Supporting Your Core Values By Choosing The Pet Companies You Buy From

This is part of our Saturday Editorial Series. Normally, we let the dogs do all the talking on our dog blog every weekday by Peanut Butter Brickle and Digby Pancake. Join us here and with a million other followers on Facebook for your daily dose of animal rescue and adventure presented in a FUN way!

Every year, we are excited to attend the Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida as press.  This is not just any expo.  It is only open to professionals in the pet industry and is the largest pet industry expo in the world.  This is where all new pet industry products are officially launched, and all the biggest brands attend.  According to a recent press release, “the number of exhibiting companies came in at 1,174, with 295 first-time exhibitors making their debut at the Show, an 8 percent increase over 2018. Additionally, Global Pet Expo had 304 international exhibitors representing 35 countries at the Show. The Show Floor also expanded with 3,604 booths, a 2.3 percent increase over last year’s Show.”

I even got to do some fun gigs like this at the Tails and Toys booth!

Yes. Imagine three football fields worth of products.  I was excited always to attend so that I could see what companies and new natural and organic products were available.  This year, I attended with a fellow influencer and his “momager”, Rambo The Puppy.  It was indeed the makings of a good time eating breakfast with this little dude.

As usual, I had planned what I would be covering during this event. I wanted to concentrate my efforts on new, organic products available.  But also, as usual, my focus changed when I saw the amount of rescue animals available at many of the booths.  I was thrilled!  There were companies that believed so much in animal rescue that they chose to partner with local rescue organizations in the Orlando, Florida area.

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An Adoptable From The “Dog For Dog” booth

Of course, if you know 2 Traveling Dogs, you know that we are all about animal rescue and presenting it in a fun way.  So when we choose to work with a company on sponsorship deals or product promotions, those companies must be in line with what our values are.  But I asked myself personally a question.  Are products that I choose to buy as a consumer in the pet industry in line with MY values? All of my core values?  Personally, for me, that was animal rescue, a healthy lifestyle and giving my dogs the best life possible.  Were the companies I supported promoting these values?  It was a hard question.  I have to admit, I probably wasn’t looking close enough.

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We visited the Dog For Dog booth. I wasn’t particularly familiar with their products, but when I saw the rescues there, I stopped and spoke with Alexa.  I found out with every purchase, they make a donation to rescue organizations. I asked her why she decided with all of the hectic goings on at the expo why she would choose to bring adoptables.

“As cliché as it may sound, I got into this business because I absolutely adore animals. So for me, it’s a no-brainer to have dogs seeking adoption in our booth. At Dog for Dog we want to use every single platform, product, and opportunity to help fur buddies in need.
We started the tradition of having dogs at our booth last year at Super Zoo and had two successful adoptions there, so we plan to do it at every convention we make an appearance at in the future. We have to keep that win streak going!”

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I loved this.  And so when I walked by the Purina booth and saw puppies, I asked if they too were rescues and adoptables. The answer was no.

And certainly, that was their choice.  But I decided to ask them why.  I was excited to hear their response.  Via Facebook, they told me, “Hi Rachael, you are correct. We have a long-standing relationship with a breeder in the Orlando area who allows us to feature their puppies at the Purina booth each year. The puppies are there purely for the enjoyment of our team and fellow attendees. All of the puppies who attended the show are healthy and were already spoken for by local families. Purina supports pet shelters extensively throughout the year by providing millions of dollars in funding, pet food and litter, as well as sponsorship of many pet adoption events. Many of us have rescued our own pets and are rescue advocates ourselves. However, we intentionally don’t feature adoptable pets at our booth at Global because most of the attendees travel in for the show, and we don’t encourage spur of the moment pet adoption.”

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When reading their response, I actually understood the last part of their reasoning in that they “don’t encourage spur of the moment pet adoption.”  However, I found out that the process of applications and protocol was still followed for the rescues at the Global Pet Expo.  I also knew I had to acknowledge internally that as a big company, Purina is able to donate more to whom they choose in way of funds and food.  So what was a consumer to do?  I had to dig deep!

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An adoptable at the Serta and Beautyrest Booth

What was a consumer to do?  I found the answer after visiting with Pet Releaf.  You know that we love Pet Releaf organic CBD products for the difference they have made for our dogs.

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We were happy to film a funny game show of “Stop Hounding Me” with them to announce their new way of helping rescue organizations.  They gave us our answer after the video.

You see, we all have our core values. What we believe is right and wrong. What we believe are the right ways to care for our pets and family.  If we follow these core values and don’t compromise on them, the products we buy will reflect that.  And in turn, those products are what represents a company.  It is a direct and absolute manifestation of who they are and what they believe in.

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I have found that when I follow my belief system on holding products to my standards, often the companies that make them have the same principles.  Just some of the companies that we saw promoting rescues were Serta who told me about their upcoming natural bed products in the future.

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We also met the folks at Kurgo.  Kurgo is a company who is giving away grants and funds this year to rescue organizations and celebrating the bond between humans and dogs!  We can get behind that.  And their products for our active lifestyle are ones we can get behind too.  Isn’t it amazing how that all lines up?

The beauty in all of this? YOU have the power. YOU have the choice to make in the products YOU purchase for your pets.  There are so many, if not too many products available to us as consumers. I know that we are all busy. Doing the right thing does take extra effort.  If you choose to support the big companies that make a difference in their way, that is certainly not the wrong choice. There are no wrong choices. But individually, make the right choice for you. Do your research on the brands you trust just as much as  you research what you buy.

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The boys having a slumber pawty while we worked hard at Global!

