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A Q&A with Larry Cobb, CEO of The Company of Animals, US Division


September 6, 2017

Q: You unexpectedly had to leave college at the age of 19. What skills and personality traits have helped you get to where you are today?

A: While attending college I became very ill and had an extended hospital stay. I had a very large medical bill and didn’t see how I could pay this and still put myself through school. I was blessed to have a district manager who liked my retail work and offered me an opportunity to become a part of their management team. The lesson this gave me was twofold; I learned to be responsible and accountable at an early age. I also have had a great deal of success as a mentor. I know that if I give away my life lessons, our team will be able to grow without having to experience some of the pain that accompanied my lessons.

Q: What do you feel is the most valuable lesson that you’ve learned over your 40+ years in the pet industry?

A: My favorite role models are those who exhibit a high degree of integrity. Customers and colleagues who keep their promises and don’t bluff their way through life are those who deserve the gift of trust. That’s a personal code of conduct that I respect and take to heart. After decades of dealing with people who followed this model and those who strayed, the difference is easy to see.

Q: What do you consider a major challenge facing you and The Company of Animals?

A: One significant misperception we have to correct is that many U.S. retailers don’t realize that Training and Behavior is a viable category. We know that dog training takes patience and diligence, and that the results can be more effective with consistent use of the right tools. That’s why these tools are in high demand. Once retailers allocate the proper space and resources to promote this category, sales gains inevitably follow. We offer the most humane and complete assortment of problem-solving products in the world.

Q: Which of your pets that you’ve had in your life has been your favorite and why?

A: At one point in my life I had over 20 dogs, a barn full of horses and an assortment of other animals. Today I am blessed with our rescue dog Sebo, who is a mixed breed, with a heart bigger than all outdoors. So I’d say Sebo is my all-time favorite. If I’m having a down day, he welcomes me with his full-body wag. This makes me smile from deep in my heart.

Q: What do you do when you need to wind down?

A: I enjoy getting out in the great outdoors. I live in Colorado, and on those rare times when I am home I hike, bike and ski the Rockies as often as I can. I also greatly enjoy wildlife photography. Getting to eavesdrop on the majestic animals that we have in the wild, whether large or small, is a real blessing. It’s hard to imagine anything better. My life partner, Gail, and I also travel when we can to photograph birds, whales, moose and elk.

See the beautiful wildlife photos from Cobb’s Alaskan adventures here.

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