Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Puppy Surprise Problems

I had such a fun time with my Kitty Surprise cat, Snow, that I decided to buy one of the new Puppy Surprise toys, too.  I was especially interested to see the dalmatian character, "Gigi," because she is advertised as having two "magic" babies with eyes that can change from open to closed with the application of cold water.  That sounded fun and intriguing to me...even though I was warned that the effect wasn't great.

This will not be a full review of Gigi and her puppies, but just a quick description of this toy and some of the things that were different from what I experienced with Snow and her kittens.  

Two puppies from Puppy Surprise, "Gigi."
I chose Gigi not just because of the magic puppies, but because I like her natural dalmatian coloring.  This is the toy my boys would have picked when they were younger:

On the front of the box, where Snow's packaging simply pondered how many girls and how many boys there would be inside, Gigi's box advertises the presence of two magic babies:

The magic eyes in this picture look very bright and detailed:

Looks impressive.
The back of the box shows the other available dogs and has a short description of Gigi:

 The de-boxing is the same as it was with Snow.  Here's Gigi out of her box:

I like her mismatched ears.
Gigi has a white fur tail and a matching patch of fur on the top of her head.  Some of the fur on her head is contained within a tied bow, but not much of it.  Gigi does not have a fuzzy chest like Snow, though--just a stripe of black fabric that covers her belly and runs up her neck:

My Gigi came out of her box with several faint smudges on her face.  They're hard to see in the pictures, but they make her look dirty in person:

One of the spots that you might be able to see in these pictures is next to the black spot above Gigi's left eye:

Here it is a little closer:

I think these smudges must have been caused by the black fabric on Gigi's ears.  In some places it looks like the black paint from her spots might have run, but the appearance of the puppies makes me more certain that the culprit is the black fabric.

Gigi has teal green oval-shaped eyes with very large dark pupils:

 Ok, let me show you the puppies, because they were the real problem with this set.

Instead of pulling each one out on its own, I just delivered the whole litter in one fell swoop:

Ker-plunk.  Instant litter!
The amazing thing is that I got five babies again!  And they are really, really cute:

This time there was a runt, too.  I was incredibly excited at first, but then I started taking a closer look at the puppies' faces.  I'll show them to you one at a time.

First, here's a little girl with green side-glancing eyes, a black and white body, and pink ears:

The pink ears are a little strange, but otherwise this puppy is great.  I love her long ears and her expression.

The only problem with this little girl is that she's missing some paint on her ears and nose, and her left eye has a very small scuff.  Probably from bumping up against her four siblings!

The second baby is a boy, and once again, he's missing any signs of pink (except for his tiny pink tongue).  His body is all white, but he has a black patch over one eye and around his nose.  Unlike the first puppy, this fellow has short ears.

This puppy always tips forward because of his large head and lightly-stuffed body.  The size of his body seems smaller than some of the other pups, but he's not the runt.

The way this little guy tips forward and gazes up and me is precious, but look at his face:

He has black stains all over his face.  The stains have the chain-like pattern of the knitted stitches in the dogs' fabric bodies, so I suspect these stains come from laying next to one of the puppies with black fabric in their bodies.

He also has a scuff on his right eye.

The next puppy has long black ears and a black back.  She also has side-glancing green eyes:

And...she also has bad staining all over her face:

The staining on this dog runs all of the way under her chin:

The last two puppies are sleeping...and so they are the ones with the "magic" eyes.  The first little girl is normal-sized and has a black belly with a white back.  She has short black ears:

The staining on this one is especially bad, I think.  The rope-like patch down her nose might look cool on its own, but the huge patch on her cheek is just ugly.

Poor little thing.  She looks like a stitched-up zombie dog.

Dreaming of brains...
I immediately got some ice water (mostly ice, little water) to try the magic eye effect.  At first, I couldn't get the eyes to stay open long enough to snap a picture.  They would almost instantly fade away:

But then I figured out that if I held a Q-tip of ice water against the eye for the count of five or ten, the effect would last a little longer:

The eye trick is super-gimmicky, and nowhere near as detailed or colorful as the box would have you believe, but it does actually work for more than three seconds.

The last puppy is the sleeping runt, and she is ridiculously adorable.

She just looks blissfully happy from every angle:

Maybe because her face is free of huge stains?
I had a similar experience with her eyes.  I could get both of them to color for long enough to take a picture...