Before we professionally were in this industry, I was the typical consumer. I thought everyone in the pet industry must love pets, that they all had pets, and they all cared. The truth?  That’s not the reality. Many times, the people who run these companies don’t even have animals in their homes. They are doing a job.  So it is up to US to do OUR job and go the extra mile. We can’t put the lives of our pets in the hands of the pet industry as much as I love this industry.  We share responsibility.

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So dig deep and think about your core values. All of us can make a change if we do it together.  It may take time. But there is power in numbers! Let’s be that change. Things will only get better in this industry if we demand it. We can do this!

-Rachael Johnson, Co-Founder of 2 Traveling Dogs and Your Dog’s Diner

We were not compensated for this post. All opinions are our own.

 

As Long As You Buy It, Nothing Will Change

This week, we attended the Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida as press.  The Global Pet Expo isn’t just any trade show.  It is the largest in the world.  What happens at this expo?  It is not open to the general public, but only to manufacturers and buyers.  With over 3,400 booths this year, you can imagine that it was overwhelming.  But for us, it was also eye opening.

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We have been on both sides of this industry, as I have mentioned before.  We exhibited at this expo with our “cook for your dog” treat mixes.  And obviously, since we are not exhibiting now, you know that our treat business did not succeed as we had hoped for.  I have also mentioned previously that it was my hopes then, and my hopes now, that consumers would change and start to realize that extra effort in making their dogs’ food was worth it.  But that time has not happened.  Yet.

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It was my goal this week to really survey the options available out there to all of you.  With our large social media following, I don’t take the influence we have lightly. And I want you to know, from the inside of the industry, how we all have a part in changing it for the better.

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One of the most disappointing facts to me in this industry should have been obvious to me right from the start…years ago.  Since I started our cooking line due to my dogs’ needs, I assumed that everyone in the industry, well, they at least would have a dog.  Right? Or a pet.  And every company really cared…right?  I mean, the commercials, the love in marketing and advertisements.  Oh, so much love.  I was simply wrong.  This was a business.  A pet industry.  And as I walked into that show this week, I was different.  I had a different agenda.  I was ready to see if changes were being made for the better.  Would there be more great products out there?  Would the recent recalls of certain companies keep buyers away from their booths?

The short answer? Nope. And I suppose that you could stop reading right here.  These companies with recalls had puppies in their booths like every year.  They had cute pictures and buyers in line.  And I almost walked right out.  Because I knew it in my heart.  As long as we, as consumers, kept buying this stuff, well, they would be here every year.  It was as simple as that.  And consumers? They are still buying this stuff.

But I wanted to observe.  Sure, I could interview these company reps and hear the excuses.  But I didn’t need to and honestly, I didn’t want to.  I had heard them all before.  Instead, I made it my aim to showcase a few companies to you that I was impressed with.  These companies are fighting a battle to bring to you good products.  These companies may be smaller, but if we as consumers support them, perhaps one day, and I emphasize perhaps, they can join together to outnumber the corporate mentality of feeding and caring for our dogs and pets.  But it is going to take work on our part.  It is also going to take us, joining together and using our power as a group and our voices as a group to be heard.

Jones Natural Chews

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Jones came out this year with two organic treat options for dogs.  And you know how we feel about organic!

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Their chews were the first treat we bought for Peanut Butter Brickle as a puppy, so they are near and dear to our hearts.  What I liked about them was that the Jones family was in the booth! They had six generations of family that worked in this company and their safety standards also impressed me.

Pet Releaf

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We were contacted by Shelby at Pet Releaf to stop by their booth.  She simply wanted to tell us thank you for our rescue work, but it was us who was thanking her when we left.  Pet Releaf is an organic line of oils and treats. We were interested in learning more about them because of Brickle’s anxiety issues.  Pet Releaf is the premier provider of CBD oil for pets.

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They offer organic Pet CBD Products such as oils, topical creams and edibles for both cats and dogs.  We think that their products will be very valuable to senior dogs, and we can’t wait to try out their items and report back to you.

Outback Tails

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Bedding is easy to come by, but often they are toxic and mass produced.  We like Outback Tails because they have a commitment to helping the environment and supporting their communities.  10% of the proceeds from the sale of all products on this store go back to the Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation. Oh, and they have some really cute, natural toys as well.

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Lord Jameson Organic Dog Treats

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When we walked by their booth, we saw the word organic and had to stop.  Not only do they have great products, but a portion of every sale goes to charities that help dogs and people.  Brickle and Digby loved their treats!

Many of our fans asked about dog food, and inquired if we found a good kibble.  As you know, we promote making your dog’s food. We realize that dog food is necessary for many, but for us, our beliefs will not allow us to recommend any brand of kibble.  We do tell our fans that if you do not have time or the resources to cook for your dog, check out the premixes available from Dr. Harvey’s, Honest Kitchen or SoJos.

It would be easy for us to go down a list and tell you what you should buy.  But part of your responsibility as a good pet parent is not even taking our word for it.  Do your own research, know your dog and consult a vet.  You see, we all know our dogs the best.  But we don’t know the people behind these big companies.  That should be the first red flag.  If people running the companies are not available to you or known, then why are you entrusting them with the most important factor behind how long your dog lives?

Until we demand a change, this expo and others like it will be held every year with more booths of corporations than people who care.  But we can change it.   It starts today.

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As I accepted an award this year from the industry as one of the 2018 Women Of Influence, I wondered how I could influence you, our friends and fans to think about the part we play in changing the world of your animals.

I thought about how OUR influence together could change the world!

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And it will only be with your support of animal rescue and the people doing the work around the world, that we can keep doing what we do.  And we thank you.  This was your award too.  We don’t take our privilege for granted in being a voice for animals on social media.  And you are part of that.  Let’s change the industry together. It means the life of not only our pets, but all pets.

-Rachael Johnson, Owner and Girl Person of 2 Traveling Dogs

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