Today we’d like to introduce you to Juana Arnold.
Juana, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started working for Ms. Pat (Pat Arnold – founder of Straydog) back in 2001, as a caregiver/walker for our dogs. I remember saying to her that I couldn’t believe that I was getting paid to walk and play with the dogs. This was not then and still is not a job to me. I am so fortunate to be able to work with the most beautiful four-legged creatures in this world. I learned very quickly from Pat and admired her from my first day at Straydog. Unfortunately, we suddenly and tragically lost her in 2003. It was devastating, but I knew that the 65 doggies she left needed someone, and without thinking twice I stepped up to the plate. It has been an honor for me to be able to say we now have 160 beautiful dogs and we still run Straydog, in the same manner, today as if Pat was here with us. I’ve loved and cared for every single doggie she left us with, some of whom got adopted, but many of whom never found another home except for Straydog. Rudy, the last of Pat’s Dogs, passed away in 2017. He was a year old when Ms. Pat passed away. Rudy never got adopted, but we were his family; the only family he ever knew. He was a very happy, healthy boy, but for some reason, he never found his forever home; here at Straydog though, he found his family. We are a no-kill rescue and sanctuary for our dogs and hopefully with the same luck as Rudy, Straydog will always be here for them.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
No, the road has not been smooth at all. Having enough funds to continue caring for our dogs has been a constant struggle for us. We are a nonprofit and we raise our own funds but the problem is overwhelming at times. There are so many strays, and people not knowing or understanding the importance of spaying and neutering their pets only contributes to the never-ending problem. We may be able to find good homes for some of our dogs, but what about the next puppy in need? What about the next dog at a kill shelter needing to be saved? We struggle thinking about how we can help them all, and in the end, we know what we do is only a drop in the bucket compared to what our world needs. Straydog is just an example of how we could all help, and we are proud to do our part.
What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of as a company?
We rescue dogs and sometimes cats or kittens in dire need. I have bottle-fed and tube-fed many newborn puppies and kittens, the most rewarding thing ever, but super sad when they don’t make it. We socialize our dogs, we give them love, we give them everything that they would get in a home, but we do need help. We don’t have enough indoor space for all of them. We treat every dog as a family member, but they deserve a family that they can call their own. We take in dogs that no one else wants and I am proud to say that Straydog will never give up on any of our dogs, ever.
What sets you apart from others?
We are a no-kill shelter, and we are also a sanctuary. North Texas is fortunate to be served by many shelters and rescue groups, but we serve as one of the only Sanctuaries, and we are one of only a few dog sanctuaries in the country. We are very proud of that.
Who else deserves credit – have you had mentors, supporters, cheerleaders, advocates, clients or teammates that have played a big role in your success or the success of the business? If so – who are they and what role did they plan / how did they help.
All my crew deserves credit, we all work hard to give each dog the love they need. They are also the heart of our shelter. Our dedicated volunteers, our board members, and my dear friend and Co-President Pam Bollinger and her husband, Gary, are also key parts of Straydog.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Our plans for the future are to continue to provide for all of the needs of the dogs in our care and get even more of our dogs adopted. Down the road, we would love to build a new facility to house all of the dogs and expand space for care-giving. Our biggest focus right now is on building awareness and name recognition so we can meet our future goals.
- Dog adoption fee is $175.
- Website: www.straydog.org
- Phone: 903-479-3497
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/straydog_incorporated/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/straydog.org/
Photos by Laura Gorecki