Bryan Reisberg can’t go a day without hearing someone yell, “Is that Maxine?” They’re referring to his internet-famous corgi who explores the streets of New York City with him—while stopping for the occasional starstruck selfie—riding in the backpack Reisberg designed and named after her.

View Their Journey

The Maxine One was born of necessity when the Metro Transit Authority banned dogs from riding the subway in 2016 unless “enclosed in a container.” New Yorkers got creative, trying everything from designer purses to large shopping bags with cut-out paw holes to avoid a pricy fine.

Determined to keep bringing Max to work with him, Reisberg started brainstorming ways to keep her comfortable on their daily commute. A regular tote bag didn’t evenly disperse her weight, and she fell out of the first backpack he tried. “I knew I could do this better,” says Reisberg, who then began developing his own pet backpack to give other pet parents a safer solution.

Using Maxine’s devoted social media following to nudge open a few doors, Reisberg and his wife, Alex, found a manufacturer who could help bring their vision to life and got to work building prototypes. It was important to them to include features they hadn’t found in other products: thicker fabric and sturdy handles to ensure all the pressure isn’t put on the shoulder straps when hoisting pets into place, neck support for pups who doze off on their way home from a long day at the office, even a tail port.  

“It’s different,” explains Reisberg, who notes the backpack is also great for dogs with mobility issues. “I’m not trying to make the same thing that somebody else is making.”

When the Maxine One made its debut, it sold out in just four minutes and demand has remained high. Reisberg hopes to expand to accommodate more sizes in the future.

“I didn’t see a pot of gold, that’s not why I did this,” Reisberg says. “Every day is surreal and weird, and we feel so fortunate. Every day, we pinch ourselves.”

While many content creators on social media gauge success by their follower count (Max recently reached 1 million on Instagram) or celebrity interactions (Ed Sheeran is a fan), Reisberg loves hearing from people who are making memories with their pets. One woman shared a story about her sick pup who was able to take one last amazing hike with their family before dying just a few days later.

“That one always gets me,” says Reisberg.

Maxine’s Instagram (@madmax_fluffyroad) is flooded with messages from people across the country taking their dogs on epic adventures in their new Little Chonk backpack—by train, scooter and motorcycle, to beaches and mountaintops and everywhere in between.

“I used to think the best feeling in the world was telling a good joke or getting a good laugh,” says Reisberg. “But even better is getting messages like, ‘you changed my life.’ That’s crazy.”

Some of our staffers share their favorite spots to explore with their furry friends—and what they don’t leave home without!

Enzo the dog outside Kanab, Utah
Enzo outside Kanab, Utah.
Adam Parascandola

Emergency carrying sling

One of my favorites is Bunting Trail. It climbs to the top of the Vermilion Cliffs for an amazing view of Kanab, Utah, and the surrounding area. You always want to have plenty of water for yourself and your dogs! And an emergency carrying sling, like the Airlift from Fido Protection, is essential if you do wilderness or mountain hiking, especially with medium to large dogs. I also recommend a GPS collar (try Tractive, Fitbark or Fi) just in case your furry family member gets away from you—even if it doesn’t work immediately, it will pick up once your dog reaches somewhere with a signal. 
—Adam Parascandola | Vice president, Animal Rescue Team

Frey the dog near Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Frey and Amanda near Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.
Amanda Bengtsson

Tick repellent

Hiking Shenandoah National Park was fantastic! It’s one of few national parks that allow dogs on the trails and the park has a perfect combination of great forest sniffs, waterfalls and streams for cooling off and steep hills for climbing. I always bring a 20-foot leash with me on hikes to let my dog, Frey, sniff and explore—but be sure to shorten long leashes when encountering fellow hikers! I also make sure a chemical-free tick and flea repellent like Tickless or Wondercide is hooked to his collar before we hit the forest trails. 
—Amanda Bengtsson | Account manager, paid media

