January 25, 1988 12:00 PM

Johnnie Msarsa, 52, is a changed woman. In five years, says her husband, Maurice, 54, she’s gone from being a housewife to “an executive who can meet and talk with other executives on a business level.” The origin of her metamorphosis: diapers for dogs, which may lead to as many changes for canines as for Johnnie. Five years ago, when the incontinent old family pet, Pepe, began wasting the furniture and carpets in the Msarsas’ Knoxville, Tenn., home, Johnnie tried to fashion a diaper out of infant training pants. After much cutting and sewing, mostly to make holes for Pepe’s tail and rear legs, Johnnie decided that doggie diapers might be the perfect product for the lucrative pampered pet market. “I never thought it would catch on,” admits Maurice, an assistant office manager with the TVA, who helped Johnnie with product development. “I only went along to appease my wife.”

Fireplugs everywhere may yet have cause to thank them both. Johnnie’s refining has resulted in Doggie Didees, elasticized terry cloth pants with disposable liners, available in five sizes and two colors—hot pink and baby blue. Priced at $8.95 (and 36 refill liners at $5.95), Doggie Didees have been successfully test marketed and will probably go on sale nationally in six months. “It’s not for poop,” says Johnnie, “but it sure does help the urine problems of house dogs.” The diaper also is useful for traveling pooches and females in heat. “Besides,” adds Johnnie, “they look so cute in them.”

Actually, Johnnie thinks diapers are a giant step in canine evolution. Just as domesticated humans came to wear clothes, she believes dogs will follow suit. Her husband agrees. “Like people, dogs feel good about themselves when they’re dressed,” says Maurice. Get that, Fido? Shape up! And while you’re at it—pshew!—spray on some Eau de Poodle.

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