Saturday, December 31, 2016


ABC news covered this story with a cool video on our Lucy Pet Rose Parade float. 
Unique Tournament of Roses Parade float featuring surfing dogs and other talented animals set a new Guinness World Record.  Watch on ABC site here: 

A Rose by any other name....

Roses for Lucy Pet's Rose Parade float have arrived!
Unless you live in Southern California, chances are you have not experienced the Tournament of Roses parade in person. Even if you do live in So Cal, chances are small that you have helped to decorate the magnificent floats that make up the annual Rose Parade. It is truly a memorable experience. I have been blessed to have this opportunity several times, and this year is no exception. We are down to the wire decorating the Lucy Pet Gnarly Crankin K9 Wave Maker Rose Parade float, now certified as breaking two Guinness World Records, the Longest and Heaviest in the world. Too bad they don't have an award for most beautiful float. 

At any rate...the basic float design theme is a tropical paradise with fish and flowers, all decorated from plant, flower and organic materials. Many types of plants and seeds, etc are used to create the stunning designs, but the name sake of the parade and football game "Rose Parade" and "Rose Bowl" is because of the beautiful roses. 
Pails of fresh long stem roses arrive in buckets
So it may come as no surprise that the level of excitement goes up to a whole new level when the roses arrive at the float barn for decorating. Each fresh rose is carefully hand snipped to the appropriate length, then placed into its own vial filled with water. It is a remarkable sight to see. I hope you enjoy seeing these photos..I can tell you that the Fiesta Float Barn smells so wonderfully fragrant right now!
Rows and Rows of Roses and Roses...

Workers and volunteers organize their flowers
Roses are all hand snipped for water vials
Lucy Pet Roses ready for the float decorating!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Officially Certified by Guinness World Records: Longest & Heaviest Float in History!

Joey Herrick (L), Carolyn Hennesy (C) and Rick Rockhill (R)
Today was a cool day. The Lucy Pet Rose Parade float was officially certified by Guinness World Records as the Longest and Heaviest parade float in the world. The Guinness folks sent an adjudicator to measure and weigh our float. The inspection included a team of California Highway Patrol officers who used their technical equipment to weigh the float, similar to how trucks are weight on the highway. Our official length and weight for Guinness is 126 ft long and a whopping 148,200 pounds, or 74.1 tons! On hand today was Carolyn Hennesy  the Emmy-nominated soap opera actress, New York Times Best-Selling author, and animal advocate. Ms Hennesy is a friend to the Lucy Pet Foundation and was with us to celebrate the Guinness World Record certification.

Be sure to watch the Rose Parade Monday Jan 2nd, 2017 to see our massive float. The Rose Parade is televised on ABC, NBCHGTVHallmark Channel, KTLA, Univision (in Spanish) and Sky Link TV (in Mandarin and Cantonese) and RFD TV.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Rose Parade Ready: Race to Finish!

For all of you who enjoy the Rose Parade, here is yet another behind the scenes video on how we're getting the Lucy Pet float ready for the Tournament of Roses Parade on January 2nd. KTLA, the #1 TV channel in Los Angeles has been covering the process of getting the Lucy Pet Products Rose Parade float to become a reality. This is the 4th video in a series of 4 segments, and covers the final steps...its right down to the wire... Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Return of Dr Sidney Wang

Long time readers of this blog may recall the many adventures of my fine-finned fish friend, Dr Sidney Wang, the psychic betta fish who inspired the regular "Wisdom Wednesdays" posts here. Dr Wang has fulfilled his prophecy to be reincarnated , once again bringing his wisdom and advice to us mere humans. It isn't clear yet, how prolific Dr Wang may be in his writings, but he has returned....