...but then the eyes still looked like this ten minutes later!  

Go to sleep already!
I think she'd be better off as a regular sleeping puppy.  I guess I will have to keep her away from the cold!

So, in summary, here are the two sleeping girls with the gimmicky eyes:

These girls and the little boy all have short ears:

And here are the two puppies with longer ears and black fabric on their backs:

The Stainmakers.
It's a wonderfully diverse pile of puppies:

I do kind-of wish that some of the puppies had eyes looking in the other direction, and I think the pink ears are unnecessary, but on the whole I would completely adore this toy (I like the faces and colors even more than my Kitty Surprise...) except for the unsightly permanent stains on all of the vinyl faces.  

With Puppy Surprise prices soaring on eBay and Amazon right now, I wanted to get this information out there for anyone considering this dalmatian dog.  Perhaps my Gigi is an anomaly (did she get wet? Was it incredibly humid where she came from?), but I fear that the black fabric and close quarters will spell trouble for many of Gigi puppies.  Please let me know if you have a similar--or different--experience! 

Wonderfully cute as these puppies are, this is not the kind of surprise anyone will be happy to see.


  1. Oh wow, that sounds like a bit of a let down. I think what they did for the pics on the front of the box is just take a picture of the same pup with painted open eyes. I do wish they would put more effort into effects like this.

    1. You said it! It was quite a let down. The puppies are so sweet, and to have them ruined like this was sad. I agree with you about the picture, too. It's definitely not a picture of the real "magic" eyes.

  2. You should complain and see if the company will send you new puppies or something. They are so cute, the stains are such a shame!

    1. That's a good idea, Aileen. I probably should send the company a note, just so they are aware of this problem! I hope it isn't too widespread.

    2. I purchased one and did not have any issues. However my mil purchased one and had some issues and she contacted just play and they sent her replacements.

    3. My daughter has one of the gigi dogs that also came with 5 puppies.
      All of them had the same stains all over there faces, I complained to the company and they sent me out a replacement set of 5 minus the stains all the way too Australia.
      Good Luck :P

    4. Got 3 for granddaughters two had 3 and 1 only had one box says between 3 & 5 NOT HAPPY

  3. Have you considered trying a Magic Eraser?

    1. Hi Barb, thank you for the suggestion--I'd be great to get these stains off! I did try Magic Eraser (I LOVE those things). Unfortunately, these stains seem to be inside the vinyl, so no luck. :(

  4. You could also try nail polish remover. I've had lots of luck removing stains that way. The other option is to coat the stains in benzoyl peroxide based acne cream (at least 10% strength) and leave them exposed to UV light, or just out in the sun all day.

    1. I have never tried that--thank you for another great suggestion! I will pop out and get some today and let you know if it works or not. I have also heard about the benzoyl peroxide treatment, but have never had the patience to do it right. ;) This might be the time! Thanks again!

  5. Hmm, so the puppies are born wearing ribbons that indicate their gender?

    1. Yep. :) The last version (2005) had pink or blue inner ears, depending on the gender. I think the original toys in the 90s had ribbons, too.

  6. the runt looks adorable. every time i got a puppy suprise for my younger sister, she always got 4. 3 girls and 1 boy and no runt.

    1. Hi Calliope, the runt is so sweet--she's my favorite in this group. It's pretty good to get four puppies, though, from what I understand. I love the little boys, too. It's fun to get those. :)

  7. HI Emilly!!! I loved and read this blog since the very begining!!! I am Maryann a greek girl who loves all kinds of toys and mattel dolls,especially MH!!! I also love making new videos on youtube (my channel's name is samsung bominable) and love biology!....btw those stains came exactly the same on my ghoul spirit spectra's vinyl head just over 3 months of having her.....they wouldnt come out with anything soo i bought her again... :( too bad for those cute puppies :(

    P.S. What happened to your Nefera doll? cause i read somewhere that you dont have her anymore....


    1. Hi Maryann! Thank you for reading the whole blog! Whoa! I will go check out your YouTube channel (I really like the name you use). It's wonderful that you love biology--it's such a passion of mine and there is always something new and fascinating to learn! My son is studying biology now in school and I think I might drive him nuts with my enthusiasm... ;)

      Sorry to hear about the stains on your Spectra. I have a bad feeling that nothing will get the stains on these puppies out, either, but I will try everything! I did order another Gigi to check if this is a common problem. I will post what I find out!

