Friday, April 20, 2012

How A Dog Created A Business!

"Legend and His Doggy Baggage"

A few weeks ago, I took my humans to the Super Pet Expo.  We saw all kinds of stuff.  I spent my allowance for the next few months! I got a new harness for my leash- bright red- looks great on my black fur.  My human bought a few T-shirts and mugs…with quotes like “Life is Short Play with Your Dog” and “I Love Dogs, it’s humans who annoy me!”  I’ve got him trained already!  

We stopped at a really cool vendor called “Doggie Baggage.”  I nudged my human to get me one of the big pieces and one to hold my important documents.  He hesitated, so I nudged him harder then went around and nudged Mom just a tad and it worked.   They met Debra Johnson who created the baggage pieces and travels around selling them.  She was one of the nicest people we met that day-
While my humans were shopping in her booth, I got the opportunity to interview her for a few minutes about Doggy Baggage.   Here’s what I learned from her.

“You know, I have to ask, ‘Has a pet ever changed your life?’ (my humans turn and smile-) I have heard humans claim that a dog or cat or horse had changed their life. Pets bring lots of unconditional love, companionship, laughter, and even tears.  They touch human lives in countless ways,” she says with a smile.  However, Debra Johnson never imagined that a dog would “change” her world to the extent it did.  (My human says this too!!)

In February 2008 LEGENDARY JUSTICE (Legend for short) joined her family. “He was the cutest little ball of fur with the biggest feet I’d ever seen,” Debra states.  They bonded immediately and training began on day two. Debra continues, “By the end of the week he was already sitting on command. I was proud!!  We spent all our time together, learning about his new surroundings, walking on a leash, playing ball and potty outside.  We were a team and went everywhere together!”

And then, out of the blue, her husband was transferred 300 miles away. After much thought and many discussions they decided to commute every other weekend. Debra stayed home and Bryan rented a house in Ft. Meyers. One weekend he would drive home and the next weekend she would head south, with Legend.  Perfect. How hard could it be?

“I found out on the first trip! Several hours into our jaunt, Legend and I pulled into a rest area for a potty break and the trouble began. I had grabbed the sturdiest box I could find and threw in all the supplies I needed for a puppy: water, food, toys, treats, dishes, brushes, collars, leashes, shampoo, and bedding. And I couldn’t find anything!! I had a squirming puppy under my arm and unpacking a box with the other. I just needed to find the water, clean up bags, a treat and a toy. By the time I found the ‘needed’ items the entire box had been unpacked and then needed to be repacked before we could continue our journey” Debra said.

It didn’t take but a couple more trips like this for her to realize there had to be a better way.  Upon returning from the fourth trip she pulled out the sewing machine and began to design a bag that would give immediate access to those “most needed” items and still hold everything else I needed for a rapidly growing puppy. She actually used a 32 ounce, plastic Gatorade bottle with a screw top, to measure the pockets because that is what she traveled with. Little by little and many samples later, Doggy Baggage was perfected and I had the ideal travel bag for Legend.

“Then a friend needed one and another needed one for 3 dogs and a friend of a friend wanted a smaller version for day trips and it finally dawned on me that this was a marketable product. Months of searching for the right manufacturer finally yielded results and ‘Doggy Baggage’ was born in October, 2009.  We offer 3 sizes to fit any pet owner’s needs. The small day bag is perfect for around town, doggy day care, or a day at the lake or beach. The large tote is ideal for extended travel and everyday storage and the duffel is perfect for the family with multiple pets, agility classes, and groomers. If you travel in a RV or boat, where storage space is limited, Doggy Baggage is essential,” says Debra.

Doggy Baggage products are made of 100% 18 ounce cotton canvas. It is durable, functional and stylish. We offer many fun prints and colors to fit any pet’s personality and we guarantee the finest quality materials and workmanship in each piece. Doggy Baggage is available online at  and a growing number of pet stores and boutiques across the US.
"This one is like the one I have"
Doggy Baggage is also perfect for everyday storage; simply rearrange the outside pockets to hold the items you use most at home like collars and leashes, brushes, and shampoo.  All your pets’ belongings are now organized and ready to go at a moment’s notice. 

“Did I mention we are a Florida based business?” she asks.  “Sometimes we have to evacuate but being ready for emergencies doesn’t mean just hurricanes. Fire, floods and unexpected family situations are all good reasons to prepare your pet.”  Doggy Baggage also has a “Pooch Pouch” designed to hold your immunization records and medications and will easily slip into any size bag.

Bryan is no longer in Ft Meyers. He’s working with me now. Look for us in upcoming pet expos and dog days events. We are really enjoying the traveling end of this new business and try to make as many public events as we do industry trade shows. Never, in a million years, would I have thought a dog could change my life to this extent, but Legend is completely responsible for my new business!!

Debra H. Johnson, Owner, Doggy Baggage, LLC,

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