How It All Started

It all started with a toy-obsessed Chocolate Lab named Dylan, a hip San Francisco loft and an idea that dog products could be better. In a time when dreams of making millions off every silly, Diana Flynn quit her job in hi-tech and set off to do something quite different. Otis and Claude was started with the simple mission of making design-driven products that are fun and functional for dogs and their humans. Since the initial success of the Bettie dog toy, the company has added several new lines of dog toys, bowls and accessories and has recently started selling hip products for cats. Enjoy and keep checking back for more cool stuff!

The unbelievable story of Otis and Claude

Otis knew he was in deep trouble. As a long-time wildlife tracker outside of Yellowstone, he knew all the noises of approaching animals--and he knew that crashing sound behind him was something huge. He spun to find that he was right: It was the hugest, meanest, ugliest humpbacked grizzly he'd ever seen. The bear was drooling and wild-eyed, and as he readied to scoop up the gnarled, Black Label-and-homemade-gin-soaked mountain man and pop him into his mouth like a happy-hour wienershnitzel, the unlikeliest thing happened: A little dog popped out of the brush on the other side of the clearing. Neither creature could believe it, but it was true: It was a white toy poodle.

Man and bear both froze, and Otis insists to this day that both he and the grizzly looked from each other to the dog and back at each other again, and that, just for an instant, a look of vague bemusement passed over that ol' moon-eyed bear's immense mug. While they were still motionless, the poodle trotted over to the griz with a jaunty gait and wagged her fuzzy tail. Then bear's shock passed. The griz roared a god-awful bellow, blasting stinky breath that momentarily straightened the poodle's curls, and took a swipe that sent her rolling across the clearing like one of those designer bowling balls Otis had seem folks use up in Butte. Otis thought this might be his moment to bust away and run, but before he knew better, the poodle was on her feet, snarling a ferocious, teeth-bared snarl, and barreling at the bear. And man that dog could move. As the bear swiped repeatedly at the air, the poodle dodged in and out of the bear's legs. It was like watching one of those Whack-A-Mole games, only the mole in this case was unhittable. Finally she circled around, ducked one more blow, and sunk her tiny teeth into the bear's rear ankle.

It must've been more surprise than actual pain, because a bear like that has a hide thicker than Astroturf. But the griz let out a yelp, turned, and took off for the brush with little fuzzball still attached to his ankle. Otis stood for what seemed like minutes, not breathing, thinking that maybe he'd imagined the whole thing and that he was long overdue to change the mash in his homemade still. And then the poodle came trotting out of the brush alone, headed right for Otis. He paused for a moment, thinking, then he picked her up, saw blood seeping from where the bear had hit her that first time, and said, "Damn, girl, you been clawed. Let's go clean you up."

The scars were permanent, and so the name stuck. Claude had a new cabin home, and Otis had the quickest, fiercest, bear bodyguard he'd ever seen.

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