By Nicole Pajer
In addition to touring with the cult eighties band Poison and starring in the occasional reality TV show, Bret Michaels has found yet another way to occupy his time.
The avid animal lover has launched Pets Rock, a line of accessories designed to "bring out the inner rock star" in cats and dogs, which debuts in Petsmart stores this week.
Michaels tosses a Pets Rock toy for one of his German Shepherds.Skull-print doggie dresses, tennis balls wrapped in bandannas, plush tour bus toys, and "rock star looking for groupies" T-shirts are just some of the clever items you can pick up for your pet.
Vetstreet chatted with Michaels about his love for animals, his German Shepherd Dog product testers - and what it's like to share retail shelf space with Martha Stewart.Q. Where did you get the idea for Pets Rock?
A. Michaels: "It started when I made stuff for my dogs that I thought was funny. I made a ball with bandanna material that I could throw. My two German Shepherds were going crazy playing with the stuff. I made the Pets Rock line very fun. It's music-oriented - but not just rock 'n' roll. I'm also a huge fan of country music, so I kind of call it the rock in my country collection. We've already designed everything for Halloween and Christmas!"Q. Any plans to expand the collection to include other critters?
A. "We haven't officially decided that yet, but I imagine we'll have fun in the fish and aquarium area. And you gotta move into the rat area, and hopefully reptiles - a lizard with some form of a leather jacket on. Faux leather, of course."Q. How involved are you in the design process?
A. "Petsmart has been unbelievably great to work with my crazy creative brain. They've been able to reel me in and make this stuff safe but also keep it fun. I design stuff, I call them, I text them and I send them pictures. They come up to the house, and we sit for hours and go through designs. It's a very complicated process because they have to turn what I draw into reality. They have to think, 'You need the door here to make it easy for them to get into the doghouse, so what if we do this?' A lot of hard work goes into it. I guess you could say that, with me, there's a lot of truth in advertising."
A. "I say this as a guy who owns big dogs. They don't necessarily want to be dressed up in anything, but they'll let you put stuff on them if it's light and comfortable. In other words, if you want to dress them up to be cool, you have to make sure that it's easy to work with and durable. It's like my kids - half the battle is actually being able to put it on your pet or child. I say that with a sense of humor, but it has to be comfortable and safe for them."Even the plush toys get a rock star look with a bandanna (from $9.99).Q. What other kinds of pets do you have at home?
A. "I have tons of animals, from dogs to cats to horses. My daughters have rats. By the way, I want to go on record and say that they have a bad rap because they are one of the cleanest and most friendly animals ever. I'm just throwing that out there.
My first dog was a German Shepherd named Tark, and it just went from there. My dogs have come on tour with me quite a few times. They spend a couple of days on the bus, and then they need space, so they come back to the ranch to enjoy the comforts of home."
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A. "I think she loves it. It will be a friendly competition. We're two completely different ends of the spectrum."See More on vetstreet.com:
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