Mother Theresa once said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” The nature of women’s history is summarized in these powerful words. For too many years, women have been relegated to the sidelines of life simply due to their gender, making ripples in the hopes to effect real change. Today, we see the results of their determination across so many fields of thought and industry, and this Women’s History Month, we want to honor the contributions women have made to push the pet industry and the world of animal welfare forward.
Offleash’d is in the business of relationships- we understand the significant impact that pets can have on people, and vice versa, and who better understands the nature of these relationships than Dr. Erika Friedmann? A pioneer in her field, Dr. Friedmann has built her career on the study of anthrozoology, which focuses on the interaction between humans and animals. Her landmark study on the health effects of pet ownership changed the landscape of both the healthcare and pet industries, broadening the research in animal-assisted therapies so that more people can find help and healing through their beloved pets.
More than 100 years before Dr. Friedmann published her findings in the 1980s, Caroline Earle White was breaking down barriers in a time when women had few rights and little influence. Mrs. White was determined to make her voice heard, especially for those who could not speak for themselves, and along with 30 other passionate women, Mrs. White formed the Women's Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, later known as the Women's Humane Society, to help change the way people viewed the animals that served them daily. While their initial goal was simply to hire people to "inspect horses for harness sores and to make sure they were not beaten, exhausted, or lame while working, the enterprise grew to include cases of abuse and cruelty to dogs and other animals". Despite her significant contributions, these women were denied positions of leadership on the board of the SPCA simply because of their gender.
It would take several decades for women to gain deserved recognition for their efforts, but the actions of Mrs. White and all who came before paved the way for the women of today to make a real difference in the pet industry. Enter Jamie Migdal, an entrepreneur with 25 years of experience building several different successful pet companies, including FetchFind, which was created to solve what Migdal identifies as the most important challenges facing the pet industry – “Onboarding and training pet care professionals affordable, quickly and effectively while providing access to affordable and trustworthy business resources from companies that understand the unique characteristics of the pet industry.” Access to resources and sufficient education can make all the difference when it comes to caring for ourselves and our pets, and thanks to Migdal's innovation, pet owners and pet healthcare professionals are better connected to in turn better provide for our furry friends. Today, Migdal sits on the advisory boards of several women-owned businesses and is active in her support for fellow entrepreneurs.
This is just a small sample of the women who are making moves every day, laying the groundwork for future generations to pursue bigger, more ambitious dreams. We stand on the shoulders of those who came before, the women who fought against oppression in all its forms in order to be heard. This Women’s History Month (and every month!), we honor those who came before, celebrate those around us, and recognize our own amazing achievements!