Denver's Purina Factory Committed to Veterans and Their Pets, Too
Veterans Day perspective from a proud employee and Army vet
As we approach Veterans Day November 11, I'm reminded of how proud I am to work at Purina – a company with a long history of supporting the U.S. military and veterans, much like myself.
In fact, Purina's origin is strongly rooted in military history.
The company's founder and WWI volunteer, William H. Danforth, named the first Purina dog food "Dog Chow" in 1926 as a nod to the "chow lines" that sustained American service members during the war. During the 1940s, Dog Chow was a major supporter of the Dogs for Defense program, which encouraged dog owners to enlist their dogs in the military to be trained and assist the Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines.
At the factory in Denver, we have proudly manufactured Purina Dog Chow since 1957, and the company continues to regularly demonstrated our commitment to veterans with pets. All of us at Purina are pet lovers, and many of us have pets at home. This summer, Purina Dog Chow launched the Service Dog Salute campaign, partnering with Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) to donate $500,000 to ARF's veterans program, which matches veterans with rescue dogs who are then trained to become their own skilled service companions.
Dog Chow also partnered with BuzzFeed to share stories of veterans and rescue dogs who have been brought together through ARF. These stories touch close to home for me and many of my coworkers at the Denver factor.
I know many veterans who have been supported by a pet during a time of need.
From personal experience, I can attest to the comfort and calming presence a pet's unconditional love can provide. I have three dogs and two cats; and, not that I play favorites, but my rescue dog Charlie is my lap dog. If I ever need to get something off my chest, he is there to listen. He is my adventure buddy, too – we'll head west up the I-70 corridor and go hiking in the mountains.
I was originally drawn to work at Purina,not because my passion for pets lined up with the company's values, but they value my service and the traits I gained during my military service. After spending 12 years in the Army, Purina was one of the few places that recognized that the leadership skills and training I gained in the military made me a great fit, not only for their organization, but in a role with a high-level of responsibility. They appreciated my experience and strong sense of mission as some of the many characteristics that apply to civilian life.
My veteran coworkers at the Purina factory in Denver echo the same sentiment of appreciating how the company extends career opportunities to those who have served in the U.S. military as part of a larger career acceleration initiate #ProjectOpportunity. My coworker at the Denver factory who served in the National Guard tells me how he always felt supported during deployment; he says Purina routinely checked on him and sent care packages. He had the option to keep all his benefits with Purina while deployed.
For more than 90 years, Purina has built and maintained a record of supporting the U.S. military, veterans, their families and furry friends.
Michael Downs is a maintenance technician at Purina in Denver. The factor has had a presence in Denver since 1930, creating high-quality and popular Purina pet food brands, supporting the local community and employing 280 people.