by Laura Berthold Monteros
Second in a series of two
Joey Herrick made a splash at the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade with a passel of pooches surfing on a 65-foot long wave in a gigantic tank of water. In addition to winning the Extraordinaire Trophy for “Most Spectacular Float,” Lucy Pet’s “Gnarly Crankin’ K-9 Wave Maker” broke two Guinness World Records. Read about that here. As “Who Let the Dogs Out” boomed over the Showcase of Floats, we got an opportunity to talk to Herrick and Doc Karen Halligan and to climb the 24-foot tall float to video the dogs.
After Herrick retired from Natural Balance pet foods, he embarked on a mission to drastically reduce the number of stray dogs and cats and the four million that shelters put down annually. He founded Lucy Pet Foundation, named after a stray Chihuahua he rescued, and fitted out a motor home as a self-contained mobile clinic that can spay and neuter more than 120 pets each week. His goal is to have mobile clinic in every major city in the country. It’s estimated that just one clinic can prevent 120,000 animals being added to the homeless pet population.
“The float is the greatest publicity for Lucy Pet,” he told The Rose Examiner. Noting the huge float parked behind us, he said, “It’s just as important what goes on inside the bus as what goes on outside the bus.” He also called on Ricky the Spokescat to do a commercial illustrating the problem of pet overpopulation a couple years ago. Ricky can be seen trying to intercept a pass just before the fade. “We had to train Ricky to wear a helmet and shoulder pads,” he said.
Check out the gallery below and this video for shots of the mobile clinic and Newman, Turbo, and Haole surfing.
Doc Karen Halligan, Chief Veterinary Officer, has a segment every other Friday on KTLA television. She told us “Joey saw me on TV and reached out to me, because he had heard about me. SPCALA asked if I would head it up.” Lucy Pet Foundation has established such a good reputation in only two years of operation, that the City of Los Angeles contracted with the organization to provide free spay and neuter services in low-income areas. beginning this year.
“Thanks to the city and us, we can go and get it done for free,” Herrick said. “They know Doc Halligan and me.” When people come, Lucy Pet gives them a smile and a donut. “Just because it’s free, we never chintz out anything. We do what’s best for the animal. People are so appreciative of what we do for them. The crew feels so good at the end of the day.”
Even with a city contract, running mobile clinics is expensive. Herrick said he has put $2 million into LPF, but can’t continue doing that. “I can’t do fundraising, but I can do products,” he said. The product he decided to develop was a new kitty litter that would neutralize the ammonia in cat urine. “No litter company has ever talked about ammonia in litter until now,” he said, but with a special additive developed by a friend and research by The Dow Chemical Company, Herrick was able to start a new business: Lucy Pet Products.
The company sells shampoo and conditioner in addition to two types of Cats Incredible clay litter. Herrick says that because ammonia is harmful to a cat’s health, some vets have been able to stop prescribing eye and asthma medication for cats who use this litter. Cats like the litter, too, because it is only lightly scented. The litter is sold in patented pour bag with Ricky’s picture on it, his tail serving as the handle.
Herrick co-founded Natural Balance Pet Foods nearly three decades ago, and when he left, he agreed to a three-year food non-compete clause. The three years is over, and in March, Lucy Pet Products will introduce a line of food that will promote gut health in cats and dogs. Herrick calls it revolutionary. Profits from the sales of Lucy Pet “Products with a Cause” are used to help fund the foundation. All products are made in the USA.
All photos copyright 2017 Laura Berthold Monteros