Welcome to Project Wag’s New Home!
“There are things you get from the silent devoted companionship of a dog that you can get from no other source.”
The idea for Project Wag was born on the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles. I had recently arrived in LA to intern at a major movie studio when I encountered an adorable flea-covered ball of fur. This puppy was being held by a visibly distraught woman who had found her precariously weaving through traffic. Without knowing what to do or who to call, this good Samaritan just stood there on the side of the road, hoping that someone would take notice. The puppy had been dumped by someone who could not — or did not want to — take care of her.
I don’t remember making the decision to take her— I just instinctively reached out and swaddled her in the back seat, quickly explaining to the woman that I had a background in canine rescue. I knew I couldn’t keep her (my own dog, Lucie, was waiting back home in New York, and my temporary stay in Los Angeles was hardly conducive to dog ownership). Instead, I went on a mission to find this pup the perfect Los Angeles home.
I did everything a resourceful business school student would do: I found a vet who examined and vaccinated her, bought all of the necessary puppy supplies and “marketed” her by frequenting high-traffic pedestrian areas like farmers’ markets and hot brunch spots. She was a people magnet and in no time, I had a list of several would-be owners for the puppy I had affectionately nick-named “pup-pup” (a futile attempt on my part to not get overly attached). She was special (but then, aren’t all dogs?) so I wanted to make sure prospective owners would be a good fit. The would-be dog owners got an in-depth grilling from me.
48 hours later, I’d settled on an ideal home for my “pup-pup.” But that wasn’t all I found: I had discovered what would become a professional passion as well: matching people up with the right dog, and helping them through every step of the process.
While having a dog in your life is a total joy, finding and learning how to care for a dog can be a very frustrating process. Having fostered dogs and spent a lot of time around breeders and shelters, I knew that dog acquisition is no easy feat. It can be bureaucratic and scary and frustrating. But what if I could steer a few families away from puppy milled pet-shop window dogs to reputable breeders? What if I could connect loving owners with some of the incredible rescues I had worked with and trusted? What if I could provide these people with enough follow-up and a high level of attention to to pave the way for successful dog ownership?
This experience inspired a business plan, and the idea was compelling enough that Columbia Business School’s Entrepreneurial Greenhouse incubator tapped me for their program. And shortly after that, Project Wag was born, and I’ve had the pleasure of making people-dog connections and advising owners on all facets of dog ownership.
In our first few years, Project Wag has quickly built a thriving community of dog lovers via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (follow us at both @projectwag). And now, I’m thrilled to unveil the new website home. I hope you’ll join, stay in touch and sign up for the newsletter.
I believe that every human deserves the kind of companionship that dogs offer – my husband Josh I are proud and lucky owners of the fabulous Lucie, a rescued basset hound, whose shapely silhouette inspired Project Wag’s logo. I’m thrilled to have made connections with scores of happy owners and dogs – you can check out a few of their stories here – and I can’t wait to do the same for other would-be dog owners.
Jillian (and Lucie)