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Rose Parade Ready: Lucy Pet Performers

If you are interested in the Rose Parade, then you will be interested in seeing more of what happens behind the scenes in getting the Lucy Pet float ready for January 2nd. KTLA, the #1 TV channel in Los Angeles has been covering the process of getting the Lucy Pet Products Rose Parade float to become a reality. This is the 3rd video in a series of 4 segments, and covers the canine performers.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Rose Parade Ready Test Run

Here is another behind the scenes peek at creation of the Lucy Pet Rose Parade float. KTLA, the #1 TV station in Los Angeles has been covering the progress of the Lucy Pet Rose Parade Float. This is the 2nd video in a series of 4...check out this video from KTLA:

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Building a Rose Parade Float

KTLA the #1 TV station in Los Angeles came to check out the Lucy Pet Rose Parade Float that is under construction. If you ever wanted to see some behind the scenes details on what it takes to build a Rose Parade Float, check out this video from KTLA:

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Breaking Guinness World Records

One of the things I enjoy most about being part of the Lucy Pet organization are some of the unique and interesting ways we raise awareness of animal welfare issues. The big event is just about to happen-- the Lucy Pet Rose Parade float.
You see, Lucy Pet Products is about to debut what we expect will be certified by Guinness World Records as the longest and heaviest single chassis float in Rose Parade history. We call it the "Lucy Pet’s Gnarly Crankin’ K9 Wave Maker". The float is a monster, with a fun  beach-paradise design theme. Our float will measure over 125-feet long and weigh over 136,000 pounds when filled with the 8,000 gallons of water. During the parade a super cool wave machine will generate waves upon a team of eight dogs will surf the length of the 90-foot tank. You may recall that earlier this year we had a national tour of our mobile wave machine. That national tour went across the country to find the most talented surf dogs. The wave machine crossed 35 states and auctioned over 1,000 dogs, which led to our amazing team of surf dogs for the January 2nd 2017 Rose Parade float. We have some really awesome surprises in store for fans and more to come. 

I'm also happy to share that Lucy Pet has had an incredible year-- we introduced our first two product new lines for pets, shampoos and conditioners and also Cats Incredible litter. Our pet supplies are all "Products With A Cause", which go to support of the Lucy Pet Foundation, our 501 (c) (3) animal charity.  You can find Lucy Pet Products in your local independent pet store and Petco stores nationwide, as well as pet specialty retailers across Canada. If you have a dog or cat, ask for Lucy Pet products at your local store; we are committed to helping reduce the pet overpopulation.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Traveling with Miss Ellie for Thanksgiving

Wednesday was a new experience with Miss was her first time traveling by airplane. Here we are at Los Angeles' LAX airport at the gate area preparing to board our flight. We were traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday and she handled it like a pro! During take off and landing she sat in my lap, but for most of the flight she curled up on the floor quite happily and enjoyed herself. Of course, she was a big hit with the crew and other passengers, who remarked how well behaved she was. It has been so nice having her along for the Thanksgiving holiday. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Healthy Living With Your Cat

If you have a cat, you will want to listen on demand anytime to this episode of my radio show on BlogTalkRadio. Click this link below to listen on demand:

Healthy Living With Your Cat 11/19 by Rick Rockhill | Pets Podcasts

We often hear about healthy living for humans, but what about humans living with pets? In this episode, we will discuss the topic of healthy living with your cat. Cat Lovers will be surprised to hear about some of the dangers of having a cat in their home, and will be equally surprised at how easy it is to mitigate those dangers for a happy, healthy home with your cat. 

From allergies, respiratory problems to common colds and
Cat litter doesn't have to be a danger zone any more...
infections, having a cat at home can present real challenges to millions of cat lovers and their family members. 

With the popularity of cats continuing to rise globally, this episode is one not to be missed if you have a feline friend. In particular, pregnant women, elderly persons and anyone with a compromised immune system will want to hear this information. 
You don't have to part with your kitty if you follow the advice in this episode. Everything from diet, air quality, cleaning and cat litter, you'll enjoy these top tips. After you listen to this episode on Blog Talk Radio, you'll have the scoop on healthier living with your cat.

Friday, November 18, 2016

WIN a Seat on a Tournament of Roses Parade Float plus a trip to Pasadena for Family of Four!

The Lucy Pet Rose Parade float is a fun way to raise awareness of animal related causes. Check out this fun contest. Enter to win, and share with your friends.

