retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Michael Sansolo

The world of our electronically enabled communities is a strange place. On a global scale we see the best of what it can do when it inspires people to freedom in places like Egypt, Libya and beyond. At the same time we see the worst of it through countless outlets for hate and lies. And we get to see the stupid, too. (Thank you, Congressman Weiner.)

There’s a reason why it is so powerful and I saw it first hand yesterday. My column yesterday focused on my dog, Hunter, and stories of his strange habits and quirks as his life ebbed. I wrote it and the MorningNewsBeat community responded in numbers and with feeling beyond my wildest imagination.

One example, from MNB user Kristin DiScala:

I had to write to tell you that I loved your “Puppy Power” story… I too am a beagle owner; we have two, Champski and Lily.  Lily is a rescue and is a bit older than Champski; last year she hurt her back barking at our neighbor’s dogs along the back fence causing a bulged disk which led to many medical costs and a revised diet to ensure they stay at the optimum weight to alleviate their backs.  Now we have them on grain-free food that does costs 2-3 times what we were paying before plus they get a variety of flavors depending upon the month (not to mention the over-easy egg we throw on top every Sunday morning).

Your story called to me because our beagles also are the light of our life and are spoiled more than I ever thought I could spoil a dog even though they also enjoy eating Kleenex, q-tips, paper towel rolls, or any other paper product that has been in the garbage.  When we first got Champski I was doing research on beagles and found a website that described them as liking to do three things: Sniff, Snack, and Snooze which I have learned that couldn’t be more right!

Your story also spoke to me because I work in the grocery retail industry with Safeway so I am always intrigued by buyer behavior and have seen the pet category continue to grow, can it be we are all holding tight to our carefree, endless loving, ever loyal pets to deal with difficult times?  Whatever the reason, they are a very important part of our lives and bring joy that couldn’t be found anywhere else no matter how long they are here with us.  Thank you for sharing your story about Hunter and best to you and your family.

And another email, from MNB user Emily Detwiler:

I thoroughly enjoyed your story on MNB today regarding Puppy Power. I can relate in so many ways. My husband and I rescued our Border Collie, Louie, 5 years ago and have been through many of the same things you mentioned. We literally taught him how to eat out of a dog dish when he didn’t know how, and know he prefers only the finer things in life. He loves the comforts of indoor living, yet barks incessantly to get out and chase the neighbor’s outdoor cats. He recently helped us transition into bringing our son into the world, and has put up with less attention and tail-pulling tremendously.

As a marketer, I continue to be amazed at the increase in specialty products for pets. As a new mom and a dog owner, I see quite a juxtaposition in how people lavish their babies and pets with the finest, natural and organic products….yet struggle to get in a nutritious meal or treat themselves to something nice.

All the best to Hunter. It sounds like he lived his life with joie de vivre…and a bit of illogic. Perhaps he knows something we could all learn, too…enjoying the simple things in life!

These are just a couple of the messages I got.

So many of you sent me e-mails full of thoughts, kindness and prayers. Many more wrote about your dogs - many of whom are aged and struggling, some of which have passed away. A number of people wrote about rescuing dogs (much as our family rescued Hunter). Every note was remarkable and I cannot possibly thank you all enough.

But this is MorningNewsBeat and we don’t do anything here without a lesson and I have to thank Hunter again for providing one more. Think about the power of community and of common bonds. People I have never met - and am likely to never meet - reached out to me because of common interests, common experience and uncommon caring.

All because of this little thing we call the Internet. Keep that in mind, because what the Internet does is enable us to connect on what matters to us. When that happens, let me assure you now that amazing things follow.

So thank you for all the comfort Tuesday. Sadly, Hunter could not go on any longer and had to be put down. He was bolstered by the love of his family much as I was bolstered by the love from the MNB family.

Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at . His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available by clicking here .
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