The worst thing about something cute, is that sometimes there's an aspect of that cute thing, person, or animal that is so NOT cute it makes the whole package just seem pukety. Take for instance a puppy. I mean, puppies are adorable as shit when they're bounding towards you all fluffy and smelling like sunshine, but then they turn around and guess what's there? A nasty butthole. THE SHOCK OF IT ALL!
Thank God we live in a world where if there's something hideous on you, like a small puckered hole that pushes out feces once a day, there's someone out there who makes something to cover it up. Lauren Shumaker is that someone in this instance, she invented Rear Gear. When we came across her Etsy shop, so many questions rose to the surface about what caused her to say "ENOUGH!" when it came to pet buttholes, that we asked her a few questions.
VICE: How'd you come up with the idea for Rear Gear?
Lauren Shumaker: I had a roommate in college with a cat, and she had a favorite stance; standing proud on my homework, backside to my face. I thought to myself, wouldn't it just be torture for her to cover that up, and I never looked back.
Can you briefly break down what the process was like for getting the product licensed and actually made?
I found some local companies that could print and laser cut the individual units for me from recycled styrene, and some other local companies that supplied the remainder of the parts. It took many renderings, but I finally found the look I was going for. I also got a business licence, made my own website, and that helped me launch my product.
Did the idea for this come from a place of "I really hate the way dog buttholes look?"
I made Rear Gear as a novelty. It's meant for a good laugh and not intended for everyday use. With a tagline of "No More Mr. Brown Eye," I'd hope people wouldn't take me too seriously :)
How do dogs react to having things hung over their buttholes like that?
Mixed bag. Cats are an obvious no, but It's been about 50/50 with dogs. Some dogs don't even notice it's there, while others can't wait to rip the thing off. More than the actual function, they are meant to serve as a novelty and are funnier kept in the packaging in my mind.
Dogs like to sniff each other's butts, it's like their favorite thing to do. Do they get bummed when they go to sniff a butt and find a cupcake instead?
Hehe. Well, problem easily solved as my Rear Gears are not scented. I considered the idea, then was concerned about hypoallergenic issues with the scents on pets skin, so decided that wouldn't be best. We can imagine that they smell, but also wouldn't want to get too close to confirm if you pick up what i'm putting down.