Our Story: From Fire to Toys

Hi, I am Mike Deering. I build Doghoztoyz Tug and Fetch dog toys, in Ojai, CA, from retired fire hose. 

Doghoztoyz and the pet care business,  of which I am a partner, is my labor of love. From watching our Sissy and Travis play, as well as our clients’ dogs, I saw the need for more durable toys. So, while teaching myself to sew on an industrial sewing machine, I built prototypes. We tested them on our dogs, our clients’ dogs, and Humane Society of Ventura County dogs. We even expanded our testing network to include Canine Companions for Independence and LabAdore Retrievers Rescue, Inc., based out of Guilford, Vermont. From near and far, feedback has been enthusiastic!!

 In the midst of this, on the evening of December 4, 2017, the Thomas Fire started and stubbornly wreaked turmoil and destruction on Ventura and Santa Barbara County and 8500 firefighters worked into January, 2018, to end this monster’s grip on our communities. Firefighters and inmate hand crews from as near as Los Angeles County to as far away as Albany, Oregon and Draper, Utah, stationed on the citrus property where we live. I saw the massive amounts of fire hose used for this fire piled ten feet high in a local park, waiting to be cleaned, inventoried, and rolled up to be put back on the engine for the return trip to Draper, Utah. But whether the end of service life for this hose was the Thomas Fire, or some other fire, the hose that helped firefighters save the day for our communities, can be repurposed into toys and enjoyed by dogs and their parents everywhere.

And, just as the Ojai, Ventura, and Santa Barbara communities rose from the ashes like the mythical Phoenix, so did the idea for the company, Doghoztoyz.

 Before retired fire hose is built to form a Doghoztoyz toy, a good machine wash and dry is done, and the soot and ash that we are all so fond of, is long gone. From there, I build Doghoztoyz, “tough enough for fun.”