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Pet Lovers Converge In Brooklyn, NY For Purina's Better With Pets Summit

I have partnered with Purina to create this sponsored post, all opinions are my own.

The 2015 Purina Better With Pets Summit centered around the theme of emotional wellness for pets and people who love them - specifically focusing on how a high quality of life and pet ownership are increasingly becoming more intertwined.

The event had three engaging panel discussions on topics like millenials' bond with cats, stress-free environments impact on pet health and if pets make kids healthier, as well as several keynote presentations and a hands-on, interactive exhibit space to bring these topics to life.

I attended as a pet lover and wasn't sure what to expect, but I learned so much! From a child development expert whose pet-centric curriculum is helping rehabilitate troubled adolescents to the founder of New York City’s first cat café, Purina’s third Better With Pets Summit showcased how the relationship between pets and people enhances overall emotional wellness.

The day-long summit, which was hosted by Emmy-nominated comedian and writer, Josh Gondelman, took place at the Brooklyn Expo Center in New York City on Nov. 3 and featured three panel discussions that examined the emotional relationship between pets and people, including the reciprocal effects both have on one another.

Keynote speeches were presented by Purina senior research nutritionist Arleigh Reynolds, who has researched the dog and human bond for many years in Alaska and supports of The Frank Attla Youth Program; and author and reality television personality Carole Radziwill, who shared how pet ownership has shaped her life experiences.

The first panel at the Better With Pets Summit examined how Millennials are changing the relationship between pet owners and cats. Purina revealed results at the summit from a recent survey that showed that nearly half of the 1,000 millennials surveyed own a cat and that 88 percent of cat owners consider themselves similar to their pets.

Meow, I mean wow! Those are some serious kitty fans. My friend Yvonne, Christina Ha of Meow Parlour and I took some fun & funny pics!

The second panel provided an in-depth look at pets’ environments and the impact it may have on their stress levels, and the third panel focused on the benefits of raising pets and kids together and how it brings unique benefits that extend beyond a typical human-animal bond.

New to the Better With Pets Summit this year were five educational zones which featured interactive exhibits for attendees to engage, as well as see Purina’s vast expertise in the pet wellness space and connect with Purina experts.

The exhibits featured educational touchscreen displays, a dedicated room showcasing healthy environments for cats, a play lab for agility dogs with wearable technology that monitored their activity as they played, and an area where attendees can see how nutrition impacts cognition and emotional wellness in pets.

“It’s incredible to see the kind of work people are doing to enhance and strengthen the bond between pets and their owners,” said Carole Radziwill, author, reality television personality and a keynote speaker at this year’s summit. “As someone who has experienced the benefits of pet ownership throughout my life, I’m happy to see that Purina is leading these conversations through the Better With Pets Summit to create a better world for our pets.”

The ten panelists included Heather Lewis, an animal arts architect who is paving the way for pet wellness through pet-centric design and architecture; Jayne Vitale, a child development expert and director of the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum, a social and emotional learning (SEL) program designed to teach empathy as a skill to adolescents; Christina Ha, the founder of Meow Parlour, the first permanent cat cafe in New York City; and Dr. Tony Buffington, a cat stress expert who has spent the majority of his career examining stress in pets and the impact it can have on health.

I took sometime to play with kittens too:

 

I took away so much from the event about pets, emotions and health. The day was full of activities and meaningful discussions. Then I also score some Nestle Purina treats for Barney the dog. He's sitting and staying but thinking about when he can get a ProPlan treat!

For more information about the Better With Pets Summit, visit www.purina.com/better-with-pets/summit#/hero.