Kim Hamm, who was appointed Canadian CEO in July, and recently spoke to Strategy about what’s behind consumers’ growing puppy love.

“The trend in both the U.S. and Canada is the humanization factor of the dog, particularly [within] our core demographic and target [of] female millennials,” Hamm told Strategy. “They are treating dogs as their starter children or foregoing human children and just sticking with furry children, so that’s created an opportunity and need to have trusted support. When you have that kind of connection with your dog, you want to know that your dog is in good care and to trust the people who are looking over your baby.”

She also spoke about the different ways Americans and Canadians have reacted to the concept of dog daycare. “Canada is a little bit behind on the adoption curve and general knowledge of what the concept is and daycare in particular. A lot of people understand the search terms of boarding or grooming – daycare is relatively new. I grew up in small-town Manitoba…on a farm, [where] there were 200 people; the dogs were allowed inside on maybe a cold, minus-30 night, and that was about it. So for people in rural markets to understand the concept of what we do, and Canada, not having the population density, there’s a bit of a slower adoption curve. But everything else around the patterns, mindsets, behaviour of how people care and invest in their dog is transferring north of the border and is very evident in Canada.”

To read the full interview, click here.