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      News — toys

      The Magic & Mystery of the Miraculous Mochi Ball

      The Magic & Mystery of the Miraculous Mochi Ball

      Last summer, Eun Sun Park, a longtime School For The Dogs client, approached me asking if we'd be interested in selling these little felted balls in our small shop on East 2nd Street.  She was calling them "Mochi" balls because of their resemblance to Mochi ice cream,  she had been making by hand, and her two Shih Tzus loved them. I was skeptical... They didn't look like much and, even without marking them up hardly at all, we were going to have to charge more than $20 per ball. Would people really want to spend that much on a tiny bit of fluff with a squeaker inside? I said we'd take a few on a trial basis. 
      There was no way I could've expected what happened next: Every dog that tried one of these little balls became obsessed with it.
      "Mochi" balls are made from all-natural wool and dyed with organic Tumeric and Beets. I asked Eun Sun to tell me about how these balls came to exist. 
      eun sun

      What gave you the idea to start making your Mochi balls? 

      It all started because of my two lovely pups, Sofie and Mustang. I've been buying many different toys for them and one day, I realized that they are dogs who would care more about the scent of an object than its appearance. Most toys I found at pet stores were factory-made and seem to lack any natural scent that dogs would like.

      I looked for a material that is natural, organic and chemical free. I carefully selected wool from a farm where they treat their sheep humanely and shear them without cruelty, since I strongly believed the happiness would transfer to the material itself and dogs would definitely recognize the difference. Dogs have that kind of sixth sense!

      It was also important to me that I make a safe toy -- something they could chew and rip apart without it being a concern. Sofie and Mustang love chewing and ripping things and I was always worried about chemically produced fabric or dyes in their toys.

      Why do you think dogs go so crazy for them?

      It must be the natural scent of the wool and the chewy texture. Dogs like to sniff our shoes and our clothes to find out where we went during the day. I think they instinctively love to find out where things are coming from. Most city dogs have very few chances to meet farm animals or visit natural places in their life. I believe playing with Mochi ball gives them a chance to sniff their happy farm friends and must evoke feelings of being in the nature.

      This is the main reason of using a premium wool that never touched any harsh chemical during its processing. It is also important for me to make sure the wool is coming from farmers who appreciate animal welfare and give lots of love to their sheep.  

      I also think that dogs like them because the Mochi ball is softer than regular tennis balls, and it's very easy for them to produce a squeak.  

      What is the best feedback you've gotten from people who've gotten them from their dogs?

      It always makes me happy when I see a dog's first Mochi play time. And it makes me even happier when I hear from people that even months later the Mochi Ball is still their favorite toy. Dogs don’t speak but they deliver their messages with gestures and facial expressions. I am thankful for all my customers who show me how smiley their dogs get after playing with their Mochi balls. 

      I have a Shetland Sheepdog customer named Hanu who didn’t really care much about toys before. She fell in love with Mochi balls immediately and plays with them every day and night. Her human mom told me that Hanu will bring her a Mochi ball when she wakes up in the morning to play fetch and also brings it when she comes home from work.  It is a pleasure to hear that our toy can help a dog bond with his people. 

      I also think it's cute when people tell me that their dogs hide their Mochi balls in secret spots, or treat them preciously and won’t let anyone touch them.

      mochi bill

      Is there another dog product invention up your sleeve for the future?

      We would like to add more variable color and texture options for Mochi Ball. We will keep continue to find out what dogs will like to play and wants.  

      Our second goal is to introduce beneficial ingredient through toy. There are many dogs who gets unbalanced food for their entire lives and they have dog parents who don’t care about it until the dog gets health issues. But I see the importance of ingredients in food and also in toys. I want our best friends to be healthy and happy, and I hope that I can make toys that can help keep them that way.