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Grace, Matt, Foxi and Nemo

Roverachievers – The Golden Road

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Embarking on a journey of epic proportions, Matt and Grace Grooms, the faces behind @TheGGoldenRoad, recently completed an awe-inspiring feat—walking the entire 8,000 miles of the East Coast Green-way. What makes their adventure even more extraordinary is the presence of their two beloved canine companions, Nemo and Foxi. Nemo, a dog with a dramatic origin story from their first walk, and Foxi, a little Yorkie who rides atop their cart, are not just companions on this remarkable journey; they are integral members of TheGoldenRoad‘s story of purpose, passion, and philanthropy.

Nemo, the seasoned adventurer, found her way into Matt and Grace’s hearts during their initial walk across America. Her story is one of unexpected twists, trials, and triumphs—drama that unfolded and left an indelible mark on the couple. For a closer look at Nemo’s captivating tale, TheGGoldenRoad encourages everyone to check out their social media, where the unfolding chapters of Nemo’s life reveal a heartwarming and dramatic saga.

Perched atop the cart that carries the essentials for their journey is Foxi, a pint-sized Yorkie who has quickly become an icon of charm and warmth. In her fleece Rovercoat, Foxi not only braves the elements but adds a touch of whimsy to TheGGoldenRoad’s caravan. Riding high above the ground, Foxi is a constant reminder of the joy that comes from embracing every aspect of the adventure, no matter how small.

Foxi and Nemo

Nemo, the walking enthusiast, radiates happiness with every step. Her love for the journey is evident in the way she effortlessly covers miles alongside Matt and Grace. Nemo has become an embodiment of the sheer joy that comes from exploring the world on foot, a sentiment that reverberates through TheGGoldenRoad‘s mission and their commitment to Elevate Youth, for whom they raised over $100,000!

TheGGoldenRoad‘s social media accounts are more than just a glimpse into their daily adventures; they are portals into the lives of Nemo and Foxi. From dramatic stories to heartwarming moments, followers can experience the highs and lows of their journey, all while being enchanted by the delightful personalities of these canine companions. Also check out their website, www.theggoldenroad.com for more great content !

Grace and Nemo
Almost there!
Golden Road camping

As TheGoldenRoad continues to inspire with their incredible journey, Nemo and Foxi stand as testament to the power of companionship, resilience, and the unbridled joy found in each step of the adventure. Follow the ongoing saga on their social media, witness the charm of Foxi riding high, and delve into the dramatic and heartening tales of Nemo’s past. Together, these four travelers—two humans and two canines—are not just traversing miles; they are paving the way for a brighter future for Elevate Youth and leaving paw prints on the hearts of all who follow their journey.

Bear, The beginning

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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.

Bobbie’s Incredible Journey

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The Brazier family lived in Silverton, Oregon with their dog Bobbie, a Scotch Collie, English Shepherd mix. In August 1923 Frank and Elizabeth loaded their two daughters into their car for a cross country trip to visit family in Indiana. Two-year-old Bobbie rode outside on the trunk. While in Indiana, Bobbie was chased away by a pack of local dogs. After several days of calling, posting flyers and newspaper ads, the family had to return to Oregon without their loyal companion. They were heartbroken.

Bobbie the Wonder Dog and dad

Six months later, back in Silverton, one of the daughters stepped outside of the family-owned café and was amazed to see a bedraggled Bobbie shuffling down Main Street. His fur was matted, he was extremely skinny, and his toenails were worn down to nothing. Somehow, Bobbie had managed to traverse over 2,550 miles of plains, deserts, and mountains to reunite with his family. He would have had to swim rivers and cross the Continental Divide, all during the dead of winter.

After a meal of sirloin steak and a big bowl of cream. Bobbie was so tired, exhausted, and worn down, he didn’t move for three days. His story was chronicled by the local paper and then rebroadcast across the country. He was featured in “Ripley’s Believe it or not” and three months later, starred in a silent film called. “The call of the west.” His fame earned him several “keys to the city” and numerous appearances, including the Portland Home Show, where over 40,000 people came to see the intrepid traveler.

Bobbie even went on to sire a litter of 15 puppies, all of which were males, before his death in 1927. He was buried with honors at the Oregon Humane Society’s Animal Cemetery and the famous movie dog Rin Tin Tin traveled to Oregon to lay a wreath at his grave.

Bobbie’s demonstration of loyalty is celebrated during Silverton’s annual pet parade that serves as a reminder of the special place animals have in people’s lives. The event was started several years after Bobbie’s death and the first parade was led by his son, Pal. A 70-foot-long outdoor painting featuring Bobbie’s story is part of a series of murals that decorate Silverton.

