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LIVING WITH PETS (Ark Blog)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Below is a great article we found from the Naples Daily News about the Senior Pet population growing in shelters and how adopters are urged to adopt older animals. Enjoy!


Sunday, August 18, 2013, Naples Daily News

Pet adopters urged to consider older animals as more are being given up

By Sue Manning

 

LOS ANGELES – Sunny was 16 when she was left at an animal shelter by the family she had lived with all her life. The 75-pound bulldog-pit bull mix had cancer and infected eyes, and shelter workers figured the family probably couldn’t handle the medical costs.

 “She was so sad and depressed, lethargic, sick looking. She wouldn’t even lift her head for a treat,” said photographer Lori Fusaro, who was taking pictures of old dogs at the Los Angeles shelter that day June 2012.

Those who rescue and care for old pets say it seems more are being left at shelters for health reasons and more owners are facing personal age or health problems and can’t keep their pets.

Fusaro, 44, always had avoided adopting older dogs because she didn’t think she could handle it when they died. Sunny changed her mind. “no old dog should be left to die along, unloved and brokenhearted on a concrete slab in a strange place,” she said.

That day, Fusaro adopted Sunny and started making plans for “Silver Hearts,” a photo book of old dogs she hopes will encourage people to consider such animals. She plans to turn proceeds over to rescue organizations that save aging dogs.

When she took Sunny home, Fusaro figured she had a couple of weeks, perhaps months at most. She never imagined Sunny would live long enough to be part of “Silver Hearts.”

But Sunny rebounded and soon was eating, playing and loving trips to the beach. It’s been over a year and Sunny is 17 now. Fusaro’s book is about 80 percent finished. She used shelter dogs, dogs of friends, Facebook, Sunny and her other dog Gabby. To photograph dogs for shelters, Fusaro has to spend time with them, play with them,. And put them at ease, said Jan Selder, director of field operations for Los Angeles Animals Services. If people don’t get hooked on the photos, they won’t come in to the shelter to see any pets, Selder said.

Abby was an old, blind cocker spaniel when animal control found her on the streets of New York seven years ago. At the shelter, she just stood in a corner and barked. She was deemed unadoptable and put on the euthanasia list. An adoption organization took her from the rescue and called foster worker Val Sorensen in Stratford, Conn.

At home, Abby stood in place and barked because she didn’t know where to go. It took three weeks of bumping into walls and doors to learn her way around, find her food, how to get to the backyard and how to get petted. Sorensen said she had to remember not to leave anything in her path.

“After three weeks, she started wagging her tail. If you open a jar of peanut butter she will come running from the other room,” Sorensen said.

Sorensen jokingly refers to the dog these days as Ancient Abby since she’s between 16 and 17 now. She’s slowly going deaf but she has yet to miss any peanut butter.

Sorenson is co-founder of Wigglebutt Warriors, a fundraiser for rescues. The group’s primary fundraiser in 2014 will benefit Oldies But Goodies Cocker Spaniel Rescue in Newington, VA., which helps old and special needs cocker spaniels.

“Adopting a dog that is deaf or blind doesn’t mean they won’t still have a great quality of life. I wish more people would adopt older or special needs dogs,” Sorensen said.

Patrice deAvila of Portland, Ore., has always adopted older and medically needy cats.

Persian cats Murphy and Newton were 6 when she got them two years ago. They came from an abusive home. Murphy has half of his tail cut off, which caused neurological and hip problems. Newton, a feral cat, lived behind the stove for nearly three months before he decided to come out. “We are still taking baby steps, but last week, he allowed me to pet him. I hope he can be a lap cat in six months,” she said.

It’s hard to say goodbye to any of them, but every once in a while, you lose a soul mate, she said. For deAvila, that was Oliver, who was with her nearly five years. “He met me at the door every single time I came home. If I was crying, he would reach up with his paw and touch my tears. He always slept on my shoulder. He had respiratory issues and would snore and snort all the time. For a long time, I couldn’t sleep because it was so quiet without him,” deAvila said. She does it because it is the right thing to do, she said. A kitten likely will get adopted, but the older cats will be put down.

Fusaro agreed, even though the time will come soon when Sunny will break her heart. “I want her time here to be as happy as it can be. I didn’t want to open my heart for that kind of pain but how much sadder and more horrible for me would it be to leave her at the shelter. It will be terrible to lose her but much worse to leave her to die alone.”

Photographer Lori Fusaro hugs her two dogs, Gabby 10, left and Sunny 17, at Playa del Rey in Los Angeles. Fusaro is working on "Silver Hearts," a photo book of old dogs. She plans to turn proceeds over to rescues that save old dogs and also hopes the book will encourage others to adopt old dogs.

