Debra and Bryan Johnson with Legend

Running the Family "Doggy Baggage" Business


The American Dog reports
Photos by Jordan Johnson

Debra has had German Shepherds most of her life, but after their Shepherd Zeus died in 2007 (at 13 years old), Debra and her husband Bryan spent a couple of years without a furry friend. They soon realized their family was not complete without a dog - so, the search began for their next puppy. This was how Legendary Justice (nicknamed "Legend") joined the Johnson family in February of 2008. Debra recalls that "he was the cutest ball of fur with the biggest feet I have ever seen. We had doubts that he would ever grow into his huge feet and ears!"

Legend was so smart from the very beginning that Debra was sometimes sure that he could read her mind. He understood the sit command by the end of his first week, and the training sessions seemed to proceed as if by magic. Debra attributes his adaptability to the fact that she was able to spend most of her time with him. Because she and her husband were new "empty-nesters," Legend was her fulltime companion and rarely left her side.

Sometimes, Legend was a little too smart for his own good. Because of Legend's love for ice cubes, he distinguished the sound of ice cubes clinking against a drinking glass very early on, and he would come running to collect his share. One day, when Legend was five months old, Debra heard a strange sound from the kitchen. When she looked through the door, she saw Legend standing on his hind feet with his front paws flat against the fridge and his nose pushing the ice button! Ice was everywhere! "He had a look on his face that said he had found treasure," Debra recalls. "It took several weeks to teach him that he would not be allowed to get his own [ice]."

Debra works out of her home office and is lucky enough to spend time with Legend during the day. In fact, Legend is the inspiration for the Johnson's new pet industry business, Doggy Baggage, LLC. "We are definitely a 'Dog Parent Family.' I found myself making a 300-mile trip every other week and discovered packing the doggy stuff in a box did not work. We now have a brand of pet travel and organizer bags for all the dog's necessities," she says.

But the Johnsons aren't all business. During the weekends, Legend loves to play with Debra's son's dogs, Oscar, Miles (miniature Dachshunds), and Bruno (an American Bulldog). "It is a real circus when they visit," Debra says. As well as granddogs, Debra also granddaughters, Ava and Sophia, who Legend guards in a gentle and regal manner while they are visiting.

Debra reveals her surprise about being a dog parent. "Maybe I am getting older or maybe it is because he is responsible for the family business, but either way, he is definitely more than just a dog - he is a member of the family." For more information about Doggy Baggage please visit:

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