A Story of Team Social Becoming Team Paws – dog-sharing Pawsibilities

We have another type of Social Paws success story that we are excited to share! A member of Team Social (our non dog-owners) has now joined Team Paws (our dog-owners) and being a part of one of our pack walks was not completely unrelated! Let’s jump into our time machine to give you the backstory …

Last year, we were hosting Community Pack Walks – essentially a group dog walk where non-owners were welcome, as with all of our events. Stephanie, a dog-lover without a dog in her life at the time, walked Asha, a German Shepherd mix. That walk spurred Stephanie to take a leap. Three weeks later, she brought home Winnie, her dream pup, from Tennessee!

We know that Social Paws will not only help dog-owners get help and dog-lovers get dog-therapy but it will also bridge the gap for non-owners to take their leap into dog-ownership. 

When our founder, Jeanette, shared her cocker spaniel Luna with two families on the Upper West Side, one family eventually adopted their own dog and the other couple said they would consider having a dog for the first time. 
Sharing Luna allowed the families to live the dynamic of having a dog, witness that dog-care was a shared family responsibility, and fall for a dog themselves – all with zero commitment.

According to the Veterinary Practice News article, *American Humane Survey Determines Why Some Don’t Own Pets 14% of dogs are surrendered due to housing issues and 20% of adopted pets are returned likely as a result of people not being fully aware of the responsibility involved.( *Pet adoption statistics).

Social Paws can affect these statistics by making time with a dog easier to experience and ease making the leap. Part of our mission is to help more dogs find homes. Dog-sharing paves the way because dog-ownership can be trialed and the ultimately the responsibility of dog-ownership can be shared. This translates to more adoptions and less surrenders!

Enjoy Stephanie & Winnie’s beautiful story and even more beautiful pictures!

Social Paws: Please share about your background with dogs.

Stephanie: I’ve always been a dog lover. I grew up with several over the years, but developed an extra special bond with one, an Australian Shepherd named Kelly. I was in the midst of transitioning to post-grad life, and became aware of how wonderful her presence and joyful exuberance (still at 110% despite being a senior at the time) were for my mental health. I’m sure we all agree in this Social Paws community – but dogs are just the best.

SP: How did you find yourself on a Social Paws pack walk one fateful Sunday?

Stephanie:  I’m so happy I did! It feels fated now.  

Since moving to NYC, I’d been missing that presence of a dog in my life and longing to have one of my own, but waiting until I really felt ready. Along with knowing it’d be a long-term commitment, having one in the city seemed like it could be a whole different ball game. (Spoiler alert: It is!)

I saw one of your Social Paws posts – and loved what you’re doing to connect dogs, dog lovers, and owners – so I had to check it out.

SP: What was it that helped you finally make the leap to dog ownership?

Stephanie: Looking back, that pack walk helped set things in motion.

While I’d never recommend someone jump into pet parenthood impulsively (it’s life-changing!) my partner and I had been preparing for several years. We’d had many discussions about how our lives, routines and finances would need to adapt, and researched breeds, local vets, dog parks and pet insurance. Finally, that walk with Asha gave me the boost to say – ok, I’m ready, let’s do this!

SP: And how did Winnie come to be yours?

Stephanie: About a week after the pack walk, my partner and I were having a wild Friday night in 😉 – takeout and browsing Petfinder (a pet adoption site).  We found a Golden Retriever-Bernedoodle mix – our dream – and immediately reached out to the rescue organization, ASAP Rescue.

The amazing (again, fateful) part – was that we’d set a national search filter, but this pup was located in Franklin, TN, the exact town my sister had just made a cross-country move to a few months prior.

ASAP’s founder wrote to us that the pup we’d inquired about had an adoption pending, but that she had a sister who hadn’t been posted yet, and sent us photos of Winnie.

Because of how the location stars aligned, we were able to arrange for my sister to spend a morning meeting Winnie on our behalf, and FaceTimed as she calmly cuddled up to everyone she met. Of course, we fell in love! We drove to Tennessee the following weekend and brought Winnie home.

SP: Will we see you at a Yappy Hour soon?

Stephanie: Yes! Transitioning to life as a dog mom has been wonderful, and also a learning curve. Connecting with other dog parents to share recommendations and experiences has been a lifeline. So yes, more of that please! We love what you’re creating with the Social Paws community. We’ll see you soon.

We absolutely LOVE this story and are honored to have played a part in it. We’re grateful to Stephanie for taking a leap of faith on us, a fledgling startup, and applaud her for taking the big leap to invite Winnie into her life. We truly hope to scale this experience and dream that through our efforts, more people can take leaps like this!

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