Image courtesty of: http://www.fusarophotography.com/

Tags :  senior dogsold dogsadoptingsheltersrescues
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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

If you've had the chance to pick up the September 2013 Issue of Pet Age Magazine you'll notice Ark Naturals and Gray Muzzle featured! Pet Age recently sat down with Susan Weiss, Owner/President of Ark Naturals, about her passion for the natural products industry, why it’s become so popular and her advice for others.

    


Full Story Below:


Back Story | Ark Naturals

A Pioneer of Natural Products

Reference: Pet Age Magazine September 2013 Issue

When Susan Weiss started her business, the word “natural” wasn’t a household saying.

We recently spoke with Susan Weiss, owner of Ark Naturals, about her passion for the natural products industry, why it’s become so popular and her advice for others.

Q: Tell us a little about Ark Naturals.

Weiss: Ark Naturals is solely owned by myself and my husband Jay. We founded the company in 1996, when no one in the United States was interested in natural. Frankly, that was incredibly difficult.

Other companies that tried to introduce pet healthy products are long gone. We persisted and today we are the brand leader in what is still considered a niche category. We are known as a top-shelf line, and it’s not about the prices – it’s about the quality of our formulations.

One of the things that sets us apart is that we have products in two channels of business. The natural product category – i.e. health food stores such as Whole Foods (with Ark – not a human line) and the pet channel.

Our products are formulated by Dr. Nancy Scanlan DVM, the executive director of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association and Dr. C. Leigh Broadhurts Ph.D affiliated with the USDA.

Q: How did you start Ark Naturals?

Weiss: We started Ark with all our own money. I had become involved in the natural product industry, and realized that if natural, holistic, herbal, etc… can help with humans wouldn’t they help animals as well. I thought it was a great idea, however, it took years of hard work to convince retailers and consumers that my idea made sense.

Being ahead of the curve is always “dicey”. Seriously when we got an order for $50.00 from a store – we thought we hit the lotto.

We solicited both the natural channels i.e. Whole Foods as well as the pet channel. The pet channel was totally uninterested in what we offered. The natural channel was slightly interested. It took about 8 years for the pet category to give us a nod.

 

Q: You were one of the pioneers of the holistic wellness and remedy for pets. How have you seen it change?

Weiss: Years ago, when we exhibited at a trade show, we would have to stand in the aisle hoping we could stop a retailer who was walking the aisles to give us a minute of their time. I can’t tell you how many retailers told us, “no one wants natural.”

One of the problems with my category is that it really requires education.

When we started the vast majority of retailers didn’t think anyone would purchase these type of products. Additionally, pet retailers were frightened about the ingredients, how to pronounce them, what they offered.

Fast forward to today, and things have changed: How much a human spends per year on the healthy, well-being and happiness of their pet, the number of pet friendly hotels and it would be impossible to find a retailers, even one with a tony amount of space who does not carry natural products.

I feel that I played a large role in helping retailers understand the potential not only for the health of these for legged guys, but that they had a great opportunity to grow their business.

I take my role as one of the pioneers in the category very seriously. At the end of the day, I always remind my staff, my retailers, etc… that we are dealing with living breathing creatures, and that we need to be super careful about what we recommend and how we educate, because messages delivered, are sometimes mistranslated by the retailers, consumer, etc…

 

Q: What’s your advice to other women business owners in the pet industry?

Weiss: Here’s my generic advice to young entrepreneurs, success rarely, rarely, rarely, ever happens overnight. Think of your business as running a marathon versus a 100 yard dash. Each of those races requires very different strategy.

Be prepared for failure. Be prepared to lose money initially. Be prepared for ‘no’.

For women, you need to be prepared financially, emotionally and you need to be smarter than everyone including your competitors and every man on the street, because even though we say we believe in equal opportunity, in reality we aren’t there yet.

At the same time, be nice, be honest, look professional, know your business, make friends.

If you’re socializing – keep it very professional, because a guy can make a fool of himself but a woman can’t. If you have a little success don’t let it go to your head.



Images and Story courtesy of Pet Age Magazine.



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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Chow Hound Pet Supplies

Grand Haven, MI!


After introducing Gray Muzzle for Senior Dogs, We challenged our retailers to create their own "Best in Show" Senior Department! We’re proud to announce that our August Winner is Chow Hound #9 in Grand Haven, MI! Check out their fabulous Senior Department below and if you’re in the Grand Haven, MI area, stop in and take a browse around their store!

 

Chow Hound Pet Supplies

628 N Beacon Blvd

Grand Haven MI 49417

www.chowhoundpet.com

 

If you’re a retailer interested in joining the fun, Enter Now to be our September winner!

Contact newsletters@arknaturals.com for more information!

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