One sensational San Francisco Bay Area summer afternoon, in 1999, I was cleaning the sand and seaweed out of my car following a day at the beach with Rosie, my Puli X rescue dog -- and best friend.
As I sweated and contorted, an idea exploded in my mind. I thought I'd go over to the Coroner's office and ask if they had an old body bag to give away.
I wanted to put impossibly long-haired and double-coated Rosie in it and zip it up to her chin after a day at the beach, dog park, or hiking when she was embedded with mud and fun-souvenirs.
I climbed over the seats and into the back pulling the uncooperative hose. I vacuumed. I cursed. I designed. I cursed. I planned.
After a grueling and EXPENSIVE 6 months of veterinarian consults, website building, business classes, business plans, accountants, patent lawyers, meetings with Chinese garment manufacturers in the San Francisco garment industry and their frustrated pattern makers -- the Dog Sack was born.
I sent one to everyone. . . Oprah, Martha, Bill, and heard back from all of them.
Oprah thought I should have been channeling my energy into something more globally worthwhile, The White House sent glossy 8 X 10s of Buddy the Chocolate Lab and a signed thank you note from Bill and Hill, and Martha sent a personal letter thanking me for her Dog Sacks, saying that she used them on her Chows to keep her airplane clean. Okay. There's a need that had never crossed my mind.
One day I gathered up all my courage and went into the city to Pets.com. This was - drum roll - the BIG TIME. We made our well-rehearsed presentation. The guy LOVED it!
I either got that reaction -- or the other one where they said it was the dumbest thing they'd ever seen and they were thinking of turning me in to the Humane Society. There was no in between.
The Pets.com guy said he'd order a thousand if I got UPC codes (bar codes), and to let him know when I did, so he could write the purchase order.
I drove home on cloud 9, the Rose and I floated over the Golden Gate Bridge.
I did it and called him back. He's not here! I'll have him call you when he gets back in! They said. Over and over.
That went on for 3 weeks. I was devastated. I had alerted the manufacturer but had not yet bought the fabric when one night the Breaking News in SF was that Pets.Com, and it's smarmy sock puppet, had gone belly-up.
Through it all, my Rosie was a star. Her demonstrations and modeling were Academy Award performances. She never complained and enjoyed the attention. She liked her Dog Sack.
About that time, Judi Dash called. Judi was a writer with a string of 21 syndicated papers and she wanted to do a spread on the Dog Sack. You better prepare your manufacturer, she said, and raved about the product.
Two weeks later was September 11, 2001. Everything changed. The dot com bubble began to implode. Nobody cared about a silly dog product.
Nor would editors print the story. I waited awhile, waited some more, then gave up and went back to work. Sob.
Three years later, while in the middle of packing to move to Mexico, Judi called and wanted to know if I was still in business and could she run the article. I thought about it for a nano-second but me and the Rose voted to take off for Lake Chapala with our worldly possessions instead.
This summer Rosie passed away, in my lap, on my patio, in Jocotepec, and I lost my show biz star and my best pal. She's buried under the guava tree.