If you have a dog, you likely have (or have at least heard of) Kong chew toys. They’re those indestructible rubber items, often fillable with treats, which your dog will gnaw on forever. Did you know that the Kong chew you was designed by a mechanic with inspiration from an old Volkswagen suspension part?
Back in 1970, repair shop owner Joe Markham was in an area of Denver, Colorado prone to break-ins. He reached out to the police, but they suggested that Joe get a dog. He did that, and his adopted pup Fritz came home with him. This dog apparently loved to chew on anything it could get its teeth on. Markham wanted to find ways to get him to stop eating rocks.
Joe was wrenching away on an old bus one day when he heard his dog in the background. Fritz had found a rubber axle stop and begun gnashing away. The part easily held up to the dog’s chewing and Joe knew he had found a solution to his problem.
He wanted to contact Volkswagen to order a ton of the parts, but that wasn’t happening. Instead, he turned to rubber experts and a proper chemical make-up was concocted to put these dog toy/parts into production. That’s how Kong toys came to be when they launched in 1976.
So if you have a pup, recently rescued a dog, or have an old boy or lady, and you are looking for a new toy, grab that Kong and think about how it relates to a dog named Fritz, a mechanic named Joe, and Volkswagen suspension parts.
Here’s a bonus pic of my dog Pearl, who clearly doesn’t understand how to use her large pillow: