On Friday morning, my alarm woke me up at 4:40. I quickly got dressed in my running clothes, and headed downstairs to the front of the hotel, which is where I was going to meet Alicia. I was a little surprised to see that it was lightening and drizzling a tiny bit of rain. We had agreed the day before that if it was pouring down rain, we wouldn't go; but we didn't talk about lightening or anything else.
Alicia showed up a few minutes before 5:00, and she was so sweet! I was really glad that we'd made plans to run together, because if I hadn't been meeting her, I would certainly still be in bed. I would have used lightening as an excuse ;)
I had to be on the shuttle with Purina at 7:15 AM, so I wanted to make sure that we'd be done running in time for me to shower and get ready to head out on time. I'd warned Alicia that I had to do a run/walk, but she was totally fine with that (and going at my pace, which is much slower than hers). I set my watch for two minutes running and thirty seconds walking.
Forest Park was literally right across the street from my hotel, and it was a great place to run. The entire loop of the perimeter (including the path that led to the loop--it was a lollipop route) was 6.5 miles. I had been planning on 7 miles for a long run, but the 6.5 was perfect.
Being 5:00 in the morning, it was still pretty dark when we started running, but the street lights helped. The lightening was closer to the far end of the park, so as we ran, we got closer and closer to the storm. Alicia was super nice, and very easy to chat with. She showed me all of the fun things to do at the park (there are so many FREE things to do there--including the zoo!).
Once we reached the far end of the park, at around mile three, it really started to rain--not just a drizzle. The rain actually felt pretty good, though, because the air was thick with humidity. The rain started coming down harder by the minute, and the last mile, it was a total downpour. There was not one inch of my clothing that wasn't soaked. It was actually pretty fun! I was a little worried about my shoes, though, because I planned to wear them all day.
When we arrived back at the hotel, we'd hit 6.5 miles (by 6:15 am!), which was a nice start to the day. We took a quick picture once we were standing under the awning, and then said goodbye. Alicia had to go to work, and I had another busy day with Purina.
My shoes ended up being way too soaked through to wear, so I had to wear some dressier boot-type shoes. I made it to the shuttle with time to spare, and we headed to the Purina campus. Friday was "National 'bring your pet to work' day", and Purina hoped to set a world record for most pets in the workplace. Purina allows their employees to bring their pets to work every day, but they planned a big celebration day for Friday to get everyone to participate.
First, we had breakfast, and then we toured the manufacturing factory. We had to gear up to go inside:
I was amazed at how immaculately clean it was. I'm not sure what I expected, but it was seriously clean enough to eat off the floor. We weren't allowed to take photos, but it looked pretty much how I expected a manufacturing plant to look--just cleaner.
After our tour and a presentation about the manufacturing process, we went upstairs to learn from employees about what it's like to bring your pet to work. Some employees bring their pets every day, and they say it helps them to relax and be more productive. Most employees bring dogs, but there are some that bring cats.
From there, we went outside to where everyone was gathering for a photo of ALL the pets at work. There were hundreds of people and pets, so it was hard to get photos to show just how many dogs there were (I think there were only three cats, and two sugar gliders, among all the dogs). The thing that I noticed right off the bat was the huge variety of dog breeds. Where I live, you see the same four or five breeds pretty much anywhere. The Purina employees had dozens of different breeds represented--it was hard to even find two of the same breed near each other.
Purina used a drone to get an ariel photo of the employees and their pets...
I do believe that a record was set, with 280 dogs and three cats (and two sugar gliders). It was pretty amazing that there were no fights or incidents with all those dogs in one place!
After the photo, we broke off into small groups of about four people, meeting with three Purina employees. There, we had a "listening session", where Purina wanted to hear from us our thoughts of the event, and working with a brand. This was one of my favorite parts of the event--it was really great that they took the time to listen to our honest feedback about what our readers/listeners/viewers enjoy, and how they can make the program better.
I think Purina does a fantastic job, and there really isn't much I would change. I get offers to work with brands all the time, and I rarely accept, but Purina is really a pleasure to work with (and it's because of their summit that I adopted Joey!). I told them that I thought they would really benefit to invite random people from the public to attend events like this, because it really allows people to see all of the good things that Purina does. Word of mouth is really great advertising, so if people go and enjoy it, they can share what they've learned.
Anyway, we had lunch and then listened to a presentation about shelter pets from the APA adoption center in Missouri. It's a really great organization that takes in homeless pets until they are adopted. It's a small organization, but it makes a huge difference in the lives of pets who are about to be euthanized because of overcrowded shelters. We got to make fleece blankets for the APA.
After that, it was time to say goodbye. Some of the influencers were heading right to the airport, and some where sticking around for one more night. We were invited to stay for the Cardinals vs. Cubs game on Friday night, and I thought that sounded so fun! At 7:15, we got on a shuttle to take us to the game (I think there were about 15 of us that stuck around). The game was AWESOME--very exciting. It was tied, so they went into a 10th inning, and the Cardinals ended up winning.
|This is Kady from Cats of Instagram|
(In full disclosure, Purina paid for my travel to St. Louis, but I'm not being paid for (or required to write) this post; and all opinions are honest--as always).
Don't forget, tomorrow is Motivational Monday! If you have a submission, here is where to send it. (If you send it to my regular email address, I may not see it in time to post, so please use the MM address).