A Dog a Day Keeps the Blues Away

You may know that Prescribe Nutrition has several obsessions, but today you’re off the hook because we’re not talking about cauliflower or chia seeds. Today we’re talking about dogs. It’s important to acknowledge that true health is far more than about food, it’s about companionship, fresh air, and friendship. We’re showcasing our friend Danielle who has taken her passion for dogs and all the goodness they bring into our lives, and created an inspiring non-profit that results in happier dogs and healthier people. We get pretty darn excited when we see another gal taking something she loves and making it far bigger than herself. If you love dogs, you’ll love what Danielle is up to. In the spirit of the holidays, let’s all get out there and support local animal shelters and nonprofits.


PN:  This can’t have been an easy undertaking. What inspired you to found DOGO?
Danielle:  From a young age I have been a big fan of dogs.  In grade school my community service club visited shelters, and seeing those dogs tugged at my heart in a major way. A few years later, my mom finally let us adopt a rescue named Sandy. She was a cocker spaniel, she had personality, she was the absolute coolest – taking care of her changed me. Since then I have always had this idea that I wanted to turn hanging out with shelter dogs into a thing. I used to volunteer with the SPCA and the dogs were wound up due to infrequent walks and socialization.  It was clear to me that the longer the dogs were in the shelter, the less adoptable they were.

Additionally, I volunteered with a great program called “Back on My Feet,” which was rehabilitating homeless folks through running.  It got me thinking how running could also benefit shelter dogs by getting them out of their sometimes hectic environments, and giving them both exercise and exposure to more people and potential adopters.  A few months later, I moved to San Francisco.  I looked around for an organization in the city that allowed volunteers to borrow shelter dogs, but I found nothing like what I had in mind.  So, I decided to create it.  Getting started has been a fun learning process. I’m lucky to have talented, opinionated and generous friends to help me out.

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PN: For all the dog lovers out there, can you tell us how DOGO works? How can people get involved?

Danielle: Sure!  In essence, DOGO is a way for people to connect with shelter dogs.  Participants are able to borrow a dog for a few hours and bring them along for whatever they have planned that day- whether it’s a quick run, a long hike, a picnic in the park, a stroll around the neighborhood, lunch at an outdoor café, etc. We partner with two incredible shelters. Muttville is a senior dog rescue, they have dogs that are 7+ years old.  Many of these dogs are likely not ideal running or hiking companions, however, they’re perfect for a mellowed out day of shopping, strolling or a picnic. Northern California Family Dog Rescue is a rescue devoted to finding dogs that partner well with children and adults. Many of these dogs have energy they’re eager to expend. If you’re local to the Bay Area, visit the website and sign up for an orientation!

PN: The ladies of PN not only love dogs, but we know there are undeniable health benefits for dog owners (Dogs have been proven to support physical health, aid those with chronic conditions such as Alzheimers, fight heart disease, increase cognitive function and overall mental health and even promote making love connections…hey now…).  How do you think dogs improve people’s health?
Danielle: Speaking for myself, spending time with a dog is a very effective way to relieve stress and anxiety.  Nothing else unwinds me like being with a dog buddy or going for a run or a hike.  DOGO merges these things.  Bonding and touch is healing, and dogs give that to you almost unconditionally, as long as you treat them well. And, obviously, hanging out with a dog gets you outside and moving.  It’s very difficult to say no to the excited wiggle of a dog when they see their leash.
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PN: For people not located in SF, how can they get involved and spend some QT with dogs that really need it?
Danielle: Reach out to a shelter in your area and volunteer.  Volunteers are essential for the day to day operations.  Once you get to know them, you may be surprised at how open the shelters are to letting you borrow a dog for upping the fun of any activity.

PN: Finally, is hugging dogs your favorite activity?
Danielle: Is that a real question? Duh.

DOGO GOALS:

To give shelter dogs fresh air and socialization. 
To provide companionship without commitment.
 To allow dogs exposure to potential adoptees. 
To create a community for active animal lovers.

 

Love what Danielle is up to? So do we.  For any Bay Area locals interested in spending some time with these loveable dogs, be sure to check out the DOGO website and follow on Instagram @ dogosf.  If you’d like to reach out to Danielle directly for any media inquiries, you can do so at hello@dogosf.com.

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