Woman giving a dog a belly rub
Ruff Adventure Dog Adoption Program makes matches during Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City.
By: on August 18, 2015

The Ruff Adventure Dog Adoption Program, a partnership between Ruffwear and Best Friends, finds homes for active dogs with active people. The dogs in the adoption program normally come from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in southern Utah, but when a four-day trade show called Outdoor Retailer hit Salt Lake City, a new opportunity presented itself. With the Sanctuary located more than four hours away, Best Friends for the first time invited another rescue group to participate.

Heeding the call

Lisa Girardot, Best Friends development manager for in-kind partnerships, says, “Ruffwear wanted a unique way to promote our partnership and the Ruff Adventure Dog Adoption Program, so what could be better than having energetic, adoptable dogs at Outdoor Retailer?” says Lisa. “Ruffwear also donated the adoption fees and the airfare, which is huge because quite a few dogs are going to homes out of state.” 

Lisa contacted Sandy Nelson, manager of No-Kill Utah (NKUT), to see if any NKUT Coalition members would be interested in participating at the event. NKUT is an initiative led by Best Friends Animal Society that brings together passionate individuals, city shelters, and animal welfare organizations to end the killing of dogs and cats in shelters throughout Utah.

“Nontraditional adoption events like the Outdoor Retailer show provide a unique opportunity for adoptable pets to get seen by a whole new population of potential adopters,” says Sandy, who enthusiastically presented the adoption opportunity to Rescue Rovers Dog Adoption, a coalition partner.

So, for the first time, the Ruff Adventure Dog Adoption Program utilized an outside agency and for good reason: Outdoor Retailer is the “world series” of the outdoor and adventure industry.

The main event

Deb Welder, board of directors at Rescue Rovers, says, “We were excited to join.” Rescue Rovers brought dogs needing active homes, and among them was Krone, who was rescued from an overcrowded municipal shelter with his littermates, adopted as a puppy, but then returned in last December. Almost all the dogs available during the Ruffwear event found forever homes, but Krone was the biggest home run of them all.

One of the advantages of having adoptable dogs at Outdoor Retailer was showcasing the dogs to the variety of people attending the event. For example, Jen Westerbeck was there on business from Maryland, and her family had for some time been searching for just the right dog. “Then I met Krone and there was something so special about him,” she says.

Krone’s adoption application was quickly approved and he flew home to Maryland where new adventures awaited. “We love taking our dogs places, so we're excited for all the road trips, hikes and random activities with our new little man,” says Jen. “First thing we'll do is take our pack down to a local trail we love that runs along a large freshwater reservoir. The dogs love playing in the water.”

The Ruff Adventure Dog Adoption Program is producing results to help Save Them All®. “Through events like this we are able to reach a larger audience of adopters,” says Deb. “The more loving homes we find, the more dogs we can rescue from high-kill shelters.”

Perfect partnership

“Best Friends found a true partner in Ruffwear,” says Lisa. “Whether it’s promoting and funding adoptions through the Ruff Adventure Dog Adoption Program, or creating gear that keeps active dogs safe and engaged with their owners in the great outdoors, Ruffwear's passion for making the lives of all dogs better is a driving force.”

The partnership changed Krone’s world, and he’s now part of a large family that enjoys spending time outside, but most important of all, spending quality time together.

Get involved

Learn more about Ruff Adventure Dog Adoption Program.

Learn more about NKUT.