Barkworld 2015 was a hit!

by Nancy E. Hassel, American Pet Professionals 

My 3rd Barkworld in Atlanta just ended and as I type this in the air on the plane back to New York, I am thinking about all the wonderful pet professionals, influencers, keynote speakers, sponsors and vendors I met while there.  And the many sessions and roundtable event I was able to attend, and honored to once again be a speaker there.  This Barkworld was truly inspiring and a lot of fun to boot!  The hotel was first class, and I think while it may be the best Barkworld yet, it reminds me of the 1st one I went to in 2012. I leave inspired and excited about our industry.

Denise Quashie, founder of Barkworld and i-5 Publishing and the entire Barkworld team did a wonderful job with the event, and really thought of every last detail. Congratulations to everyone who worked really hard to make this event as seamless as possible.  And believe me running any event is not an easy task – but they sure make it look easy!

Speakers and Celebrities at BarkWorld:

We heard of Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy when he decided to rescue the Russian dogs from Russia during the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi Russia. Gus spoke of his story of why he wanted to rescue the dogs, (which we could all relate to) and how he and his boyfriend at the time got the dogs stateside.  The use of social media to share his story at the time had a tremendous impact along with traditional media reporting.  He joked that no one probably knew what kind of skiing he was competing in and they were more interested in the dogs then him.

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The guys, Shaun Sears and Tom Otto from Canopy Cat Rescue were incredibly kind, courteous and generous with their time talking to anyone and everyone that went up to them. It was very interesting to learn about cats stuck up in high trees that they rescue, and how they actually get to such heights to save 1 cat at a time. Something I haven’t witnessed in the northeast – cats being stuck in trees. I did a live Periscope with them during the event and their stories made me want to take a trip to Washington state – one state I have yet to visit.  

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Katie Caperton, editorial content director at HLNTV.com, (owned by CNN), did a presentation on top 7 animal stories that went viral this year – it was very interesting to learn about what got picked by the media, what went viral, and one story the puppy hugging dogs.  Angels Among Us Pet Rescue were in the audience and spoke how they go 65,000 new fans on their facebook page and how the response of the picture helped more dogs get adopted. Katie asked them if they got a lot of monetary donations – they said they didn’t. While this keynote was happening Rachel Phelps from Preston Speaks was Persicoping the keynote and David Fry of i-5 Publishing was watching the Periscope from their location and pledged $5,000 towards the rescue.  The power of social Media – you have to love it!

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It was really great to meet and talk to Shorty Rossi – since he and I have a passion for Pit Bulls and helping educate the public about the wonderful breed.  He gave a passionate keynote about his story, how he became he involved with pitbulls – how he ended up with a reality show on Animal Planet.  I also was able to do a periscope with him about BSL and how everyone can get involved 

There was also a 10 year-old entrepreneur and animal lover there from Georgia who started her own business making her own  flower bows and bow ties for males dogs.    Isabella Masso of Isabella’s Pet Shop was there with her mom and the love of animals is what started their business, in which they donate monetarily from sales of their products and in-kind donations to animal shelters.  Isabella spoke of her dream of what she wants her business to be.  I love seeing youth involved in the pet industry and having dreams that we all know can come true with hard work, dedication and applying her passion.  Good luck Isabella we are routing for you!

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Also, Halo Pet Food had a fun photo frame that everyone was taking photos in with the hashtag #Halofeeditforward, they had originally said they’d make a donation of one meal per registration, which ending up being 450. Then Halo pledged a meal for every one of those #halofeeditforward photos posted, which was 396.  But because Halo was so inspired by what a great, giving community that was out in full force to help homeless pets that now Halo’s going to increase the donation to 10,000 meals!  How cool is that?  The animal shelter/rescue will be announced soon.  Thanks Halo!

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Barkworld 2016:

Barkworld is heading to Napa Valley for a Mastermind retreat in July 2016 – and there is a limited amount of attendees and brands spots available for the event. I hope I can get a spot!  Wine, dogs, and the pet industry , HELLO? :)  If you have yet to attend a Barkworld you should plan on it for next October 12 – 15, 2016!  

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