Why Your Dog Needs a Dog Life Jacket

30 08 2016

Jan Reisen | June 09, 2016

While some dog breeds are natural swimmers, like retrievers and spaniels, others are less suited to the water. Either way, if you and your pet plan to spend time in or on the water, a dog life jacket is a wise investment. Even good swimmers can tire, have trouble staying buoyant, and struggle to keep their heads above water. Some breeds, such as Bulldogs, have body types less suited to swimming and will need help staying afloat. If your dog accompanies you on a boat, a personal flotation device (PFD) is essential. If he falls overboard, he’ll struggle in rough water, a strong current, or large waves. A dog life jacket makes it easier for him to stay above water and easier for you to retrieve him and get him back on board.

Choosing a Life Jacket For Your Dog

There are no standards or certifications for canine life jackets or life vests, but here are some features to look for:

  • A handle will make it easier for you to grab hold of your dog if he’s floundering. It also makes it easier to teach your dog to swim; you can guide him in the water until he feels confident swimming on his own.
  • The life jacket or vest should have a D-ring so you can attach a leash.
  • Decide whether your dog need a life jacket or a vest. Dog life jackets cover more of the dog and provide both buoyancy and visibility. They’re recommended for boating and any time your dog may be in open or rough water. If your dog swims primarily in a pool, a life vest is lighter, covers less area, and and is easier for swimming.
  • Although dog life jackets come in all sorts of fun colors and prints, bright colors will make it easier to spot him in the water.

Even if you think your dog is an Olympic swimmer, any dog can be overcome with fatigue, struggle in the waves, become disoriented in the water, or just need a little extra buoyancy. A life jacket will keep him safe, help him feel confident in the water and help you bring him back on board or back to shore in an emergency.


Chica, a River House staff member’s dog, attending the Family Stand-Up Paddleboarding class. Photo by Kelly Beal Photography.


Types of Life Jackets to Consider

Be sure to check sizing guides to get the right fit for your dog.

Outward Hound Ripstop Life Jackets
This life jacket has easy-grab handles, high-viz colors, quick release buckles and multiple reflective stripes.

K-9 Float Coat from Ruffwear
A telescoping neck closure is adjustable for different size dogs.The jacket also features a strong handle for lifting a dog out of the water, reflective trim and closed cell foam panels.

PAWS Aboard Neoprene Pet Life Jackets
A breathable mesh underbelly helps drain water quickly to keep your dog drier and cooler when he comes out of the water.

He&Ha Pet Quality Dog Life Jacket Adjustable Dog Life Vest Preserver
This vest style flotation device has a convenient top grab handle, a D-ring to attach a leash, vibrant safety colors and mesh holes for ventilation.


Bravo, a River House staff member’s dog, attending the Family Stand-Up Paddleboarding class. Photo by Kelly Beal Photography.


Full article can be found at: http://www.akc.org/content/dog-care/articles/why-your-dog-needs-a-dog-life-jacket/

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The River House celebrates 50 years of teaching outdoor skills

17 08 2016

July 24, 2016

Fifty years ago, the city of Eugene’s River House Outdoor Center was officially established — and now, the city is celebrating.

The two-story farmhouse, nicknamed the River House, originally served as a shelter to store outdoor equipment such as canoes, kayaks, mountain climbing gear and camping supplies. Eventually, the house was transformed into an operational office and space to organize and run mostly local outdoor programs.

But the expansive Outdoor Program associated with the historic house now provides the surrounding community with much more.

“The goal of the Outdoor Program has always been to teach people the skills they need so they can confidently go out and enjoy nature,” said Roger Bailey, the Outdoor Program coordinator at the River House. “But oftentimes it teaches people more than that, like tolerating adversity and putting your best foot forward even when it’s hard.”

On Saturday, hundreds of people gathered at Maurie Jacobs Park, near the River House on Adams Street at the edge of the Willamette River, to celebrate the 50-year milestone.

Like any true outdoor celebration, people could be seen bicycling up and down the river path, paddleboarding near the banks of the river and dancing to the bluesy tunes coming from a small stage.

Cedar Sparrow, 12, said he was most excited to eat some cake and play by the river.

“I’m just going to volunteer as much as I can and hopefully get some cake!” Sparrow said.

Sparrow, who was wearing a yellow River House volunteer shirt, said he likes to do a lot of outdoor activities, including tree climbing and rafting down the McKenzie River.


Stand up paddle boarders paddle the Willamette river near some geese at the River House Outdoor Program 50th anniversary celebration in Eugene on Saturday, July 23rd, 2016. (Adam Eberhardt/The Register-Guard)

Robert Brack was one of several River House employees helping put on Saturday’s event. He and other volunteers were making bracelets out of retired rock climbing ropes by cutting them into small pieces and cauterizing the edges together.

People of all ages picked out the color of rope they wanted to take home as outdoorsy bracelets.

Brack was joined by his wife, Kristen Brack, and their three children, who were helping man the bracelet booth.

“The inclusivity of the organization is one of the best parts about the River House,” Kristen Brack said. “They have something for kids and all the way up to seniors, and they have great adaptive programs as well. They make it so that everyone can have an outdoor experience in Eugene.”

The River House provides guided lessons in nearly every outdoor activity imaginable — including but not limited to tree climbing, bike riding, wilderness survival skills, whitewater rafting, sailing and skiing. The program also offers several free and low-cost instructional classes as well as day camps and drop-in sessions, with options for people of all ages.

Bailey, 56, has worked at the River House for the past 30 years. He says the reason the program has been successful is because of the passion of its staff.

