I grew up with two dogs, freedom and fame. Both of these characters wandered into our lives through no effort of our own. Freedom, a wire haired terrier mix, won my dad over when he showed up on the stoop of his office with sad eyes and an empty belly. Fame, a dachshund mix, first targeted my sister's heart when he followed her home from the grocery store.
It was the 1980s. Leash laws were becoming popular. My family, always a bit rebellious, was slow to follow the new guidelines. Most days, we would throw open the front door and the aptly named freedom would lead fame out on day-long adventures. They were wily, free spirits...and we loved them for it. I miss those two.
In 1999 I was nearly hit by a pickup truck on a country road while training for a marathon. A few days prior to that, my dad had asked me to carry identification while running, just in case. I ignored him. Shaken, stunned, and standing in a roadside ditch, I realized he was right.
Later that year, in Dad's northern Kentucky basement, we started ROAD iD. Our goal was to create a wearable ID for runners, cyclists, and triathletes. We knew that wearable ID could improve the outcome of accidents and emergencies.
For years, we worked tirelessly...often without a paycheck. We kept on, knowing if we could help just one athlete in an emergency, all our hard work and sacrifice would be worth it.
Then, we heard our first ROAD iD story from a thankful father that was quickly reunited with his son, who was hit by a car while training for his cross country season. That was followed by another story, and another. Today, we hear ROAD iD stories almost every day. These stories are the primary source of our motivation.
In 2006, my girlfriend (now wife) and I decided we wanted to get a dog together. It was no longer the 80s...so the chances of a dog just wandering into our lives was remote.
My uncle volunteered for a local dog rescue and introduced us to a Saint Bernard mix that had been saved from a nearby kill shelter. As Scout hopped out of his truck, I sat down cross-legged in the driveway. She came over to me, pressed her head against my chest... Then buried her head in my lap. She chose us. And man, I sure am glad she did.
All dogs are special. But, there was something next-level about Scout. She was a strikingly beautiful dog, but it was her boundless capacity for love that captured attention. As I think about her now, she was a giant, beating heart wrapped up in fur. She bonded with all the humans around her. Her pack extended to our friends, our families, and everyone at ROAD iD that she spent time with throughout the work week. They loved her just as we did, and she loved them right back.
She had these big, warm, expressive eyes that always appeared to be processing something beyond her capacity. We would joke that she's really a human wearing a fur suit. We even looked for the zipper.
Like most dogs, Scout wore traditional, jingly dog tags. They did the job, but man were they annoying. At night, Scout would sleep at the foot of our bed. And, for some dog-only-knows reason, she would get up multiple times a night, shake her head, and spin around in one complete circle before plopping back down on the hardwood floors. This stand-jingle-shake-spin-plop maneuver was waking us up several times a night. Yes, we loved her, but we also loved our sleep. And those stupid, clanking, clattering, jingly tags were getting in the way.
After months of this routine, my sleep-deprived wife leered at me from across the breakfast table and muttered, "Don't you own a company that makes the world's best ID tags?" This was a very clear suggestion that i should solve this jingly tag issue.
A few months later, the world's best dog ID was born. It was silent, safer (because it was snag free), guaranteed for life, and it allowed pet owners to engrave more information than traditional ID tags.
We knew it was great, but had no idea how much others would love it. The response has been incredible. Without the jingle, families are enjoying a better night's sleep. Most importantly, DOG iD has helped reunite many families with their four-legged companions.
As for Scout, she was not only the inspiration for DOG iD, she also became the logo.
A few days ago, my 9-year-old asked me an odd question. From across the dinner table, he said "Dad, what was the worst day of your life?" As I paused for a moment to process this question from my child, he said, "For me, it was the day Scout died." I looked back across the table and said, "Yeah, me too buddy."
I miss those expressive eyes and the way her one ear stood up. I miss taking her to the office and our nightly family walks. I miss the way she sat on the sofa - her butt on the seat and front legs on the floor. I miss the way she would indignantly allow us to pose her for pictures. I miss the way she charmed everyone that she came into contact with. I just miss her.
At ROAD iD, we exist to save lives, provide peace of mind, and fuel adventure. At DOG iD, we exist to save dog lives, provide peace of mind, and reunite families with their furry friends.
Tomorrow, and the next day, and the next we will be working with unfettered passion to change the world. Both ROAD iD and DOG iD literally save lives. They provide peace of mind. They reunite families. They fuel our adventures.
A few months ago we began a new chapter with a puppy named Molly. It's hard to imagine that this sweet creature and her litter mates were abandoned in a barn and found covered with maggots. Thank God for the fine work of animal rescue organizations.
Like Scout, Molly is a St. Bernard mix. And, as expected, she has quickly wormed her way into our hearts. We are excited about our future adventures together.
When you choose to do business with one of our companies, we promise to treat you like part of the family. This means that you can count on us. If you ever have an issue with one of our products, we'll make it right. No matter what.
Also, when you support us, we send a portion of every dollar to 4 Paws for Ability, a nonprofit that provides service dogs to children and veterans in need.