PET ROCK – Did you have one?

Fads | December 5, 2017

Los Gatos, California: Gary Dahl, 39, creator of the 'Pet Rock,' one of the best selling novelty items this Christmas season, gets ready to pack the 1,000,000th Pet Rock sold to date. (Getty Images)

Have you ever admired a novelty and asked yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Gary Dahl, the inventor of the famous PET ROCK, may have said that too, at one point. The difference is, though, that he acted on his thought.

Dahl, reportedly during an evening out at a bar with friends in the 1970’s, jokingly came up with the idea. Plenty of people enjoy pets. Let’s face it, they are part of the family. They are also a lot of work. Dahl had devised the perfect solution! A PET ROCK!

The PET ROCK was seemingly the perfect pet. It was hypoallergenic, didn’t bark, bite, shed or poop on the floor. It could be left alone for extended periods of time without imposing on a neighbor to let it out or feed it. It got along with your other pets and, best of all… no vet bills!

The pet was a smooth rock that came nestled on a soft, shredded paper bedding, in a handy cardboard box with a handle (just in case you did decide to take your pet on an outing). Don’t worry, though… the box had air holes, so it wouldn’t suffocate.

All responsible pet owners need to make sure they are properly educated on how to care for their pet. Too many people don’t take the time to do this resulting in the pet being mistreated. Fortunately, Dahl had the foresight to include an instruction pamphlet to ensure that the PET ROCK would be properly cared for.

The pamphlet for “care and training,” included illustrations of the rocks in (in)action along with the following information:

“Your PET ROCK will be a devoted friend and companion for many years to come.  Rocks enjoy a rather long life span so the two of you will never have to part -- at least not on your PET ROCK’s account. Once you have transcended the awkward training stage your rock will mature into a faithful, obedient, loving pet with but one purpose in life -- to be at your side when you want it to, and to go lie down when you don’t."

The PET ROCK was a popular fad in the 1970’s and you can be sure it was on many a Christmas list. As with all fads, it eventually fizzled out but the phrase, “gone but not forgotten,” comes to mind. I’m sure I’m not the only one who remembers them!

While this novelty was originally developed to be humorous, it ended up being a huge success and extremely profitable. The PET ROCK sold for approximately $3.95 each (for a rock). When it was all said and done, a tongue-in-cheek idea had made Dahl a millionaire! Why didn’t I think of that?

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Rebeka Knott


Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.