5 Great Things Happening In The Pet Industry


WagBrag attended our first BarkWorld Expo in Atlanta this past week. BarkWorld touts that it is the “only industry event that explores social media, technology and lifestyle as it relates to pet owners, social influencers and businesses”.   The Lowes Hotel was an exceptional choice for hosting this event – a pet friendly hotel no doubt. The event’s guests and speakers were invited to bring their pet along, and doggie daycare was a nice added perk for those who really can’t stand the thought of leaving their beloved furry friend at home.

Why should you care what happened at the BarkWorld Expo?

The expo was filled with participants and attendees who are thought leaders in the pet industry. The crowd was a nice mix of people representing the pet industry, from animal rescue groups to pet food and product manufacturers to pet services like pet sitting, and of course bloggers. Even a few pet loving celebrities made an appearance. They all bring creative new ideas or are developing new products that are changing and shaping the market. They all have an unrelenting passion for pets and we wanted you to meet a few of them.

5 Great Things Happening In The Pet Industry

Ok, there is really more than 5 great things happening but highlighted below are just a sample of the many great things that are effecting the pet industry. Stay tuned, we intend to post additional articles about the people and products that were featured at this event. You can also visit the BarkWorld Expo website for additional information.


Animal Planet’s “The Pit Boss”

russ boles, shorty rossi
Russ Boles, Shorty Rossi and Hercules

No one stirs up a room quite like Shorty Rossi – the star from Pit Boss, the TV reality show that aired on Animal Planet. I chatted briefly with him at the event and he encouraged me to “stick around” for his keynote speech. As promised, he delivered in a dynamic and high energy fashion. He is constantly traveling and speaking at events about bully breed awareness and is fighting hard to end Breed Specific Legislation. To no surprise, he also shared with the audience a few things that really sets him off. Hint: For those of you with Chihuahuas, if you ever meet Shorty, don’t tell him that your little dog sometimes acts like a pit bull. Shorty’s pit bull mix escorted him throughout the event – Hercules is sweet, laid back, easy going and as Shorty pointed out, he doesn’t act anywhere close to a yipping dog. Shorty’s overall message was clear – keep your mind open and educate yourself before jumping to conclusions or judging others.


Kuddly – Smartphone App for Pets

Joshua Hong

One of the big sponsors of the event was Kuddly. An exciting new smartphone app that allows you to ask questions about your pet’s physical condition, or get advice about your pet’s health and wellness. We were lucky enough to speak with one of the founders, Joshua Hong – he is business savvy and brand centric. Joshua explained that although the veterinarians from the app would not be able to diagnose or prescribe medication, Kuddly is the next step in the evolution towards tele-medicine for pets. As Joshua further explained, pet care is very expensive. Kuddly allows you to get consultation from a qualified veterinarian without the absorbent cost of an office visit.  The app is free to download and it only costs about $2 to send a message and $10 to chat with a qualified veterinarian.


Olympic Star – Gus Kenworthy

Gus Kenworth, Russ Boles

Olympic star, Gus Kenworthy, made an appearance. We got an update from Gus on the dogs he rescued from Russia. He reported to us that all the dogs are doing great!  Last year, WagBrag wrote about Gus, the skier who won the silver medal in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also won the hearts of millions, while competing in the Olympics, he fell in love with a stray mother dog and her puppies. His pictures of the dogs and puppies that he posted on Facebook and Twitter went viral and he pledged to bring them all home with him. He did just that. Thanks to Gus – people became more aware of the pet overpopulation problem and many were inspired to adopt a pet.

<Read About Gus and Stray Puppies>


TCL Whole Life Natural Pet Food

barkworld 2015I also met the friendly and outgoing folks from TLC Whole Life Natural Pet Food. I loved learning about TLC. They were founded in 1994 and are proud to have never had a single recall. But don’t rush out to your local pet food store to buy a bag. You can’t buy this high-end pet food from retail stores – you won’t even find it in the specialty boutiques. You can only order it online but rest assured, they’ve mastered the home delivery process (home delivery is free). Some may have been skeptical about this unique business model. But according to their website, TLC Pet Food gives praise to the internet and social media for helping them succeed in educating people about proper pet nutrition and how to keep their pets healthy.


Lucy Pet Product & Foundation

Surfin’ Jack, Karen “Doc” Halligan DVM, Russ Boles

Lucy Pet Products is another interesting company that we discovered. They make some fun products like dog shampoo and leave-in conditioner. Internet sensation, Surfin’ Jack is their spokesdog. But keep an eye out for their spokescat – they are training her to ride a surfboard. Can’t wait to see that. The company loves animals and their tag line is “products with a cause”. Part of their profits goes to their nonprofit organization – Lucy Pet Foundation. The mission is to reduce pet overpopulation and the euthanasia dogs and cats. Renowned veterinarian, author and celebrity spokesman, Karen “Doc” Halligan, is the foundation’s chief veterinarian officer. Karen spent some time talking with us about the foundation and even posed for photos with Surfin’ Jack.

Great Job BarkWorld!

We want to thank Denise Quashie (the founder of BarkWorld) and the folks at i5 Publishing for hosting such a fun and informative event. We are already looking forward to the BarkWorld Expo of 2016.



WagBrag’s co-founder, Russ Boles, has a deep history in animal rescue and welfare. For the past 12 years, Russ has served in various roles with Atlanta-based animal advocacy organizations focused on rescue, training and education. In addition, Russ led a local rescue volunteer team into New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina, assisting in efforts to rescue and care for stranded animals. This experience changed his life, and animal rescue and advocacy will always be a part of everything he does.