      I gave my Nefera away a long time ago. I didn't need her anymore and there was someone who really wanted her. She is a beautiful doll and a nice example of the rarer tall size. She has become quite hard to find, hasn't she?

    2. I have seen some My Little Ponies with really bad stains from permanent markers that were removed with sun fading. It took a real long time but they looked perfect afterwards. I'm sure you can get rid of the stains eventually.

    3. Emilly thank you sooo much for replying!its so nice that your son studies biology i just love learning biology,ecology,anatomy and everything! Also i was very sad when i saw on your Clawdia post that something happened to month ago i was extremely lucky to find one and. The next day she was gone! :(

  8. The way the babies lay flat reminds me of the old Pound Puppies. The staining is really bad though. I would contact the company about that. As for the eyes, they shouldn't have included the feature at all if they weren't going to do it right.

  9. This is kind of sad. I loved my old PS dog (I had the brown mommy; she had 3 pups, 2 girls and 1 boy) and was kind of hoping to see a few more natural-colored possibilities. The 2 different pink mommies are cute, but...there should be a 2nd non-pink option.

    That Gigi's pups are so badly flawed just makes it more likely that kids will end up with the pink PS sets--even if they're boys or just don't like pink animals very much. A pity.

  10. Once I found out about the Toys r Us excluslusives I had to get some for my daughter's xmas gifts! Toys R Us just got a shipment the morning I stopped in and I got Snow, Maple, and Gigi. My daughter can enjoy a toy that I loved as a child which really excites me!! Now I want to open Gigi to look at the puppies for marks but regardless they are still cute. I bet they are going to be impossible to find closer to Xmas and people will sell them for crazy prices.

  11. Another thing you can use to take the stains out (because these seem like the ones that nail polish remover/acetone won't eliminate) is oxy10 or clean&clear or any kind of acne cleaner that contains 10% benzoyl peroxide. Put some on the stains and leave the puppies in direct sunlight. It might take a couple of hours, but it takes the stains out. Make sure not to get any on the pain though, because it will disappear too.

    1. You can also leave them under a lamp. I had a badly stained vinyl doll and it worked just as well under a lamp as in the sun...although it did take longer :)

  12. Perhaps this is just me being picky, but I find it odd that Gigi is referred to as a little girl. I understand that dogs can have puppies as early as six months, but is that really a right message?
    Anyways, I have used baking soda and very, very warm water before on a sticky, stained, overall awful Lizzie Hearts doll, applied with a QTip. It didn't work at first, but I rubbed it with my finger and voilá! Stain removed.
    An adorable toy though.

  13. i had magic eye puppies from my original puppy surprise in the 90's and their eyes STILL work and sooo much better then that. i hope this is a one off. i just brought 'popcorn' for my little girl and i cant wait untill christmas to see how many babies she has <3

  14. OMG, we had the same thing happen to our Gigi. We did a review on it and yah it was a little disappointing but it was so much fun to see how many pups we got!

  15. I have bought at least (9) of the new puppy and kitty surprises so far, and several of the baby puppies and kittens have the marks and staining on their little faces :/ Some are worse than others, but it was very disappointing. It's not just on Gigi's puppies, either.

  16. Did you try Magic Eraser to remove the black spots on the face?

  17. It's thanks to your blog that I learned that one of my all-time favorite childhood toys, the Kitty Surprise, was coming back :) (I happened to stumble on that post on Google, started reading the rest of your posts and the next thing I know I've got a shelf of Ever After High dolls, but that's another story... apparently I've caught a bit of the collector bug!)

    I bought Gigi a few days ago, figuring that I'd just leave her "magic eye" puppies alone because the closed-eye faces are so adorable, but they came out of her with permanent phantom green eyes that look like you'd already applied the cold water! They didn't have the heavy staining you encountered, though, so I suppose it's a fair trade-off.

  18. I don't know if this will work on the newer versions, but I had a "magic eyes" Bunny Surprise from back in the 90's, and instead of cold water, someone recommended that I use the edge of an ice cube to get the eyes to appear. It caused a much stronger effect than just using cold water. So that might be something people want to try!

  19. Does anyone know if Kitty Surprises come out with stains? I am very worried now :(.

    1. I'm not sure. I asked for one for Christmas, and I'm hoping that they won't.

  20. how do you change the batteries on one of the puppies that bark it does not have an opening to even look n see