I recently purchased a very interesting mail-order catalog of dog (and a few cat) supplies from about 1975. Titled Everything for the Pampered Pet, the catalog was published by Du Say’s, a New Orleans pet business. Here’s the cover:
Du Say’s for Pets (originally Du Say’s Pet & Seed Company) was founded in the 1930s by Charles Albert Dusse; the store name is the phonetic pronunciation of his surname. Charles was an enterprising fellow who sold both animals and their supplies and equipment. Details about his operation are hard to come by, but my research located one article in the 29 July 1947 edition of the Texas Panhandle daily the Amarillo Globe Times titled “New Orleans Pet Shop Would Buy Panhandle Pests.” This was on the front page! It reported that the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce had received a letter of inquiry from C. A. Dusse of the “Du-Say Pet Supply Company” expressing his desire to purchase prairie dogs “trapped when babies and hand raised, as we understand it is rather difficult to tame old, adult ones.” Subsequent activity on this matter by either the Chamber or Dusse is unknown, but it does offer a glimpse into the enterprising spirit of the pet shop owner.
By the 1960s, the business had two retail locations, one in downtown New Orleans — the building apparently still stands, now occupied by a restaurant called “Ye Olde College Inn” — and the other at the Lakeside Shopping Center in nearby Metaire. Around that time, one of Charles’ three sons, Richard, took over the business.
Richard’s was the hand behind the Pampered Pets catalog. I share a few pages in this post; others will appear later. The array of novelties was directed primarily to the owners of small dogs, as in the case of the elegant dog bed on the cover with its happy Pomeranian demonstrator. But as you look through these pages, I want you to focus on one particular thing: the unsung canine model who was pressed into service. Meet Pooch, Richard Dusse’s own dog.
Sometime after the catalog was published, Richard Dusse’s remarkable catalog was highlighted in a wire-service newspaper article that was picked up in newspaper around the country. Sometimes the article included the photo below; sometimes the photo appeared as filler alone. Here it is. Richard Dusse’s expression doesn’t look much like that of a warm-hearted dog lover. He holds out his dog “Pooch,” a chihuahua-terrier mix who sports a hat, shades and a collar that looks like a shirt collar with a bow tie.
Now look at the picture promoting the “Ivy League” hat below. Don’t you think that Pooch looks fetching (no pun intended)? Pooch also models a “Jewish Yamulka” (sic), a “Calypso” hat adorned with tiny fake fruit and appears as Santa Paws, a cowboy and a French sailor. Like any good supermodel, Pooch kept his face deadpan for the photographer.
Pooch also appears above demonstrating the “Piddlin’ Plug,” a red vinyl “fire hydrant” intended as a house training aid. Below, he was pressed into service as the model for the “Rain or Shine Coat” and the “Fisherman’s Raincoat,” below. He was loaded into the “Pet Tote Basket” to demonstrate its size. At least Pooch didn’t have to wear the Doggie Life Jacket.
In the two-page spread below Pooch models a “Happy Hound” bed, the “Curl-Up Bed” and the four-poster bed on the catalog cover. He is stuffed into the “Doggy Bathrobe,” a “Pet Playsuit” and a pair of “Doggie Pajamas.” The identity of the Pomeranian in the high chair is unknown — just another catalog model.
There are more treasures to be had in the pages of the Du Say’s catalog. It represents the full flowering of the modern pet industry. I’ll be sharing pages on dog fashions and collars in the future, along with a feature on the evolution of dog toys. But for now, let’s think fondly of little Pooch, the unsung canine supermodel of Everything for Pampered Pets.