Episode 38: The Human Impact of Serving Pets

Rachel Herman, founder of PAWS, joins Keep Connected to talk about how assisting with pet care can be a lifeline for elderly New Yorkers.

Rachel Herman Keep Connected Episode 38

Rachel Herman was a graduate student at NYU when she discovered her calling to support pet owners in need. Now she’s the executive director of Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS), the largest organization in New York City that pairs volunteers with senior pet owners facing physical and financial burdens. Through her work with PAWS, Rachel has been recognized as the New Yorker of the Week, a Top 40 under 40 figure, and a New York Times Holiday Hero. She and David chat about the social aspect of pet ownership, the incredibly enriching experience of volunteering with the elderly, how to make a long-term difference through servant leadership, and more.

Ranked as one of the top 25 CEO podcasts on Feedspot, Keep Connected with Meetup CEO David Siegel is a podcast about the power of community. For more details on other episodes, visit Keep Connected on the Meetup Community Matters blog.

We hope you’ll keep connected with us. Drop us a line at podcast@meetup.com. If you like the podcast, be sure to subscribe and leave us a rating on Apple Podcasts.

The Human Impact of Serving Pets

Before we get into this episode, I have something important to share. Check out my new book, Decide and Conquer, to really get to know my story at Meetup. The hardest thing about community leadership is making tough decisions when the stakes are high, and they were never higher than when Meetup was owned and sold by WeWork. In my new book, Decide and Conquer, I will walk you through a counterintuitive framework for decision-making and the epic journey of Meetup’s surprising survival.

Good leaders deliberate, great leaders decide. Order my book now by visiting DecideAndConquerBook.com or anywhere books are sold. You will like it. In this episode, we are talking to Rachel Herman, the Founder and Executive Director of Pets Are Wonderful Support, also known as PAWS. You are going to know all about them. She is someone who definitely eats her own dog food, not literally but you are going to find out how now.

Rachel Herman, welcome to the show.

Thank you so much for having me. This is really exciting.

You are the Founder of Pets Are Wonderful Support, PAWS, which is the largest pet support organization in New York City. You are recognized as the New Yorker of the Week, Top 40 Under 40, and a New York Times Holiday Hero through your work. That’s some nice recognition. I’ve read about your founding story for PAWS New York when you are in NYU but let’s start. Can you share that with some of our readers?

I was in grad school. It was 2008. I would walk to school every day. I lived in Union Square. I was going downtown fifteen blocks. I walked by a grocery store almost every day, and there was a homeless couple with their dog that I would often see. Homeless shelters don’t allow pets, and so I realized that this couple was most likely giving up a warm bed at night because of the strong love and bond that they had with their animal. I found that to be incredibly heartbreaking, thinking about the sacrifices we make because of our pets.

We love them so much. They are family, and I would occasionally donate pet food and change but I don’t feel that my contributions are making a sustainable long-term difference. I started to think about what other assistance I could help that could help this family stay together? I started thinking about other people who live in New York City who have pets who benefit greatly from the relationship they share but may be facing obstacles to care. I immediately started to think about older adults and how, as you get older and you start facing mobility challenges and limitations, how difficult it might be to do something as simple as walking your dog or even bending down to scoop the litter box.

I did some research and could not identify an organization in New York City that really provided the kind of assistance that I had in mind, which was everyday physical care. I decided to start an organization. I don’t know how old it was, early mid-twenties. I love animals. To think that you could have this pet and love them and they are like your family member but maybe you have to give them up because you can’t take care of them anymore to no fault of your own because of life.

That, to me, was not something I could let go of, and I wanted to try and do something. I was in grad school getting my Master’s in Public Administration and focusing on nonprofit management. I was already going the nonprofit route and thinking about animal welfare as something I wanted to pursue. It all came together.

Was this a project for school at all or do you never do a paper about this?

No. Never. It was not a project for school. It was my own personal passion project.

Did it start with homeless and then go to seniors?

The homeless couple was the catalyst but, in all honesty, our services evolved very quickly in terms of figuring out what we wanted to do. I thought about seniors almost immediately. I had an email exchange with my husband, my boyfriend, at the time, going back and forth where I was like, “What do you think about this and that,” which I dug up a few years ago when it was the 10th anniversary of the organization. It was funny to see what was going through my head at the time. Again, there are so many obstacles that someone can face, and we love our pets so much but it can be a burden. I don’t want that for anybody and to be a reason somebody can’t keep their pet. I’m excited to get to do this work every day.

Tell us what PAWS does specifically with seniors now.

We have several programs but our core program is what we call our Housecall Program and that’s where we have this incredible community of volunteers of New Yorkers who give their time to visit our clients in their homes once a week. It’s helping most often with dog-walking but it can be scooping the litter or something as simple as putting out food and water and administration of medication. It’s the daily ongoing tasks that our clients need help with.

Pets have a way of bringing people together. Some people know your dog’s name more than yours.

Our volunteers come in and at a minimum, you commit to one shift a week and we build up an entire schedule for every client we serve through our Housecall Programs. If somebody comes in with a dog and cannot take their dog out, we will work our way to fourteen visits a week by a team of committed, awesome New Yorkers who give so much of their time to make sure that pet and that person can stay together.

Fourteen visits a week for all the walking and everything else that’s required.

You don’t think about it but if somebody has a dog and is mobility-impaired or dealing with something that makes it hard to get out, your dog needs to go out at least twice a day or sometimes more.

Not just the dog but the pet is a lifeline to this elderly individual. The love and the caring have a tremendous impact on longevity and mental and physical health.