Silverton's Bobbie the Dog Mural

Hollywood’s Golden Era Dogs

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Hollywood has cashed in on America’s love affair with dogs from the beginning. In 1918, during the silent era, Charlie Chaplin, co-starred with a mongrel named Scraps in “A Dog’s Life.” At the first Academy Awards in 1929, canine film star Rin Tin Tin won more votes for Best Actor than the actual winner. He was the highest paid film star at the time, earning $6,000 per week, more than $100,000 by today’s standards. He is credited with saving then struggling Warner Brothers Studios and making German Shepherds the most popular breed in the country.

Toto, the scrappy Terrier in “The Wizard of Oz” outsmarts the villains in both Kansas and Oz. In Kansas, Toto escapes from mean Ms. Mulch’s basket to return to the distraught Dorothy. In Oz, Toto summons help when Dorothy is kidnapped by The Wicked Witch of the West and later reveals the Wizard as a fraud. The dog’s real name was Terry, and he was quite the star, acting in 16 different movies.

Beginning in 1943, the famous Collie Lassie epitomized courage, loyalty, and utter selflessness. Roddy McDowall, who played the boy Joe in “Lassie Comes Home” said, ““Lassie is a star on the level of a Bette Davis or a Katharine Hepburn.” Ironically, Lassie was a male Collie named “Pal” who played in 7 movies and whose descendants continue to represent the heroic pet. Pal was trained by the legendary Frank Weathermax, who later trained Spike, aka “Old Yeller”, a Mastiff/Lab mix who repeatedly saves his master before contracting rabies, requiring a heartbreaking euthanasia.

Dogs have been featured in hundreds of movies and continue to play iconic roles. Benji was a universally loved Terrier in the 1970s. Stephen King transformed a loving St. Bernard into a rabid murderer in “Cujo.” Frank, a talking pug, was actually an alien in “Men in Black” and the Norwich Terrier Winky wins Westminster’s highest prize, led by Eugene Levy in the over-the-top mockumentary “Best in Show.”

With more than 80 million dogs in the US, it is inevitable that Hollywood will continue to feature our canine companions, but none will have the impact they did during Hollywood’s Golden Era

Run! Day Camp for Dogs

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Camp is the operative word here. Imagine your childhood summer camp, where dozens of kids would play kickball, dodgeball and capture the flag. You could swim in a lake, eat in a dining hall, and generally just be a kid. Now replace kids with dogs and remove the activities. Dozens of dogs, run, romp and wrestle on Run!’s fully fenced 24-acre farm. Most of the play zone is in the woods providing shade, old-growth stumps and boulders to climb on, and streams to swim in. Set in Vernonia, Oregon, it caters primarily to Portland-area dogs (about an hour’s drive away) which are transported via a fleet of air-conditioned Sprinter vans. A typical day sees about 50 dogs, 20 of which will board overnight in the bunkhouse. Otherwise, they are picked up between 7-9am and dropped off from 4-6pm. On the farm there are also goats, pigs, sheep and a newly acquired pair of donkeys, but only the eleven (+1) house dogs interact with the farm animals. Recently, we had a chance to sit down owner Erica.

Rovercoat: You have an impressive business. How long have you been operating, and how did you got started?

Erica: A long time ago…25 years, maybe 26, 27…who knows. After college I wanted a job where I did not have to leave my dog. I couldn’t find one, so I started walking dogs. I put up flyers in the neighborhood and used my old Volvo station wagon. I applied myself and never stopped.

Rovercoat: Your farm is amazing. What did you have to do to prepare your property for your business?

Erica: The first step was to install fences. I think I started with 10 acres. Wait, first there was the permitting – let’s not forget that fun. I had to convert a shop into a functional building. And deforestation. We had to thin the woods and clear the undergrowth. There was incremental development and there still is. The work never stops.

Rovercoat: Vernonia is an hour’s drive from Portland. How did you land there?

Erica: Clackamas County was really friendly. They were the only area near Portland whose land use options aligned with my vision of the business.

Rovercoat : You have eleven dogs of your own, including Charlie the 150-pound pig, and no two are alike. We have to ask – do you have a favorite breed?

Erica: Hmmm, CatahoulaHeelers…I like dogs with high energy that matches my own.

Rovercoat: Can you tell us how Charlie joined the pack?

Erica: Charlie was mean. He used to bully the other pigs. They got sick of it and teamed up against him. They wouldn’t let him hang around with them. So, I made the dog door bigger and now he’s like one of the dogs. He even comes on walks with us!

