The wagged design

The number of abandoned animals in Poland grows every year. Since 2005, it increased by more than 25 percent. Instead of waiting for changes in legislation that will turn this gloomy trend, we should look for grassroots initiatives that care of animal welfare. An American company Found My Animal promoting adoption of shelter dogs is one of the brightest examples.

Recent inspections conducted by Polish Supreme Audit Office about the care of homeless animals revealed some sad facts (based on the publication summarizing the conference „The status of animal welfare in Poland”; the original publication is available only in Polish language):
– Dogcatchers are the main beneficiaries of the animal „care” program. They received 80 percent of the money allocated to the care of the animals.
– In more than 60 percent of Polish boroughs, animals were caught without providing them places in shelters. The lack of microchipping animals opened the way for killing them or taking away and releasing them in neighboring counties.
– 80 percent of boroughs did not request from animal shelters conducting any accurate records about adopted animals. Homeless animals were chipped in just a few boroughs.
– The half of the audited boroughs did not check what happened to captured animals.
– More than 80 percent of Polish shelters did not provide appropriate conditions for caught animals, mainly because of overcrowding.
– Animals (mostly those destined for adoption) were mandatory sterilized only in two inspected shelters.

Photo via @mateo_ilr #spayneuter #adoptdontshop #rescue #weeklyfluff #dogsofinstagram #bthechange #foundmyanimal

A photo posted by FOUND MY ANIMAL™️️ (@foundmyanimal) on

As regards the irregularities, Polish Supreme Audit Office has formulated some proposals, which are, among others:
– A statutory obligation to register and chip homeless dogs, which would allow to track caught animals.
– A statutory obligation to contract with dogcatchers and animal shelters, and to provide precise requirements for animal care.
– A statutory obligation to care for homeless animals, rather than the previous obligation to protect people against homeless animals.

Photo via @scruffybeagle

A photo posted by FOUND MY ANIMAL™️️ (@foundmyanimal) on

Whether and when the recommendations of the Supreme Audit Office will turn into a law, depends on ministers, deputies and senators will. But what does not directly depend on government’s decisions is the number of adoptions of animals kept in shelters. Instead of waiting for changes in legislation and deluding ourselves that the situation will resolve itself, it would be better to take matters into our hands. More specifically: to adopt a dog from a shelter, and proudly talk about this attitude, trying to convince more and more people to make the same decision.

Photo via @andrea_dinino

A photo posted by FOUND MY ANIMAL™️️ (@foundmyanimal) on

A dogcatcher is not the only profitable business that relies on found animals. An example of an American company Found My Animal shows that an entirely opposite business model based on the promotion of adopting animals from shelters is also viable. Found My Animal brand offers leashes and collars made for adopted dogs. Naturally, the target group are owners of rescued animals.

#FoundMyAnimal Ombre Adjustable Leash and Collar. #handcrafted #handdyed #madeinbrooklyn #bthechange

A photo posted by FOUND MY ANIMAL™️️ (@foundmyanimal) on

Found My Animal promotes animal adoption in a very direct way: let your pet wear your values. By encouraging to rescue over a purchase, the brand supports animal welfare by asking pets and their owners to help deliver simple, important message: „I have a rescue dog”. While bragging about clothing or accessories superior brands usually indicates the owners vanity, a label from Found My Animal is the one that is worth boasting about. This kind of behavior is fully justified and worth following.

Found My Animal is certified as a „B Corp”, or benefit corporation. This is a model of for-profit business where a business can „do good while doing well”. Part of Found My Animal profit goes to worthy animal rescue organizations.

Two founders pf Found My Animal – Bethany Obrecht and Anna Conway – met few years ago on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn while walking their two rescue chihuahuas, both of whom were named Walter. The Walters were sizing each other up, and their people started a conversation that quickly revealed their passion for animal welfare. They decided to become business partners after discovering they had more in common than two rescue dogs with the same name. They had both attended great design schools – Anna’s a painter from The Cooper Union, and Bethany graduated photography at Rhode Island School of Design – and were passionate about animals, rescue, and a love of the principles of good design.

Found My Animal manufactures all its products in a studio located in the old Pfizer building on Flushing Ave in Williamsburg. The company employs ten full-time people from the local community who lovingly hand-make everything the company sells: leashes, collars, harnesses and different small accessories.

Leashes are hand-spliced to withstand thousands of pounds of pull with the ends then „whipped” (it’s an old nautical term) for additional durability.

The individually-numbered, stamped tags on each leash serve as a reminder of the uniqueness of an animal, and allow Found My Animal crew to keep track of the number of animals they and their clients have helped so far.

Found My Animal leash

The adjustable solid o-rings and clips (marine grade hardware) on adjustable leashes allow it to be used in any of four ways. It is easy to adjust the o-rings: you hold one of the rings still and twist the rope through the ring with your free hand. The braids of the rope will separate slightly for the ring to move along. The ring will stay where you leave it. You may clip either end of the leash to your dog’s collar.

Found My Animal Maison Objet credits Trend Nomad
I met Bethany Obrecht, who introduced me Found My Animal brand at Maison & Objet Asia fairs, which took place in Singapore from 10th to 13th of March 2015 as a part of Singapore Design Week. Photography: Trend Nomad

If you have any questions concerning Found My Animal brand, you can send them directly to Bethany Obrecht at

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