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.
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.”
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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,”
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.
“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.”
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.
“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.
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