Interview with Captain Dave of Island Time Pets

Bruin and Celtic small

September 3, 2013

What happens when you take a lifetime of sailing and a love for tying knots and splicing and combine that with a passion for animals? You get Captain Dave’s Island Time Pets. If you are looking for handmade in the USA, natural dog toys and cat toys and beautiful rope leashes and collars for your pets, keep reading!

And, yes, he really is a Captain!

Captain Dave is the founder of Island Time Pets, which is a pet-friendly business that provides handmade nautically inspired dog and cat toys and nautical rope dog leashes and collars.

He first came up with the idea while working on boats with his yellow Labrador, Ceilidh (pronounced Kayleigh). She loved to play with rope and Captain Dave wondered if any well-made nautical pet toys were in stores. After some research, he discovered such toys existed, but they were not the best, especially for animals.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“The rope toys that were out there weren’t very well made and they certainly weren’t made by hand,” he explained. “They certainly had no creative or functional thought that was put into them.”

Captain Dave took matters into his own hands. He decided he would use traditional nautical splicing and knot tying techniques that have been used on ships for hundreds of years to create non-toxic pet toys.

First he started designing rope dog toys, and then expanded his business to include cat toys and nautical rope dog leashes; many of which were inspired by customers.

“My latest addition is the Captain Dave’s CatNip-n-Grip, which was tested at the local animal shelter, It’s All About the Animals,” Captain Dave said. “Cats love this cotton nautical rope cat toy with a bit of catnip rubbed on it and 25 percent of all sales proceeds from it go to the shelter; which makes it extra special.”

Cat Nip-n-Grip 2013 1

Island Time Pets offers a variety of rope toys. Another of Captain Dave’s favorites is the Cat’s Paw cat toy that is crafted from 100 percent cotton seine twine, used traditionally in the fishing industry, in the shape of a traditional monkey’s fist knot tied around a little bell.

“I’m always fascinated, because whenever a cat or person will look at it they’ll kind of shake it and look it and try to figure out how it’s made and what’s on the inside of it,” he adds.

WB Spike with Cat's Paw[1]

Captain Dave puts a lot of time and effort into ensuring each piece of what he calls “functional art” is not only well-made, but also safe for pets. He designs and makes the toys himself and says, “If you want to get the job done right, do it yourself.”

Captain Dave from Island Time Pets offers nautically made non-toxic pet toysRegarding customers buying cheap and toxic toys for their pets Captain Dave says, “My feeling is that you get what you pay for. If you want to buy cheap toys that are made overseas and out of toxic materials then that’s a choice people can make.”

“If they want a toy that’s well thought out and well designed, made out of the best materials and with some love and care in the United States, then I say they should look at my things.”

Bagel Playing with her ITP toy cropped

Island Time Pets offers a variety of cat and dog toys, along with hand spliced nautical rope dog leashes.

“In addition to the leashes I regularly offer, I get a lot of requests for custom leashes and collars,” he adds. “I just shipped a leash and collar set to California for a much-loved dog to wear in his mom’s wedding and I recently made a coupler so that three rescue labs could be walked together. “

3labs coupler IMG_3266

What’s next? Captain Dave is just about to introduce the new Captain Dave’s City Walker dog leash designed based on customer requests for a short leash for competitions and for in-town strolls.


To keep tabs on this pet-friendly New England-based business visit the website or for product questions and custom orders you can contact Captain Dave at

Photo Credit: Captain Dave
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