Gratitude Breakfast

Gratitude Breakfast

  • Allison Hartz

Four years ago, I arrived at work to a flurry of activity and the smell of bacon filling my nose. My colleague Greg, donning an apron, flipped pancakes on a griddle. This was our old office, before the remodel, when the almost-too-small kitchen sat next to the building entrance and the rest of the space was mostly empty warehouse, which frequently held celebrations and gatherings that spilled over from the kitchen. 

Dogs were milling about, following those savory smells as their humans carried platters of food between the warehouse, where the cooking was happening, and the long wooden table that filled the kitchen. In the center of the table was a metal bowl and next to it, a stack of blank scrap paper cut into small strips – the Gratitude Bowl. 

For days, that bowl and stack of paper had sat in the center of the kitchen table. It was an invitation to practice gratitude – and to share it with each other – by writing down things we were grateful for, folding up the slip of paper, and dropping it into the bowl. 

Moments later, all of us squeezed around that kitchen table, plates and coffee mugs brimming, elbows bumping as we tucked in to an indulgent breakfast that had been prepared with joy. As the clatter of forks and plates began to quiet, we passed around the Gratitude Bowl, taking turns pulling out a piece of paper and reading aloud to the group what each of us was thankful for – everything from warm socks, to family, each other, and of course, our dogs. Tears and laughter and smiles filled that room, as one of our favorite Ruffwear traditions was born.

Pup Juniper wearing crag collar gives kisses to Kelly while skijoring.

In the years since that first Gratitude Breakfast, Ruffwear has changed and grown. We renovated our building and moved into a new space with a bigger kitchen that holds all of us. The long wooden table still stretches across the middle of the room, and at this time of year, hosts a metal bowl and a stack of blank paper. 

Sharing gratitude has remained part of our daily practice, at the start of group meetings or during one-on-one check-ins. I personally have learned that when I take a few moments each day, or as often as I can, to write down a few things I am grateful for, I have a more positive and hopeful outlook on life.

Cristina gives dog Lennon - wearing a jet stream dog cooling vest - a kiss while on a trail run.
This year, most of us are working remotely, so the Gratitude Breakfast will be different. The Gratitude Bowl and slips of paper are temporarily taking shape as a Google Form, breakfast will be DIY-style, and our kitchen table, for this year, will be a tiled display of each other's faces on Google Meet. A virtual gathering is not the same, but I’m grateful we’re keeping the tradition going in whatever way we can.

Leave a Comment

* Required
Personal Information


  • Rae

    I’m grateful for my family and friends keeping in touch via text, phone calls and FaceTime. I’m most thankful for my constant companion, Cha Cha (Chihuahua ). So far we’ve had 13 wonderful years together (looking forward to many more) and I mean together. She goes to work with me everyday. Blessed! She’s my hiking, camping, snow shoeing, kayaking, biking partner. We’ve had so many adventures together. With many more to come! 🐾🐾💙💙

  • Steve

    Grateful for welcoming Hunter, our first granddaughter into the family. Grateful our family is healthy and together. Grateful we got to Bring home Floppy, our Belizean “Potlicker” rescue dog from San Pedro Belize. She loves and needs the RuffWear fleece and jackets here in Oregon . Life is good.

  • Leesa

    Gratitude seems an odd thing to say about the sudden devastating loss of my darling Scooby. But behind this is a grace revealed in our time together. I’m grateful for love and support from my family and friends. And for scruffy little Oliver who needs me as much as I now need him.
    I’ve bought from Ruffwear through the years and celebrate your spirit. Tomorrow I shall be especially thankful.

  • Sally Quinn

    I’m grateful for the way my dogs show me every day how to accept and celebrate every person they come into contact with on our daily walks.
    If humans can incorporate that into our daily life, the world would be a better place.

  • M. Baier (NJ)

    I’m grateful that America chose hope and civility over hatred and despair.
    Peace and Love in 2021

  • Kristen

    I am grateful every moment of everyday for my pup, Mochi. Since we got her in April 2019 she has brought so much light and opened my eyes to new things from a simple breeze to a big adventure hike.

  • Kristen

    I am grateful every moment of everyday for my pup, Mochi. Since we got in in April 2019 she has brought so much light and opened my eyes to new things from a simple breeze to a big adventure hike.

  • Chris Ngai

    From Mississauga Canada
    Retired almost 2 1/2 years now, I missed going to work, your article reminded me the good old times in our old office. Thank you for sharing the tradition from Ruffwear, during this difficult period it is a MUST to remind all of us being healthy, safe and be able to hold on a job is very fortunate, we all should be grateful. Lucky for the one who can work for Ruffwear, what a wonderful products. I have to ask Ruffwear to send the parcel to my friend in LAX than re-direct to Canada. Question – when are you going to set up international sales ? Thanks

  • Frankie boy

    I’m grateful for my rescue boy and seeing him grow and blossom on the trails I love. And I’m thankful for companies like yours that bring positivity into my ( and my Frankie boy’s) life through the products you provide and the messages you share that warm my heart. Kudos to you all and happy thanksgiving!

  • Karen (Kismet-rescue mutt)

    Words cannot express how thankful I am that Kismet chose me. Since her adoption day we’ve been on all sorts of adventures and are now working on our hiking skills. She has been the best companion and calms my PTSD episodes. During these trying times, being able to enjoy the great outdoors has only made our bond even stronger. Happy thanksgiving! To my fellow first responders, stay safe! To the military…THANK YOU!

  • Sarah

    I’m grateful for my 3 year old Siberian Husky who never fails to make me laugh, takes me on adventures, is always there to share a snack, protects me from harm, kisses my tears, and snuggles on top of me every night. He is my whole heart! And we couldn’t have the half fun we do without Ruffwear. So thank you for loving dogs the way you do!

  • Rebecca

    I am grateful for the two dogs that have joined our home this year. We adopted one and then inherited one, and now life is a crazy, swishy-tailed chaos that I can’t imagine any differently. I’m sure our cats beg to differ, but personally, I love it.

  • Marcella Crane

    I’m grateful for my clan of dogs and kitties that remind me to take frequent breaks to walk them, and to cuddle with them more often. Being home as been good for my soul to reconnect with them. Thank you Ruffwear!

  • Shelly Giacopuzzi

    Love this story/tradition! Love you guys & your products.
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Love, Shelly& Shadow.

  • K W

    I am extremely grateful for my pack of dogs and the comfort they provide without even trying. They’ve been by my side, without judgement since adoption day.

  • Robert Dowty (Tucker Dallas, GSD)

    I’m thankful for companies (aka: an eclectic cohesive family of like minded/like hearted individuals) who focus on the greater good, rather than just looking out for themselves. Btw I’m talking about Ruffware. Tucker gives his approval with two paws up. 🐾

    PS: You have encouraged me today.