Lucy Pet Products Announces Contest To Win A Seat
On Its Double Guinness World Record Breaking
125-Foot Gnarly Crankin’ K9 Wave Maker
2017 Tournament Of Roses® Parade Float

THOUSAND OAKS, CA (Nov. 16, 2016) - Lucy Pet Products has just announced an exciting new contest where the winner will ride on its 2017 Tournament of Roses parade float on Jan. 2, 2017 in Pasadena, Calif. The sweepstakes prize includes a trip for four with airfare and a four night stay at the beautiful Pasadena Sheraton. One lucky winner from this family of four will get to ride on the Lucy Pet float during the 128th annual Rose Parade while the remaining three family members watch from the VIP section of the viewing stands.

“Our float this year is going to be the longest and heaviest float to ever appear in the parade,” said Joey Herrick, President and founder of Lucy Pet Products. “It depicts a beachside paradise complete with a 5,000 gallon 125-foot wave machine and gnarly surfin’ doggies ridin’ the waves. The float also helps raise awareness for our Lucy Pet "Products with a Cause" including Cats Incredible Litter and grooming shampoos which help fund the Lucy Pet Foundation. These products are available at pet specialty retailers nationwide.”

Contest participants must visit the Lucy Pet Products website and fill out the entry form no later than midnight on Nov. 30, 2016. The winner will be chosen in a random drawing to take place on or before Dec. 3, 2016. The winning family will receive four round-trip airline tickets, a four night stay at the Pasadena Sheraton, three VIP viewing stand seats and one lucky family member will ride on the Lucy Pet Products parade float.

“We are really looking forward to this year’s Rose Parade,” added Herrick. We’ll be setting a double Guinness World Record for the longest and heaviest float to ever be in the parade and our Surfin’ Dogs will be a sight to behold.  We think it will be one of the most fun floats in parade history, and everyone on it including our grand prize winner is going to have the experience of a lifetime.”

Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Bit of Halloween Spirit

Flying Witch on a broomstick sparkles in the evening light.
Long time readers of this blog know that Halloween is one of my favorite times of year. A wonderful reminder of those carefree days of my childhood. Growing up in New England, the autumn season was filled with iconic memories; cool, crisp nights, falling leaves in brilliant hues of red, yellow and brown, pumpkins, apple picking, warm cider, and hay rides leading up to the excitement of Halloween. Many decades on from my childhood, one still looks back fondly at all the fun and excitement of the season. A pumpkin and various seasonal and Halloween themed decorations still adorn the doorstep every year. Most Halloween evenings I'm home, dressed in some costume to answer the door for trick-or-treaters, dispensing chocolate to kids in the neighborhood. Two years ago I dressed as Harry Potter...and ever since,  the kids in the neighborhood still call me Harry when the see me throughout the year.

Roman Centurion and a Wizard at a Halloween party
This year I chose to dress as a wizard. I wasn't specific as to which one, Dumbledore, Gandalf or Merlin, I just wanted to dress as a good wizard. Perhaps all this dressing up in costumes sounds silly and immature, but it is fun. It is also a big business in the US. Yesterday I realized that a wig was still in order to complete my costume, so off to the shops in search of some locks. Luckily, even at the last minute the Halloween store in Burbank had a handy wizard wig and beard kit! It was a little itchy and hot, but it did the trick. So here I am, as a wizard. Incidentally the wand was one I bought at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios (all that means is I paid too much for it). The robes however are genuine movie studio costumes, I rented them from Western Costumes in Burbank. It turned out to be a fun costume. This photo above is from a Halloween party last night, but I plan to reprise this look again Monday evening for this year's trick-or-treaters. My inner child is beaming with joy yet again. Happy Halloween to you.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Halloween Pet Tips & Watch Outs for Dogs & Cats

Halloween can be a scary time not only for kids but for pets too. Every year, hundreds of dogs and cats end up in the emergency room, or get killed because they get scared, or run out the door when trick or treaters come knocking. Some people even take their pets out with the kids to go trick-or-treating, and that can be dangerous too. Here is a great video clip with some tips and watch-outs for anyone with a pet.

