About Whyld River
Hi there and welcome to Whyld River!
Whyld River was founded in November of 2017 by Rachel (that's me!) and my rescue dog River.
River is the inspiration and the driving force behind the Whyld River brand.
When I met River I was just grabbing lunch one day at work and there was an adoption drive right out front. I walked up to pet all the dogs (of course) and River just put his paws on my shoulders, gave me a big hug and refused to let go. That was the moment I knew that we were family, that this was my future best friend and adventure companion.
As soon as I got back to work I filled out the forms, called the rescue organization, and made sure he was going to come home with me. When I went to pick him up I was told he never walked on a leash, that he'd just sit there and pull, but when I slipped his leash on he pranced out of the door right next to me!
As many of my fellow rescue dog mommies and daddies might know, when I first brought River home he was scared of his own shadow. For no reason at all he would wind up a shaking mess in my arms from small interactions with sounds, people, and other dogs.
However, when I began taking River on adventures with me outdoors he became a totally different dog! Outside of all the scary noises of city living he would be a free, confident, and energetic puppy! Gone was the shaking mess and what emerged was the loving and carefree dog I know so well.
So River and I began going on more and more outdoor adventures together. We started with trail-running and hiking, but we eventually moved on to backpacking.
It was 2016, I'd just moved back to Portland, OR for grad school and River and I were preparing for our first backpacking trip up near Mt. Hood.
As River is a skinny boy (no matter how many steak bites I feed him!) I brought along a huge old sleeping bag for him to curl up in. It took up half of my 70L pack. However, it was made for a human. It didn't fit River properly and he kept uncovering himself in the middle of the night. In the morning I woke up to find him shivering so badly that we had to pack up and leave. When we made it back to the car It took him an hour with the heat on full blast to finally stop shaking. I was so scared that I had almost killed my best friend, just from being ill-equipped for the PNW weather!
After this frightening experience, I knew I had to find better gear to make sure River could be safe and comfortable in order to continue to take him on my outdoor adventures.
I started looking around, but all of the sleeping bags I could find for River looked cheaply made. I wanted a sleeping bag that was a similar quality to my own sleeping bag!
I also didn't like the idea of zipping River into a bag. I wanted this bag to be a safe place for him, not something he'd feel trapped in. I afraid of zipping up fur or a tail in the dark and making him scared of his sleeping bag.
At the time I was in a program that taught product development. So I decided to try to use my new skills to create the perfect sleeping bag for River. I used my favorite materials and the best methods of construction that I knew worked well for humans from my background of outfitting backpackers at REI.
I made him the perfect sleeping bag, built just for him, but with the highest quality materials and construction.
In October of 2017 River and I brought out our new creation on the trail with us and it worked like a charm! A snow storm blustered around us and both my dad and I woke up frozen, but River bounded out of the tent in the morning warm, full of energy, and intent on chasing every squirrel in the vicinity.
After I got back from our trip I started thinking about my experience. Not only how difficult it was to find good gear, but also about my terrible shopping experience looking for gear for River online. I thought to myself: "there has to be a better way".
So for the past year River and I have been designing and testing new prototypes for our doggy sleeping bag. We received our final prototypes for testing in June of 2018 and we currently have 20+ product testers (and their humans) working with us to test our DoggyBag in all kinds of different environments and situations.
This adventure has been so fun and exciting for me and River. We have met the most amazing people and canines through this venture and we never want it to end!
That's why, this summer, Whyld River will be bringing our DoggyBag to Kickstarter to try to raise money to help us produce our first product and work on bringing more products to life.
Our vision is to create a better platform where dog owners cannot only find great gear for their pups, but become part of the process!
This is a BIG dream and I know it will take a lot of work to get there, but I know that together, anything is possible.
River and I hope you will support our Kickstarter this summer and help to make this dream a reality so that we can continue to make high quality gear for pups in need!
Rachel & River
I hope you enjoyed my story and I'd love to hear yours!