Get in Behind Kelvin – The Thermokennel, a Kickstarter
Get in Behind Kelvin – The Thermokennel, a Kickstarter to Change the Lives of Kiwi Dogs!
A dog’s life is about to get a whole lot better thanks to a brilliant bit of Kiwi innovation.
Our hardest working farm hands, the renowned New Zealand working dog, has always had a tough but rewarding job.
All day out in the weather mustering sheep and keeping the farmer company, only to spend the night under a makeshift shelter or kennel, on an old blanket for warmth – that’s the way it’s been since this nation was founded, but one Kiwi entrepreneur thinks it is time for a change.
Enter Kelvin – the Thermokennel, the perfect outdoor home for a loyal companion, no matter what that conditions or climate.
Rosie Todhunter has partnered with Locus Research to bring all the modern insulation benefits of the human home to the working dog, coming just at the time public interest in animal welfare has hit a new high.
“We believe the Thermokennel will seriously improve the productivity of New Zealand farms and give these dogs a better life. And not only our beloved dogs on the farms, any dog who spends the nights outside,” Rosie says.
“Just like people, dogs can freeze to death or suffer from heat stroke. Uncomfortable temperatures can release stress hormones and seriously impact the wellbeing of a dog and ultimately their effectiveness on the farm.
“But beyond all that, the Thermokennel is a great way to say, ‘thank you’ to these loyal and lovable companions,” she said.
The Thermokennel story started with Tony, Rosie's grandfather, who was a sheep farmer in the Canterbury. He knew that a warm, well-rested dog would eat less, could work for longer, and heal more quickly from injuries and ailments. He came up with the idea for an insulated dog kennel and the idea was further progressed by his granddaughter Rosie after his passing.
Rosie, a sheep and beef farmer herself, teamed up with Tauranga-based product development company Locus Research to fully redesign and develop Kelvin – the Thermokennel for production.
After meeting each other at the NZ National Agricultural Fieldays where Rosie presented her first prototype, they embarked on a development process that resulted in a durable mono-form design with a removable floor and front panel.
Insulation technology has come a long way in recent years and all this knowledge has been brought to bear in the creation of the Thermokennel.
The main body and floor are constructed of two layers of UV resistant tough plastic (PE) filled with 50mm of high insulating foam (PU). This combination acts like a solid thermal barrier keeping the cold out and the heat in. The kennel is completed with a removable front panel, for those hot summer days, and a raised plywood floorboard for your dog to sleep on.
The door opening is covered with transparent flaps, similar to those used in walk-in freezers and cool stores. They make it easy for your dog to walk in and out while minimising heat loss.
The result is a lightweight kennel that's durable enough for life on the farm but still comfortable enough to give your dog a good night's sleep.
Prototypes have met and exceeded the expected thermal performance of the chosen materials. The kennel meets AsureQuality's recommended environment temperature range for boarding kennels.
Now, with manufacturing partners lined up, the company is looking for the funding to get into production and has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help raise funds for tooling and initial production.
“We’ve had massive encouragement for the Kelvin – the Thermokennel concept, and now it is time to turn that enthusiasm into production – I hope that people will get behind us in our drive for funding and that anyone who would like to support the farming community will share this with their networks also,” Rosie says.
“Up until this point Kelvin – the Thermokennel has been 100% self-funded start-up for the love of dogs. By pledging now, you are helping to kickstart a small, unique, animal-loving company.”