Nearly three years ago, Sam Alter and his Labrador retriever Atlas couldn’t find a leash that held up to the rigors of an adventurous life of camping, hiking and swimming. So Alter decided to build a better one by founding Atlas Pet Company. He initially juggled his full-time job working in San Francisco, but quickly discovered that his commitment to quality and customer service were not the norm in the dog gear industry.

“After realizing how the majority of dog products were made overseas, using the cheapest materials available, I wanted to create the best leash available instead of the cheapest,” Alter said.

Hence, the Lifetime Leash was born. “All of our products are handcrafted in America in small batches, using the highest quality materials we can find,” Alter said.

Alter leveraged tools he saw software companies using and focused on building a remote team with an adventurous culture at the center, allowing even him and Atlas to leave the city and run the business from the road. By working directly with the consumer instead of retailers and distributors, and offering a unique lifetime guarantee, APC has blossomed.

With that dedication to man’s best friend, Atlas Pet Co. is embarking on a journey to encourage followers and customers to get involved at their local shelters. Living the vanlife for at least the next year, Sam and Atlas (along with girlfriend Pamela and second dog Brady) are driving cross-country in a custom-built van to rally local communities around animal shelters.

According to the ASPCA, approximately 6.5 million animals enter shelters each year. And Alter’s hope is that Atlas Pet Co. can help out even more dogs than they have so far. Along the way, they’ll certainly be having plenty of outdoor adventures, and they want you to join their pack in person at your local shelter to make sure all dogs get the attention they need.

Follow the vanlife adventure on Instagram at @atlaspetcompany.