This Is the Only Leash My Dog Can’t Break
If you have a dog whose strength tests your own, the Lasso brand rope leashes made in Puerto Rico are a surefire solution
Benny has grown into a big, big boy. He might be nine or ten months old at this point, but what’s not of question is his strength. This 60-pound Boxer-Beagle mix can drag me as I sit in a chair and we play tug with a toy. He will sit on the street corner if he does not wish to go in the direction I am trying to walk (usually, away from the park) and I cannot move him. When he sees one of his many neighborhood friends, human or dog, he is overcome with joy and darts toward them. He is, in a word, a stubborn but happy puppy who is much bigger than he can seemingly comprehend. And he is still growing.
When I bought him his first leash, he was teeny-tiny and easy to carry around. I knew exactly where to go to get the one I wanted, though: a coffee shop that carried a few boutique-y items. There I’d seen rope leashes and read that they were made in Puerto Rico by a brand called Lasso. While I handed over my debit card to spend $40 on my dog’s first piece of equipment, I felt a bit silly: Of course I would spend too much money to have a locally made leash that I thought was quite cute, especially when it seemed way too strong for the little guy at the moment.
It quickly became clear exactly why I’d spend that much on a leash: It could withstand Benny, who immediately made a tug toy of the leash with his sharp teeth but couldn’t rip through it. Meanwhile, he ate through a cheaper leash that my boyfriend bought within hours of us strapping it to his harness. Months and many pounds later, Benny finally ripped through his Lasso. While we waited for his new one to be delivered, he broke three more leashes: two with his teeth, one with his strength. We had to walk him for days on his broken Lasso, the only leash that could stand up to him. (This piece may make him sound like a menace, but he’s just a very sweet, energetic dog who loves everyone and never wants to stop playing.)
I wanted to find out how this local brand ended up making the only leash Benny cannot destroy, which led me to having coffee with Amber Lee Velez. She became involved with Lasso through her own business making bandanas for dogs, inspired by her adoption of a pitbull mix named Sparky. People were intimidated by him because of the unfair stigmas around pitbulls, and she wanted to put something cute on him in order to disarm them. The folks behind Lasso wanted to sell her bandanas on their site and eventually, after Hurricane Maria made it necessary for them to leave the business, they sold it to Velez. She and one other person now construct the rope leashes, which were inspired by ropes one uses to tie up boats. Now, they’re chic leashes.
Because they’re made with three intertwined ropes and the clips are equipped to spin in the right direction when the dogs get excited, keeping them from unwrapping, they’re super-durable. There are a few different designs and lengths, and the colors are fully customizable, too. And for $20, they’ll repair the leash if you send it back to them with the brass attached: a godsend for people with dogs like Benny, who are rough on their ropes.
After wasting money on subpar leashes, I’m feeling proud of my instincts when it came to that first purchase for Benny. Every dog is worth a boutique statement piece now and then — especially one this functional.