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While trying to give her dog Moqui a drink, Liz emptied half of her water bottle into a plastic bag and held it while the Rhodesian Ridgeback took a few slurps. Moqui then walked away panting, and Liz was left holding the bag—she couldn't set it down without losing the water and she didn't want to dump what was left back into her water bottle. "You need to do something about this," Liz said, challenging Patrick to develop a solution.
Patrick Kruse was the right person to ask. As a kid he constructed packs for his dog out of army surplus gas mask bags, using them on backpack trips in Northern California's Trinity Alps. As a young adult, he sailed for several years as crew on charter boats in the Caribbean and Central America where being resourceful was a necessity. Patrick's interest in kayaking lead him to start Salamander Paddle Gear acquainting him with numerous technical fabrics. With this unique mix of knowledge and experience Patrick developed The Quencher™, the original collapsible food and water bowl for dogs—and the solution to Liz and Moqui's drinking problem.
In 1994, after 16 months of research and development and product testing, Ruff Wear made its enthusiastically welcomed debut at an Outdoor Retailer trade show with The Quencher™. Since, it has won praise from thirsty dogs and been in a range of publications. "They were impressed with the simplicity, quality and function of The Quencher™ and wanted to see what other solutions we could come up with," Patrick says.
Ruff Wear now offers a full line of innovative performance dog gear. In addition to collapsible bowls, the company produces a full line of dog-related equipment designed to enhance the interaction between humans and dogs. A brief listing of gear includes dog packs, dog boots, dog harnesses, dog coats, and dog life jackets.
"We want to enhance the experience of all dogs and their two legged companions," Patrick says. Besides those who are active with their pets, trainers, working dogs, Search and Rescue teams, Canine Companions and Guide Dog Users all have become Ruff Wear supporters and each present specific challenges in product development. "My needs pale in comparison to those who depend on their dogs for assistance," he says. "The specific tasks and companionship dogs provide is really incredible. It puts a smile on my face when people appreciate the simple design approach that we build into our gear to address complex tasks."
"We’ve always been oriented toward products that will enhance and assist the interaction between dogs and humans. And that has always been and will continue to be our motivation."