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Give, Shop, and Wag Like a Local

Nate and Dani Wyeth live in Bend, Oregon with their golden retriever, Ranger. Below, they offer tips for holiday-ing like the locals here in Bend. You can adapt these tips to do the same in your neck of the woods, too. 

There are fewer things we’re more grateful for in life than to be able to live in a place as beautiful as Bend. It’s not just the jaw-dropping views or the endless places we can take our pups to play off-leash, but it’s also the people who visit, live, and work here that make this place truly special. That’s why it’s super important that we support those locals when it comes time to shop and give during the holidays. 

Experiences Over Things

A woman cross country skis with her dog, who is wearing Ruffwear gear, by her side.

We’ve got a couple of gift-giving traditions in our house. The first one we love: experiences over things. Bend is a great place to gift experiences to your loved ones. Surrounded by snow-covered forests and mountains, Bend locals will find that a dog-friendly, outdoor adventure on snowshoes or cross-country skis can be memorable. 

Local gear shops, like Crow’s Feet Mountain Collective, Sunnyside Sports, and others rent out equipment that you’ll need – including gear to keep you warm. After that, all that’s left is planning your route (local organization DogPac is a great resource here in Bend) and packing some treats to enjoy at the shelter. 

Pack your ten essentials and picnic goodies in a Free Range Pack, made in Bend featuring artwork from local artists. Put some hot cocoa in a Hydro Flask®, and make sure your pup’s paws are protected with Ruffwear’s Polar Trex™ winter boots. Now you’re ready for a perfect winter adventure full of local gifts. And, while you’re at it and in a giving mood, consider a donation to DogPac for their part in making this experiential gift so memorable. 

Books & Cocoa – An Icelandic Tradition

The second tradition is one we picked up during a recent trip to Iceland. Their Christmas Eve tradition, Jólabókaflóðið, is much easier to take part in than it is to pronounce. Roughly translated to “flood of books,” each year on Christmas Eve, Icelandic folks gift books, have some hot cocoa (or just chocolate), and read into the night. 

Our Spin On It

A woman holds a book by a Christmas tree.

We put our own spin on this. Each year, we head out into the snowy forest, decorate our own little tree, light it up with some battery-powered lights, and exchange books and chocolate we got for each other. Dudley’s, our favorite local bookstore, is our go-to for our Jólabókaflóðið books, and you can find locally made Seahorse Chocolates at small shops throughout town. 

Because our pups do everything with us, including this, it’s essential to pick up some carob treats (dog-friendly chocolate) at Bendy Dog, the local pet supply boutique downtown. Once our dogs learn to read, we’ll tackle the book thing. 

For Your Green-Thumbed Friends

While not necessarily a gift we give during the holidays, plants are a great gift to give any time of the year. Since we’re all about supporting local businesses, we love Somewhere That’s Green, Bend’s best plant shop (voted two years in a row). 

Gifting someone a plant shows that you care about your future, that you care about their health, and that you trust them. Somewhere That’s Green goes above and beyond by labeling all pet-friendly plants with a paw sticker, which is excellent for gifting to those whose pets enjoy snacking on the occasional spider plant.

Gifts? Check. Next Up: Giving Back

 A woman cross country skis at night her with dog running ahead of her.

Before the gift-giving is all said and done, it’s crucial to find ways to give back and say thanks. We try to support the organizations throughout town doing great work in the places we like to play with our pups. Central Oregon Trail Alliance (COTA), our local trail organization, or Discover Your Forest are great places to thank in return for our access to the outdoors. 

Street Dog Hero – a Bend-based organization that rescues dogs from places like Peru, South Korea, Mexico, and more – finds them loving homes in the Pacific Northwest. They are always in need of support for the great work they do. 

The Best Gift of All 

A woman and man cuddle with their two golden retriever dogs at the Oregon Coast.

And while those are just a few ways to give, shop, and explore locally here in Bend, what’s most important is giving your dog as much love as possible. 

Want to learn more about Ruffwear Ambassadors, Nate, Dani & Ranger? You can follow their adventures on Instagram here