Forward Together

The Inspiration Behind the Spring 2019 Season

In some ways, this season is different than any that has come before it. Venturing into unchartered territory, we pursued an idea of what might be possible. We pivoted from the familiarity of outdoor gear for dogs and blazed a new trail. This season, we focused solely on the needs of working dogs and their handlers.


Like many great adventures, this one began years ago, on a road trip. Ruffwear visited a guide dog school in Oregon. Ideas sparked and began to simmer on the back burner. Meanwhile, a guide dog school in New York began tinkering with a Ruffwear harness. They were developing a running program for guide dogs and searching for a solution that would offer comfort and performance.

Simmering ideas began to take shape, in the form of a guide dog harness unlike any other. One that would fit comfortably all day long. One that would incorporate modern outdoor technology and materials. One that would perform in daily life as well as outdoor activities. Acquaintances became partners. We were inspired by the people we met and the stories they shared. We poured their experiences into the design details. And, we stirred in our own experiences — 24 years developing gear from a dog’s perspective.

As ideas became iterations, and iterations were tested and developed, we moved the guide dog harness from the back burner to the front burner. In fact, we cleared the kitchen and committed ourselves to both this product and our partners.

In many ways, this season is different. Unchartered territory. Yet, this season is also like going home. We tapped into the core of what drives us: curiosity, collaboration, learning by doing. Innovating. Failing faster. Cultivating relationships. Offering solutions to dogs and their human companions that will enhance their lives.


We learned that having a vision doesn’t mean being able to see with your eyes. It means working together, collaborating and sharing, and taking steps according to what feels right. Sometimes, setting out on a journey means more than knowing what the destination will be. We’re excited to share our journey with you, along with stories about the people and dogs involved, and the products that came about as a result.

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