Vance invents pioneering Dog Dock for owners out shopping

An NI man, who was adopted from Vietnam in the 1970s, has invented a pioneering dog dock for owners out shopping.

Vance McElhinney created the Dog Dock after being frustrated at having nowhere to secure his dog while he went into shops.

Having spent years developing it, he has many sold and installed outside service station forecourts, cafes and community centres with demand on the rise.

The Dog Dock is securely screwed into a wall and a lead handle can be inserted into the dock so the dog is

Vance McElhinnney.

The 46-year-old, who was adopted by Cyril and Canon Liz McElhinney in 1975 and recently found his real mother in Vietnam, has applied for a spot on Dragon’s Den.

He is eager to raise funds to help bring his wife and the new baby he has yet to meet home to Northern Ireland.


Vance’s wife, who is also from Vietnam, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl eight months ago. But because of the COVID 19 pandemic, plans to bring the mother and daughter back to Northern Ireland have had to be put on hold.

Vance called his young daughter Liz after his late mother Canon Liz McElhinney, who was a Church of Ireland minister in Lurgan.

Held tightly by the Dog Dock.

Vance revealed that a few years ago, his brother David had mentioned about making a gadget that would secure dogs while people were shopping.

“I had a good think about it and how it could be put into practice,” said Vance.

“I went to Vietnam on holiday and while I was there got a crude prototype made up in a factory over there.”


I knew I would need help with this so I decided to contact Invest NI for a grant £5000. I was delighted that when they assessed the paperwork they said it was a great idea and approved the grant,” said Vance.

Vance McElhinney's Dog Dock.

He then worked with Darren Haughey, a design engineer at the Southern Regional College in Portadown, who helped Vance created a prototype.

Vance said the prototype was in plastic and with that, he went to a childhood friend, Stuart Abraham at Graham Engineering in Lurgan.

“I worked with them for four or five months until I felt the shape of the Dog Dock was right and I was happy with it,” said Vance.

After testing, the Dog Dock was ready and it was first installed outside the Mace supermarket in Waringstown.


A puppy is secured with the Dog Dock outside a shop.

Vance has since had the Dog Dock installed in a number of places around Lurgan, including shops, Maloney’s Cafe, Icthus Cafe and the Jethro Centre.

He also has had positive reactions from at least one national supermarket chain and the Dog Dock, which costs £45, has been a big hit with personal users as well.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vance has not been able to properly market his product but has applied to go on the TV show Dragon’s Den to get some financial investment.

“Unfortunately with the Coronavirus it’s been harder to sell because of social distancing but now that’s coming to an end hopefully I can market it properly,” said Vance.

If you want more information, contact Vance via his Facebook page


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Dog Dock.

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