atlas the black lab sticking his head out of the atlas pet company van

Our Story

atlas pet company early days illustration

Atlas Pet Company has definitely come a long way over the years; so have I. When I got Atlas, my black lab, I was processing the loss of my 3 best friends, all before the age of 25 – overdose, car accident, suicide. Figuring I could be up next, I took a look at my life and priorities; how could I make the most out of the time I had left? I started by throwing Atlas in the truck on Friday nights and spending weekends roaming the mountains and deserts of California, still hanging on to my tech job and the security of the known. But something was brewing: my adventures with Atlas convinced me there was a need for higher quality American-made dog gear. So we started Atlas Pet Company, and after a few years of early morning manufacturing and late nights packing orders, I quit my job in San Francisco and moved into a 4x4 Sprinter van with my partner, our two black labs, and gear for a year on the road.

alas pet company van life graphic

We were going to road trip across the country (dipping our toes in Canada and Mexico), while building the business, living our story while designing products I hoped would allow others to live theirs. Atlas started in a dark place, but its come to mean something more. The best pet products in the world were catalyzed by the most difficult chapter of my life, one that started me on the most beautiful, with my best friend by my side. Most people wait their whole lives to realize that life is too short; the passing of my friends and my bond with Atlas left me no choice but to chase my dream.

the atlas pet company van with the founder Sam Alter and his girlfriend in front of mountain back drop
atlas pet company vanlife roadtrip around the country map of travels
the atlas pet company van in the desert setting up camp
the atlas pet company van in the mountains setting up camp
atlas pet company sprinter van in the middle of utah camping on dispersed camping area with mountains of Zion national park in background

So, why Atlas? During a gap year after school, I traveled the world and became infatuated with the spectrum of experiences and stories out there. So I named my dog for the adventures I hoped we’d have together, for all the places I wanted to see with my best friend by my side. During the van chapter, we ticked off our bucket list of national parks, explored the US from coast to coast, and dialed in the products. We didn’t reinvent the dog leash – we just made it better in every way, with the best materials, craftsmanship, and real-world use cases baked into the DNA of our cornerstone products. While running the company on the road, we also realized a few things: 1. We wanted to build a business that lasted, and 2. We needed a home base.

atlas pet company our story page retail storefront at the apc headquarters in Golden Colorado, giant pegboard with large living moss logo
the atlas pet company inventory rack
photo of the atlas pet company warehouse and topo print for the living wall and pegboard at the atlas pet company retail space in golden colorado
the atlas pet company logo on the retail wall
atlas pet company team illustration

Some rules quickly fell into place: Never cut corners. Focus on quality. Make products that improve the lives of dogs and owners. And what do we mean by home base? Well, we moved our mobile operation into a warehouse in Golden, Colorado, against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. These days, life looks a little different. If you swing by the office, you’ll find Atlas and me there, still best buds hard at work building our dream life. Our team has grown, too. We’re now a crew of five, plus a few four-legged friends. But the important stuff is the same. We design our products to last forever. Then, we stand behind them with a lifetime warranty - you buy once, you cry once, you use it for the rest of your pet’s days. You don’t compromise when it comes to your best friend, and neither do we.