HUMAN + HOUNDS
Sarah Brasky + Ozzie & Shaggy
Brooklyn, New York
Sarah Brasky is the Founder and Executive Director of 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization Foster Dogs NYC, non-profit corporation dedicated to finding permanent & foster homes for rescue dogs in need. Foster Dogs NYC is a group of motivated & media-savvy dog lovers working tirelessly to help animal rescue groups find temporary homes for their available dogs, and to provide potential foster owners with the knowledge & resources to begin their foster experiences.
Created in 2009, Sarah saw the need for a user-friendly website and organization dedicated solely to foster care. Through expert advice, quality marketing, and professional, no-fee services, Foster Dogs NYC connects willing rescuers, adopters, and fosters with animals in need. Foster Dogs NYC works to create a comfortable and welcoming environment during the rescue process through open communication and support, facilitating education & charitable animal rescue efforts. They post dogs to their website daily, host adoption events, run online chat groups to help fellow foster parents, send free "starter kits" to foster parents, support elderly shelter dogs, educate new foster caretakers, and much more.
Along the way, Sarah fell in love with a couple of special pups who became her own. With distinct personalities and a high level of combined energy, Ozzie & Shaggy help Sarah to stay inspired to assist other dogs in need. We tagged along with these faithful friends as they spent a day enjoying their favorite neighborhood spot, Prospect Park, and joined Sarah at one of the amazing Foster Dogs NYC adoption events.
"Foster Dogs NYC was founded in 2009, after I worked at an online marketing firm in Manhattan. I had recently graduated from college, and craved the presence of a dog in my home. My beloved dog was in CT with my parents, and he was not interested in moving to a yard-less apartment in the busy city. I found a solution: fostering shelter dogs. At the time, there was less information available on fostering, as it was not as common as it is today. First I fostered an elderly Chihuahua, and later brought a "death row" shelter pit bull into my home (I saved her from ACC, on the day of her scheduled euthanasia). The pittie was with me for 1 month before she was adopted to a great home; I discovered during that time of a need for a user-friendly resource for other foster parents. It gave me so much pleasure to connect with rescue organizations and foster parents, as well as potential adopters! In 2014, my organization became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the help of our dedicated volunteers."
"I run this organization out of love, and feel an incredible sense of joy when I see foster dogs find homes through our efforts."
• • •
WHO are the special pups in your life?
Ozzie and Shaggydog are my special boys. Ozzie is a four year old Black Lab mix, named after a local coffee shop we used to frequent (the shop has since been renamed, thus "Ozzie" is a true relic). Shaggydog is a two year old Australian Shepherd mix, named after Rickon's dire wolf in the HBO show "Game of Thrones." He is one striking pup; we call him "Shaggy," for short.
"Ozzie is so patient and gentle with kids, a stellar fetcher/frisbee master, and makes a great pillow if I want to take a nap."
"Shaggy is always smiling, swift as a gazelle, hops like a bunny, and makes the cutest howling noises at mealtime. He sounds like he's speaking in complete English sentences."
WHERE is your favorite place to go with Ozzie + Shaggy?
These dogs love going to Prospect Park's off-leash hours. One of them plays fetch the entire time, and the other is a social butterfly and seems to say, "See you in a few, mom! I'm going to play with my friends now." We also love taking these dogs hiking outside of the city, where they can be wild and free. Locally, our favorite spots are the farmer's market - and they seem to be big fans of the wine shop where they get treats!
WHEN (and how) did you first meet Ozzie + Shaggy?
Ozzie was saved from an abusive home in South Carolina when he was just eight weeks old. He came here to NYC and needed an urgent foster home. I urged my husband (my boyfriend at the time) to foster this puppy, who was flea-bitten, had mange, giardia, worms - the works. Ozzie needed some time to heal and become healthy. After several weeks in foster care, my husband grew seriously attached and decided to adopt!
Shaggy was born in the woods of Tennessee, and was brought to NYC - as were his mom and two sisters. I was working at a big 2-day adoption event at the time, having seen dozens of dogs that day alone. When Shaggy was walked into the event on the second day, I fell in love. I knew it was best to let him find a home, rather than my scooping him up. As fate would have it, no one applied to adopt him that weekend. We fostered Shaggy for two weeks, and I simply could not let him go. We had a reunion with his mom and sister last year in Manhattan, and it was magical to bring them back together. I'm pretty sure the humans enjoyed the reunion even more than the dogs.
WHAT are the best things about Ozzie + Shaggy?
It's been an incredible journey, raising two dogs from puppyhood. Ozzie came into foster care as a 2-month old puppy, and Shaggy was 4 months old when he came to NYC (having previously been in a foster home in TN). As they became full-fledged adults, it was so clear how different their personalities are. Together, they make a solid pair of besties.
WHY are Ozzie + Shaggy your best friends?
Ozzie and Shaggy are my best buds. They come with their challenges and quirks, and I've learned a lot through them about training methods and general dog behavior. These dogs are loyal and loving, and adore nothing more than spending time with their mama (it's true).