My Kind of Cake

This very special cake was commissioned for a fundraiser near and dear to Pat’s and my hearts.  The St. Gianna’s Home for Women assists women and their families in need in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Pat serves on the Advisory Board for St. Gianna’s, and we both feel very blessed to support their important works. 

You might say we pulled an “inside job” at the fundraiser.  After donating the cake, we had no choice but to buy it back to enjoy and share with the Oxbow family.  I’m happy to report that the cake was a big hit and disappeared very quickly in the break room.  As you can see, the cake was a beautiful depiction of the “oxbow” that hangs in our lobby, complete with a frosting Oxbow logo.  This oxbow may not be as sturdy as the original, but it sure was tasty…and enjoyed in the name of a great cause.    

And the Winner Is...

Dr. Angela Lennox!

Yesterday, we had the honor of recognizing Dr. Lennox as the 2013 Oxbow Exotic Mammal Health Award recipient.  Following a formal announcement during yesterday’s AEMV Conference, we held a reception last night in Dr. Lennox’s honor.  The event was a wonderful tribute to Dr. Lennox and her many ongoing contributions to the field of exotic medicine and surgery.  Many of Dr. Lennox’s friends, colleagues, and co-workers took the opportunity to congratulate her and celebrate the accomplishment.

Dr. Lennox is an exceptional exotics veterinarian whose colleagues will tell you is one of the most talented, generous, and influential individuals in the field.  In addition to her Indianapolis exotics-only practice (the first of its kind in the area), Dr. Lennox is an adjunct professor at Purdue University where she teaches various exotic animal medicine topics to both veterinary and veterinary technician students.  She is generous with both her time and knowledge, lecturing and publishing often and serving on many boards and committees industry (and world) wide.  We could not have been more honored to recognize her with the award.  

Congratulations, Dr. Lennox!

Off To Indy

Today, I’m hitting the road for Indianapolis where I will spend the next several days at the annual AEMV Conference.  The Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV) was established in 2000 by veterinarians interested in advancing the veterinary care of exotic companion mammals.  The annual conference offers a multitude of learning opportunities for exotics vets, including: a wet lab, advanced scientific program, roundtable discussions, and Master Classes.  The conference is really a “can’t miss” for exotics vets.

As a part of the conference festivities, we will be announcing and honoring the 2013 Oxbow Exotic Mammal Health Award recipient.  Established in 2009, the Oxbow Award honors the extraordinary achievements of one outstanding veterinary professional annually.  As a company, we feel very honored to do our small part to recognize those who have given so much on behalf of exotic animals.  Past winners of the award include Drs. Vittorio Capello, Cathy Johnson-Delaney, Gregory Rich, and Karen Rosenthal.  We are lucky enough to partner with the AEMV for the award, which makes the festivities at the conference especially meaningful.

I can’t disclose this year’s recipient just yet, but I’ll be sure to post an announcement just as soon as it’s formally made.  I’ll be sure to include a picture or two from the conference as well.  In the meantime, I’ve got a flight to catch! 

Fun for the Whole Family

This past weekend marked a favorite event: the annual Oxbow company picnic.  This year’s picnic took place at the beautiful Mahoney State Park near Ashland.  The outdoor pavilion we reserved was the perfect setting, and not even the intense August heat could put a damper on the fun of the day.  The food, fellowship, and fun activities were all second to none.  I’m pretty sure I met my monthly (or yearly) quota on hotdogs and potato chips in the process.      

I always enjoy seeing the employees of Oxbow, but it’s their families that Pat and I are especially excited to see at company events like the picnic.  Having an opportunity to socialize with the spouses and children of the Oxbow family is a special treat that we very much look forward to year round.  There is nothing quite like the pure joy and energy of children (especially when they have had plenty of sugar).  The Oxbow family is dear to us, as are their families.

I hope you have had a safe and enjoyable summer, with plenty of your own opportunities for fun and fellowship!    


When you spend enough time in the same place, it’s impossible not to keep a close study of the landscape.  For me, the landscape of my youth and most of my adulthood has consisted primarily of farmland.  Fields may remain fields over time, but there are subtle changes to the land that help define the future.  Terraces are built and rebuilt to prevent erosion and preserve the land.  Crops are rotated to maintain the health of the soil.  Homes appear on parcels over time and roots are planted by families.

Like a field carefully cared for, I believe a business is made stronger in small ways that are sometimes imperceptible until viewed collectively over time.  In the case of Oxbow, we have worked hard to stay true to ourselves – our values, our approach, our commitment to our customers – all while doing our best to embrace innovation and change.  We’re not perfect, but when I imagine any given customer’s perception of Oxbow over time, I hope they see a company that has changed in many ways, but never at the expense of our beliefs and mission. 

Think about the landscapes of your life.  How have they changed over time, and what are you doing today to make them healthier and better in the future?

