A Visit to Nandog Pet Gear

A Tail of Friendship

My rescued pooch was extra excited on our car ride to Nandog, the dog-friendly store. I told her she could pick out any toy she wanted. I apologized for not taking her earlier, but their walls are lined with dog toys, plush beds, and a lot more things that dogs covet, and I was worried she would lose all self-control. I soon learned from the proprietors not to be concerned, that man’s best friends are what launched this store. 

“I’ve been a dog lover all my life, so I bond with dogs,” says Gables co-owner Alfonso Navarro. Dogs can sense that, and Elle immediately galloped toward him for a happy hug. 

The store is put together with exactly that sentiment. It is about friendships both furry and human. Specifically, the inspiration came from Navarro’s childhood friend, Hernando Vergara. The two grew up together in Barranquilla, Colombia. 

Gables Nandog Pet Co-owners Alfonso Navarro (left) and Javier Reyes (right)
Gables Co-owners Alfonso Navarro (left) and Javier Reyes (right)

After immigrating to the U.S., they went their separate ways, Navarro to New York and then Miami, and Vergara to Los Angeles, where he opened the first Nandog Pet Gear store. That was 14 years ago; three months ago, Navarro opened the brand’s second store in the Gables with local partner Javier Reyes. 

Elle having fun exploring the selection of plush toys for dogs at Nandog Pet
Elle having fun exploring the selection of plush toys for dogs.

The store name comes from founder Vergara’s first name, Hernando, shortened to Nando. The logo comes from a French Bulldog he rescued and named (naturally) Nanda. The team was joined by interior designer Mitch Klapow, as designer of dog toys and beds. Both urged Navarro to launch here. 

“The store is an expression about dogs,” says Navarro, and their available merchandise is a testimony to that: Dog bags, carriers, tennis balls, plush toys, large dog pillows, grooming essentials, collars, leashes, and car seats. Car seats? Yes, because canine safety comes first – and their leather car dog seats, $89 – $99, can be fastened securely with a seat belt. For back home, their crown-shaped beds are a perfect throne for your royal furry one, with whimsical hedgehog shaped beds for smaller dogs. These best sellers go for $60 to $80 and are made with a material called “cloud” (80 percent polyester and 20 percent cotton) so your pampered pet can have heavenly dreams of all the in- store plush toys ($18 each). 

My doggie Elle did not wait that long and went right for the lobster plush toy. She then realized she wanted all of them (she is not an inexpensive date) and spent one of her happiest afternoons gallivanting around the store. 

The kicker was a $5 dogsicle – popsicles for dogs – which come in flavors like Strawberry Bliss Paws, Easy Breezy Peanut Butter, and store favorite Piña Colada Pop. These are sort of chilled dog biscuits; the Piña is made from pineapple, yogurt, honey, wheat flower, peanut butter, eggs, chicken bone broth and cinnamon. I was ready to try one, but Elle wouldn’t let me. 

Nandog Pet Gear

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