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Shiny Happy Pets Issue

jon and gila kurtz, dog is goodby sniff interview peter leonowitz There’s no better way to start a day than with a good dose of Dogvergnügen. A term coined by Jon and Gila Kurtz, co-founders of Dog is Good®, it describes how great you feel when you’re with your dog. “Dogvergnügen is the fuel that drives our business — and brings happiness to our lives — everyday,” Gila explains. A sartorial movement with a sense of humor, Dog is Good began when entrepreneurial pet parent Gila recognized a void in the marketplace and decided to take things into her own hands. Now, clothing printed with poignant messages like “Never Walk Alone” or humorous ones like, “I like big mutts and I cannot lie,” are making pet lovers all over the nation wear their Dogvergnügen on their sleeves. Since launching, the company has expanded its line to include gift items and housewares with a similar “cheeky chic” aesthetic, as well as sister lines devoted to felines (Cat is Good®) and equines (Horse is Good®). “When we launched Dog is Good in 2007, our timing couldn’t have been better,” says Jon. “Pet ownership was growing at a crazy rate. We set out to be more than an apparel company — we set out to be a lifestyle brand.” Gila’s personal Dogvergnügen peaks when she arrives home: “It’s the excitement I feel driving up to the house. It goes beyond having a happy feeling; there’s a physiological change too. My heart races and I begin to laugh even before I open the door.” What’s waiting for her is a quirky 8-year-old Japanese Chin. “Henry is the most unique dog I have ever known. He is a dog who believes he’s a cat,” Gila laughs. “He sits on top of things, cleans his face and even purrs!” Their last dog, a Dalmatian-Labrador mix named Zoe, was all dog, and then some. “Naturally, a lot of training comes with high-strung breeds like that,” says Gila, “and since I was pregnant with our now 16-year-old daughter Abby when Zoe was just a pup, we worked very closely with a trainer so we’d all be ready when the baby came. Zoe was trained to follow commands and I was trained to maintain the behaviors that she had just learned. My experience with her was the foray into putting my passion for dogs to work. I later pursued a successful career as a professional dog trainer, which ultimately led to the creation of Dog is Good.” The other four-legged family member sharing their home is a yellow Labrador Retriever named BOLO, (short for Be On the Look Out), a puppy they are raising in partnership with Leader Dogs for the Blind. “The BOLO project is our way of raising awareness of the remarkable work that service dogs do for people every day, “ Gila explains. “BOLO is the happiest dog in the world,” says Jon. “She charges out of her crate with such exuberance, it’s impossible not to laugh. She has a great full-body wag.” Despite this daily dose of Dogvergnügen, Jon and Gila, like most business owners, sometimes need a boost to let them know they’re on the right track. One appreciative pet lover once approached them at a conference and “told us that we have no idea how much we had impacted her life, and to keep in mind the fact that we touch countless lives every day,” Gila says. “That single moment solidified a large aspect of why Dog is Good Photo by Luna Azul Photography for Dog is Good “We set out to be more than an apparel company — we set out to be a lifestyle brand.” is worth every ounce of effort,” Jon added. “It reminds us why we do what we do.” Dogvergnügen follows Jon and Gila to work — literally, since canine coworkers are always welcome at Dog is Good. “Having our dogs with us at work is extremely beneficial to the entire team,” explains Gila. “When people are around who they love, they’re happier.” the shiny happy pets issue 61


Shiny Happy Pets Issue
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