Learn more about Run! Day Camp for Dogs

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Grace, Matt, Foxi and Nemo

Roverachievers – The Golden Road

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Embarking on a journey of epic proportions, Matt and Grace Grooms, the faces behind @TheGGoldenRoad, recently completed an awe-inspiring feat—walking the entire 8,000 miles of the East Coast Green-way. What…

Bear, The beginning

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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…

Bobbie’s Incredible Journey

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The Brazier family lived in Silverton, Oregon with their dog Bobbie, a Scotch Collie, English Shepherd mix. In August 1923 Frank and Elizabeth loaded their two daughters into their car…

Hollywood’s Golden Era Dogs

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Hollywood has cashed in on America’s love affair with dogs from the beginning. In 1918, during the silent era, Charlie Chaplin, co-starred with a mongrel named Scraps in “A Dog’s…

Water-repellent / resistant / proof?

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Dog jackets: water-resistant, water-repellant, waterproof: what is the difference?

Marketing jargon can be confusing, especially when it is intentionally deceptive. We’ve all heard the terms water-resistant, water-repellant, and waterproof – but what is the difference? Water-resistant usually means that the fabric has a relatively tight weave. This prevents light moisture, like a mist, from reaching your skin…. but not for long. The next step up is water-repellant.

Typically, this adds a coating to the fabric, either before or after the manufacturing process, that makes it harder for the water to penetrate. Think of a windbreaker – it might keep you dry as the sprinkles start, but if they continue, your skin will be as wet as the jacket. Finally, there is waterproof. True waterproof is solid plastic or rubber, like an angler’s waders or the jackets on Alaskan boat fishermen. These keep ALL water out, but they also keep all water in. They do not allow sweat or body heat to escape and become quite hot and uncomfortable to wear. Science has solved this problem by creating high-tech fabrics that prevent water from entering, while allowing heat and perspiration to escape. This requires multi-layer construction, usually consisting of an outer woven fabric and an inner membrane. Unfortunately, there are still wide variations in the waterproof category. Some fabrics are not treated and will allow water to saturate in heavier rain showers. Certain membranes focus on keeping you cool rather than dry and will allow water to migrate in both directions when things get too wet. And if the seams are not taped, then all the technology goes out the window because water will find its way through the tiny holes used to stitch the fabric together.

Rovercoat uses a 4-way stretching fabric of the tightest weave. It is protected by DWR (Durable Water Resistant) coating, the best in the industry, applied prior to construction so that it is ingrained in the fabric itself, rather than sprayed on later. The interior membrane is rated to a 15k standard, which means that any single point on the jacket will withstand the pressure of 15,000 millimeters of water, or a column of more than 40 feet. Finally, all the seams are taped. Rovercoats are lightweight, breathable, 4-way stretching, and waterproof…because dogs are family, and they deserve the best.

Photos by Sam Slater | Instagram @samslatersam

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Grace, Matt, Foxi and Nemo

Roverachievers – The Golden Road

| Uncategorized | No Comments
Embarking on a journey of epic proportions, Matt and Grace Grooms, the faces behind @TheGGoldenRoad, recently completed an awe-inspiring feat—walking the entire 8,000 miles of the East Coast Green-way. What…

Bear, The beginning

| Uncategorized | No Comments
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…

Bobbie’s Incredible Journey

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The Brazier family lived in Silverton, Oregon with their dog Bobbie, a Scotch Collie, English Shepherd mix. In August 1923 Frank and Elizabeth loaded their two daughters into their car…

Hollywood’s Golden Era Dogs

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Hollywood has cashed in on America’s love affair with dogs from the beginning. In 1918, during the silent era, Charlie Chaplin, co-starred with a mongrel named Scraps in “A Dog’s…

Portland Loves Dogs

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Portland, Oregon is consistently rated one of the most dog-friendly cities in the country.

There are tons of dog-friendly parks including the 5,000-acre Forest Park and Mt Tabor, which hosts the only active urban volcano in the country. Over 30 off-leash areas guarantee there is one in every neighborhood. Most apartments allow dogs and so does public transportation. Many businesses cater to our furry friends.

Puppernickel is a dog bakery where you can order pupcakes, handmade biscuits, or a complete birthday kit with human grade cake, paw-ty hats, and ice cream for dogs.

The Lucky Lab Brewpub serves Superdog IPA and Black Lab Stout, and hosts an annual Dogtoberfest celebration with beer, music, and a giant dog wash. Their annual Tour de Lab bike ride dresses riders in dog ears and noses, decorates portable toilets as fire hydrants, and offers an all-you-can-eat hot dog buffet.

Cycle Dog manufactures dog collars from recycled bicycle inner tubes and has an on-site Tavern Dog Park where you and your pup can watch them work.