Friday, October 21, 2016

San Diego Surf Dog Auditions Interview KUSI TV

Friday the folks at KUSI TV in San Diego interviewed me about the Lucy Pet Gnarly Crankin' K9 Wave Maker dog surf auditions being held this weekend in San Diego. On Saturday the wave maker will be at the Petco Sports Arena store in San Diego to hold open auditions. We're searching for a dog to represent San Diego to surf on our 2017 Rose Parade float. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

My Civic Duty

I voted by mail in ballot
Ever since reaching the age to become eligible to vote, I've never missed an election. Democracy may not perfect, but it sure beats the other forms of government I've witnessed first hand during my travels. This year's presidential election is a doozy, nearly everyone I've spoken to has had enough and just want it all to be over. Regardless of whom you are supporting, it has just gotten ugly and tiresome. That being said, I firmly believe that each of us as citizens has a civic duty to perform by participating in the election process. This year I'll be in Hong Kong for an extended trip, and on Election Day in the US, so I already exercised my votes through the mail in ballot. I doubt my single votes in California are enough to swing the results, but I feel better knowing that I have done so. After all, it is my right, and my tax dollars being spent. So I encourage you to vote. Do your civic duty, even if you have to hold your nose to cast your vote for a candidate who stinks. I cherish our democracy and I sincerely hope you do too.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Halloween Pet Costume Contest!

For all you fellow pet lovers here is a Halloween pet costume contest worth checking out. The contest is presented by KTLA TV 5 Los Angeles, and sponsored by Lucy Pet Products and Petco. All you have to do is upload a photo of your cat or dog dressed up for Halloween to Facebook or Instagram, and be sure to include the hashtag #PickMyPetLucy. You could win a $200 Petco gift card plus goods & services from Lucy Pet Products.  Or enter using the form on the KTLA site here. The folks at KTLA will be picking one dog winner and one cat winner, but hurry enter today, and be sure to include that hashtag #PickMyPetLucy so they see your post! See terms and conditions for the contest at the KTLA site.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Age of Pet Adoration

It isn't exactly a newsflash or breaking story that pets have become an increasingly important and meaningful part of human lives. For the past two decades in particular, those of us living in the developed world have seen the status of pets rise to levels never seen in modern history. 

Experts who observe these trends attribute the humanization of pets to a variety of factors; most
My rescue pup Ellie
notably generational shifts, aging populations, and the delayed ages of marriage and having children among the Generations X, Y and Z. Regardless of the reason, there is no doubt that many dogs and cats, now enjoy the highest quality of life in history. Pets are living longer, benefiting from better quality nutrition, higher levels of awareness of pet health needs and generally safer living environments at home.

Despite all the good news for dogs and cats, there is a staggering level of animal euthanasia that occurs every day-- right here in the United States. In fact, every week, more than 80,000 dogs and cats are put down due in shelters due to overpopulation. Americans in particular are especially generous toward animal welfare issues, yet the needs of animals is far greater than the rates of adoption and rescue from shelters. 

If you have never been to your local animal shelter, consider visiting one to learn about the needs in your own community. Regardless of whether you personally have the ability to adopt a pet, you can make a difference by visiting your shelter. Make a donation, volunteer some time, foster a pet, or even just assist with local adoption days. Many pet stores offer onsite adoption days, by partnering with local shelters. Those groups need volunteers to staff the adoption weekends, or need basic supplies to help facilitate the adoptions.

Hopefully you will consider adopting a pet. There are numerous studies that show the health benefits of pets in our lives. Children, adults, seniors, single, married, whatever-- humans are enriched by pets. HABRI, the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative has set out to demonstrate this point, and has funded numerous grants and projects to further study the role pets play in human life. Never before have pets ascended so high in the level of love and adoration from humans. This truly is what I call The Age of Pet Adoration.

More than 20 years ago I ventured into the pet industry and never strayed. I've had a front seat as an active participant in programs, projects and products all dedicated and focused on improving the lives of pets. I'm proud to have had leadership roles in some of the "best of the best" in the pet industry; from guide dog organizations, non-profit animal charities, rescues, pet products manufacturing, marketing and retailing. I'm especially proud of Lucy Pet Products, because we designate part of our net profits (after taxes & expenses) to help animals through the Lucy Pet Foundation.

Today's pet parent consumers have so many choices in what they buy for their fur-children. People often ask me what I advice is to always buy the best you can afford. Feed the best quality nutrition, be vigilant to maintain their healthy weight, give them exercise and plenty of toys for mental stimulation. Educate yourself about maintaining a healthy living environment for your dog or cat, as you might do for human children. People forget about things like household cleaners, detergents, room fresheners, pesticides, etc that are used in the home and yard. Your pet can be exposed to potentially harmful environmental hazards you unknowingly use. 

