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PetSmart turns 34!

To celebrate the occasion, we asked a few tenured associates to reflect on the past decades.

What’s been one of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the pet industry?

“The humanization of pets. They’ve gone from the barnyard to the backyard, to inside the house and now in our beds!” Craig, District Leader in Austin 27 years with PetSmart

“The internet!” RJ, IT Asset Manager 32 years with PetSmart

“When I first started in the pet industry over 32 years ago, there were only a handful of what would be considered premium pet foods. Now we have hundreds. Some breed-specific and any combination thereof. It’s been fun to see how the nutritional aspects of foods have mirrored the human trends.” Montserrat, Regional Director for the Pacific West 24 years with PetSmart

"I never thought a bathing suit or stroller for a dog would take off, but boy ... was I wrong!"

Katherine, Merchandising Manager

27 years with PetSmart


What’s one thing that hasn’t changed at all?

“Our integrity as a company. We do what we say we are going to do, and we do it. Not many businesses could look in the mirror and say that.” Montserrat, Regional Director for the Pacific West 24 years with PetSmart

“Throughout everything… from 9/11, to the 2008 economic recession, to now the COVID-19 pandemic, pets remain a priority because they are family.” Tony, District Leader in Dallas 27 years with PetSmart

“Our commitment to never sell dogs or cats, and offering adoption space in every store instead.” RJ, IT Asset Manager 32 years with PetSmart


What’s your favorite “only at PetSmart” story?

“During my grand opening of my first ‘new store’ as a Store Manager at Citrus Park (Tampa) Florida 319, there was a huge crowd outside the store awaiting entry into the new PetSmart. Apart of the festivities, we had a Birds of Prey organization bring a brown eagle, peregrine falcon, an owl, and a California condor with a wingspan of 9 or 10 feet into our store. Shortly after the initial opening, the group set up in the drive aisle to display the beautiful birds for all of the pet parents to view. Within a few minutes of pulling out the condor, the leather strap used to secure the massive bird broke and the condor took flight throughout the store like a prehistoric pterodactyl. At first, the crowd thought this was a part of the show but within minutes, it turned to full-blown panic as this bird with a 10-foot wingspan flew back and forth throughout the entire store. Fortunately, after about 10 to 15 minutes of this crazy ordeal, we were able to safely contain the condor with nets in the back corner of the store. Needless to say, once we secured all of the birds back into that habitats, we called it a day for the Birds of Prey show. Still love sharing that crazy story.” Tony, District Leader in Dallas 27 years with PetSmart

“I have a fond memory of volunteering to be Santa one year and posing for a picture with 22 Dalmatians. Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of that picture (they were on Polaroid back then).” Katherine, Merchandising Manager 27 years with PetSmart

“It was my first week on the job as a store associate … I was a teenager, full of ambition to help every customer who walked through the door with all the right answers and a big smile on my face. There was an elderly woman with a teacup poodle in the next aisle who needed help and looked perplexed as she scanned the dog food options. She started asking questions about the Science Diet food her vet told her to get. I had researched Science Diet off the clock so I could answer questions and thought I was ready for anything she could fire at me. She was very worried that the Science Diet Growth was not the correct one to purchase, even though her furry friend was just a puppy. I told her that the Growth formula was specially designed for young puppies and had all the important vitamins, minerals and higher protein and fat content for growing pups. She nodded and yet still seemed concerned. I asked her why she was worried, and she said, “I understand that it is puppy food, but since it is called “growth”, will my teacup poodle turn into a standard poodle?” I resisted laughing and explained that would not happen, the food was simply for the growth stage of a dog’s life. She was extremely relieved, and we laughed together—and she even gave me a hug and thanked me for being such a “sweet girl with a smile on.” That story has stuck with me for over 30 years and will forever leave footprints on my heart and was the beginning of my personal motto to always “keep your smile on.” RJ, IT Asset Manager 32 years with PetSmart

“Back in the early days, PetSmart carried large birds and often had bird groups in for special events and adoptions. In my first six months with the company, there was a yellow-collared macaw we were trying to find a forever home for. The bird was named Liz and was not getting along with her owner’s wife, but the owner was very particular with whom he would like to adopt the bird. Being new to the pet industry, I felt compelled to learn as much and possible and eventually adopted Liz. WOW, I had no idea how dependent birds were on owners. Liz truly became one of the family and visited all of our larger families’ homes during the 20 years we had her. She was a perfect companion for both my late father and late great-aunt, and offered my whole family companionship, love and education. She was truly one of the most spoiled birds I’d ever met, and we cared for her until her passing in 2013. Had it not been for PetSmart’s support of pet groups we would have never met and experienced the joy she brought to our family.” Craig, District Leader in Austin 27 years with PetSmart

“Where else can you see dogs, cats, mice, rats, and all types of reptiles in the home office? Some walking freely?! How many stores can you walk into and have a horse walk in the front door? Or a kangaroo? Or even an otter!? I have seen it all, and each and every one of them has a pet parent who treasures them.” Montserrat, Regional Director for the Pacific West 24 years with PetSmart


What has motivated you to stay at PetSmart?

“The great mission and people of PetSmart have made it easy to make PetSmart my home for over 27 years! If times ever got tough there was always a strong peer, mentor or leader connection in the business I could rely on for strength and support. I have always been proud to say I work for PetSmart, and we stand for saving the lives of homeless pets and drive positive impact in our communities.” Katherine, Merchandising Manager 27 years with PetSmart

“FUN and making a difference … PetSmart has always made a difference in pets’ and peoples’ lives, but also operationally as a company founded on BDP’s[MS1] . The field has always had the opportunity to bubble up and share great ideas.” Craig, District Leader in Austin 27 years with PetSmart

"Growth and opportunity."

Tony, District Leader in Dallas

27 years with PetSmart


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