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Adventures in Pet Food

Debbie Phillips-Donaldson, editor-in-chief of Petfood Industry, shares her insights and opinions on all things pet food, addressing market trends as well as news and developments in pet nutrition, food safety and other hot topics for the industry.
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Photo courtesy of Champion Petfoods

Celebrating pet food people: seeking your stories

October 15, 2017

Most people who work in the pet food industry are wonderful human beings, though you would never know it by some of the negative comments you see on social media (or even this website). Larger pet food companies especially are frequent targets for bashing. “All ‘big pet food’ cares about is making money; they don’t care if they make cats and dogs sick or even kill them.” So goes the basic sentiment running as a thread through many of the derogatory comments.

I’m no longer surprised to see such comments, but it still amazes me that some pet owners and others believe that people who make pet food for a living are not pet lovers and owners themselves – I’d estimate that 99.9 percent of them are – or that they would go to work each day with the intent to do anything but make safe, healthy foods for pets. You may disagree with their companies’ nutritional philosophies or product development strategies, but I would challenge anyone to find a single person in the industry who doesn’t love pets and want the best for them, and takes pride in the work they do toward fulfilling that mission or calling.

Case in point: The many pet food professionals and companies who regularly give back to the greater pet community with donations of food, time and service. For instance, look at all the companies that helped pets in need after the recent hurricanes hitting Texas and Florida, USA, and Puerto Rico. (Watch for an article in the November issue of Petfood Industry for other examples of pet food companies giving back. Meanwhile, read some helpful tips from a pet rescue professional on how even companies with small budgets can work with animal rescue and similar groups.)

Pet food people stories: send us the wild and wonderful

So, it’s a given that people in pet food love pets – and many of them entered the industry, perhaps even created a pet food company, because of that love for pets. We could write a heartwarming story each day about these people and barely dent the surface of the wealth of such stories even after a year.

Yet there are so many other stories about pet food people: some truly weird, unique and wonderful ways they happened to enter the industry, start their companies, come up with a name for a pet food line or brand. My colleagues and I are fortunate to hear these stories all the time but, for some reason, have never shared them. (Consider the realization that we should publish them as one of those head-slapping, “doh!” moments.)

Thus, we are starting a series about pet food people and their astounding, inspirational stories. You can read the first installment now, about Rob Downey of Annamaet Petfoods, and how he came to name one of his dog foods after a moose attack.

Your story doesn’t have to be quite so harrowing or wild, but we are seeking unique ones. If you would like us to consider yours, please contact Tim Wall, staff reporter, and provide at least a few sentences or bullet points for us to review. We look forward to reading about you!

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dphillips@wattglobal.com

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