The L.O.V.E. Tour? Oh Yeah!

The full name of the campaign is “The Keep the L.O.V.E. Alive Behavior Express 2012 Tour,” but Steve Dale, veteran pet reporter and host of the upcoming Chicago pet fair, refers to it as the L.O.V.E. Tour for short. I like that because the L.O.V.E. (Lean on Veterinary Expertise) part emphasizes how important it really is to love our pets and solve those pesky behavior problems — with the help of our veterinarian — before it’s too late.

So what is this campaign? Ceva Animal Health  is stepping up and taking a stand to address behavior problems and reduce pet euthanasia. The College of Veterinary Behaviorists thought it was so important that they signed on as a sponsor, with board-certified diplomates in each city. Debra Horwitz, DVM, DACVB, is the national spokesperson for the campaign and other prominent veterinarians like Dr. Marty Becker are helping spread the word. 

The bus, which will travel 12, 000 miles, gets rolling with a kick-off event at the San Diego Zoo on August 2nd, right before the American Veterinary Medical Association Convention.  Six cities are host to pet fairs including Chicago, New York, Kansas City, Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles.  Be sure to check out the tour dates and attend a fair if you are luck enough to have one in your city. The L.O.V.E. Tour — just getting started and a whole lot more to come!

BlogPaws, Dog Party Day, Take Your Dog To Work Day, Oh my!

I was looking forward to watch “I’ll Have Another” run at the Belmont Stakes, the last leg of the horse world’s Triple Crown. It wasn’t meant to be. Today, the dog/pet world celebrates its own Triple Crown of events of sorts — BlogPaws, Dog Party Day, and Take Your Dog to Work Day. I am in Salt Lake City for Blog Paws billed as “the first and largest social media conference where hundreds of the most passionate, articulate and influential voices in the online pet-loving community come together each year.” Events are unfolding for Dog Party Day and Take Your Dog to Work Day.  It’s a great day for pets and people, and although I’ll Have Another didn’t race, I look forward to seeing how this day turns out.  Prediction: It will be a good one!

Bits & Pieces for the Memorial Day Weekend

Congratulations to Taylor Kearns, one of our ten 10th anniversary winners of an iPad & matching shelter donation. You can read Taylor’s column, “What Is It About Those Cats? Belle Remembered & More ” and his feature story, “Belle, the Wiley Little Thing.”  Also take a look at the Pawmetto Lifeline web site, the shelter he designated to receive his $500 donation. 

The Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) has announced David Haworth, formerly of Pfizer Animal Health, has joined MAF as the new president & CEO.

Last week, I presented a seminar: “Stay True to Your Brand: Tweet, Poke & Post, But Don’t Forget the Basics“ at the NYC Pet Show Retailer Summit. While other social media platforms were discussed, much of the question & answer session focused on use of Linked In and the subgroups.  If you haven’t joined the network, I encourage you to check these by joining Linked In.

Weight management continues to be a hot topic.  There’s still buzz about the NYC event we attended in Union Square with Alison Sweeny and the Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. Million Pound Pledge.  And, columnist and veterinary surgeon Phil Zeltzman has his new book out, “Walk a Hound, Lose A Pound.”

Natural products in all shapes and sizes continue to be a growing trend.  We saw plenty of them at the NYC Pet Show.  Check out our “What’s New” featuring the Planet Petco line of new products.

The Kansas City Animal Health Corridor is gearing up for its August events.  A reminder the deadline for applications to the Investment Forum is June 24, 2011.

For more news, go to  

It’s a short post this week as we head out for the holidays as well.  Have a great holiday weekend with your loved ones.

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!

Take a Look: NYC Meet the Breeds Pet Showcase Had Something for Everyone

crowdSo how would a pet show for the public that featured both cats and dogs — 160 dog breeds and 41 cat breeds fair?  By our observation, pretty darn well.   We weren’t around to attend the packed first day of the show b/c we were in Kansas City accepting more awards for the CATalyst Top 10 Cat-Friendly Cities work, , but I raced back for a wet and cold Sunday ferry ride across the Hudson River to the Jacob Javits Center in New York — and the boat was “abuzz” about the show.

As publisher of and owner of Germinder & Associates, a firm that helps companies and organizations communicate about products and issues affecting our pets, I’ve attended many vet and pet exhibits over the past 15 years, and several recently.  Nothing beat this one for the smiling happy faces of pet lovers in line to see their favorite breeds, or the exhibitor staff pleasantly surprised by the warm reception from both cat and dog lovers….while there were the usual products such as pet carriers and toys, and information,, here are some additional interesting highlights from our perspective…

Meet the Breeds was a great way to showcase the benefits of both cats and dogs in one space.  According to the Meet the Breeds Pet Preference Poll, cats may outnumber dogs, but dog lovers are more vocal (dogs fetched 65% of the vote vs. cats 35% of the poll before the show, I love them both).  I got to see my favorite breeds, and heard many positive comments from dog owners who just simply didn’t know there were so many cat breeds. 

