Here at Tumalo Creek, we are proud to exclusively carry Personal Floatation Devices for dogs made by the Bend-based company RuffWear. RuffWear is one of the more inspiring companies out there and their story is one that celebrates the innovation and dedication of the entrepreneurial spirit.
RuffWear’s founder and president Patrick Kruse began crafting packs for dogs as a kid, constructing them out of old army surplus gas mask bags. As a young adult he sailed as crew on charter boats in the Caribbean and Central America where being resourceful was a necessity. The first company he started was called Salamander Paddle Gear where he learned about technical fabrics to create better clothing and accessories for kayakers.
The idea for RuffWear was sparked while mountain biking in the Los Padres National Forest. His friend Liz was trying to give her dog Moqui a drink of water and had to pour out her water bottle into a plastic bag which ended up being very inefficient and wasteful. The idea of a collapsible and portable doggie bowl was born, and when the product launched at Outdoor Retailer in 1994, it was an instant success. (L.L. Bean ordered 96,000 bowls that year alone!)
Today the $7 million dollar company is distributed in 29 countries to 2,400 retailers, but remains dedicated to their values and quality of their products: they don’t work with Pet Smart or Petco specifically because they don’t want to be controlled by big box stores. Instead they choose to work with retailers around the globe just like Tumalo Creek, who value the quality and innovation behind RuffWear’s products.
Our ties with RuffWear run deeper than our shared zip code. One of RuffWear owner’s Will Blount is a great friend of the shop, and also the President of Bend Paddle Trail Alliance, the organization we’ve been working with for over a decade to remove the Colorado Dam and replace it with the west coast’s first whitewater park. Will has been absolutely invaluable contributor, motivator and organizer of BPTA, and most would agree that without his leadership the dam removal may have never become a reality.
In the shop, we carry all sizes and colors of the K-9 Float Coat, a must-have for any boater out there who plans to take their dog out on the water. We’ll be expanding our doggie offerings from RuffWear in the summer of 2015.