The week I decided to adopt my first dog as an independent adult, a good friend dropped off a couple of his hand-me-down pieces of dog gear. I knew that this gear was very sentimental. It came from his recently passed dog, Dylan.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADylan spent a glorious thirteen years on this earth. He was a true adventure dog to say the least. For years, he spent a third of the year in Asheville, NC while his human sidekick, Brit, taught white water paddling at a local college. He spent the summer months touring the mountains of Jackson, WY, as Brit worked as a raft guide on the Snake River. As for the winters, the dynamic duo headed south to climb and surf in Mexico for months at a time.


One of the hand-me-down pieces of gear that Brit handed me was an old, trusty, Ruffwear life jacket. Which model it was, I’m not sure. But I do know that every grain of dirt and minor scratch on the life jacket had a story to tell. I could not wait for my new pup to grow into it. In some ways I had a feeling, or hope, that he would absorb some of Dylan’s adventurous spirit simply by putting it on. I was also anxious for him to add some stories (scratches) of his own to this heritage piece.

While new technologies allow us to constantly improve products in design, function and fit, some times a classic old trusty piece of well-built gear is hard to replace. To this day, we still use Dylan’s life jacket for water adventures – partly to honor Dylan, and largely because it just works great.

We know there are a lot of other hand-me-down stories of Ruffwear gear out there and we would love to hear those stories and honor those who passed the gear on to you. Please share your second hand stories by clicking HERE.

~In Dylan’s loving memory,

Vince at Ruffwear


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