Kona the dog hiking at Presumpscot River Preserve, Maine
Kona hiking at Presumpscot River Preserve, Maine.
Danielle Strandson


One of my favorite places to take my dog is the Presumpscot River Preserve in Portland, Maine. There are miles of trails with a few areas that have direct access to the river. We keep two pairs of dog booties around so we always have one ready—I tried so many and the ones from Canada Pooch were the only ones that stayed on Kona’s feet. They’re great for protecting from road salt and cold snow in the winter, and mud other times of the year! 
—Danielle Strandson | Manager, social media

Dogs Balto and Elsa in Hualapai Mountain Park, Arizona
Balto and Elsa in Hualapai Mountain Park, Arizona.
Grace Kahler

No-pull harness

Hualapai Mountain Park is my favorite oasis to escape the Mojave Desert heat with my dogs, Balto and Elsa. The high elevations and conifer forests offer a challenging hike with opportunities to see elk, mule deer, horned lizards and tarantulas. Dogs must be on-leash while hiking, and I recommend a no-pull harness like the one from Blue-9 or Wilderdog. It’s also important to pack plenty of water and hike early in the morning to avoid dangerous temperatures during summer! 
—Grace Kahler | Field manager, Wildlife Protection

Avery the dog at the Rogue River, Oregon
Avery at the Rogue River, Oregon.
Haley Stewart

Treat pouch

There are a ton of great hikes you can do with your dog along the Blue Ridge Parkway—we take Avery to Craggy Gardens all the time! It's relatively close to the city but still feels remote and has amazing views of the hills. We also love going to the Rogue River in Oregon. My favorite accessory is a hip pack that makes the perfect treat pouch. And for camping pups, themed PJs are adorable for those who need an extra layer on cold nights in the tent. Check out Tooth & Honey
—Haley Stewart | Program manager, public policy

Koda the dog and her owner in a field.
Heidi and Koda in Kent Park, Iowa.
Heidi Schmitt

First aid kit

One of our favorite places to explore is Kent Park in Iowa. Some of our must-have items are a poop bag holder, pet water bottle and plenty of treats. We also keep a pet first aid kit (there are tons of options online, or you can DIY) in the trunk and use a waterproof seat protector (like those from WeatherTech) for easy cleanup on rainy days. 
—Heidi Schmitt | Specialist, HumanePro

Ed the dog kayaking in White Rock Lake, Texas
Ed kayaking in White Rock Lake, Texas.
Kelsey Ivey

Life jacket

We always put a life jacket on our pups, even if they are expert swimmers, because you never know when your dog might get fatigued or have an accidental injury that could impair their paddling. You should choose one that offers chin support (such as those from Outward Hound or Frisco by Chewy) to keep their heads above water, especially if you have a "top-heavy" breed that can’t swim well, like a bulldog. We especially like these life jackets because they have a handle at the top that makes lifting a dog in and out of a kayak easier! 
—Kelsey Ivey | Senior strategist, web marketing

Emmett and his owner on a hike.
Emmett and Melissa at Grandad Bluff, Wisconsin.
Melissa Tedrowe

Water bottle

Our local favorite here in La Crosse, Wisconsin is Grandad Bluff. Just a couple miles outside of town, it’s close enough for a quick but challenging hike after work, which we do several times a week. And we never go anywhere without our PupFlask
—Melissa Tedrowe | Midwest regional director, State Affairs

Dogs Charlie and Dahlia wear their doggles
Charlie and Dahlia at White Sands National Park, New Mexico.
Tyler Winckler


One of our favorite desert destinations is White Sands National Park—it’s a place like no other where our pups love to roll in the sand and explore the seemingly endless gypsum sand dunes. As temperatures here often exceed 100 degrees and there is little to no shade, having ample water and sun protection are a must. Having a German shepherd that is genetically predisposed for eye issues, we never leave our house without our favorite dog goggles from Rex Specs!  
—Tyler Winckler | Senior coordinator, Outreach, Engagement, and Training

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