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Dog Receives Honorary College Degree (Because He’s a Very Good Boy)

He accompanied his owner to her classes.

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Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY, has awarded an honorary degree to a dog who accompanied his owner to her classes.

Brittany Hawley relied on her dog, Griffin, for help as she completed her master’s degree in occupational therapy, the New York Post reports.

Hawley experiences chronic pain and uses a wheelchair. Griffin helps her with tasks such as opening doors and getting things.

Griffin wore a cap and gown like everyone else at Hawley’s recent graduation ceremony, the Post reports.

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Clarkson’s board of trustees stated that Griffin exhibited “extraordinary effort, steadfast commitment and diligent dedication to the well-being and student success” of his owner.

The Post quoted Hawley saying, “I pushed for him to graduate from Day One. He did everything I did.”

Read more at the New York Post

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The Real Reason Mars Inc. Loves the Pet Care Business

It’s known historically for candy but increasingly makes its money in pet care.

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Mars Inc., which is well known for candy brands such as M&M’s, is staking much of its future to its pet care business, Bloomberg reports.

Pet care now accounts for about half of the company’s business, CEO Grant Reid told the news outlet. Among the McLean, VA-based company’s brands are Whiskas and Pedigree.

The pet care industry may be a good refuge for privately held Mars as increasingly health-conscious consumers turn away from sugary treats, Bloomberg reports.

The company “avoids marketing [its candy] to children and was the first to place nutrition labels on the front of packaging,” according to the article.

That’s “the right thing to do,” Reid said, noting that “we want to be transparent.”

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There’s also synergy in that candy and many pet care products are sold at similar retail points, Bloomberg notes.

Mars has grown its pet care business in part through acquisitions. In January 2017, for example, it announced that it was paying more than $9 billion for VCA Inc., a company that operates animal hospitals.

Read more at the Bloomberg

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Pet Franchise to Open 50 Stores in 2019

It has over 200 units under development.

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PHOENIX — Dogtopia, a dog daycare, boarding and spa franchise, sold 100 units and opened 25 locations in 2018.

The Phoenix-based company now has over 200 units under development, according to a press release. It plans to open at least 50 stores in 2019.

So far, the brand has sold over 30 new stores in January, according to the release.

“Dogtopia is outpacing every pet franchise in North America and we were delighted about delivering another record year,” said Alex Samios, vice president of franchise development for Dogtopia. “Our unparalleled service, support and systems, combined with exceptional franchisees, has positioned us as the leading pet services brand.”

Dogtopia currently has more than 90 locations.

The brand also grew in 2018 in terms of its charitable initiatives with the Dogtopia Foundation, raising more than $150,000 to sponsor training for service dogs for veterans.

The company was recently named to Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list. Dogtopia ranked at No. 204 “as a result of its outstanding performance in areas of unit growth and financial performance with strong franchisee support,” according to the release.

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Petco to Carry Champion Products

Their partnership begins March 4.

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SAN DIEGO, CA — Petco and Champion Petfoods announced a partnership that will bring Champion’s Acana and Orijen dog and cat foods to Petco stores and petco.com beginning March 4.

“Champion is an extremely mission-driven company that’s built a well-deserved reputation for serving up award-winning foods for dogs and cats, and their ACANA and ORIJEN brands align perfectly with the bold nutrition standards we announced late last year,” said Petco CEO Ron Coughlin. “As a leader in providing pets and pet parents with everything they need to live healthy, happy lives together, we’re thrilled to add industry-leading brands for anyone who wants to feed their pets the healthiest foods available.”

Petco recently announced that it will not sell food or treats containing artificial colors, flavors and preservatives for dogs and cats by May 2019.

“We are extremely excited to partner with Petco, a company with such a strong reputation and commitment to ensuring the well-being of pets and peace of mind to pet lovers,” said Champion President and CEO Frank Burdzy. “This new relationship is an important step toward our goal of building trust and making our Biologically Appropriate foods available to more pet lovers everywhere.”

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Petco Chief Merchant Nick Konat said, “Consumer and industry response to Petco raising the bar on our nutrition standards has been phenomenal, and the addition of ACANA and ORIJEN to our portfolio are significant proof points in our ongoing journey to be pet parents’ trusted partner of choice.”

Petco operates more than 1,500 retail locations and employs 26,000 people across the U.S., Mexico and Puerto Rico.

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