Creating Partnerships That Strengthen Human-Animal Connections | Animals Connect Everyone

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ANIMAL INNOVATIONS SHOW - EPISODE 40 - ELAINE PARDI

Creating Partnerships That Strengthen Human-Animal Connections | Animals Connect Everyone

Did you know that there are over 50,000 therapy dogs in the U.S. alone?   Not only that, but 74% of pet owners believe that their mental health improved as a result of the emotional support they received from their pets. Moreover, 93% of people with pets claim that service dogs can make life easier for veterans who suffer from PTSD.   Considering the many benefits that pet therapy can provide, it’s no wonder why people like Elaine Pardi established Animals Connect Everyone, a pro bono movement that aims to create partnerships that strengthen the human-animal connection.   Creating Partnerships That Strengthen Human-Animal Connections | Animals Connect Everyone   Elaine, one of the co-founders of Animals Connect Everyone, shared,

“My role has been to kind of bring animals and people together through the human-animal bond. And I, along with my co-founder, Jean Caples, have been working on this project since February. And it’s a new launch. So, definitely, very, very fresh perspectives and new directions that we’re going and still doing a lot of strategies. But we’re excited about the progress that we’ve made already.”

  With the increasing number of animal welfare organizations and animal rescues that transport, Elaine and the rest of her team initially worked on the project in the hopes of launching it into a TV show back in September 2020. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they had to put a momentary stop to their plans.  

“We went through the process of keeping connected with the people we had met in the pet industry and moving forward with that and then decided that we could maybe do something more with this. And probably the thing that brought it full circle for me was that I had a therapy dog,”

she shared.   For Elaine, it all started when her family ended up moving her sick, ninety-five-year-old father from the nursing home to her brother’s home. Seeing her dad get excited one day about seeing them together with their dog, Elaine decided that it was the light bulb moment she needed and was what really inspired the idea for Animals Connect Everyone.   She explained,

“So, that’s kind of where things kind of made a whole 360. We’re like, ‘This is it. This is what we have to do. And so, now, we just have to figure out where to start with that.’ It was even more impactful because two days after my dog went to see my dad, she passed away so unexpectedly. Just got really sick overnight, passed away. So in her memory, I really wanted to because she made a lot of people happy. And I wanted to have other people have that happiness in their life and really feel that comfort. So, that’s kind of how it all started.”

  Despite their determination, however, Elaine and her colleagues knew that there were several challenges they had to overcome. And one of the issues they had to face was that they had no idea whether they were going to continue with the idea as a business or as a nonprofit organization, which seemed to be in alignment with what they wanted at first glance.  

“We weren’t really wanting to manage a business and have to be an income from that side. We really wanted to support people. So, we reached out to them, and they (our consultants) were able to direct us into the idea that we could partner with nonprofits and work under an umbrella strategy with them. And so, at some point, if we did need money donated for any project or plans that we are doing or events, it could kind of be filtered through that nonprofit. So, that’s kind of the avenue we’ve taken right now. We are trying to help them help nonprofits by supporting them with some strategic ideas. And then that will help us kind of get our mission out.”

  Creating Partnerships That Strengthen Human-Animal Connections | Animals Connect Everyone     To bolster the success of its endeavor, Animals Connect Everyone has already started with the creation of different strategies and small projects that would get the name of the organization out into the open.   In fact, one of the first strategies they did was related to a program that’s currently being implemented by the North Star Therapy Animals and which allowed kids and dogs to come together and read.   Wanting to support the program, Elaine and the rest of the Animals Connect Everyone team took the initiative to implement a book drive campaign centered around literacy.   Elaine shared,

“And it’s been great because we’ve connected with a ton of people that have been very supportive, and it’s been a really good experience. And it’s kind of a stepping stone. So, we’ll be moving forward through that a little bit more over the months to come.”

  Aiming to share content and create awareness about the connection between animals and people, Animals Connect Everyone believes that everyone can have a role, no matter how big or small. So, if you want to become part of the movement and to understand more about how animals connect everyone, don’t hesitate to join in connecting the world.  

Learn more about Animals Connect Everyone!

Visit their website at www.animalsconnecteveryone.com.

Have suggestions for who we should interview next?

Send us a message at [email protected]!

Elaine: Hi, this is The Animal Innovations Show, and I’m Elaine Pardi from Animals Connect Everyone.

Chris: Excellent introduction, Elaine. So, tell us who you are and how you’re innovating and helping animals.

Elaine: My role has been to kind of bring animals and people together through the human-animal bond. I, along with my co-founder, Jean Caples, have been working on this project since February, and it’s a new month.

So, definitely very fresh perspectives and new directions that we’re going, and still doing a lot of strategy but we’re excited about the progress that we’ve made already.

I had a therapy dog, and so, my dad was sick, and he was in the nursing home. We ended up moving him to my brother’s house. And when we did that, it was just this, like, light bulb moment because my dad was 95 years old, and he was pretty sick. But he was so excited to see her, and he was just singing to her.

So, that really kind of brought the whole thing together of how animals and people can be together and be very supportive of each other.

