Help finding a discontinued dog toy
December 7, 2006 9:28 AM   Subscribe

I need help finding a discontinued dog toy from Target.

My three year-old yellow lab Gus was a rescue dog. When we brought him home two years ago, we gave him a plush squeaky beaver that we bought from Target. I think it was the first toy that ever belonged to him. He loves the beaver--he carries it around the house with him and when he forgets where he left it, he'll run around in a panic looking for it. As gently as he treats the beaver, he is a lab, so eventually it gets destroyed. We bought a bunch, but we're on our last one now, and Target no longer sells the product. He doesn't respond this way to any other stuffed toy, so I'd really like to replace it if I can. The brand is Boots & Barkley, which is a Target private label.

Unfortunately, I don't have a product id number and no one at Target will talk to me without one. I've tried Target corporate and The Associated Merchandising Corporation (a Target company that does their product sourcing), but they just keep transferring me back to the consumer 800 number. I've tried eBay to no avail. I want to buy a lifetime supply of these beavers if I can find them again (think 60 or so). Does anyone have any ideas on how to track down a few cases of these toys? Or how to find the product id?

If I can't find them through Target, I was toying with the idea of having some custom made using this last beaver as a template. Is this feasible? Any recommendations on small run manufacturers who might be willing to accommodate me?
posted by gokart4xmas to Pets & Animals (11 answers total)
is it this one? if so, you could buy it, and get the product id number off of that, and then maybe have more luck with target.

i think this is a really sweet thing to do, and your dog is lucky to have you.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 9:51 AM on December 7, 2006

That's the right one! Unfortunately, the auction ended in April. But that gives me another avenue to search. Thanks!

And thanks for thinking it's sweet, not crazy.
posted by gokart4xmas at 10:00 AM on December 7, 2006

I have a friend who used to make and distribute her own line of dog toys. She may have a line on who the manufacturer of the toy was or may be able to reproduce it if necessary.

(Small problem is that tomorrow is her due date. Not sure if she is reachable.)
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:41 AM on December 7, 2006

Awwwwww. This reminds me of this commercial.

Won't Target tell you who the manufacturer was? Maybe if you put it in writing or direct the question to the President's Office they'll pay attention.

In the meantime, set up an ebay notifier email.

I really hope you find it and buy a crate of them for Gus!!
posted by loiseau at 11:56 AM on December 7, 2006

if you paid with a credit card/debit card, your local target may be able to pull up your receipt. you can get the DPCI (the product id number) from that receipt. depending on how long ago you bought the item. but even if you got the DPCI, it may not help you very much.

i used to do customer service for, so i did a little digging around for you. i called the target manufacturer info line and spoke with a supervisor there who gave me the dish.

as you know, boots & barkley is a target internal brand. there's no contact information that is listed for them -- no phone number, no website, not even an address.

i did manage to get a point of reference from her. she said that a company called three dog bakery ( carried boots & barkley items. they're a small company, and you may be able to get their distributor's information from them. i tried calling them, but there was no answer. their number is 1-800-4-TREATS.

i hope this is at least a jumping off point :) good luck with your search!
posted by kerning at 12:43 PM on December 7, 2006
posted by spock at 1:07 PM on December 7, 2006

Thanks so much for the inside info, kerning. Yeah, the fact that it's a Target internal brand is causing the most problems. I will try three dog bakery tomorrow, though.

Spock, that's a close one which I've seen, but the beaver I'm looking for doesn't have the long legs that the AKC toy has.
posted by gokart4xmas at 4:14 PM on December 7, 2006

Have you tried bringing Gus baby to Petsmart or Petco and seeing if he'll pick a new toy out? My buddy used to pick his own toys out of the bins.

posted by legotech at 9:10 PM on December 7, 2006

Well, I don't know if people are checking back now that this is off the front page, but the problem is solved. My husband bought the AKC beaver spock linked to above. When Gus has been given other stuffed toys that were exactly the same size and shape as his beaver (raccoons and hedgehogs), he has instantly shredded them. So when I saw the AKC beaver, I didn't think it had a chance, because it is much smaller than the regular beaver, has much longer legs, and a different tail. However, Gus has apparently been responding to the beaverness rather than the specific physical characteristics of the toy. He's contentedly squeaking on his new beaver with no signs of destroying it. Yay! Now I just need to figure out the cheapest way to get 60 of them so we never face a crisis like this again.
posted by gokart4xmas at 3:22 PM on December 8, 2006

posted by loiseau at 3:36 PM on December 10, 2006

Well, the beaver quest continues. While Gus loved the AKC beaver, it wasn't as durable as the Boots & Barkley one. Those long legs proved to be a problem, as once chewed they opened gaping holes in the body.

So I took kerning's advice and called Three Dog Bakery. They told me that they only made the Boots & Barkley dog treats, but they recommended I call Nanco-PetPal. That company sold off its plush toy division to a company called JakksPacific. I talked to a very nice woman there who told me that they do make the Boots & Barkley plush toys for Target. Not having an item number was a problem, though.

That eBay picture that misanthropicsarah posted came in handy, though, because the woman offered to show it to the design department to see if anyone recognized it.

Well, they don't make it any more and she seemed doubtful that they had any left sitting around. However, she pointed me to some other beaver toys they currently manufacture. Which ones? Well, the AKC beaver that spock linked to, of course.

So I think I've reached a dead end in the part of the quest that involves buying a forgotten crate of these things. However, there's still hope for Gus! JohnnyGun said he would pass my email address on to his friend who had a dog toy business. Fortunately, we now know the beaver doesn't have to be identical to the Boots & Barkley one, but instead just has to possess beaver characteristics. So my new focus is to have some custom made out of super-durable materials.

I've marked all of you as best answer, because everyone has contributed a piece of the puzzle so far. I plan to post a follow-up question about creating the ultimate indestructible toy beaver.
posted by gokart4xmas at 11:57 AM on December 11, 2006

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