Thank you to Purina for providing me with an all-expense paid trip to the summit and the opportunity share 100% my own opinions about the event.
How do pets help us be well and how do we help them in return? Those are the questions that kicked off the Better With Pets Summit I attended last week, thanks to the awesome folks at Purina. I had several pets as a child, and Mr. Cooper has been our family pet for going on 9 years now. All those pet experiences and my mind was still blown several times during the summit.
Purina’s Better with Pets Summit was filled with panels, the chance to ask professionals and fellow pet lovers questions, and even hands-on exhibits. I could go on and on about the stellar day that Purina put together for pet parents and others attendance, but I will touch on a few things that really stood out to me during each panel.
Panel #1 – An Evolving Relationship with Cats?
A close look at the dynamic, possibly evolving relationship between people and cats, and what it might suggest for a new generation of pet owners.
- There are now more cats in homes than dogs with 1 in 3 people owning a cat.
- Cats don’t go for walks on leashes or play at cat parks, so socialization is a bit more tricky than it is for dogs. Start out early though as it’s easier to teach cats socialization at a younger age.
- Cat and millennials relationships are often hyper-social thanks to viral videos. That sets expectations high because “what Taylor Swift’s cat does, not everyone’s cat does.” – Christina Ha, Meow Parlour
During Panel #1 one panelist we heard from was Christina Ha, co-founder of Meow Parlour, the first cat cafe in New York City. No, cat cafe is not a place were sleek looking kitties dressed in suits serve your beignets. Meow Parlour is a “calm environment for connecting adoptable cats with cat-loving humans.” Cats roam free in the store, while people play, watch, and pet the cats. It’s a great way to not only find the next addition to your family, but to also learn more about cats and their personalities. I seriously love this concept and would like to see more cat cafes open up across the country.
Panel #2 – Stress, our Pets and Us
A discussion of the sources and effects of stress on pets, and how to manage stressors to enhance your pet’s well-being.
- Cats and dogs actually prefer pastel colors in their living environment. Shocker right there I tell ya!
- Often times people think actions from their pet, like vomiting, mean they are sick. Sometimes it can be stress.
- Creating your pets environment FOR them can help eliminate stressors. Think about the products you buy for your pet, and their placement in your home.
- Fifteen minutes of petting and attention is enough to change a dog’s heart rate, calm them down, and make them feel more relaxed. I encourage you to stop your local shelter and visit, even if only for fifteen minutes.
During Panel #2 we also heard from Principal of Animal Arts, Heather Lewis. She spoke about research that has been done on veterinary hospitals and animal care facilities. I was honestly shocked at some of the findings they discovered, as well as the changes that are being made to facilities for both dogs and cats. They include:
- The change of bars on cages from vertical to horizontal. This helps the animal see out of the bars with obstruction and has also allowed for curtains to be hung on the bars to help stressed cats.
- The change of flooring so dogs don’t feel as though they are skating on an ice rink.
- Stairs up to exam tables so cats can walk up on their own, instead of being lifted off the floor.
- Open “play” areas for pets and visitors looking to adopt pets.
Panel #3 Raising Pets and Kids
A conversation about the abundant contributions pets make to the lives of children, from companionship to curriculum.
I really hate to do this to you, but I have SO much to say about this panel. So much in fact that it will be an entire post next week. That’s all I will say for now, and that wraps up the panels. From there we moved on to the hands-on experience exhibits that were informatively awesome!
There were exhibits with food puzzles, a poop deck, and we got to see the emotional state of pets with thermal imaging. This was quite fascinating considering a real life dog was on stage and we got to see his emotions change as he barked, received treats, and other things. There was an interactive zone for learning about body condition. I had no idea that cloudy eyes could be aging in dogs. I stopped by the Purino ProPlan table and picked up sample bag of Bright Mind that we recently switched Mr. Cooper too, oh and grabbed some treats too! He went straight for my luggage went I got home.
To finish up my recap of Purina’s Better with Pets Summit, is something that really touched my heart at the. Dr. Arleigh Reynolds and the story of Huslia that proved right out of the gate how pets help us be well. I had tears in my eyes for the majority of Dr. Arleigh Reynolds panel. And again when he showed the footage of Huslia. And again during the closing of the summit.
I don’t know how someone could hear the story of how dogs saved Huslia and have a dry eye. One man with a passion, and his dogs, brought the off road town in Alaska out of terrible slump. More than once. The story of Huslia is one that everyone should hear and trust me, it will have you viewing the relationship between people and dogs in a whole new way.
You can learn more about the Better with Pets mission on Bright Mind. Stay tuned next week for all sorts of good stuff regarding raising pets and kids.
How does your pet help you be well and how do you help them in return?