We could all use a helping hand when it comes to finding our perfect match — our perfect pet match, that is.
Enter Sarah Oren Brasky. Known as “The Dog Matchmaker,” she pairs shelter dogs with adoptive pet parents.
“I love to help people who need a helping hand in finding their newest family member,” Brasky says.
Launched five years ago, The Dog Matchmaker is a New York City-based service that helps clients to think outside the box — adopting dogs that they may not have considered without Brasky’s encouragement.
“The adoption process can be overwhelming and confusing to those who are not familiar, and I want to help connect the dots and make the experience a positive one,” Brasky says.
For a $50 donation, Brasky provides adoption advice, suggestions of possible dog matches (even showing people dogs that aren’t yet listed online), communication with local animal rescuers and support after the adoption has been completed. All people need to do is fill out a simple questionnaire, and the search begins. From start to finish, the average timeline for matching clients with their new pets is approximately two weeks.
“While I know that my job isn’t going to save the world, I know that to that one dog and that one family whom I helped connect, I truly feel a sense of purpose and meaning,” she says.
While Brasky has helped many people find matches (check out some of her success stories), there are some challenges being a “dog matchmaker,” one being not every pup makes a great first impression.
“Like some first dates, an initial reaction to an adoptable dog might not be ‘love at first sight,’” she says.
For example, some dogs have less-than-ideal profile photos and Brasky works to let clients know why a dog is right for them in spite of this. She says, “After all, how many times have you gone on a first date with someone based on their photo and find that they are so much more appealing in person?”
Even so, a love connection may not always be in the cards.
“I’ve worked with people who might seem open to adoption at first, but soon realize that they want to meet the dog’s parents and to purchase a dog with a certain lineage, Brasky says. “It’s unfortunate, since there are so many amazing dogs in rescue, but I know that I have to stay positive, and to move on to other families interested in bringing home a shelter dog!”
Brasky has worked with rescue groups as far away as Houston and Los Angeles, however, most are in the tri-state area, including Social Tees Animal Rescue, In Our Hands Rescue, Friends With Four Paws and Heavenly Angels Animal Rescue.“Many people who find me live in the New York City area, and are open to traveling an hour or two out of their city to meet a wonderful dog,” she says. “With so many rescue groups and shelters in New York City alone, there is always an amazing selection of fantastic dogs in need.”
While helping match up shelter dogs with forever homes is quite the feat, Brasky wanted to make an even bigger impact in the dog community. So, the same time her matchmaking service launched, so did Foster Dogs NYC, an organization striving to make the foster process as seamless as possible.
The conventional fostering process leaves much to be desired, Brasky explains. A potential foster parent may not hear back from a rescue group for a while, since many volunteers are extremely busy. Or there may not be any dogs in a particular rescue group’s care that fit the foster parent’s needs. “Animal rescue is about a team effort,” Brasky says. “It takes a village!”
Foster Dogs NYC is the missing link in the foster system. It provides a site with dogs of all types from rescue groups all over New York City, along with accurate contact details and up-to-date information. The organization ensures that people hear back to their inquiries and that those who email feel supported. Plus, Foster Dogs NYC posts helpful links, as well as blog articles from actual foster parents. There is a private Facebook group for any foster parent to join, and share/give advice to others in the same position. “It’s all about creating a foster community,” Brasky says.
She has posted 2,500 dogs to Foster Dogs NYC in five years. Nearly 2,000 of these dogs have found homes thus far.
Brasky, herself, is part of those statistics. She, along with her husband, has fostered nearly 10 dogs over the years and has permanently adopted two. One is a black lab mix named Ozzie and the other is an Australian shepherd mix named Shaggydog.
She encourages any dog lover to make the plunge and either permanently adopt or foster a pup temporarily. “Dogs are meant to be with people, and typically are happiest in the company of a human,” she says. “Shelter dogs will never forget their gratitude that you saved their lives.”
The main image was taken by Kimberly M. Wang