a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Tshirt Tuesday Tales: Doggone Good and Cabana Crates and All Those Things

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Tshirt Tuesday Tales: Doggone Good and Cabana Crates and All Those Things

T-shirt tales? Because every t-shirt tells a story, don't it.
And I have so very many of them. Shirts. And stories. ---- Whaaaaat??

All T-Shirt Tales

SUMMARY: Early crate innovator and supplier of so many things Dog.

Way back when I started agility. 1996? 1997? One competitor, Elizabeth Hyenga, another local like me, invented a lightweight, very sturdy, foldable crate so that we didn't all need to haul around heavy xpens or heavy foldable wire crates or bulky not-foldable VariKennel crates. She called them Cabana Crates. At first, she sold them under her business name of Doggone Good! straight to locals at trials. With every batch she made (she worked with a manufacturer who actually made them), she improved the design, which I admired. 

I started agility life with only an x-pen (exercise pen), late 1995. For Remington: Tall, heavy, awkward. Because who wants to leave their dog in a tiny ol' crate all day long at events?! But Remington taught me a lesson about that (see tomorrow's post...after it's posted), which brought me to understanding about crates. Still, her crates were pricey and I already had the x-pen. At some point, I became aware of Cabana Crates and I believe that I already knew Elizabeth and her Corgi, and I figured that, if I were to ever buy a crate, that would be my choice. Luxury AND pretty colors.

After Jake joined me, at events I put Remington and him into the same x-pen. Which worked for exactly 3 competition weekends, and then a big fight at the onset of the fourth such weekend propelled me to buy my first-ever crate (also see tomorrow's post), a Cabana Crate of course. on the spot: Gorgeous teal and purple, exactly my colors! Sized for Remington!

A splurge. On a thing for a dog. That we'd use only on agility weekends, pft, surely there wouldn't be that many (hahahahaha little did I know...). I think it was about $160, which in 2021 would be $255. Huge expenditure. (Compare to now, when I can buy a large wire crate for under $50. And folding soft crates for a lot  lot lot less than that. A huge splurge.)

But I liked it so much that I eventually bought a smaller one for Jake, ditching that huge heavy awkward nasty x-pen-- and then another when Boost came along.  

Tika sitting and looking out the front, Boost in the middle sitting and looking out the back,
and Jake lying down and looking out the front.

Back to DoggoneGood. 

Elizabeth started the business largely because she needed something that she could do from home while raising a young child instead of working for someone else, somewhere else.  When her crates and her bait bags sold well, she branched out into other cool things for dogs, and eventually moved her business into a warehouse and online, and a couple times a year held an open house at the warehouse where you didn't have to order through the web. Very popular events. And she ensured quality materials and quality products, so she did a lot of business. (I swear that I once took photos at the event, but I haven't found them yet--might be just film still--)

Her warehouse was just up the road from where I live now. Of course I attended them all and came away with handfuls of things each time. 

Like more Riot Tugs (because will all that tugging, they'd wear out!). Purple of course! To match the crates! Boost loved them and Tika liked them. That was our go-to warm-up tug toy while waiting for my run, not too close to the ring. (Not sure that they were around when I was competing with Jake, but maybe.)

Or bait bags (purple, of course). Lots of books  and videos on dog training. Lots of other fun toys. Lots and lots and lots. Like the bikini chicken. Who wouldn't want one of these sweethearts?!  (Apparently they are no longer made? Such a loss of a cultural icon.)

Or gear bags of various sizes (I think they came only in black). She carried other brands, like Outward Hound, but made some, too--just don't have a photo at the moment.  

Dog-related craft supplies. Dog treats. Dog training gear. Smaller agility-related items. And on and on.

Ad from 2004

One time, at a huge Bark In The Park event near downtown San Jose, still pretty early in my agility career, I wore one of her bait bags on my belt, and realized after I'd wandered around a lot among the hundreds of people and dogs and activities and booths allllll over the park that I no longer had the bag, because the bag had slipped off  its clip (still on my belt). Figured it was lost.  I walked by her booth on the way out--and she called to me--not only had someone returned it to her booth, but she knew whose it was (because I had bought it from her, of course, at some point in the past, and she knew I was here and there weren't likely to be a lot of agility people there), AND she had added a new clip, and furthermore glued it in so securely that it has never come out again. No charge.

One time, I dropped by her warehouse in desperate need of something, and we chatted, and then she handed me this t-shirt. For being a good customer.

Sadly for me, sometime in the last few years, she sold the business and they no longer have the huge variety, just the some bags and clickers.  And sadly for me, I think that all 3 of my Cabana Crates have been damaged by dogs and it's almost as pricey to have them fixed as to buy one of the many copy-cats or evolved designs offered by others now, so many varieties. In fact, I bought 2. Which Chip and Zorro have damaged already--they have no experience in waiting in crates. :-(  

So now I have 5 soft crates that aren't particularly usable at events. Because I can't bear giving up those early ones.

But I remember her and those days fondly.  

I wore that shirt at a trial in Sonora on the day that Jake finished his NADAC championship, the first championship I had ever earned with a dog.

Just a few obstacles away from a NATCH.
And I have *no* idea what that hand signal meant. Typical.


  1. Good memories. Nice you have all the pictures too.

    1. I like how many I found that I hadn't thought about. Wish that I had more from my first 8 years, before my first digital camera. I'm sure I have some on fillum, but probably not many. The photo of me in the t-shirt I have only because a local newspaper photographer happened to be there and happened to take a photo of us and it happened to end up in that paper and I was lucky enough to get a copy of it. I do have that run on video, in a format that needs up-translating (again! Technology!).

    2. Hmm, I thought I linked "fillum" but it's not linked. So, here: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/fillum