Saving Lives One Leash At A Time
Saving Lives One Leash At A Time by Dave Temple
Mark Twain once said, “If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.”
That couldn’t be any further from the truth. When I very first heard of Found My Animal, a New York-based company that makes “accessories for adopted animals and people”, I had to reach out to them and find out more. Being the owner of two rescue dogs, it just made sense to connect with them.
I had the privilege of speaking with founder and owner, Bethany Obrecht. This former artist/photographer, turned entrepreneur is doing amazing things to help raise awareness of adoption of dogs from shelters. Check out the interview below and be sure to visit their website at www.foundmyanimal.com!
K: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
B: I was born in Baltimore, Maryland. My parents had some land and I had lots of pets. I studied photography at the Rhode Island School of Design and moved to Brooklyn, NY after graduating to pursue a career in photography. Soon after, I met artist Anna Conway on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, and realized that animal welfare came first and decided to create a brand focused on rescue animals.
K: How did Found My Animal start?
B: Inspired by a fisherman in the family, we made our first three-strand, hand-spliced and whipped rope leash for our rescue pups back in 2006. So many people stopped us in the street to admire our unique nautical leads that we decided to share them with others.
My business partner and I met on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn while walking our two rescue pups, both of whom were named Walter. The Walters were sizing each other up and we started a conversation that quickly revealed our passion for animal welfare. We decided to become partners after discovering we had more in common than two rescue dogs with the same name. We had both attended great design schools- Cooper Union and Rhode Island School of Design- and were passionate about animals. Animal welfare and a love of the principles of good design.
K: What would you say is the ultimate mission of Found My Animal?
B: Our mission is to help promote animal welfare through celebration of animal adoption in a very direct way: let your animal wear the message. Both Anna and I discussed how easy it had been to transform the minds of friends. By encouraging one person at a time to look into rescuing instead of buying an animal, we hoped to form a company that would deliver that simple but very important message.
K: How are you planning to use Instagram and photography to show what you’re doing?
B: There is no doubt that a picture is worth a thousand words. A funny or cute picture of an animal can make your day, and sometimes all it takes is a picture of an animal in need to generate the energy and enthusiasm for change. We need to harness the power of photography, and a visual platform like Instagram (@foundmyanimal) helps remind us that these creatures are often completely dependent on us for survival and happiness. We owe them that!
K: Tell us more about the rescue orange leash.
B: Orange is the color of animal protection awareness. We manufacture our own orange rope here in the US. The color is perfect for getting people’s attention, and most importantly inspires conversations about this important topic. Our orange rescue leash highlights (literally) the message. “Hey, I was rescued, join the club!”
K: What can people do to help?
B: Adopt, foster, and volunteer to walk a dog or pet a cat at your local shelter. Support your local shelter with food, towels, and beds. Convince friends to choose adoption, share your adoption story at the dog park, online, and with us!
K: Name some celebs who have purchased or supported Found My Animal
B: Jessica Biel, Drew Barrymore, Bradley Cooper, Martha Stewart, Amanda Seyfried, Erykah Badu to name a few.
K: What is the dream for the future?
B: If you’re lucky, small dreams become big ones. Our greatest dream would be to see an end to puppy mills and an increase in effective spay/neuter programs. Anna’s rescue pup Walter lived in a cage in a puppy mill for 5 years as a breeding machine. My Chihuahua Walter was a product of a puppy mill and was severely inbred with all sorts of health issues. If enough voices come together, legislation will follow. Access and awareness of the importance of spaying and neutering of all pets is critically important to help stop the flood of unwanted animals into shelters. We also dream about having our own Found My Animal Sanctuary, and that our orange Rescue leash will become a symbol of animal adoption worldwide.
Bethany is an amazing person and even sent my boys, Jack and Gordy a little treat. See photo below.
(L to R) Gordy and Jack