The inspiration for Trupanion, my childhood dog Mitzy
My name is Darryl, and I had the idea for Trupanion when I was 14.
I’ve been a pet-lover from a young age. When I was little, my family had a beautiful black dog named Mitzy. Mitzy was the sweetest dog, and I loved petting her soft fur and taking her out to play.
One day my family rushed Mitzy to the emergency veterinarian, where we learned that she had a twisted stomach. At only two years old, she needed surgery to save her life. It was a relatively routine procedure, but my family just didn’t have the thousands of dollars to afford her surgery.
My ah-ha moment
Fast forward 15 years. I graduated from college and explored some different career paths, but I never felt content. I was left with very little money, a ton of ideas, and no direction. At that same time I did something that would forever change my path; I adopted a dog named Monty.
Monty became my constant companion who kept me grounded and focused as I started my first company – a cigar business. But in the back of my mind I kept thinking about this idea of a new kind of pet insurance.
The beginnings of Trupanion
Early on, I dreamed of creating a company that was valuable to pet owners, their pets, and veterinarians. At the time, traditional pet insurance companies caused rifts between pet owners and veterinarians. Claims for common injuries and illnesses were denied, policies could be dropped for filing too many claims, and it could take weeks to get reimbursed for procedures that cost thousands of dollars. I realized that even if my family had “pet insurance” for Mitzy, it wouldn’t have saved her life. There’s no way we could have paid her $7,000 bill and waited weeks to get that money back.
The first days working for Trupanion were spent on my boat, The Brisa. Monty and I would work for hours, then nap on the deck in the sunshine. It wasn’t a bad life.
Eventually, I was able to move off the boat and into an office. I insured my first pet (Monty, of course) in 2000, then insured 100 pets in 2001, and 1,000 pets in 2002. Slowly, I saw my dream come true – pet owners could now afford life-saving coverage for their cats and dogs and veterinarians are seeing the value of insured pets . Today, Trupanion has grown to a team of around 500 employees, with 115 Territory Partners visiting veterinarians in the US and Canada, and nearly .5 million insured cats and dogs.
What this means for you
My team of smart, hardworking pet lovers work side-by-side with veterinarians to build a policy that works over the lifetime of your pet. We are the only company that can offer you:
- 90% reimbursement with no payout limits for every enrolled pet, so you don’t feel financially overwhelmed in a time of need.
- One simple policy developed with input from veterinarians so you can be sure your best friend is covered for all new injuries and illnesses.
- The ability to pay our portion of the bill directly to your veterinarian as you check out, so you don’t wait weeks for a reimbursement check.
Terms and conditions apply. See the full policy for details
I am extremely proud of our policy and this company, and I know the work we do is helping save the lives of cats and dogs. I truly believe that if Mitzy had Trupanion pet medical insurance all those years ago, she would have lived a much longer and healthier life.
If you’d like more information on how we’re innovating in the pet insurance industry, please give us a call at 855.210.8749. We’re available 24/7 for you and your pets.
If you’d like to get in touch with me personally, please send an email to
Our team will be stepping away from the phones and chat from 10:30am to 12:30pm PT today as our company comes together to reflect on the injustices the Black community faces every day, and to listen, grow, and learn from each other. We look forward to speaking with you soon.