Global Pet Expo: A Time for Fond Memories & New Friends


Tomorrow morning I leave for Global Pet Expo for a two day blitz of the conference. I am really looking forward to it because the last pet show I attended, SuperZoo in Las Vegas, was so fascinating with all the great new innovative pet products.

For the last several years I have been immersed in the veterinary profession.  I enjoy working with veterinarians and those companies and organizations that are in the profession.  I am proud to say I have attended dozens of national veterinary conferences including fifteen North American Veterinary Conferences in Orlando.  All told, my teams and I have launched over 125 campaigns in animal health!

But, the pet business is where I started.  My late stepfather, Dino Barbarisi, was actually one of the early “pioneers” in the industry.  He started in New York City at the age of nine breeding goldfish in his basement to sell to local pet shops.  He later worked on the international coffee exchange  where he learned the transhipping business.  Together with my mom they launched several companies and traveled around the world.   It was Dino that took me to my first pet show — the Bakker show in Chicago.  It was a heady experience.

While I worked at several ad agencies after I graduated college, I finally worked in the family business when I had my oldest two children — now grown.  It was an agency colleague of mine that remembered I had worked in the pet business that led me to accepting a position to lead public relations for the Hill’s Pet Nutrition account at the time.   I soon created and launched, “Pets Need Dental Care, Too!” in the veterinary profession and the concept carried over to the pet business. 

Although I worked in the family business and related businesses, I still don’t have as many pet conferences under my belt as veterinary conferences.  I am still taking notes, recalling fond memories with those still around and making new friends.  I am indeed looking forward to this show and reporting back!

Top o’the mornin’ to you!


Top o’ the mornin’ to you! 

St. Pattie’s Day is just about a national holiday in my house.  It certainly is a cheery day in both New York City and Kansas City — both places with a rich Irish history and some very fine parading.   In Kansas City, the Brookside parade was always on our list of fun things to do.  Growing up on Long Island, New York, you couldn’t beat a day off from school to take the train into the city and hang around Central Park after seeing the parade.   The wearin’ of the green, the obligatory corned beef and cabbage, the good feeling that having red hair was a-okay on this day.  Yes, it’s a national holiday in my book. 

It’s a celebratory day commemorating St. Patrick driving the snakes from Ireland.   Pets celebrate the day too.  I don’t usually dress up my pets, but I’ve seen many dogs whose owners flaunt their dog’s Irishness with a green headband, a green t-shirt or a jaunty bandana.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen dressed up cats, though.  They do seem to have a little more cheery cattitude on this day.

St. Patrick’s Day.  A day that just feels right, good and fun.  This March has been quite a challenge back East.  I am hoping for a sun shiny day.  Enjoy your family and friends, enjoy your pets, and take in a parade if you can.  It’s a beautiful day.