I hadn't really thought much about my cat's health until recently. In developing our new Cats Incredible cat litter, we learned all about the dangers of ammonia exposure in cats from the litter box. It turns out that this very normal biological impact of cats urinating turns into very dangerous and toxic levels of ammonia. For some reason, no one ever thought to fix that. We did. 

In working with leading scientists, Lucy Pet developed the first cat litter that actually stops ammonia from forming in the litter box. So now, we are proud to make this technology available to cat owners so they can provide their cat with a safer, healthier cat litter box. Just a few years ago, no one ever thought about the dangers of ammonia to cats. Lucy Pet understands and embraces the Age of Pet Adoration. Its products like our Cats Incredible that embody this ever-evolving era where our pets are at the top of the family. And rightly so.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Cat Chat: Litter Box Health & Myths Revealed

If you are have a cat, you'll want to listen to this episode of my radio show on Blog Talk Radio. Your cat's health may depend on it!

Cat Chat: Litter Box Health: Do you know what Dangers are Lurking in your Cats Litter Box? In this episode, learn what you need to know about litter box health. We explore some of the the latest breakthrough technology and innovation in cat litter that will excite cat parents everywhere. Anyone with a cat will want to tune in to this episode. We will also reveal the truth behind some of myths about cat litters, including alternative litters such as corn and wheat that may not be as eco-friendly as you have been led to believe. Learn why clay litter is more earth friend;y, eco-friendly and sustainable than corn and wheat litters. Renowned veterinarian Doc Karen Halligan joins Rick in this informative and interesting episode for cat lovers.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Which Type of Cat Litter is Most Earth Friendly?

My first cat Owen
If you want to know the truth about cat litter, or how to choose which type cat litter is most eco-friendly and sustainable, this post is written with you in mind.

Long time readers of this blog may recall that nearly 18 years ago I was a Buyer at Petco. My first product category was cat consumables (cat food, cat litter, toys, treats, litter accessories, toys and cat furniture). Until that time I had always been a dog person, but I knew that in order to best understand the category and the products for which I had buying responsibility, I needed to have a cat. So I went out and adopted a kitty cat named Owen, who helped me evaluate various products and form my own opinions from experience.

Back then, there were some new types of cat litters coming on the market that were alternatives to the clay litters being sold. There were a range of interesting cat litters made from corn, wheat, pine, paper, etc. which positioned themselves as an alternative to clay, and also as more "environmentally friendly." These products seemed to fit the bill and offered consumers another choice, which is always good to let consumers have choices. However on closer review and using some of these alternative cat litters, I found that none of them truly performed as well as clay clumping litter. Clay litter has always performed best to control cat pee and poop, and deal with the waste. It dries out the moisture best, and clumps better than all those other alternative types.

The "reason for being" for the alternative litters then was that they were supposedly Earth-friendly, and therefore consumers were willing to sacrifice performance in favor of using a product they felt was better for the environment.

Fast forward 18 years, and now I'm involved in developing Cats Incredible litter, which is made from natural clay (pure sodium bentonite minerals). Our company decided to study the various litters available and deliberately chose to use clay and not corn or wheat as our litter type. The reasons are many...but mainly because just as I learned 18 years ago, clay simply does the best job to control cat waste. However we also learned that those corn and wheat litters also tend to rot and get moldy with moisture (from cat urine). They also attract pests and develop bacteria. When you think about it, corn and wheat are food materials, so it seems strange to use a food for cat litter. We all know what happens when food gets old and gets moldy and forms bacteria, so in my view these are not appropriate materials to use for a cat litter.

The more interesting learning we had was when we discovered that those "alternative" and "Earth-friendly" cat litters made from corn and wheat aren't really as Earth-friendly as people have been led to believe. When we reviewed the complete life cycle of various cat litters, we found that in total, clay litter materials have very low "CO2" carbon impact versus corn and wheat litters.

