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Dog-Themed Clothing, Gift Company Nets National Award

Owned by a Seal Beach couple and based in Los Alamitos, Dog is Good aims to spread "Dogvergnugen" -- a made up word that means the joy that comes from owning a pooch.

Every dog has its day.

And Los Alamitos’ Dog is Good has been having lots of them lately. Dog is Good – the apparel and gift line for pooch lovers founded by a Seal Beach couple -- was recently named a national Success Story by the business counseling organization, Score.

Jon Kurtz, a retired Navy Captain who served as the commander of the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station until 2009, runs the business with Gila, his wife of almost 24 years.

In an interview with Patch Monday, Jon Kurtz said, “It’s just always great to be recognized, and I think it’s a validation that we’re on the right track and that we’re delivering the message we set out to do.”

That message, Jon said, is a word that he and his wife invented to describe the joy that comes from owning a dog -- “Dogvergnugen,” pronounced "dog-feh-new-gen. It’s a combination of Dog and a German word that means “pleasure.”

“That’s our mission: deliver Dogvergnugen,” he said. “And we do that with clever or humorous designs. We do that with poignant sentiment.”

Some of Dog is Good's slogans:

  • I like big mutts and I cannot lie
  • Dog Walker Union
  • Never walk alone

Dog is Good was invited to include their tees in the 2008 Emmy Award Gift Baskets, their "Dog is Green" design was selected as the VIP gift for buyers at Pet Fashion Week and their "DIG Bling tee" was picked as "Editor's Choice" by Modern Dog Magazine.

According to Kurtz, in 2005, his wife, a dog trainer, said she didn’t feel there was a brand of fitted clothing specifically for dog lovers. He said he remembers her saying she felt "there’s nothing really worthy that she deemed to wear to express her love of dog.” ... (and) we thought,  we can be pretty funny and pretty clever.”

And, after getting everything in order, "Dog is Good" was born in 2007. The name is a play on the saying  “God is good.” Since then, Dog is Good has licensed the brand to a number of manufacturers that have displayed the wares in hundreds of stores in the U.S. and Canada, according to Jon Kurtz.

“We’ve got companies doing coasters and floor mats and wall art and pillows and just all kinds of stuff," he said. "It’s just an ever growing list of products. We have a plan, and we’re marching down the road to achieve it.”

According to Kurtz, the plan is to build a “dog-lifestyle brand that people recognize internationally.”

And, he said, dog-owners are certainly recognizing it.

“They get it,” he added, “We were definitely able to connect with anyone that loves dogs. ... It just resonates with them."

The company is working hard to keep the brand growing. Gila recently attended the New York International Gift Fair, promoting their products. Dog is good is also planning to attend the Global Pet Expo in Orlando in February and Super Zoo the National Expo for Pet Retailers in Las Vegas in July.

According to Jon Kurtz, the company has five full-time employees and five part-time employees. The Kurtzes themselves have a 15 year-old daughter and two dogs -- a Japanese Chin named Henry and a hound-pointer mix named Sasha.

And sometimes the dogs keep them company at their Los Alamitos warehouse on Cerritos Avenue. 

Jon Kurtz' favorite slogan? “It’s all fun and games until someone ends up in a cone" -- He said that's been one of their most popular ones.

For more information, visit www.dogisgood.com.

Here are some of the closest stores that stock stores that stock "Dog is Good" wares.

Hapa Collective
132 Main Street
Seal Beach, CA, 90740
(562) 296-8578

Blue Moon Boutique

5256 Lampson Ave
Garden Grove, CA 92845
(714) 893-8275

Sandy Schroeder contributed to this story.

Seth Eaker February 04, 2013 at 01:06 PM
They do a great job on clothing! Also, Jon and Gila are awesome people. Very desrving of the SCORE award. Having been a part of the community through Jon's service at the Naval Weapons Station, it is so fantastic to have them become leading entrepreneurs as well in our town!
Hapa Collective February 04, 2013 at 06:49 PM
A fabulous company and Jon and Gila are wonderful. We wish them a huge congratulations on their SCORE award!
Barbara Adler February 07, 2013 at 02:05 AM
Congratulations! I live vicariously through you and couldn't be happier for you! Well deserved!!!

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