Pop quiz: What has four sides, flies, and is more well-traveled than many of the most experienced jet-setters out there?
I'm guessing that unless you travel with pets every day, your first thought wasn't a pet travel crate! Thousands of pets are driven and flown every day around the world in a variety of travel crates. The air travel crate PetRelocation trusts for its furry fliers is the Petmate SkyKennel, one of the safest, durable, and spacious pet travel crates on the market.
What's even better is that Petmate, which makes a variety of pet products, manufactures its crates, including the SkyKennel, right up the road from the PetRelocation offices in Arlington, Texas. Last week I had the opportunity to visit Petmate as a panelist at the first annual Petmate Advisory Forum to talk about how Petmate could begin to make their products safer, healthier, and more innovative for pets and their families for home, travel, and play.
The forum consisted of representatives from several other innovative organizations, including Jim Hanophy from Operation Kindness, one of the oldest and largest nonprofit no-kill animal welfare organizations in the country, David Haworth, DVM from the Morris Animal Foundation, the largest nonprofit foundation dedicated to funding research studies to protect, treat and cure animals, and Bob Vetere from the American Pet Products Association, the largest trade association for pet products in the world. Also attending the forum was a canine behavior specialist, a pet industry analyst, a veterinarian, a pet services boutique owner, and a pet travel writer.
We met at Petmate's headquarters, which is based in Arlington just outside of Dallas and houses around 100 employees. Their headquarters are just down the road from Petmate's massive manufacturing plant, which employs several hundred people and where the bulk of Petmate's carriers and plastic-based products are manufactured. Petmate also has a resin compounder plant which creates most of the resin used in their pet products. So not only is Petmate a US-based company employing hundreds of people, but over half of the products sold by Petmate each year are manufactured right here in Texas! Most importantly, Petmate is an organization of pet lovers - evident in their employees' creative use of pet products in their workspaces (have you ever seen any other office with an umbrella holder filled with ChuckIts?) and an office hamster known as MC Hamster (who even has his own twitter account). Even Petmate's conference rooms are named after popular pet breeds.
Panelists also had the opportunity to go on a tour of the manufacturing plant, which was a fascinating experience. Just like one might not fully appreciate a work of art unless they watched the investment of time and material by the artist, it was fascinating and quite an honor to see the pride and love the Petmate employees have in creating their products. PetRelocation is proud to partner with Petmate and after seeing how well their products are made, I found myself even prouder.
The primary focus of the forum was answering the key question of "How do pet industry leaders meet the health, safety, and comfort needs of pets and their parents who love them?" I can't tell you exactly what was discussed - after all, I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise you may have when you come across their latest innovative product at the pet store! - but I can tell you that with a variety of perspectives around the table (including one curious Boxer puppy), the forum made for an amazing and important discussion. Petmate is clearly invested in improving and innovating upon their products, and as a pet lover first and pet industry employee second, I can't wait to see what Petmate comes up with next.