Making a difference in the world seems to be the motto Rebecca Weinrib and Stephanie Nisan live by, especially in the world of homeless dogs. Together, they founded The Animal Pad in 2010, a rescue organization for dogs, with their own unique vision.
Weinrib, 30, and Nisan, 31, have started a forward thinking rescue organization that not only focuses on rescuing and fostering dogs, but also one that provides a better connection to the public through training and education to help reduce the number of homeless dogs in the future. They want to reach all ages, but especially their peers and motivate them to join the cause.
It hasn’t been easy, but their plan covers several aspects, such as education, reaching out to encourage people to adopt a dog rather than pay a breeder, spaying and neutering, and helping people find the right dog for their needs. For example, The Professor, a sweet, low key and calm mutt, likes to sit on people’s laps and went to live at a center for seniors who will love him. They have also arranged for classroom visits at several local schools as educating future dog owners is important.
Next, they are in the process of developing the Pet Spy Collar attachment, which will attach to any collar/harness and will include a camera, 2 way radio, training functionality, and health monitoring, all of which can be controlled by an app they will be creating in conjunction with the attachment.
The app will also have a feature to share directly to social media. This attachment grew out of a need that they saw for owners to have a better connection to their dogs. It is still in the developmental stage, but they hope to have it launched soon.
Finally, they work with various high kill shelters in Southern California, animal control organizations, and dogs from Mexico. They are constantly on the go, picking up dogs, finding fosters, screening potential applicants, recruiting others to become fosters, fundraising, and reaching out to the public. They have a great need for additional fosters as the more that help out, the more dogs they can rescue.
Weinrib and Nisan also have careers. Weinrib is a lawyer and the legal counsel for her family’s business. Her father invented the EDDY pump, a pump and equipment engineering and manufacturing company. Nisan is a successful realtor. Both juggle their personal and professional lives as well as running their organization with endless energy.
That endless energy also comes in play when it comes to their Jewish faith.
Weinrib and Nisan, along with Weinrib’s brother, Ben, started the FIDFYLSD or Friends of the Israeli Defense Force Young Leadership of San Diego. They are on the board and help to run this section of FIDF, an international, non-profit organization which supports the Israeli Defense Forces. For the San Diego chapter, they head up the Young Leadership Division, which focuses on getting more participants/supporters in the young adult community. They hold events for fundraising and educational purposes and all proceeds go to support IDF soldiers.
Additionally, they handle the December Nights event for the House of Israel in Balboa Park, where they staff and run the bar in The Beer Garden and also help staff the main house, where they serve food.
These very busy women also started, “Pop Up Shabbats.” They saw a need to have a Shabbat dinner for those who may want to celebrate, but don’t want to go the traditional route and go to a Synagogue, etc. The goal is to create an evening where Jews come together (who may not do so otherwise) and enjoy Shabbat dinner together with a short, informal service while enjoying the company of others in the community. These dinners are led by Rabbi Ian Adler.
As I was interviewing these long time friends, they reminded me of an old, married couple who finished each other’s sentences, but at the same time had youthful and altruistic aspirations mixed in with social media savvy. Their families must be proud and the rescued dogs grateful for their constant dedication. As they joked, “We are always hustling. Every birthday or celebration is a fundraiser!”
For more information or to learn more about The Animal Pad, visit www.theanimalpad.org.