Think about it this way: corn and wheat litters require water to grow the crops, some use pesticides in the crops, along with fertilizers, then after a long growing season of using precious water, they need to be harvested, using harvesting trucks (which require fuel) and human labor. Then the corn or wheat has to be washed, processed, dried, cooked/extruded, crushed, sieved and packaged. Meanwhile those crop fields have to be re-cultivated again for the same process. The reason I am being so forthright about these facts is that there is so much mis-information out there against clay litter. There are companies only telling part of their story to lead people to believe their product is more "green" or Earth-friendly,  just to sell corn and wheat litter, but they are not being totally honest.

As California based, small family owned company, Lucy Pet Products is all about honesty and transparency. We are proud to partner with American companies that mine clay responsibly. Together we are helping to provide jobs to American workers in the heartland of America. These companies know how to responsibly mine the clay minerals used for cat litter to preserve and protect the environment at the same time.

I personally have visited clay
mining multiple times
As part of developing Cats Incredible, I have visited the areas where clay minerals are extracted, and have personally witnessed the how the land is reclaimed. When you look at the process to make clay litters, it starts with responsible mining (trucks digging clay minerals from the soil doesn't take long), then drying, extrusion, crushing and sieving and packaging. It isn't very deep, and it is a layer of clay that don't grow anything so it is basically unused below the soil. The CO2 emission of clay has, on average just 30 grams of CO2 per cat per day, or the equivalent of a 12 watt LED bulb running for just 6 hours. 

So, the process to make clay litter is actually very very low carbon emission. I would like to point out that this process IS NOT what some companies claim as strip mining. The land is carefully reclaimed, with fresh top soils, and re-seeded to enable wildlife to flourish. The areas are often revived to a better environmental state after the clay is removed.  When you look at these facts, they speak for themselves. Many people have only heard part of the story about "alternative" litters. I wanted to set the record straight here on my personal blog by sharing what I have learned through my own personal experiences.

I am writing this post because to provide the facts and truth to people interested in learning more. Of course, I am sharing this because I am part of the Lucy Pet Products team and we want people to know the full facts about litter. The fact is the clay litter we use for Cats Incredible IS Earth friendly, eco-friendly and sustainable. If you truly want a litter that has the lower carbon emission, you can use Cats Incredible and feel confident that our litter is more eco friendly and sustainable than those corn and wheat litters.

Below is a graphic we created to help illustrate what I just described. I hope you find it helpful and interesting. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Meet Miss Ellie M

Miss Ellie M.
On July 4th, we rescued a 4 month old female Labradoodle puppy. Apparently she was part of litter where a Poodle jumped the fence into the yard where a Labrador lived...but neither dogs were spayed or neutered. Yep, the Poodle got the Lab pregnant and eventually had a litter. Fortunately they made their way to a rescue group who was trying to find a good home for all the puppies. Luckily for us, we were contacted by someone who saw the litter of pups at the rescue group when they were being spayed and neutered by the Lucy Pet Foundation mobile clinic. After contacting the rescue group, I filled out the Adoption application, and went through an interview. A week later this cute little girl came home. We decided to re-name her "Miss Ellie M." 

Miss Ellie and me in the vineyards of Sonoma
Like all puppies, Miss Ellie is happy, so full of life and has seemingly endless amounts of energy. Last weekend we took her on a long drive up to Sonoma in California wine country. She was so good in the car and didn't seem nervous at all during the 7 hour drive.  We checked into the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, which is pet friendly, with beautiful grounds for dogs to explore.

Miss Ellie "Wine Sniffing"

On Sunday we took Miss Ellie wine tasting...most of the wineries are dog friendly so it was no problem to bring her right inside. She charmed the guy who was pouring wine and everyone else who was there. All in all it was a nice long weekend, I'm so glad Ellie enjoyed herself. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Cats Incredible Litter: A Unique Insider's View

Throughout my entire professional career, I've always made a point to do what I enjoy, and be associated with companies that I felt reflected my own values. In over 30 years of working I can honestly say I'm proud of the jobs I've held and the companies for whom I've worked. The past 20 years have been within the pet industry in various leadership roles (Pet Care Superstores, Petco, Natural Balance Pet Foods/Big Heart Pet Brands and now Lucy Pet Products). A few years ago I co-founded a consulting practice Zarhill Partners Group which has enabled me to assist a wide range of companies and brands world-wide in the pet industry, as well as in multiple other industries. To this day I continue a leadership capacity for our consulting group which brings me to a very special company called Lucy Pet Products.