Supporting Rescues

If you visit the Oxbow website, you’ll notice a call for applications for the 2013 Oxbow Rescue Grants.  Every year, we provide funding in the form of cash and product donations to benefit organizations whose selfless daily work helps find homes for neglected, homeless and abandoned small pets, as well as rehabilitating local wildlife.  Grant funding helps provide medical support, feeding needs, educational programs and building renovations.  The organizations working on behalf of these animals rely on donations to operate throughout the year.  The annual grants we provide are just a small part of the year round support it takes to keep rescue organizations operational.

If there’s a rescue, sanctuary, or animal specialty organization that’s special to you, please encourage them to apply for the 2013 Oxbow Rescue Grants.  The application period is open until the end of August when we will begin the difficult process of selecting this year’s recipients.  If you’re able, I encourage you to make a donation – of money, supplies, or even time – to your favorite rescue as well.  Having worked with these organizations for many years, I know that even the smallest gift can go a very long way toward improving the lives of countless animals.        

The Evolution of the Tradeshow

Over the next week, the Oxbow team will be gearing up for another trip to Las Vegas.  Each year, we look forward to visiting “Sin City” – not for the purpose of gambling, but to join countless other manufacturers at the SuperZoo pet retailer show.  SuperZoo is a great opportunity to introduce retailers from all over the country to your product line.  For retailers, the show offers valuable educational sessions and a new concept store designed to exhibit trends and innovations in merchandising. For anyone planning on attending the show, be sure to check out Oxbow in both the new product showcase and the concept store.  Additionally, our Director of Veterinary Outreach, Dr. Micah Kohles, will be presenting on the topic of “How to Best Feed our Pets” at one of the educational sessions.  You won’t want to miss it.    

Tradeshows have long been a part of Oxbow’s business strategy.  In the early days, I attended these shows with little more than a trunkful of products and the driving desire to get my foot in the door with anyone who would give me the time of day.  For as non-luxurious as it might sound, I look back on those days fondly.  I believed in my products then, just as I do now, and knew the small animal marketplace would benefit from what I had to offer. 

Today’s tradeshow experience may have a different feeling than it once did, but my passion remains the same.  Unveiling new products in new product showcase gives me the same thrill it always has.  Contributing to events like Dr. Kohles’ educational session and the concept store at SuperZoo are further opportunities to contribute to the industry. 

And to think it all started with a trunkful of hay and rabbit food.              

Current Campers, Future Vets

We’re currently in the middle of a very special time of year at Oxbow.  As I type, young people are gathered at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln attending Oxbow Junior Vet Camp.  If you follow us on Facebook, you’ve probably seen photos like the one above – of the campers in their scrubs, mid surgery on a teddy bear patient.  As cute as these photos are, to me they represent something special and very important – an early opportunity to help young people explore a potential dream.

I often joke that I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.  For young people who have an inclination that they may want to work with animals throughout their lives, we are proud to help them explore this interest through vet camp.  Oxbow Vet Camp was designed as a fun and educational opportunity for kids who love animals to learn more about what veterinary professionals do every day.  Our camp director and counselors do a great job of balancing education and fun.  Throughout the week, campers will take part in countless hands-on activities, learn a great deal about the anatomy and physiology of animals, interact with various exotic pets, and, of course, perform their mock surgery. 

It’s our hope that fifteen years from now, many of today’s campers will display their Oxbow Vet Camp photo next to their diploma from Veterinary School.  As for me, maybe in fifteen years I’ll know what I want to be when I grow up.  But...I wouldn’t bank on it. 


Would the members of the Bunny Boot Camp class of 2013 please stand up?

I am pleased to announce the graduation of another outstanding group of Bunny Boot Camp cadets.  For those who don’t know, Bunny Boot Camp is an annual training event we host at Oxbow and the surrounding areas.  The above photo was taken at beautiful Mahoney State Park – the site of our main training event.  I’d say this is a pretty good looking group; wouldn’t you?   

The aim of Bunny Boot Camp is to bring top sales representatives from all over North America to Murdock to learn all things Oxbow – our history, people, processes, and programs.  This year’s class joined us from their pet specialty stores and distribution businesses throughout the United States and Canada.  I was very impressed with the group’s interest in Oxbow and eagerness to learn about what it takes to produce premium products for small animals.  I am confident that they will be taking back lots of valuable knowledge about what makes Oxbow hay and foods so beneficial to pets and their health.   

Highlights from this year’s boot camp included an in depth look at the growing and harvesting process, a facilities tour and barbeque at Oxbow, an all-encompassing training event, a celebratory dinner, and a behind the scenes tour of the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha.  I am thankful that these passionate, committed pet experts made time in their schedules to experience Oxbow.  As always, I’m already looking forward to the next opportunity to share the Oxbow story.

Beauty and the Beast

A couple of weeks ago, Pat and I took several of our grandkids to a production of “Beauty and the Beast” that was put on by Lourdes Central High School in a town not far from us.  This school averages 35 students per class.  I mention the class size because the caliber of show that they put on was phenomenal.  It is just so inspiring to be around young people who pour their heart and soul into being the best they can be.  I hope and pray that my grandkids were also similarly inspired.  This picture is of two of my granddaughters with Belle (the star and the “beauty.”)  She is 17 years old and would be the star on any stage in the country. 

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