aving two Border Collies can be very challenging at times. And having two Border Collies in New York City can be VERY VERY challenging all the time. They always need something to do, and if they don't have something to do, they do one of two things. One, bark at me. Like not just a bark and here and there, nope, Pharrell in particular will get right in front of me, look deep into my soul and bark NON-STOP. The only way to make him stop is if I do what he wants, and that is usually going to the park, going for a walk, or doing in the backyard and playing with the ball for about an hour. Two, lay down in the corner, somewhere where they know I can see them and they can see me and give me this death look. Like the kinda look where you feel like you are the one that put the dogs in those situations on a ASPCA ads. It’s probably the worst thing that ever happened to me. SO, I try so hard to make neither of these things happen. But I run low on ideas sometimes, or I am just so busy that I don't have the time to entertain them for 6 hours straight.
I am also always on the lookout for new toys or games that will keep my sheep herding, ball crazy, smarter than me Border Collies busy for more than an 15 minutes. I was doing my search one night and I came across True Dogs LLC, the have the masterminds behind SodaPup & USA-K9! Let me start off by saying that all of their toys are made here in the USA and they are all non-toxic, that means you don't have to worry about what your fur-baby is putting in their months! They make the best treat dispensing toys out there, they take Pharrell and Rosie FURever to get treats out, which makes me soooo happy! I also just truly love the brand and people behind this company and what they stand for. One of the amazing things that this great company dose besides making amazing and quality toys for our fur-babies is giving back! There Rescue2 program donates products to dog shelters in communities everywhere!
We had a chance to ask these amazing dog lovers a few questions about how they started, about their passion and so much more! See their answers below!
How did you get started?
After a long career in the sporting goods industry, I was interested in starting my own business. My wife and I are major dog lovers and I saw an opportunity for innovation in the pet industry so we launched True Dogs, LLC. We started with the SodaPup brand and found early success with the concept. We followed up with the USA-K9 brand. The brands have very different personalities. This is because dog lovers/owners are not a homogenous group. We try to build brands that speak to specific types of consumers. The brand focus informs product design. For instance, the SodaPup brand is fun and colorful and accessible. The designs are inspired by our favorite iconic American junk foods. (soda, popcorn, popsicles, candy, coffee etc...). The USA-K9 brand is inspired by military objects and the color palette is red, white and blue. These two brands speak to different types of dog lovers. The thread that connects all of our brands is dog love.
It was important to us to build our products in the USA. It's not easy to do, but we have figured out a way to be competitive with cheap China imports. We use premium natural rubber compounds that we have developed specifically for our products. Our materials are engineered for durability and tear strength. Our material is exceptionally durable and also natural, sustainable, and biodegradable. This sets us apart from most of our competitors who use thermoplastic materials and other synthetic materials that are petroleum based and won't ever biodegrade. Our material is also FDA-compliant and non-toxic (of course)
Tell us about your pups?
We have three dogs. Queso is a mystery mix that we got as a puppy at the Longmont, CO Humane Society. We were told that she was a lab mix but it's pretty clear there's no lab in her! She's more of a husky/aikita mix. She's the ruler of the roost. Sugarplum is our second dog. She came from the Pine Ridge Native American reservation in South Dakota. We got her as a pup at the Longmont Humane Society. She is a bundle of energy and loves to play (ALL the time). Luckily, she has several playmates.
Our third dog, "Buddy", is a handsome male Black Lab that we got through Safe Harbor Lab Rescue in Golden, CO. Buddy was a stray in OK and was in pretty rough shape when we got him. He has responded incredibly well to his new home and playmates. It's hard to believe this boy was 2 days away from being put down when he was rescued.
Jason also has a Mastiff!
ny others that influence your work?
The majority of my career has been in product development and product innovation for some amazing brands (Nike, Under Armour, Crocs). I'm inspired by people and companies that think and act differently. We are trying to build a business that reflects our values. We are committed to USA manufacturing. We're committed to making environmentally friendly choices in terms of our materials and packaging. Even as a small company, we strive to give back to dog-related charities. SodaPup donates to shelters. USA-K9 gives to MWDTSA - an organization that supports American military working dogs (and their service member handlers) that are deployed overseas.
What keeps you inspired?
We're inspired by people and their dogs. We believe that dogs make us better human beings. They teach us unconditional love. They get us out of our chairs and out of doors. They make us more social. They make us more active. Dog lovers are a very diverse group of people. We want to dig deeper into the distinct communities of dog lovers and then build products that speak more directly to each of these communities. By doing this, we hope to enhance consumers' experiences with their dogs.
The next time you are on the lookout for some new toys for the fur-baby, please check out SodaPup and USA- K9! Your pup will love you for it and you will feel good knowing that you are giving them the best of the best!
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