  • Meet the Breeds was a great way to showcase the benefits of both cats and dogs in one space.  According to the Meet the Breeds Pet Preference Poll, cats may outnumber dogs, but dog lovers are more vocal (dogs fetched 65% of the vote vs. cats 35% of the poll before the show, I love them both).  I got to see my favorite breeds, and heard many poscatsitive comments from dog owners who just simply didn’t know there were so many cat breeds. 
  • I must admit the shelter cats from the Adoptothon tugged at the heartstrings the most.  The sheer number of adoption agencies under the umbrella of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC Animals,, was amazing.  An interesting tag I picked up was from Maddie’s Fund, a shrink tag from Rapidtag.  You mark it with a permanent pen, bake it, and after it cools use the hardware to attach to the collar.  Seemed pretty cool and fun.
  • The AKC had plenty of great information for the public and general media, and you can still access which is packed with information about your favorite breeds.  A brand-new program interesting to watch is AKC Canine Partners,, a mixed breed listing program.  The actual program events start April 1, 2010 once dogs are registered.  While I have to admit I celebrate the life of our special Labradour Randy Jo, a program of this type addresses the reality that many of us not only want to own shelter dogs, but participate in the kinds of events purebreds can.   
  • The Cat Fanciers’ Association booths are always packed with information.  I picked up the latest brochure on my cat Cocoa, the American Wirehair (but she didn’t wire) and the Winn Feline Foundation, , which supports feline health studies.   I always enjoy the display of cat memorabilia from the CFA Feline Historical Foundation.  The most interesting this time was a cat carrier from the late 1800’s, with a brass label, “VALUABLE CAT – Please Only Feed and Water.” We have indeed come a long way in today’s cat carriers.  It’s important to get the right one and many were on display.    
  • Speaking of traveling, the travel industry certainly “gets it” now that traveling with our pets is an important consideration.  Companies like Continental Airlines, Motel 6 and Red Roof Inn had booths touting their programs which include discounts.  Another booth from an interesting site,, was very helpful.  The site gives up-to-date pet policies for nearly 30,000 hotels and campgrounds plus other very useful pet travel info. 
  • Pet insurance information abounded as well, especially from the show sponsor, Pet Partners, .   It sounds like a great firm and I am eager to hear more about it.  We’ve worked in the past with an organization, the North American Pet Insurance Association,  I am hopeful all the pet insurance companies will join that group so that pet owners can have a third party resource. 
  • There usually isn’t much information about pharmaceutical products at a consumer pet show since these are regulated products that are appropriately dispensed under a veterinarian’s guidance and/or prescription.  That said, educational information about heart disease in dogs was the focus of  from Boehringer, Ingelheim, a company that just acquired several dog vaccines as a result of Pfizer’s acquisition of Wyeth, the parent company of Fort Dodge Animal Health.  As a result, we are anticipating a lot more news from this company and Pfizer Animal Health about disease prevention and related products.
  • Pet food exhibits for both “established” and “new age” pet food abounded, but I think pet owners really need to be careful to accept a new brand of food from a new company without some pretty thorough research to back it, and even then talk to their veterinarian and other pet care professionals such as a breeder as well to make an informed decision.  I have worked within the pet food industry for many years, so I know how much research goes into ingredients to come up with the optimum formulas for the established brands.  We commend the intent, but fancy graphics do not make a superior product, so the jury is still out on some of these new products.  We’ve collected quite a bit of information thus far, but will continue to do more research on this for a goodnewsforpets article in the coming months.Toothbrush Demo
  • Finally, another note of personal interest, if you’ve read about me, you’ll know together with my team I created “Pets Need Dental Care, Too!’,, over 14 years ago on behalf of Hill’s Pet Nutrition, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Dental Society.  It’s a program I am immensely proud of in helping to educate pet owners about the importance of dental care.  I always look at each show to see what new dental products are available.  So, you’ll want to take a look at which features dental dog biscuits and cat treats from Hartz Mountain.

I’ll be eager to attend Meet the Breeds next year, see the breeds, learn about new products and trends, and just generally have a grand time with fellow pet lovers.  I encourage everyone else to do likewise.  Nice job AKC and CFA!