“The people who work here, when they’re enjoying their free time, they’re doing what they do in their job,” he said. “They bring a rich experience to Eugene.”

The city-run program has five full-time employees and 84 part-time employees who specialize in different outdoor specialties.

“Not everyone who works here makes a living,” Bailey said. “They’re just doing it because they’re passionate about it and they love doing it.”

Mel Jackson, an advocate for wild spaces, established the River House in 1966. The program was then expanded, thanks to sponsorships from the city’s Parks and Recreation Department as well as The Register-Guard in the 1970s.

“He was of the belief that if people go out, they’re more likely to want to advocate for it and preserve it,” Bailey said.

The first outdoor classes included backpacking basics, wilderness survival skills, mountaineering and cooking in the outdoors.

“The most expensive workshop that year was camp cooking,” he said. “It was $2 per person.”

Follow Alisha on Twitter @alisharoemeling. Email alisha.roemeling@registerguard.com .



What: The Outdoor Program at the River House offers a wide range of activities such as snowboarding, skiing, kayaking, rafting, sailing, hiking, rock climbing, tree climbing and more to help all Eugene and Springfield-are a residents take advantage of all outdoor experiences.

Where: 301 N. Adams St.

Hours: 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday

Contact: 541-682-5329

Full article can be found at: http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/34592716-75/the-river-house-celebrates-50-years-of-teaching-outdoor-skills.html.csp

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Dave Mirra and the effects of CTE

24 05 2016

If you were under 30 through the late 90’s and 2000’s; more than likely you’ve heard his name even if you never saw his amazing and fearless BMX moves.  Dave Mirra’s skills were unmatched and he seemed to be invisible on a bike.  I never rode BMX, but an athlete that can hone such a mastery of their craft always brings inspiration.


Sadly; Mirra committed suicide on February 4th leaving behind his wife and two kids.  Mirra’s condition has now been diagnosed as CTE, the diagnosis that is normally in the news about football players and the depression it can lead to.  Mirra is possibly the first outdoor/adventure/action athlete to be diagnosed with the condition that is caused by multiple head impacts.

The following is from ESPN the Magazine.  By: Alyssa Roenigk

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House on the River

23 05 2016

 Eugene’s River House celebrates 50 years

Eugene's River House

Eugene’s River House

Ah, Eugene, “a great city for the arts and outdoors,” especially if you have the right gear, training and financial means to actually get down and dirty in the area’s natural wonders.

One factor for enjoying the outdoors is having access in the first place. The Eugene Rec Outdoor Program provides just that for Eugeneans, and the organization’s 50th anniversary is right around the corner.

Originally established by clean-water advocate Mel Jackson and the city of Eugene in the late 1960s, the outdoor program later was expanded by the Eugene Parks and Rec department. The group eventually acquired the nickname River House, seeing as the building is smack dab on the river. Canoeing, rock-climbing, white-water rafting and other activities have been added to the program’s activity list over time, and accessibility for the courses is a consistent factor for the River House team.

“We have a goal of making our program inclusive and accessible to anyone wanting to participate,” says program supervisor Roger Bailey, who’s been with River House for nearly 30 years. Bailey says he’s seen the positive community influence that accessible outdoor programs offer. “That is our mission,” Bailey says, “to help people grow and to help make this community a better place to live.”

For Bailey, this means approaching courses with “cultural respect, accountability, honesty and integrity.” He says more energy is going towards focusing on financial accessibility, and a youth sailing course provided by the outdoor program was recently able to share scholarships for low-income children.

“Every walk of life comes here to take our programs,” Bailey explains. River House programs provide people with, as he puts it, skills that need to be learned outside of school or work. Whether you’re feeling like honing your outdoorsy side in town or want to put some spur-of-the-moment REI purchase to the test out in the forest, the program has activities for all levels, and few exceed a $40 price tag — not to mention the handful of courses that are free to the public.

The River House’s 50th-anniversary celebration will be 4 to 7 pm Saturday, July 23, at 301 N. Adams Street, with food, circus arts, cake, kayaks and paddle boards provided at the event; more info at eugene-or.gov.

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Lovely Penny Arcade

11 04 2016

Just as it seemed music videos were dead, along comes OK Go and their brilliance in film making.  This new video from Jane Bordeaux for the song Ma’agalim is nothing like the OK Go films, but still has a certain Rube Goldberg quality to it.  It is beautifully created and matched well with the music.  I have no clue what this song is about but Trust it’s Lovely.

What does this have to do with an outdoor blog?  Nothing, and I hope it makes you smile.

Ma’agalim – Jane Bordeaux from Uri Lotan on Vimeo.

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Central Oregon Avalanches Happen

4 02 2016


From the Central Oregon Avalanche Association:

Avalanches DO happen in Central Oregon.  Skiers and snowboarders are at risk whenever they enter the backcountry, and with more and more people in the BC, the risks are not just limited to just you and your group.  We suppose it wasn’t long before something like the following incident would occur, and we are bringing it to our community’s attention because we believe that there are important lessons to be learned and talked about.
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Gear Love pt.1

2 02 2016


Throughout a life of outdoor jobs and personal play, we get the opportunity to truly test gear in the realm it is claimed to be designed for.  Sometimes it’s obvious the gear was created more for a profit rather than to increase an outdoor experience; we take note and continue the search for something better.  This can be a circle that brings us back to the original beginnings of a category before “advanced” technology, fads, profits, and marketing got involved with the pursuit.  When gear was designed for its sole purpose of doing a job.  Merely a tool for a problem.

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