When I was presented with the mission of writing a retrospective of the past 45 years of the pet industry, I initially found it to be a daunting task. As I studied the history of this wonderfully diverse field, reflecting the progress of education and technology, it’s impossible to ignore how much we have changed since 1971.
I’ve learned a lot—about our times, about what drives, motivates and matters to manufacturers, distributors, retailers and even pet owners. Arriving at the final version of this retrospective has been an enlightening journey.
In compiling this commemorative publication for Pet Age, my appreciation grew not only for the evolution that’s taken place, but more importantly for the countless people, places and things associated with the long history of the pet specialty field. Exhaustive research and interviews—by me and those who contributed to this publication—were required, and I benefited greatly from the expertise of the many people who I communicated with in person, online and over the phone.
Although it has grown and expanded in so many ways, the industry’s most fundamental mission remains the same: educating individuals to give animals healthy and happy lives. I am proud to say that Pet Age continues to be a part of that cause, as the pet industry contributes and succeeds in that endeavor.
We could have come up with more than 100 different sources and subjects in this volume, and even more statistics and factoids, and it’s been the ultimate challenge to winnow it down to what you hold in your hands. However, thanks to one recent advancement—the internet—we can offer additional content on PetAge.com. It’s my hope that, after reading Pet Age, you will come away with a sense of the amazing path that the industry has taken and will feel a renewed sense of pride in our industry. I also believe you will see yourself in these pages, and be reminded of your role in terms of where we have been and where we will go in the future.
Glenn A. Polyn