Nestlé Purina PetCare making a difference
Just as the former Ralston Purina pioneered pet nutrition and care at its St. Louis headquarters, Nestlé Purina continues that tradition today. A passionate leader that promotes animal welfare and the positive bond between people and pets, Purina is a catalyst in bringing together resources and organizations that make a difference.
As the organizer of the St. Louis Petlover Coalition, Purina envisioned a collaborative effort in which animal welfare organizations work together to save more animals. That vision is shaping programs that will help to increase pet adoptions, funding for spays and neuters, adoptions of senior pets, pet education, and community outreach.
St. Louisans are accustomed to Purina leading the way in pet care and nutrition education. Though Purina was founded in 1894 as a manufacturer of animal feeds, it was the production of nutritious dog foods for sporting and working farm dogs, added in 1926, that would prevail.
The same year Purina began making dog food, the company bought a 330-acre farm at Gray Summit, Mo., one hour from downtown St. Louis, to conduct feeding studies. Purina Farms became a showcase in which feeders and dealers would travel on special trains from St. Louis to tour the farm, enjoy a family style chicken dinner and vaudeville show performed by amateur actors from the General Office downtown.
When America’s dog population increased 44 percent from 1947 to 1957, with housedogs becoming more prevalent, Purina began applying its expertise in animal feeds to the development of a highly palatable, nutritious dog food. In April 1957, after successful test marketing, Purina® Dog Chow® brand dog food was introduced. One year later, Purina Dog Chow became the nation’s leading dry dog food.
Nestlé acquired the former Ralston Purina Company in 2001 to create Nestlé Purina PetCare Company. Today, Nestlé Purina PetCare is the premier global manufacturer of pet products and part of Swiss-based Nestlé-S.A., the world’s largest food company. Purina boasts a broad portfolio of dry and wet dog and cat food brands, plus cat box filler and dog litter. St. Louis is proud to be home to the North American headquarters of Nestlé Purina PetCare.
Purina Farms is a natural attraction
Purina Farms continues to be a showcase frequented by thousands of visitors annually. The dog fancy – those who take part in dog shows and sporting events – have been coming to Gray Summit for outdoor events since 1994. With its prime location in the center of the country, Purina Farms is a natural attraction for national specialties and all-breed dog shows. Sporting events include lure coursing, herding and earthdog, agility and obedience trials. Purina Farms annually hosts the popular Incredible Dog Challenge National Finals. Check out the Purina Events Calendar for information on all of Purina’s events.
After years of hosting outdoor events, Purina is building an indoor Purina Event Center that will open in fall 2010. This world-class facility is the first event center in the country custom-built for dog shows, agility and obedience trials. Features such as custom-padded floors, spacious grooming and bathing areas, meeting rooms, RV parking, and banquet facilities will help to ensure clubs have the best dog show ever. Several nearby hotels accept dogs.
Purina Farms is also frequented by families and schoolchildren on field trips. At the Visitors Center, which opened in 1986, daily dog performances feature dog diving, agility and flying disc. In the theater, a cat show teaches about felines. Children learn about purebred dogs and cats, responsible pet ownership and how pet food is made. Farm animals — cows, sheep, horses, pigs, chickens and rabbits — are housed at the Purina Farms’ barn and represent Purina’s beginning as a manufacturer of animal feed.
Promoting animal welfare
Purina takes seriously its role in helping to promote animal welfare efforts not only in the St. Louis area but also nationally. One example is Purina sponsorship of Adopt-a-Pet.com, the country’s largest nonprofit Web site dedicated to placing homeless pets in permanent homes. Adopt-a-Pet.com helps more than 6,000 animal organizations find homes for homeless animals.
As a major sponsor of Delta Society®, Purina helps support animal-assisted therapy programs in which Delta Society Pet Partners® frequent hospitals, schools, rehabilitation centers and senior adult facilities. Through this partnership, several Purina employees have become Delta Society Pet Partners taking their own companion animals into St. Louis hospital and health care facilities.
The Purina® Pro Plan® Rally to Rescue® program helps to support pet rescue organizations through fundraising opportunities and helping to increase awareness of pet rescue. Since the program began in 2004, thousands of animals have found forever homes on behalf of these efforts.
The Purina Pets for Seniors program, a partnership with 300 shelters across the country, has led to the successful adoption of countless senior animals by senior citizens. Purina helps to defray adoption costs, and these reduced-cost pet adoptions have led to many happy homes for animals often left behind.
These outreach programs are just some that represent Purina’s efforts to help animals, advocate responsible pet care and strengthen the human-animal bond. Surely you will agree, Purina’s passion and dedication to animals and those who love them is unsurpassed.