During a recent interview for an article on Pet Age’s consumer website, TAiLS & toys, Christopher Meloni—the charismatic actor known for his “tough guy” roles—shared a story about his first dog. It was a memory that Meloni likely will never forget.
“I had one dog growing up, and the day before I left for college, my dog died,” Meloni recalled. “I had never cried so much in my life. I cried all day long. And I said to myself, ‘I can’t stop crying. I can’t believe this is happening.’ And even more, for the first time in my life, I saw my dad cry. It really shows that there’s a sort of deep connection between you and your pet.”
Pets are many things to us, but among the top of that list is that they’re a powerful symbol of family: love, protection and support. Our lives would be completely different—likely for the worse—if we didn’t have our pets. They often join our families when we’re going through a trying or stressful time, and over time they become our companions who adore us despite our flaws. Their goofy antics provide us with laughs and happiness, while the pets with a penchant for cuddling prove comforting when we’re down and in need of a much-needed boost. From their dashing toward the door to greet us to their gentle nudge of a wet nose or lick on the hand as a way to say “you’re not alone,” their existence makes all the difference in the world to us.
While pets have taken a more prominent role in our families, the pet industry continues to grow with an increase in specialized products for our pets’ diverse needs. Food, treats, supplements and accessories—all of these categories have been impacted by what pets mean to us. As Megan Jander reports in her feature article, “Life in Stride,” pet owners are gravitating toward fitness products that will provide a healthy lifestyle for their pets. And this is vitally important for the well-being of our pets as, according to dog trainer Jamie Popper of Blue-9, more than 50 percent of dogs in the U.S. are overweight.
Also in this issue, you’ll find sections devoted to dog beds and grooming, cat dental and catnip products, bird supplements, small animal treats, foods for aquatic livestock and products for snake owners. And be sure to read the profiles on PetPort, Nature Gnaws and Mike Bober, president and CEO of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.
Although pets come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, we all have a responsibility to offer them the best life possible. In this, as in every issue, Pet Age is proud to share with you the products and expert knowledge of your colleagues in the pet industry. Enjoy!
Glenn A. Polyn