I am sitting here on the edge of the Green Swamp in Central Florida, an amazing physiographic feature that encompasses 560,000 acres of wetlands, the source of four major rivers, as well as the aquifer for most of Florida. What is amazing to me is the diversity of the area. Pine trees are interspersed with palms, cypress trees stretch their roots into the swamp, and live oak with Spanish moss creates that sense of Southern gentility and a slower pace.

I’ve spent the past 11 days camped on the edge of the Green Swamp. I have another 7 days to go and I am just starting to settle into the natural rhythm of a day of life in the swamp. The sand hill cranes wake me in the morning with their cackle/chuckle followed by the cicadas as they start their serenade with the sunrise. Later in the day the hawks, vultures, Ibis, cattle egrets and bald eagles ride the lazy thermals above the warming swamp. Turtles and gators wander about and the butterflies and dragonflies show up in the late evening, rounding out the day.

This morning I was treated to the yipping of a pack of coyotes. This Florida pack has a different yip than I am used to from the coyotes of the Central Oregon high desert, another good reminder that getting out of the routine and setting out on some exploration is always rewarding. There is always something to learn.

I think that is what I love about product development here at Ruffwear, as we push the boundaries and explore, new experiences are presented, and there is always something to learn. And with that experience, a new approach to solving challenges emerges.

Since 1994, Ruffwear has been dedicated to building gear for outdoor athletes and their human companions. We believe that our products should perform and that performance should be measured by the ability to enhance our outdoor adventures with our dogs. With these guiding principles, we have three new products to share with you this season.

First, we have a new offering of an old favorite, the Climate Changer™. In addition to three new color offerings of our popular fleece jacket, we have built in pattern refinements improving performance. The sleeves have been reworked allowing for an improved overall fit and range of motion for dogs during any activity.

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Our new Fernie™ is a sweater knit fleece coat, inspired by human coats. The Fernie has a tailored, refined cut that stretches and moves with dogs. It looks and wears amazingly well. The tight knit retains warmth while remaining breathable making this a great coat for a full range of activities. I love this coat as a base layer used alone or layered under a shell when conditions warrant. These coats continue to incorporate our ethos of form following function.

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Our third offering this season is our redesigned Polar Trex™ winter specific dog boot [coming October 1, 2016]. We have continued to refine our dog boots by removing weight and layers of fabrics. This reduces bulk, improving flexibility and boot retention. New materials and construction processes learned over 17 years of dog boot development and 40,000 years of human footwear construction have resulted in our ability to create boots to meet diverse needs. Our partnership with Vibram® affords us the resources to incorporate rubber compounds for our outsoles that meet the specific demands of winter conditions and traction on snow and ice. We build our Polar Trex in a footwear production facility that builds many of the human footwear brands you have come to trust. Our proprietary lasts ensure that our fit and performance remains consistent over the years.

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Exploration is at the heart of Ruffwear’s DNA, it is what drives all of us here to get out and experience our surroundings. These experiences are what fuel our soul and drive us to create the best dog gear possible. We hope you too will continue to explore and discover your surroundings. It is amazing out here, thanks for taking Ruffwear along for the adventure.

Dogspeed,

Patrick