I started out serving on the Board of Directors for the Lucy Pet Foundation, a non-profit 501 (c) (3) animal charity whose mission is to help reduce rate of unnecessary euthanasia of dogs and cats in the word. In the USA alone, every week 80,000 dogs and cats are put to sleep due to overpopulation. My exposure to the work of the Lucy Pet Foundation has been educational and rewarding. Our mobile spay and neuter clinic works continuously in local communities, particularly in low-income areas to provide free and low-cost spay and neuter services. The Lucy Pet Foundation wants to expand its reach and help address this issue in communities nationwide and around the world. That's what led to the formation of Lucy Pet Products. We formed this company to develop and market high quality products for dogs and cats where all net proceeds (after operating expenses, interest and taxes) go to help fund the Lucy Pet Foundation. Initially in a consulting role, I was honored to help contribute to the Lucy Pet Products brand, and early products, such as our super premium shampoos and leave-in conditioning sprays and more recently the super premium Cats Incredible clumping clay cat litter. This year I joined Lucy Pet Products as EVP and a partner in this very special company. Our mission is simple- to develop really great quality products, that are made in the USA, and sell them in pet specialty stores with all net of proceeds (after operating expenses, interest and taxes) going to charity.

So what is the "Insider's View" referenced in the title of this blog post? Well, it is because I was personally involved at every step in the development of our Cats Incredible litter. We are a small group of pet lovers...each of us has multiple pets, many rescued from shelters and off the streets too. Dogs, Cats, Birds, even a Pig. At every step of the way in developing Cats Incredible we set out to develop the very best quality, even if it meant at a higher cost, and having to raise the standards in the industry to achieve our goal. We started with extensive testing of virtually every cat litter on the market today in the US pet market. We analyzed many products, from clay based to alternative based materials.

Now is a good time to mention that roughly 17 years ago I was a cat litter buyer at Petco, and had a great deal of experience and knowledge of the litter category. Regardless of my prior knowledge, we started fresh and observed each litter with our own cats. One surprising discovery was that several of the "alternative" litters, in particular the ones made from corn and wheat had some major negatives. Since corn and wheat are food grains, these litter types attract pests easily, but more shockingly tend to "rot" when exposed to moisture and develop mold and high levels of bacteria--even without feces or urine.

We chose to develop Cats Incredible using a super premium form of pure sodium bentonite, from the USA with stringent requirements to protect/preserve the environment. We also learned about the environmental impact of various cat litters. We learned that the alternative corn and wheat litters have a MUCH HIGHER carbon impact to the environment than clay litters. You see, to make corn or wheat litter requires water to grow the grain, then harvesting, followed by cooking, processing and treating. The factory process of those materials also have carbon impacts that collectively far exceed the simple process of extracting sodium bentonite and treating it for use as a cat litter. So, for those of you concerned with the environment, you are much better off using a clay litter than a corn or wheat based litter. I should also mention that after sodium bentonite is extracted (from a very shallow base of soil) the land is restored and reclaimed to be same or better than before the clay layer was extracted. The process literally adds fresh top soil, and plants things like grass, trees, of other vegetation that helps support local wildlife, cattle, birds, etc. So when you look at the true comparison of clay litter versus many of those "alternative" litters, you find that clay is actually better off for the environment. On top of this, sodium bentonite is actually better at managing cat waste, and cats prefer using it.

Perhaps the biggest reason that makes Cats Incredible so vastly superior to any other litter on the market is the inclusion of a patent-pending technology we call Smell Squasher. This technology actually stops ammonia from forming in the litter box, when used as directed. Cat lovers may not realize that ammonia is in their litter box, but they certainly know the bad smell. The unpleasant smell is only half the problem. The real issue is that ammonia can be dangerous and toxic to cats and people too.  Through our studies, I was surprised to learn how high the levels of ammonia reach in the typical cat litter box. It starts building in a few days, and continues to build--even if you scoop regularly. Over the course of 5, 10, 15, 20 and 30 days, ammonia levels have the potential to reach 30ppm-- a level the US EPA considers unsafe for humans. Imagine our poor cats breathing in those dangerous ammonia levels every day!

