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Bear is the COO of Rovercoat. He is the Product Tester, Chief Model, Ambassador, Supervisor, and the Inspiration for the company in the first place. He loves everyone and everything (squirrels might disagree) and is the unofficial Mayor of the 3 neighborhoods he has lived in.  3 or 4 times daily, Bear walks me around the neighborhood. He determines the pace and direction. If I go the wrong way he stops and patiently waits for me to figure it out. He is well-behaved, always smiling, and always off-leash. This is to compensate for his mistreatment as a puppy, when Bear spent his first 2 years on a chain.

As a puppy, Bear was gifted to an elderly farmer. The man was ill-prepared for a young dog. To prevent Bear from chasing the free-range chickens, the farmer installed Bear in a doghouse and kept him there with a 3-foot chain. He installed commercial water and kibble dispensers so he wouldn’t have to bother with the dog. Bear ate and drank in front of his house and relieved himself behind. The only human interaction he had was when the farmer’s grandkids visited on the occasional weekend.  Fortunately, the neighbors intervened and placed Bear in foster care. Bear was 2.

It had been a year since I lost my previous dog, Grace, to cancer, and I was finally ready for a new dog. To honor her memory, I set 2 rules: my new dog would be neither full-sized nor black. I was scrolling through hundreds of dog profiles on Pet Finder when Bear’s fuzzy face popped up. “There’s my dog!”, I announced, shattering both rules at the first stroke. Although Bear had already been promised to another family, it was obvious to all that Bear and I were destined to be together, and Bear came to live with me.

He was amazingly well-balanced for a dog completely ignorant about the big, wide world. He had never seen anything; cats, dogs, bicycles, water, hills, or cars. Motorcycles were particularly fascinating; stairs were terrifying. Car rides remain uncomfortable to this day, and we must pull over every hour to avoid car sickness. We live close to Portland’s 5,000-acre Forest Park and spend many happy hours playing in the woods and streams. Another advantage of the park is that the neighborhood streets butt up to it, meaning they are mostly dead ends with no traffic. This allowed us to practice walking off-leash from the beginning while Bear was drinking it all in. 

It was 2011 when Bear moved in. That means we have gone on more than 15,000 walks together. Bear is a fuzzy fellow and that fur can hold a lot of water. It takes 2 towels to dry off a rain-soaked Bear and he is still too wet to get on the couch (which he does anyway). It rains a lot in Portland and there were no lightweight waterproof dog jackets on the market. For Bear’s comfort, and my convenience, we created Rovercoat. It took 3 years and 22 prototypes, but we successfully created a jacket that is worthy of Portland’s canine Mayor.

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