Decker’s Dog + Cat bringing back Halloween dog costume contest after a one-year ‘paws’

Kensey and Cody Decker own Decker's Dog + Cat pet supply store on Ivanhoe Avenue in La Jolla.
(Angela Sterling / Courtesy of Cody Decker)

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For two years, Decker’s Dog + Cat at 7928 Ivanhoe Ave. has provided La Jolla with quality pet food and accessories. Now it’s hoping to conjure up a little fun for local furry companions with a costume contest, resuming an annual tradition only one year in the making.

Decker’s Dog + Cat, owned by husband and wife Cody and Kensey Decker, opened in June 2019 and, like other businesses, had to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. The Deckers weren’t able to hold a 2020 edition of their Halloween dog costume contest but are looking forward to this year’s iteration.

“Dog-O-Ween” will begin at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, at the store and will include prizes for the contest winners. It’s part of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association’s “Pillage the Village” Halloween event. Cody Decker is the president of LJVMA.

The 2021 Dog-O-Ween also will include live music and refreshments (for canines and their humans). “It’s a genuinely happy event for everyone,” Decker said.

“We’re really excited and are making it a really big event for all of our pet parents in The Village.”

He said he’s been contacted by people in other parts of San Diego who participated in the 2019 contest and are planning to join in again.

“If we can create an event that brings the community together, and especially our community of pet parents, where we all kind of have that common ground that we love animals, it’s a great way to harness the power of positivity,” Decker said.

He said the 2019 version brought out some memorably costumed dogs, such as a Marilyn Monroe, a tuna can and a taco.

Inside the store, patrons and their pals will find a wide variety of pet supplies year-round. “We really tried to focus on quality products and curating a selection of things you wouldn’t find at any pet store, even online,” Decker said.

Cody and Kensey Decker are shown with their five dogs.
Cody and Kensey Decker, shown with their five dogs, “really tried to focus on quality products and curating a selection of things you wouldn’t find at any pet store,” Cody says.
(Angela Sterling / Courtesy of Cody Decker)

“One of my favorite things is all the supplements that we carry, because I think it’s amazing what you can do for a pet’s health,” he said. “Making a few small changes to their diet can change their entire life.

“Something as easy as just adding fish oil to a dog or cat’s diet can drastically boost their immunity, help out with their skin and coat, their hips and joints. And it’s really just that easy.”

He said probiotics also are helpful, as “80 percent of the immune system starts in the gut, so it’s really important to focus on good bacteria and the health of what your dogs are eating, or that they’re getting the most out of what they’re eating.”

The Deckers have five dogs and two cats of their own, and “there’s not one thing we’d sell in our stores that we don’t use on our own pets,” Decker said.

He said he also loves the pet toy selection in the store. “They’re exciting to order, they’re fun, there’s a lot of innovations happening right now. We’re seeing a lot of toys that are interactive and creating an opportunity for the dog to stay busy.”

He believes the toys are increasing in popularity as “people are at home trying to work or are finally leaving for work, and they need their dogs to be busy while they’re home.”

The Deckers moved to La Jolla in 2019 after they visited earlier that year and “absolutely fell in love with the town at first sight,” Decker said.

“I love that it’s a small community,” he said. “I feel like we all know each other, and word of mouth tends to spread really fast. If I was offering bad service, I feel like I’d know pretty quickly.

“We pride ourselves on a VIP customer experience. I almost want to feel like you have a personal assistant there with you, helping you shop and providing nutritional information, product knowledge, fun facts and, of course, the opportunity to spoil your pet.”

“We’re a small store,” he added, “so anywhere you turn, you’re just amazed by the amount of products and thoughtfully put-together items that people really want.

“I feel like we’ve created a good base of clientele and are able to serve most of our community to its fullest. One of my favorite parts about owning my own store in La Jolla is just the people and getting to create relationships and friends and see these people that are there to support your business. It just means the world to us that people go out of their way to shop with our store. I recognize that anyone out there has the option to where they want to shop … and when someone comes in, I want to treat them like a million bucks.”

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