We decided that this technology was essential to utilize in Cats Incredible. We set out on a mission to help cats live healthier lives by educating cat lovers everywhere that they must not allow ammonia to form in their cat litter box at all! After reviewing nearly every other litter on the market, we found that many use heavy perfumes to cover up the smell. Others claim to absorb, neutralize or encapsulate the smell. From my market review, NONE of these actually ever prevent the ammonia from forming in the first place.

As a cat parent myself, I was not aware that ammonia exposure in cats can cause upper respiratory infections, and many other conditions such as vomiting, loss of appetite, hair loss, diarrhea, trembling of limbs, convulsions, dull coat and more. I used to mistake some of these things that my cat Owen was suffering from and just accepted them as "normal cat issues" but they have been tied to the ammonia exposure. Ever since switching to Cats Incredible, the ammonia is gone and he doesn't seem to suffer from as many health issues.

This is why I believe that Cats Incredible truly is the best and healthiest option for cats on the market. I am so proud to have been a part of the development of this truly unique product. Knowing that we will help cats avoid the health issues from ammonia exposure makes me feel good. Not to mention the fact that all net of proceeds (after operating expenses, interest and taxes) going to charity!

So it is with great pride that I write this post, sharing my insider's view of how Cats Incredible litter was developed, and why. We may be a small company and don't have the resources of those huge corporations that make other litters, but we have worked with the best-in class industry partners to develop a world-class cat litter that will help cats live healthier lives.

If you like to support products that make a difference for animals in need, Cats Incredible litter is part of our "Products With a Cause" program. Every purchase will help our mission. Right now, Independent Pet Specialty stores across the USA and Canada are adding Cats Incredible to their stores. Soon, Petco stores nationwide will also carry Cats Incredible. We've also had requests worldwide, so we just started exporting Cats Incredible to Japan, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, S. Korea and many other countries. It is so rewarding to develop a new brand with mission to help cats live healthier lives. Just as it has been throughout my entire career, I am doing things I enjoy with people I like.

If you are a cat lover, check out our Cats Incredible litter. For the sake of your cats health and yours too.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Interzoo Summit 2016

Next week I will be speaking at the bi-annual Interzoo Summit in Nuremberg, Germany. 

The Interzoo Summit addresses the key trends in consumer and communication behaviors that will influence the pet industry, including digitalization and show-rooming. For those of you attending InterzooI hope you will be able to attend this conference.

The summit is geared to top managers and executive board members of pet product companies. Investor groups or those new to the pet industry may also find the conference to be valuable. Pre-register for the summit here from this link.

Pets International's March issue featured a preview of the summit:

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Webinar: Launching a Brand: Part II in a series on Creating and Launching a Brand

I was delighted to be invited back by APPA (American Pet Products Association) to develop and present another webinar in their educational series around branding. I'm pleased to be presenting this free webinar "Launching a Brand: Part II in a series on Creating and Launching a Brand " exclusively for #APPA members on April 26, 2016 at 2pm (ET).
So you want to launch a brand? I often tell our clients “You can only launch a new brand for the first time once.” This session will challenge how to think about your brand in context of your organization and the marketplace. Gain insights on how to effectively communicate your brand launch to retailers and distributors. This session is ideal for both new and existing brands. In this free webcast for APPA pet industry professionals you will learn:
  1. Brand Case Study Examples
  2. Insights of Launch Process
  3. Hurdles to Launch
  4. How to Create a Successful Brand
  5. 10 Mission Critical Steps to Launch a Brand
  6. Top 7 Reasons Why Brands Fail
I hope you will join me for this webinar on Tuesday April 26th, it is free to APPA members.
 Zarhill Partners Group is a consulting firm originally founded to assist emerging brands, businesses and start-ups for success in their early years. Our mission is to share and cultivate best-in-class business practices, knowledge and expertise with emerging organizations to ensure their success. We assist brands, companies and organizations with a range of services such as strategic business planning, brand management, retail sales development, e-commerce & digital marketing, international business platforms, and product development innovation.


This blog is about life experiences & observations and stuff I am interested in. It is simply a side hobby and creative outlet; generally, with a tongue-in-cheek tone. I don't take it too seriously, nor should you. I do not profess to represent every point of view. Nothing on this site is a paid post.

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