The Power of Pets

Every once in a while, you come across a photo so adorable that even the head of a biker gang would look at it and say, “ahhhhhhh.”  The above picture falls in that category and was recently posted by a customer on the Oxbow Facebook page.  The customer was commenting on the new product sample included (the half eaten Harvest Stack seen above).  Apparently, Lola played with and ate her Harvest Stack until she’d completely wore herself out.

One of the perks of being a part of the Oxbow team is that we get to see cute photos of satisfied pet customers on a regular basis.  In addition to the obvious appeal of a photo of a fuzzy bunny, we love knowing that our products are enjoyed by and provide benefit to pets all over the globe.  Thanks to all of the Oxbow pets out there.  And thanks to their “pet parents” for sharing their pictures with us!     

Dr. Michelle Hawkins – The 2014 Oxbow Exotic Mammal Health Award Winner

Anyone who follows Oxbow knows that the veterinary community has been central to our development and growth.  In our earliest days, we enlisted top veterinarians to help us formulate products that met the dietary needs of small animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas.  Many of these initial formulas have been unchanged over the years and remain the standard in the industry.  Meanwhile, the knowledge and input of top exotics vets have helped guide us as we have developed countless new products designed to provide optimum nutrition and enrichment for beloved pets. 

Over the years, our relationship to the veterinary community has only grown.  Today, we are proud to support vets with programs and tools designed to help further the field of animal medicine and care.  Along with these programs, we feel it’s important to provide recognition as well.  Established in 2009, our Oxbow Exotic Mammal Health Award is presented annually to an animal health professional who advances the field of exotic mammal medicine and care. 

I’m proud to announce that this year’s OEMHA recipient is Dr. Michelle Hawkins.  Dr. Hawkins serves as Associate Professor of Companion Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine & Surgery and Director of the California Raptor Center at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.  Dr. Hawkins is an exceptional veterinarian who personifies all of the qualities that the Oxbow Award stands for – leadership, education, research, innovation, and advocacy.  She is beloved by her colleagues and has helped make countless advances in the industry. 

We presented Dr. Hawkins with the award at the annual AEMV Conference in October.  I was not able to attend this year’s conference, but I was told that the reception in Dr. Hawkins’ honor was a great success.  Congratulations, Dr. Hawkins!  Keep up the great work!

Young Entrepreneurs

The above photo was taken at this year's Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program Celebration and features students who were a part of the founding years of the program (and Paul Engler himself).  I have written about the Engler Entrepreneurship Program in the past, and I'm honored to touch on my affiliation with this program once again.  

As a native Nebraskan and UNL graduate, Paul Engler went on to start the world's largest privately owned cattle feeding operation.  Paul is a native of Stuart, Nebraska and started down the entrepreneurial path at a very young age, working at his father’s gas station for fifty cents a day at age nine and buying his first cattle herd at age twelve.  He donated $20 million to create the Engler Agricultural Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.  His generosity will foster agricultural entrepreneurship in young Nebraskans and UNL students for many years.     

Along with seven others, I am very lucky to serve on the Engler Entrepreneurship Board.  Serving on the board is an inspiration.  It allows me to interact with the young minds of aspiring entrepreneurs, which is a true delight.  I am so thankful to Paul Engler for his vision, generosity, and commitment .  As for advice to future entrepreneurs, I'll quote Paul Engler himself: "You've got to have that fire in the belly!"

A Happy Birthday

Today seems like a great time to take a break from talking about business and focus on what’s most important of all – family and loved ones.  My youngest grandchild, Clare, just celebrated her first birthday.  As you might imagine, this photo is a picture of the birthday girl celebrating with a big piece of chocolate cake.  Pat and I have been blessed and absolutely love being grandparents.  We take full advantage of being able to spoil our grandkids without any of the parenting consequences that follow!  Having a family is the greatest blessing, and we are thankful to no end.  Happy Birthday, Clare!   

A Unique Diet

I just came across an interesting article involving a very dedicated pet retailer.  A pet store owner from Washington recently spent a month eating nothing but pet food from her own store shelves.  On the surface, the mere thought of eating pet food may be too much for some people to stomach.  However, if you take a closer look at some of the products that are available today, it might not seem so crazy.  As the store owner pointed out in an interview, she quickly realized that many of the ingredient panels on the premium products she carries in her store read much healthier than a lot of the packages we encounter each day in the human food aisles of the grocery store. 

While there are probably not too many doctors or nutritionists who would advise a diet of pet food (I don’t recommend it, for the record), the retailer’s experiment says a lot.  Years ago, no one in their right mind would have considered eating the types of pet food that were available.  As time has passed, however, pet nutrition has evolved.  There are more premium, healthy options available than ever.  More companies are committed to using organic and human grade ingredients.  At Oxbow, we have been committed to using the highest quality ingredients from the beginning.  The more healthy options available, the more pets benefit in the long run.

You probably won’t find me eating rabbit food for dinner, but it’s nice to know that today’s pets are able to enjoy the high quality nutrition they deserve.