Monday, March 21, 2011

Open letter to Jolly Pets, the best dog toy manufacturer in the world

I started to blog about how much Sensi loves his Jolly Pet toys and my first sentence was "I should write a thank you letter to Jolly Pets." The company really deserves it, and so, I'll get two birds with one stone here — a blogpost about the greatest dog toys in the world and a letter I can send to them. So here it goes:

Dear Jolly Pets,

I cannot thank you enough for the years and years of happiness your super durable, well-designed toys have given my dog. He just received his third teaser ball this weekend to celebrate his eighth birthday — that's his fourth Jolly Pets toy over the years.

The deflated soccer ball
Our story begins when Sensi, our pit/lab mix, became about a year old. I went to Petsmart and dropped $16 on a large soccer ball dog toy. The instant I returned home, as I was carrying the toy up the stairs to the front door, Sensi — who was outside — reached up to grab the toy. As soon as his teeth touched it, the ball deflated. Within a half hour, it was shredded into inch-by-inch pieces. "What a waste of $16," I said to my husband. "I'm never doing that again."

From then on, I began searching for durable dog toys. By summer, I found Jolly Pets. I ordered the 8-inch Teaser Ball out of a catalog. I'd never seen Sensi so tantalized and happy in his life. He paraded that ball around the house like it was made out of gold and diamonds. He would not let that ball out of his sight, making sure to carry it upstairs to bed every night — where he curled up his body around it in the dog bed — and back downstairs every morning. When we let him outside for potty breaks, he would carry the ball to the door and drop it just beside the entry way so it was right there for him upon his return inside.

8-inch Jolly Pets Teaser Ball
That ball lasted for two years. Considering my dog's strong jaws and drive to chew hard, the tenacity with which he tries to figure out puzzles ('I am going to get that inside ball out, whatever it takes!') and our encouragement to beat up on his toys however he sees fit, that's a miracle. A toy that lasts two years in our household and is not made of steel is a miracle — there's no other way to put it.

The day that he finally chewed through the tough plastic exterior, after years of strategic chewing, and carefully extracted the inner-ball was definitely one of the proudest moments in his whole life. He ran through the entire basement apartment, showed everyone his long awaited and worked for 'inner ball' and then made his rounds upstairs, making sure everyone saw his special prize. After about a half hour of showing off, he promptly chewed the inner ball to shreds. Whatever. It was his day, his toy, and he'd been waiting for years to sink his teeth into that soft-plastic inner ball.

For Christmas that year, I got him the really big dog version of the teaser ball. It's a 10-inch ball and is considerably larger than the 8-inch one. When he unwrapped the package, he was so excited and proud of his supersized version of his favorite toy in the world. It was comparable to telling a 10-year-old he's going on a trip to Disney World. Like with the 8-inch, he paraded it around, slept with it, played with it nonstop, etc.
The Christmas photo, thanks to the 10-inch Teaser Ball

In fact, I took Christmas photos of him that year but I couldn't get him to pose. He wasn't thrilled about the whole ordeal and he wasn't cooperating. On day two of the photo shoot — day one having ended in frustration and failure — I finally got the idea to give him his teaser ball for the photo. He gently rested his chin on the ball and voila! I got the picture I'd been waiting for. All he needed was his special toy.

Within a week, he'd figured out that the holes on this larger ball were big enough to stick his paws in. Using a crafty combination of both paws and his mouth, he learned how to extract the inner ball. Later that month, I wrote Jolly Pets about the situation and asked if there was any way I could purchase some additional inner-balls to replace the one he'd ripped out. The people at Jolly Pets were so wonderful to deal with; they were kind, amused by the story and shipped me a box of five or so inner-balls with a cute note that said "We hope these keep your dog busy for a little while!"

Nowadays, the big teaser ball is pulled out whenever we have something to stuff inside it. Sensi has mastered the art of removing items from the big ball, though, so it doesn't keep him busy for long.

For Sensi's eighth birthday this weekend, we decided to replace the 8-inch Teaser Ball that kept him busy for so many years such a long time ago. I can't remember the last time I saw my dog so happy. He played with that ball until he was so tired that he could hardly stay awake. He'd fall asleep with it in his dog bed and every few minutes, swat a paw at it or put his mouth on it. It was like he just couldn't stop himself from playing with the ball, even when he really wanted to sleep. He begged to bring the ball on the couch for a snooze (we let him) and of course, spent the night with his body curled up around the ball in his dog bed. I bet he'll play with it all day while we're gone too.

Throughout the years, we've also purchased a Jolly Pets toy designed for water. That's probably the only other toy that's come close to rivaling how much Sensi loves his Teaser Ball.

So, dear Jolly Pets, I cannot thank you enough. Thank you for years upon years of keeping my dog happy. Thank you for creating a toy that is both a challenge to my dog's brain and brawn. Thank you for creating a quality, durable product that can hold up to the most intense chewers. Thank you for the kindness your employees have me treated me with. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Want to learn more about Jolly Pets products? 
Jolly Pets is a division of Horseman's Pride. Click here to visit Horsemen's Pride, Inc.
Find the full array of Jolly Pets products online by clicking here, Jolly Pets
Go straight to the Teaser Ball

Shopping tips
Ordering online or through pet catalogs is usually the best deal. Because I didn't think ahead to order one, I picked up the 8-inch Jolly Ball yesterday from Petco in Auburn Hills for a pretty penny — $22 — and there was one left on the shelf. You can find much better deals online and in catalogs. But when it comes right down to it, every penny I spent was worth it to see Sensi with his special toy yesterday.
Teaser balls are also available in smaller sizes for smaller dogs.


  1. My friend's Jacks love jolly balls and jolly eggs...they are the only things that they haven't been able to destroy! I think I might let Cassie loose on one after reading your letter...I wasn't sure a larger dog would enjoy them this much, but clearly Sensi does and maybe Cassie will too!

  2. Love the Sensi pictures!

    Darn the luck, my dogs are toy ravagers. The jolly ball got neutered in minutes.

    Might give the Teaser ball a try though...

  3. Jess, I definitely recommend the Teaser Ball for big dogs. The 8-inch size is perfect for a medium to large sized dog. If you have a giant breed, like a St. Bernard, Mastiff or Great Dane, go with the 10-inch.

    Lynn, the Teaser Ball is made of a really tough hard plastic. I know some of the Jolly Pets products are the soft-plastic, but not this one. Like I said, it took Sensi about two years of strategic chewing to break open the ball enough to get that inner ball out!

  4. hey that's great now ask your self
    where is it made? what is it made
    of? are you slowly poisoning
    you Dog.? the same thing that
    happened to our kids like lead cadmium in
    toys is done all the time in pet toys check out some
    of the plastic's info web info you will be surprised Just an FYI

  5. Is this made in China? I'm very concerned about the toxins coming over and if this is being chewed, I wouldn't want any of that being ingested by my dog. I'd love to see you feature some made in the USA products!