In honor of Valentines Day, this month we are featuring stories about how canine companions have inspired us, healed us, and changed our life. We thought we’d begin with a letter written by Ruff Wear Founder, Patrick Kruse, as he recounts the years he spent with his faithful companion and inspiration, Otis—Ruff Wear’s first “product tester.”
Otis, my four-legged companion of 13 years, passed away on August 30, 2007. During those years Otis accompanied me on adventures spanning fourteen states, one province, and two countries. Otis stood on the top of mountains, explored deserts, ran and kayaked rivers, as well as swam in many lakes and oceans. Being an Australian Cattle Dog and always up for adventure, Otis let us know that there were places to go and things to do.
Many of you know Otis from his efforts as one of the first product testers and a key member of the product development team here at Ruff Wear. He was the inspiration for—and instrumental in the development and improvement of—many items, among them the K-9 Float Coat,™ Bark’n Boots,™ Approach Pack,™ Palisades Pack,™ and K-9 First Aid Kit;™ and he was always willing to prove the fun and the durability of our Ruff Wear dog toys.
Many “Otis approved” products have assisted, protected, and enhanced the lives of humans and canines during such events as the World Trade Center tragedy of September 11, the war in Iraq, and Hurricane Katrina. That same Ruff Wear gear has helped individual guide dogs, canine assistance dogs, avalanche search and rescue teams, and thousands of humans and dogs who are out enjoying a run, swim, bike ride, game of fetch, or walk in the park.
As we consider all of the fun products that Otis inspired and tested here at Ruff Wear, we realize that the only way to celebrate and honor his tenacious, driving personality is to continue to innovate and create the best dang gear For dogs on the Go.® While our products can no longer be “Otis tested,” rest assured they will always be “Otis approved.”