And so, that was where I decided: “This is really something that’s important.” Because if my dad had liked being around a dog and liked the interaction, then that was just it.

I mean, that’s where I said, “There’s something here.” And I have enough people that I know that are passionate about pets and animals.

Chris: That’s a really great story. So, now, I know you said you guys are kind of in the strategy stages trying to figure out what you’re going to do. I mean, what are some of the ideas that you’re tossing around? Where are you going to focus on?

Elaine: We’ve toggled back and forth with the idea of “Is it a business or is it a nonprofit?” and “what would that look like?”.

We reached out to our nonprofit consultant in Minnesota to kind of get some perspective about what does it mean to start a nonprofit? Because that just seemed to be more in alignment with what we wanted to do. We reached out to them, and they were able to direct us into the idea that we could partner with nonprofits and work under an umbrella strategy with them.

At some point, if we did need money donated for any project. or plans that we were doing or events, it could kind of be filtered through that nonprofit. That’s kind of the avenue we’ve taken right now.

We’re trying to help nonprofits by supporting them with some strategic ideas that will help us kind of get our mission out. 

Chris: One of the things I love about this is you’re trying to work with other groups. I don’t see that a lot. A lot of groups are just—they’re going at things on their own.

And you get so much more when you have a set of people that you can work with because you bring different skillsets to the table. Now, what’s your background, Elaine? I mean, how did you even get into this?

Elaine: I’m a nurse, and I’ve seen therapy dogs in action—in hospitals and nursing homes. Then when I got married and had kids, I was able to get one. It was very good for my family.

The experiences that they had growing up— Kids these days have lots of different things going on. I mean, there’s anxiety, stress, competing, FOMO—you know, all these things that happen, and having a dog there was so important to my kids.

So, I really saw that. And I always knew that I wanted to do therapy work with her. That’s kind of where my background is. I moved through the process of having a dog and then seeing how it could implement and be important to others.

And today, with so many people having COVID puppies, now that we’re getting to the point where COVID is getting behind us, this is an opportunity for those people to think about: “Could I be an animal therapy dog team?”

It doesn’t take a lot. There’s steps to go through and things that you need to complete to be able to do that, but it is achievable if your dog has the right personality.

Chris: Yeah. And I think that’s one of the things that’s really cool about you guys, you are trying to branch out and get people to understand that animals and humans—we’re made for each other.

It doesn’t just have to be any dog. It can be a cat, a guinea pig, and people do goats, and birds, and rabbits. I mean, there’s all sorts of things.

So, now, what’s next for you guys? You’re going to revisit the TV show or what do you see in the near future?

Elaine: So, right now, we’re on hold with the idea of the TV show. But we are interested in video production and sharing stories that way because we know that video is so impactful. So, we’re looking at some avenues for that. There’s going to be a cost for that because to bring in the quality of video that we want to produce and the messages we want to communicate, there will be more cost to that.

So, that’s something kind of a little bit further down the road. We’re continuing over the summer with the reading program and helping kids and books get together with animals.

The North Star Animal Therapy is going to be doing some camps up in Minneapolis this summer, so we’ll be kind of integrating with that and still looking for books to be donated to give to kids.

Chris: Yeah. That’s really cool. And I’m really excited to see that you guys are getting traction so early on in your journey as you kind of figure out what your strategy and what your direction is gonna be. So—

Elaine: Yeah, yeah.

Chris: This has been really super interesting, Elaine. Is there anything else you want to mention before we wrap things up today?

Elaine: So, I guess I just want to clarify that we are really a group of individuals, kind of pro bono team that’s working on the human-animal bond. And we’re looking to partner with nonprofits to share their stories and help with that human-animal bond component.

But then also looking at businesses because corporate social responsibility is really a big piece right now. I do some work with personal branding, and I know company branding is very important.

If somebody’s interested in understanding more about what we’re doing, and how that might work for their company, and make their brand align with people’s understanding, and how they feel about their lives in general so that whole thing of, like—you know, every brand has the opportunity to connect with individuals that are going to either buy their product or be involved in their services.

And if they know that they align with something that’s going to be supportive to what they feel, they’re definitely going to gravitate to that.

So, it’s a great chance for companies to really get involved. And we partner—kind of like the matchmaker, I kind of say— between businesses and nonprofits because you don’t know who you don’t know, and that’s what we try to do—it’s get the “NO” in there to people.

Chris: So, where can people learn more about you guys and get a hold of you? 

Elaine: ANIMALSCONNECTEVERYONE.COM

And then we have Instagram, which is @ANIMALS.CONNECT.EVERYONE. And then we also have a Facebook account: @AnimalsConnectEveryone.

Chris: Yeah, very cool. We’ll definitely make sure that those are in the show notes so that people can get in contact and work with you guys going forward.

Elaine: Thank you.

Chris: And as we wrap things up here, I’ll just remind our viewers and listeners if you’ve got an idea for somebody I should talk to, or maybe you have an idea yourself. Just go to INNOVATIONS.SHOW, and let us know about it, and we’ll get them on the show and talk to them.

So, thanks again, Elaine. I really enjoyed our conversation.

Elaine: Thank you.

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