Our Story - As told by Mike
The Close Call
Gear Fur began with a broken leash. Avonlea, my wife, was leaving the dog park with our two 60 pound Siberian Huskies, Hoshi and Yuki, when it happened.
Not everyone will understand this, but to us, dogs are family, not pets. Although we see them as our kids, they're also Huskies, so when they're not on a leash, and there are interesting things to see and smell, they typically have the irresistible urge to RUN. Therefore, an unexpected broken leash, near a well trafficked road, is a thing of nightmares for us.
I'm a pretty fast runner, but I'm actually only the third fastest runner in the family. Hoshi and Yuki can beat me in a foot race any day of the week. Still, third-best might be enough to catch our pups in some situations. You see, our dogs get easily distracted by everything, even when running, so they tend to zig and zag, and smell every interesting thing they encounter along the way, whereas I tend to run in a straight line. This provides some hope of capture by a reasonably fast human.
Unfortunately, I wasn't there that day. Normally the four of us are inseparable, but on this rare day, Avonlea had the pups all to herself, while I manned our business across town. My wife is the greatest at many things, but she is regrettably only the fourth fastest runner in the family.
She had just clipped them to a brand new double leash, which arrived on our doorstep the day before from Amazon. Though it was time to leave the dog park, our boy Hoshi decided that he wasn't done playing yet, and made one last lunge away from his sister, while still attached to the leash (and my wife's arm). The leash snapped.
Perhaps not yet realizing their newfound freedom, or by sheer luck, our two furry escape artists did not run away immediately, but Avonlea still found herself in a difficult position, trying to walk both huskies home, by herself, with a broken leash and no phone to call me for help. While they all managed to get home safely, it made us realize that we needed gear for our dogs that we could actually trust.
Luckily for us, our business specializes in the manufacture of heavy-duty belts for law enforcement and military. When Avonlea called me that day and told me what happened, I immediately went to work, not for any business purpose, but just for our own peace of mind. I came home late that night, with the first Gear Fur prototype in hand, a leash that was built to a higher standard.
I'm not a doctor (I only play one on TV), but I am actually an aerospace engineer (by degree and experience). I can't do anything to help an injured person or dog, but I can do plenty to prevent possible tragedy due to mechanical failure. That's something I understand very well. With some knowledge of material science, and access to CNC machining equipment and industrial sewing machines, I began designing our own dog gear from the ground up, using custom machined hardware and high-quality webbing.
For close to a year, we made our own gear, and used it constantly. We often encountered friends and strangers alike at the dog park, and we watched them struggle with their own store-bought harnesses and leashes. Whenever we thought we could help, we'd offer to make them something better. When others started to ask where they could buy that same gear, we realized that we might be onto something.
Helping people is good, but helping dogs is more fun!
Most of the dog gear out there on the market is just terrible, seriously. There are a lot of reasons for that (mostly economic reasons). So it isn't a huge challenge to make something better. We realized we could take the suggestions of friends and start making dog products as a business, at our workshop right here in the USA. However, we didn't consider it too seriously, until we realized we could bring about something very positive in the process.
Our idea was to empower dog people, to help dogs in need everywhere! That's a lofty goal perhaps, but we've met tons of dog parents just like us, that see dogs as family, that do believe dogs deserve the same kind of safety, comfort, and social life that we humans enjoy. At the same time, the folks we meet every day at the dog park are so caring, so willing to do anything to help a dog in need. And when you feel that way, helping dogs isn't some kind of chore, it's a welcome opportunity.
The Idea - Buy One, Give One
For every piece of gear purchased, whether that be a dog leash, harness, collar, whatever, we will give a similar item to a dog in need. You buy a leash, and we'll make two. We'll send one to you, and another to one of many dog rescue organizations that we've partnered with.
There are lots of ways to help dogs, but the one thing we can do really well is make quality gear, and we can do it efficiently. With all the amazing dog parents out there, we believe we can make the world a better place for dogs in our own way, by getting quality gear into the hands of rescue organizations that need it, and to the people that adopt dogs in need of their forever home.