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ACUMEN FURRY FAMILY - Walking Becomes Strolling

One of the biggest transitions in furry family accessories is the use of carriages and strollers -- not just for those cats or dogs convalescing or aged to a point where their mobility is compromised, but also for our finicky loved ones who simply prefer to ride than walk. And if sales in strollers and carriages are any indication, what may have begun as a trend, has easily become a must-have.

Angela Simpson, an Alexandria, Va. resident who frequents the trails and newly-built parks behind Potomac Yard, said that her faithful companion, King, has found it more comfortable -- and less taxing -- to journey by stroller.

"He's 12-years-old now and he gets a bit tired with the extension of the trails we walk. I would either have to carry him or cut the walk short," SImpson told ACUMEN. "When I came across this stroller at a local Petco, I told my son I had to have one."

Jake Snyder owns a twin Paws & Pals stroller that keeps his Max and Alistair close by amid anxiety issues. Snyder, said that the two Jack Russell terriers go wherever he goes, making the strollers a necessary and convenient means of transporting and securing them.

"There was a time when you may see all manner of dogs (and cats) harnessed outside of grocery stores and restaurants because they posed both a hygienic threat and a safety concern to shop owners. This kept me from going out very much," said Snyder who suffers from generalized anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). "With the stroller, I can push them right into the grocer with me and they are contained -- which is important because these two never met a stranger and love to jump and play with everyone. I have my life back because my two 'road dogs' are with me."

Bob Vetere, President and CEO of the American Pet Products Association (APPA), announced in March 2019 that new annual industry-wide spending figures, exceeded last year’s spending by more than $3 billion. The announcement came during Global Pet Expo, the largest annual pet products trade show presented by APPA and the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA).

Pet care spending in 2018 reached a record-breaking high of $72.56 billion compared to $69.51 billion in 2017, an increase of over 4 percent. Up 6 percent from 2017, $16.01 billion was spent on items such as beds, collars, leashes, toys, travel items, clothing, food and water bowls, pet tech products, and other accessories -- including strollers.

“Scientific research from the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) shows that the bond formed between people and their pets yields valid health benefits to both pets and their owners,” said Vetere. “It’s a partnership; if you take care of your pets’ health, they’re going to take care of yours. Today more than ever, pet owners view their pets as irreplaceable members of their families and lives, and it’s thanks to this that we continue to see such incredible growth within the pet care community.”

Simpson concurs, saying, "King is my baby and I want him to be as comfortable in life as I am. At first, people laughed when they saw me pushing King because they only ever considered babies belonged in strollers. They would ask about the costs and suggest that I was being wasteful, but I knew better. When it comes to caring for family, costs rarely factor into the equation -- only love. Now, it looks like everyone around me is pushing their furry family. King and I were just ahead of our time."

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