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.
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.
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!”
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.”
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.