The Tin Shed Café not only welcomes dogs, but it also has a menu just for them with Fido Food (chicken thighs and sweet potatoes) and Doggie Dessert (blended banana, peanut butter, and yogurt).

There is a pet shop or vet clinic for every 1,000 people.

Annual events include the Doggie Dash, Corgis in the Pearl, Pug Crawl, WillaMutt Strut (playing off the city center Willamette River) and the Howliday Bazaar.

Portland is passionate about a lot of things: coffee, bicycles, microbrews, food carts, and certainly its dogs.

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Grace, Matt, Foxi and Nemo

Roverachievers – The Golden Road

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Embarking on a journey of epic proportions, Matt and Grace Grooms, the faces behind @TheGGoldenRoad, recently completed an awe-inspiring feat—walking the entire 8,000 miles of the East Coast Green-way. What…

Bear, The beginning

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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…

Bobbie’s Incredible Journey

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The Brazier family lived in Silverton, Oregon with their dog Bobbie, a Scotch Collie, English Shepherd mix. In August 1923 Frank and Elizabeth loaded their two daughters into their car…

Hollywood’s Golden Era Dogs

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Hollywood has cashed in on America’s love affair with dogs from the beginning. In 1918, during the silent era, Charlie Chaplin, co-starred with a mongrel named Scraps in “A Dog’s…

Queen of the Corgis

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While the Queen Elizabeth II elevated the breed’s status, Ellen Childs has bred and showed Pembroke Welsh Corgis for over 50 years. She took dozens of dogs through their championship (this requires 4-8 show wins including at least 2 majors, meaning there are lots of dogs competing.) She has also bred “lots and lots…probably hundreds” of champion stock. In the 1980s and 90s, when puppy mills began churning out specialty breeds, Ellen became involved in Corgi rescue – placing unwanted dogs in loving homes. Eventually she rose to become the President of the National Corgi Rescue Committee. Recently, we met with Ellen to hear her story.

Rovercoat: “When did you get your first Corgi?”

Ellen: “When we were first married, in 1961. It definitely was not show quality.”

Rovercoat: “What do you like so much about Corgis?”

Ellen: “I got to know them from the aunties, and I just fell in love with them. We were living in an apartment, so we needed a small dog. We’ve had Corgis as pets ever since.”

Rovercoat: “You’ve had dozens of dogs. Do you have any favorites?”

Ellen: Oh yes, so many were special: Eli, Sonja, Shady, Lion, Ike… and others I’m not thinking of right now. They weren’t all Corgis. We often had a bigger dog too, like a hound, a black Lab, a Belgian Tervuren….but the special ones were all Corgis.”

Rovercoat: You have a lot of experience finding homes for Corgis, both your puppies and the rescue dogs. Can you tell us about both experiences?

Ellen: The biggest difference was in the dogs themselves. My puppies were bred from Champion stock selected to reproduce the best traits from both parents. Usually, they were all spoken for before they were born. The rescue dogs were only “Corgis” by the widest stretch of the imagination. When they were actual Corgis, it was easy to place them through the national network. But usually, they were bred in puppy mills and sold in pet stores. People are told they were buying a Corgi, but what they got was anything but. So that part of it was hard – trying to find homes for unwanted dogs. I wanted to support the breed but sometimes it felt like I was supporting the puppy mills instead.

Rovercoat: “How do you feel about tail docking?” (Removing the dog’s tail when they are puppies so that they are “show quality”)

Ellen: “I think it’s stupid and unnecessary. They don’t do it in England anymore (where the breed originated). Why do they still do it here? I think the US is the only place where it still happens. I wish they’d stop it.”

Ellen lives in New Hartford, CT with her 2 Corgis: XIII Maples Starbright and her son, XIII Maples Starlight, affectionately known as Bridie and Bingo. While not the Queen of England, she is effectively the “Queen of the Corgis”.

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Grace, Matt, Foxi and Nemo

Roverachievers – The Golden Road

| Uncategorized | No Comments
Embarking on a journey of epic proportions, Matt and Grace Grooms, the faces behind @TheGGoldenRoad, recently completed an awe-inspiring feat—walking the entire 8,000 miles of the East Coast Green-way. What…

Bear, The beginning

| Uncategorized | No Comments
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…

Bobbie’s Incredible Journey

| Uncategorized | No Comments
The Brazier family lived in Silverton, Oregon with their dog Bobbie, a Scotch Collie, English Shepherd mix. In August 1923 Frank and Elizabeth loaded their two daughters into their car…

Hollywood’s Golden Era Dogs

| Uncategorized | No Comments
Hollywood has cashed in on America’s love affair with dogs from the beginning. In 1918, during the silent era, Charlie Chaplin, co-starred with a mongrel named Scraps in “A Dog’s…