Thursday, October 27, 2016

Inspiration for Building a Better World at Purina Better With Pets Summit

This post, and the Purina Better With Pets Summit, are sponsored by NestlĂ© Purina. I received compensation, but all opinions are my own. Catladyland only shares information we think would be of interest to our readers. 

If you're reading this, chances are you already know that life is much better with pets. And if you don't agree, why are you reading a blog called Catladyland? Just kidding. Hey -- I don't know about you, but my days would be exponentially more boring and less satisfying if I didn't share my life with my two cats, Cosmo and Phoebe. Pets are part of our families, and I love that Purina is onboard with that belief.


I recently had the pleasure of attending Purina's Better With Pets Summit in New York. It wasn't my first Summit, and I always look forward to the fun and educational offerings they present at this event each year. What I loved about this year's Summit was the personal connection they created between the audience and the people on the stage. There were speakers prior to the panels who told their real stories about how animals have affected their lives. I most enjoyed Roben Harris, who spoke of the therapeutic friendship between her daughter, born with Spina Bifida, and her best friend, a Labradoodle named Chocolate Chip Chewbacca Harris (LOVE the name!).

Anastasia Thrift, Janine Kahn, and I are all better with pets.

The panels included "Demystifying Quality and Safety," "How a Passion for Pets Builds a Better World," and "The Science of Innovative Nutrition for Pets." Guess what else happened? There was both a kitten and puppy therapy booth! I'm not gonna lie -- I spent a fair amount of time in the kitten booth holding a sweetheart of a kitty named Sparkles. The cats and dogs were all adoptable through North Shore Animal League.
I'm holding one very happy Sparkles kitty. Hopefully she has a good home now!

The presence of Urban Resource Institute (URI), one of the largest domestic violence shelters in New York, was my favorite part of the event. One of their programs is called URIPALS, which was launched in 2013 in their Brooklyn shelter, Safe Haven. They created the program after seeing a need for keeping human families and their pets together when entering a domestic violence shelter. It's the only program of its kind in New York City, and one of the only ones in the United States.

Of pet owners who called URI's emergency hotline, 30% indicated their pet had been threatened by their abuser. Studies show that 48% of individuals being abused won't leave the situation because they don't want to leave their pet behind. Completely understandable and a choice many of us would make as well.

Nathaniel Field discusses the importance of co-sheltering people and pets.

Nathaniel Field, President and CEO of URI was on the "How a Passion for Pets Build a Better World" panel. I was inspired by his passion, and it's clear to me that more programs such as this need to exist. Kudos to Nathaniel and all the folks at URI for keeping families together during times of crisis. And additional kudos to Purina for partnering with the program to open Purina Pet Haven, New York City's first-ever dog park in a domestic violence shelter.

Toward the end of the day, Summit attendees had the opportunity to assemble gifts for families entering a URI shelter. We packed welcome gifts that included bowls, a collar, food, a t-shirt, and a blanket. Each team included personal notes to pack into the boxes. It was a meaningful way to feel like we were making a difference in the lives of people and pets in need. I've blogged for Purina for a few years now, and one thing I can say for certain is that they care about community and do so much to help animals and foster the bond between people and pets.

The contents of the welcome boxes we assembled. Cool, right?

Thanks, Purina! It was another year of learning, meeting new people, seeing old friends, and feeling inspired.

You can join in, share, and learn by using the hashtag #LetsLiveBig, and remember to follow Purina on social media.

And now on Snapchat -- @purinapetcare

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