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Help Wanted: NC Seeks First Dog Travel Agent

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North Carolina is seeking a Dog Travel Agent. Credit: Visit North Carolina

Visit North Carolina is seeking a dog to help tell the world about the state’s best travel destinations.

The lucky canine will be the state’s first Dog Travel Agent.

The search began on National Dog Day (Aug. 26), when North Carolina dogs and their humans were invited to submit a one-minute application video at DogTravelAgent.com, according to public relations and advertising agency LGA, which partnered with Visit North Carolina for the campaign.

The recruitment effort runs through Sept. 15.

The campaign “was inspired by the insight that most dog-focused content is created by and for people, not their pupper pals,” according to LGA.

Dog Travel Agent will produce and curate dog-friendly travel content showcasing the state’s beaches, national parks, cities and outdoor activities, along with information such as where to stay, what to eat and how to get around. Dog influencer visits and in-market activations are also in the works.

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Here are the benefits of the job, according to Visit North Carolina:

  • A travel stipend to help your hooman buy more of those souvenir stuffies that keep exploding.
  • Four sight-sniffing trips to hike mountains, explore parks and bite waves all across North Carolina.
  • Be your own pupparazzi with a GoPro camera and harness just for you.
  • Get asked for your pawtograph by your fans.

James Ritchie is the online content editor for SmartWork Media.

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Dog Clothing Firm Gets $250K ‘Shark Tank’ Investment

Mark Cuban is taking a 25% stake in the firm.

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Dog Threads, a company that makes matching clothing for dogs and their owners, was awarded a $250,000 investment during an episode of ABC’s “Shark Tank.”

Scott and Gina Davis, founders of the Wayzata, MN-based firm, made a deal with Markk Cuban after their successful pitch, the Star-Tribune reports.

He agreed to invest the quarter-million and take a 25 percent stake in the company.

The episode was filmed in June but did not air until Sunday.

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“It was definitely surreal even seeing it now,” Gina Davis said. The couple kept quiet about the results for all these months.

The company sells items such as sweaters, T-shirts and plaid shirts. The founders expect sales to total $240,000 this year, the Star-Tribune reports.

Read more at the Star-Tribune

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7 Pet-Friendly Trends Taking Hold Across America

Mars Petcare released a new report.

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FRANKLIN, TN — Mars Petcare and its Better Cities for Pets program released their first annual report, demonstrating how pet ownership is shaping communities. From housing and business policy to overarching economic health, pets “are making a profound impact on our lives and thus the decisions to be more inclusive made by businesses, shelters and government,” according to a press release.

As part of the report, Mars Petcare has identified seven emerging trends in pet-friendly cities that are leading the way.

“We’re excited to share the inaugural BETTER CITIES FOR PETS Annual Report, which highlights the latest trends in pet-friendly cities and what citizens want to see in their own communities,” said Mark Johnson, president of Mars Petcare North America. “We created this report using data and insights from our collaboration with government officials and consumers across the country. We look forward to following the journey of these cities as they continue to make progress, and we hope that this report serves as inspiration for other communities looking to drive change and welcome pets.”

Here are the trends:

From “Pet-Friendly” to “Pet-Optimized” Pads: With the rise of people owning pets, rental property owners are increasing their pet-friendly amenities to offer more upscale, convenience-driven options.

Open for Business: Businesses are evolving their retail experiences and catering to pet owners by educating shoppers and offering new amenities like in-store pet-sitting and pet-friendly decals in their storefronts for easy navigation.

Pets as a Work Perk: An increasing number of employers are welcoming four-legged friends into the workplace to maintain and attract new talent and increase productivity.

Beyond Doggy Bags: Unique dining options for pooches and their human parents are growing across the country as pets on patio legislation becomes more popular.

Bringing Zen to Shelters: Shelters are sprucing up their environments to attract more potential adoptive families and make pets feel more at ease in their temporary homes.

Reclaiming Public Space: From Parklets to “Barklets”: Cities everywhere are transforming parking lots, street corners and sidewalks to establish gathering spaces for people and pets alike.

Pet “Paw-litics”: An increasing number of political leaders are advocating for animal rights and pet welfare as more of their constituents demand change.

This year, Mars Petcare introduced the Better Cities for Pets certification to celebrate cities that have implemented pet-friendly programs and policies and committed to expanding their efforts to make people and pets welcome. To become certified, cities shared data on existing and future pet-friendly features related to the 12 traits of a pet-friendly city across the areas of businesses, parks, shelters and homes. Similarly, the company rolled out a consumer assessment, allowing citizens everywhere to offer input on the status of their city and what they’d like to see change.

The Better Cities for Pets Annual Report leverages data and insights from certified pet-friendly cities, consumer assessments, a consumer survey and recent studies from the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition and Banfield Pet Hospital.

Key data points within the complete Annual Report include:

Ninety-two percent of Better Cities for Pets certified cities surveyed said they have local programs that distribute pet food for families in need.

Eighty-seven percent of employers say being dog-friendly helps them attract and retain more talent.

A majority of cities (60 percent) say they’re now taking pets into account when planning their green space.

Only 41% of cities said pets are welcome in most rental housing.

Certified Cities:

To-date, 31 cities have received the Better Cities for Pets certification, including:

Arlington, TX
Bentonville, AR
Bloomington, IN
Calumet City, IL
Cleveland, OH
Dallas, TX
Downey, CA
Fort Wayne, IN
Franklin, TN
Gresham, OH
Hallandale Beach, FL
Henderson, NV
Houston, TX
Key West, FL
Laguna Niguel, CA
Meaford, Ontario, Canada
Memphis, TN
Miami, FL
Miami Lakes, FL
Nashville, TN
Oakland, CA
Plano, TX
Port St. Lucie, FL
Reno, NV
Rochester, MI
Royalton, MN
Santa Clarita, CA
Southport, NC
St. Petersburg, FL
Topeka, Kan.
Tucson, Ariz.

To view the full Better Cities for Pets Annual Report, visit http://bit.ly/BetterCities2019ReportPDF. For more information on the Better Cities for Pets program and how to become certified, visit BetterCitiesForPets.com.

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Raw Pet Food Producer Plans Manufacturing Expansion

The project will result in a 70% increase in the output of frozen and freeze-dried products.

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GREEN BAY, WI — Carnivore Meat Co. has announced plans for a manufacturing expansion — its second in two years.

The raw pet food producer said it is “revamping production lines and making significant investments in new meat processing equipment including individual quick freeze (IQF) tunnels, blenders and conveying systems that will increase overall speed and capacity.”

No dollar figure for the investment was released.

The expansion will result in a 70% increase in the output of Carnivore Meat’s frozen and freeze-dried products. This comes on the heels of the multi-million-dollar expansion of the company’s freeze-drying facility in 2018.

“With the increasing demand for our products, which is expected to continue trending upward, our ability to more efficiently manufacture all of our products is paramount,” said Brian Lakari, vice president of operations. “With these changes, we will be prepared and well positioned to meet the rapidly growing demand.”

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Vital Essentials and Vital Cat, are the company’s two leading brands.

“It’s impossible to improve meat quality, we can only maintain it,” said Jason Goddard, director of quality. “The new equipment and line improvements give us even greater control in maintaining the quality and preserving the nutritional value of the food and treats we manufacture.”

Melissa Olson, vice president of sales and marketing, said, “These improvements, coupled with our sustainability initiatives, positions us to answer the demands of our newest generation of pet parents. Millennials are looking not only for high quality food for their pets, but premium products that will enhance the quality of their pets’ lives and their own family life. We sincerely believe Vital Essentials is that brand.”

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