighter than Marshy, she still hung down over my thighs when I walked around, forcing me to waddle a bit.
Quality: B+. An 80/20 cotton-poly blend made in China, the hoodie looks comparable to sweatshirts you’d find at WalMart or Target, but the seams seem stronger. The lining in the hood is a nice touch, and the removable lining in the pouch is handy for catching dog hair. My main issue is with the drawstrings — rope-style and made of twisted string, they tend to catch on pet toenails. Once a string is pulled from the bunch they start to look ratty real quick. I would prefer a more traditional drawstring.
Style: Currently only available in blue, the Roodie is tailored for women. A female cut rather than a unisex design, it isn’t too baggy. According to the Roodie website, the sweatshirt still looks very stylish when worn without a pet in the pocket, but I have to disagree — all that extra bulk around my midsection is not a look I’m going for.
Creativity: A cute and unique idea.
Value: Originally priced at $99, the Roodies now range from $39 to $64, and at the lower price point it’s much easier to rationalize this investment in your pet’s comfort.
I think the Roodie will definitely come in handy during the winter months, as Marshmallow and Sophie are both known to freak out in the middle of a walk if their paws get too cold. For stationary activities or short strolls, I give the Roodie two paws up — but I do think it’s probably most useful for folks with even lighter pups. If you’ve got a featherweight Chihuahua or Yorkie at home, the Roodie is definitely for you.