It’s simple, I love pets. Much like my friends at Wag! it’s always been in my DNA. Around age six, I found my first cat Jimbo tied to a tree in the neighbourhood and took him home. Finding Jimbo sealed the deal, and helping pets became a lifelong passion. As CEO of GreaterGood.org, a non-profit with the mission of Protecting People, Pets, and the Planet, I get to help animals in need on a daily basis. Through our partnership with Wag!, which supports our Rescue Bank program by providing meals to rescue dogs with every walk, I knew Wag! shared the same passion. But Wag! doesn’t just help GreaterGood.org save pets—they also saved me personally.
As all great (puppy) love stories start, we woke up one day in June and decided it was time to add another dog to our family of two cats and one spunky Pitbull named Stella. We enthusiastically adopted Goose from the local animal shelter as an 8-week-old puppy, guessing and hoping he would grow into a medium-sized Pitbull mix. He was beyond adorable and Stella loved him. But curiously, his paws grew double their size in the first week. And then we watched him grow. And GROW.
Within his first year of life Goose turned into a handsome 125-pound puppy with abounding energy that he would take out on my shoes, the couch, the cats, and his sister Stella. I knew that me being gone all day at work wasn’t helping with his energy, and I needed a solution and quick. I downloaded the Wag! app and entered the following descriptions for my dogs: “Pitbull” for Stella, and “Big” for Goose. Within 30 minutes I received a response from a walker named Jaison who suggested a meeting at my house the next day.
Quite frankly, I was nervous about meeting Jaison, wondering if he would be able to handle my 125 pounds of puppy love and his pippy sister Stella. But then I met him. There was a knock at my door, and in walks quite possibly the tallest man I have ever seen. Even the dogs were amazed. I remember thinking that standing next to Jaison, Stella looked more like a Chihuahua than a Pitbull and Goose looked like a medium sized dog. Jaison had an impossibly calm demeanour and the dogs took to him immediately.
The rest is history. Problem solved. Stella and Goose love their walks with Jaison. They wait by the door for him to come every day at 11:00 a.m., even on weekends when we are home. He taught them to sit patiently at the door before heading out. I get a video, live route, and report card of days adventure through the Wag! app. I trust Jaison implicitly as the dogs are cared for, the door is always locked when he leaves, and he always shows up. The walks with Jaison have tempered the destructive force that was Goose and allowed me to focus on other things, like my job where I can help shelter pets in need.
Never has Jaison helped me more than during the period following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria last year. GreaterGood.org was an all-hands-on-deck operation during those months, providing millions of dollars of relief for people and pets in need. Our motto for disasters is we are “There When It Matters,” and that means putting your own schedule aside when there victims who need you. There were a lot of late nights and weekends in the office. Without knowing that Jaison was there, I wouldn’t have been able to commit focus where it needed to be. And while Jaison was helping me, the Wag! community was helping those in need affected by the disasters. Our Rescue Bank program met 100 percent of the pet food requests from FEMA for all of Puerto Rico the weeks after Hurricane Maria—and it would not have been possible without Wag!.
With Wag!, every single walk provides a meal for a homeless dog, and I promise you it matters. That’s why on National Dog Walker Appreciation Day, I want to personally thank Jaison for taking care of my dogs and thank all the Wag! walkers who fund meals for homeless dogs with every walk. GreaterGood.org thanks you, the tens of thousands of pets who were fed in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico thank you, and Goose and Stella thank you too.