This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BetterwithPets #CollectiveBias
Last month I went on the Houston Beagle Rescue website to make a donation. Later that weekend, after falling in love her on the linked Petfinder.com site, I came away with a lot more. A sweet Jackabea (Jack Russel, Beagle mix) named Joy. I will tell you more of her story in another post but she had a very rough start. A feral pup, the girls and I are working hard to gain her trust. A promise we can make to her that we will always keep? To feed her the best possible food I can for her specific needs. Even though she is my 4th dog, she still needs nutrients that are specific to her. Luckily, just a few weeks after we welcomed this beautiful lady into our home, I was off to the Nestle Purina Better With Pets Summit in Brooklyn, NY to learn all about how they care for our pets in a BIG way!
The Purina Better With Pets Summit brought together social media influencers, I am in that category, Veterinarians, scientists, heads of charities which Purina is active in and real people to explore the fact that Purina is shaping the future of pet care. Having been invited to Purina headquarters earlier this year and being able to ask the hard questions, I already had a positive opinion of who Purina is and what they are doing to help pets, their parents and their communities. It was great to hear real life stories and to dive deeper into topics that I care about most for my dogs.
In this one day event, which started with a roof top welcome party with some of my favorite bloggers in the world the night before, panels of experts, real people with real stories and even a puppy and kitten therapy booth were showcased. I bet you can not tell me which event was the hardest to get my away from?
It was actually smart to out the puppy and kitten therapy booth in the middle of the day. Otherwise I may have missed the awesome content being presented in the morning session!
Now, listen, I am on social media and I know that pet parents are super protective of their dogs and cats and are not afraid to share them. I have heard the negative feedback. Purina is too big. Purina is worried about the bottom line.
I am here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.
Yes, Purina is a huge company. They are responsible for a vast majority of foods, treats and more in the pet food market. But the company is made up of pet owners, pet lovers and those who are more concerned with advancing pet welfare and care than the media would have you believe. As I listened to panelist after panelist discuss advances, like the key ingredient in Bright Mind dog food that, literally, gives your adult dog new life, and the work that goes into creating the Just Right special to your dog only blends, I heard over and over again, ‘It is what I feed my dog.’
‘It is what I feed my dog.’ ‘It is what I feed my cat.’
These are real people creating real products to take care of our real pets.
Here are just a few highlights I took away from Purina’s Better With Pets Summit:
- Roben Harris stood up and shared the story of her six children. One has Spina Bifida and has had 29 surgeries to date, she is 11, and three are adopted siblings that were badly abused by their birth parents. You know by the time I heard her story, I was already in tears. But when she started talking about her dog, Chocolate Chip Chewbacca – yes, her kids named him – I was a mess. She spoke of how Purina had made it possible for ‘Chip’ to love on her daughter at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Pet Room that they donated for kids in the hospital. The room has nothing to do with profit and everything to do with fostering the amazing relationship between humans and their pets.
- Jason Christopherssen walked on stage, looking way too young to be the Factory Manager of Purina’s Allentown Plant, a smile so big it lit up the room. He went into a story about his family, which included two dogs, and then talked about the people in the plants. He talked about how important it is to run a plant with efficiency and intelligence. But then he shared that people like you and me, who work, take care of our families and love our pets, take pride in their work. He spoke of an employee who just celebrated 50 years at the plant and shared that is in not usual to celebrate 25, 30 and 35 years with Purina. It is not profit that keeps people at a job so long. It is love and the knowledge that what you do matters.
- The Science and Innovative Nutrition for Pets Panel was amazing. For someone like me who puts 100% trust in Purina to make sure the foods I feed my dogs are not only safe, but will actually enhance their lives as well, this panel was informative. Made up of Veterinarians, including world renown Dr. Steve Ettinger, who had been a leader in veterinary medicine and nutrition since 1971, the panel discussed everything from ingredients to the importance of diet. ‘Most medical issues in pets can be solved with nutrition.’ Read that again. ‘MOST medical issues in pets can be solved with nutrition.’ I listened as they discussed the work that Purina is doing to make more efficient, nutritious foods with their advice and input. That Purina has full time vets, nutritionist and other essential staff on hand all day, every day. A real advantage to the big company model. (As a side note, Steve Dale, the moderator of the Demystifying Quality and Safety panel, and an Animal Behaviorist, called a smaller dog food company to talk to their nutritionist about something he did not understand on their packaging and they told him that they did not have one. How can you claim to make nutritious food for pets if you don’t even have anyone checking the nutrition on site?)
I could go on for days about this amazing event but I fear this post will be longer than a book. So, let me say this. As a dog mom to three rescue dogs and one puppy I found 12 years ago, I walked away with even more trust in Purina. The effort that they put in to not only making high quality foods that give our pets longer and better lives, along with their prompt attention to any issue that might come up, is unmatched. I proudly feed my dogs Purina foods and always will!
How many pets do you have? What questions would you ask Purina? Share your pets on social media using the hashtag #LetsLiveBig hashtag! We all love to show them off, after all!