The idea for Pound Puppies

Working at Ford on an assembly line gives you a lot of time to think. I was constantly thinking of ways to start a business or do anything to escape working in the factory.

Don’t get me wrong, Ford was and is a great company. I earned a decent living and had benefits that allowed me to take care of my family. However, working in a loud, hot, stinky, oily factory was not what I envisioned for the rest of my life. Your mind has ample free time to contemplate while performing repetitive tasks. You can go through the motions without even realizing it.

So, I consistently came up with ideas. Unfortunately, as is the case with the majority of people, Mr. Negativity showed up. You probably know him too! He’s that part of your brain that tells you, “You can’t do that.  Who are you to think you can pull that off?  You don’t have enough money.  You don’t know anything about that.  You don’t have any experience.  You are not cut out for this.  Etc. etc.


Mr. Negativity provides a hundred reasons why it won’t work, and you end up settling back into your routine and your day-to-day life. Allowing your Dream to die. I let Mr. Negativity rule my thoughts from December 1967, when I joined Ford, until December 27, 1983, when the idea for Pound Puppies struck me.

I had purchased a soft sculpture doll of a little boy from a local craft store for my daughter’s Christmas present. She immediately fell in love with that doll and carried it everywhere. She would not leave it at home no matter if we were going to the grocery store or on a long trip.

On December 27, 1983, with my daughter in the car playing with her doll, I was wondering how an inanimate object like that doll could hold such significance to her. Then it dawned on me—she considered it her baby. As I drove along, I thought, if there are two things on this earth that people LOVE, it’s their kids and their pets.

I thought about my childhood and when I was young, you didn’t have too many pet stores and we couldn’t afford a pet store puppy anyway.  We always went to the “pound” to adopt our puppy. At that moment in time, driving down the road with my daughter and her doll, the words “Pound Puppies” came to me before Mr. Negativity could stop the download from heavenly places!

My spirit jumped with excitement at the thought of kids choosing their own Pound Puppy from the toy store, bringing it home, naming it and taking care of it.  Each one would have its own story created in the imagination of the child who choose it. My heart started pounding and I started pounding my fist on the steering wheel and exclaiming, “This is it!  This is it! I am going to make this happen!”

From that moment forward, with Mr. Negativity behind me, I worked tirelessly every day to turn that dream into a reality. There was an excitement in me, I had never felt before. I loved overcoming all the challenges. I did not let one negative person, negative thought or negative naysayers get in my way.  I knew Pound Puppies were coming and they would be a huge success because I let the idea loose and I ignored Mr. Negativity the whole through.

I’m glad I sent him packing because once I did, my entire life changed and it’s been the catalyst that set me on a new path of toy making, book writing and song producing.

Who would have ever known that a blue collar worker at Ford Motor Company would end up living in the Magical World of Mike Bowling?  Has Mr. Negativity been working in your head?  If so – maybe it’s time to send him packing too!