About Us

Categories: Forge of Honor

About Us

Ricasso the Targimal

Once upon a time…

There was a little girl who always complained about monsters hiding in her bedroom. Her father grew tired of these monsters. But no matter what changes they made to her bedroom, the monsters would always devise new places to hide.

Finally, a breakthrough: The father noticed that the monsters seemed particularly vulnerable to storytelling.

They always say, “Write what you know.” But what did this father know? He knew about dog toys. Ten years of making plush dog toys! Dogs are tough, rough and unkind to plush — just the sort of knowledge needed to fight monsters.

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Forge of Honor is a family-run toy company inspired by a child’s imagination and the belief that we can make the world a better place for our children.

Yes, we all know about values. Don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal, be kind, etc. But those values are often forgotten when children become adults.

Combating his own fear that the world is becoming a scarier place of misplaced values, founder Dale Taylor wants to instill character, courage and honor back into childhood through play. Forge of Honor is a new realm of toys and stories that are handcrafted with love — and a noble calling.

Based on a series of unwritten bedtime stories, Dale says he imagined the Targimals™ came to him while pondering how to help his daughter quash her fear of imaginary bedtime monsters. They told him the secret of adding monster-fighting qualities into a sword and shield that are still as soft as pillows. And the Targimals regaled his young daughter with adventures and stories.

The toys are the first to come out of this father-daughter collaboration. Someday soon, we hope to put those stories in a book. To find out more, please see the Forge of Honor blog.

As parents, we want the world to be a better place for our children. Forge of Honor is one way we can use our skills and talents to delight kids, help them face their fears and inspire them to be creative and live an honorable life.

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Sure, a stick or a cheap foam sword works in a game of make believe just as well as Forge of Honor’s more expensive, higher-quality plush swords and shields. But, there is a difference to the discerning and imaginative: These toys create a sense of story and participation, a sense of ownership and of pride. Kids are not mere regurgitators of stories, they actively invent and re-invent the stories as they immerse themselves in play.

There is attention to details in each of our designs that curious kids can’t help but notice. It’s in the quilting and embroidery, the logos and the tough stitching. The presence of the shield-borne companions, the Targimals, with their distinctive markings, completes the total enchantment. Making quality toys is a given for us. But we don’t stop at high-quality materials and construction. We push to get our different perspective made into the products. More on how we are making these toys unique:

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Dale & his sweetie pie

Dale Taylor, Founder & President

A sixth-generation Texan, Dale spent his childhood reading and doodling every chance he got. He joined the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper as art director for the “Class Acts” children’s section and created a comic strip called “Not in My Backyard” about a wienerdog and his backyard buddies. As the dot-com frenzy struck, Dale taught himself web design, Flash and all those once-useful programs and designed pages for Philly.com. With those skills and creative genius, he joined a dog-toy company and became the brains behind dozens of successful dog toy products, including the Hide-A-Squirrel, which has been Amazon.com’s top-selling plush dog toy. More than a decade developing toys and games for the pet industry, Dale is venturing into a new but similar realm with Forge of Honor. Dale lives outside of Denver with his wife and young daughter. Connect with Dale on LinkedIn.


Melissa Etherton, Quality Assurance and Inventory Control Specialist

Melissa, a school teacher by trade, has an affinity for managing numbers and details, (Thank goodness for Forge of Honor!) For years, she worked for a dog-toy company where she handled order flow and inventory for small mom-and-pop stores to major pet product retailers (you know, “where the pets go.”). She doesn’t shirk from Sage, Quickbooks, inventory management or Magento. And she’s always willing to handhold a customer through the order process or a customer-service issue. When she’s not busying herself with numbers, her schoolteacher instincts kick in and she helps design activities for our Targimals.com fun zone. She lives in California with her husband and Dude, a Basenji and Manchester terrier.

Author: Dale Taylor

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