We have had clients tell us, “My pet is the reason I wake up every day.” That alone is powerful because, again, I have pets. I have had pets my whole life. Our volunteers, many of them have had pets but to think about what it would be like if your pet were your sole companion and all you had. Think about that a few years ago and the increased isolation that we’ve all felt because of the pandemic. How much more important is that pet is now, especially to our client base who are all isolated? They don’t have support from family, friends, neighbors, and things like that.

We do hundreds of visits a week through our Housecall Program, and then beyond that, we have our other services, which in a way are supplemental. Once you come in through our Housecall Program, you have access to our other services. We have a veterinary care program where we pay for vet care, wellness exams, vaccinations, and emergency care. We also partner with veterinarians around the community who give us a discount so that every dollar we spend is stretched as far as possible and can have the biggest impact.

We also do transport because a lot of our clients do have mobility limitations. We utilize, again, our amazing volunteer network to do transport. We focus on trying to partner with vets who do home visits and can do a wellness exam in the comfort of the client’s home. That’s better for everybody. The client can be there. The pet is comfortable, and we don’t have to work out the logistics of volunteer transport.

There are some vet visits where going to a clinic is required based on the testing and the needs of the animal. That’s our Vet Care Program. We have a pet pantry, so we donate basically 100% of the pet food and supply needs for all pets in our program. We have shipments brought to the doors of our clients to make sure that it is not a concern. We find that our clients, prior to working with us, might be feeling that their pet falls but that might be money that they might be taking from somewhere else.

Maybe it’s for their own food, medication, rent or whatever it might be. Obviously, we don’t want that either. We want to make sure the pet is getting the proper nutrition, and the person is able to maybe use that money for something else that’s really important to them, and they are not making personal sacrifices.

Rachel, you talked about the community of volunteers that you built and the hundreds of volunteer visits that you have. Why is community so impactful? At Meetup, we have thousands of pet-related groups, and one of the things that I’ve seen from friends is they will oftentimes talk about them feeling lonely and then getting a pet. Suddenly, they meet many other pet owners and go on dog walks. They go to all these other activities, and people stop them in the streets. They meet other people. It is such a powerful human impact and community being a pet owner. Talk about community and pet ownership.

What you said is completely true. I hear that from people all the time. You take your dog out, and maybe people don’t know your name but know your dog. Your dogs are friends.

Your name is Rover’s owner.

Pets have this way of bringing people together. They love us unconditionally. We take them out and take care of them. People love pets, so you are walking your dog, and you are constantly getting attention from people, whether it’s the kids on the street who see the dog or whoever it might be, and it’s a way to open up dialogue between people.

KCM 38 | Pets Are Wonderful Support
Pets Are Wonderful Support: PAWS has an incredible community of volunteers, who give their time to visit clients once a week. They help with things as simple as dog-walking to the administration of medication.


You are going to meet people that maybe you ordinarily wouldn’t meet who aren’t in your same circle or have the same values or beliefs as you do in other ways. You are not in this bubble that I feel we all are in. It’s important to be able to meet all different people to learn about different people and to bring us together. Pets are amazing at doing that. You said to talk about it broadly but within our community as well.

I want to know about both the community of volunteers that you have. Maybe talk about that first and the relationship, the community with seniors. Within volunteers, did they have relationships with other volunteers or no?

They do, and that has been important to us as we build the organization. As I mentioned, one client will have a team of volunteers, but if you think about it, each volunteer goes at their own scheduled time like Monday at 9:00 or Monday at 6:00 PM, and they are not interacting with other volunteers while they are volunteering. It has been important to us to take our volunteers out of their silos and bring them together in other ways.

They share a love of animals and helping people. We want to connect to these people. We think about that in a lot of different ways. Number one, we have this volunteer portal. The volunteers can all communicate with one another. There’s easy covering for each other like the logistical aspects of our program they are in touch with.

In addition to that, we plan volunteer events. We try to do at least one a quarter, whether it’s a happy hour. We have found our volunteers enjoy learning opportunities. Bringing in a vet to come in and talk about some of the issues that a vet sees happening in older pets. A lot of the pets in our program happen to be older.

Our volunteers like being connected, and we try to provide as many opportunities as we can both through actual volunteering and beyond that in a social capacity because it’s important. They want to get to know each other and also share anecdotes and stories about their client. “So-and-so said this. It was so funny.” They share a friend in common, which is the client and the pet, so it’s nice to bring them together.

How do you grow the volunteer network? Do the volunteers introduce you to other volunteers, and that’s the biggest source of growth or there are other avenues for finding more volunteers?

Over time, word of mouth and volunteers sharing their experiences have definitely become the overwhelming way that we are sourcing new volunteers. In the earlier days, we post on different platforms and our website. We still do that, and people who are actively looking for opportunities will find us but more effective are our actual volunteers sharing their experiences with their friends, families, and coworkers, and then that brings new people. As I said, with each passing year, we are seeing that be the more predominant way that volunteers are coming to us. Not only are our volunteers amazing, they give so much of themselves but they are also our best ambassadors for our work and are our biggest advocates, which is amazing.

The best is always when you’re able to grow virally because people are passionate about what they are doing. It’s always a better growth process than having to spend money on marketing or advertising. Talk about the bond between that volunteer and senior. It must go way in certain cases past just walking a pet.

There’s a lot I can talk about in this area. Number one, I will say when I first started PAWS, I was thinking about it in terms of helping this person and their pet stay together. What I was not prepared for, and I could argue the biggest benefit of what we do, is the relationship that forms between the volunteer and the human. Volunteers sign up first for the pet. That’s what brings people to us. Why they stay is for the human. It’s because of that relationship that develops.

I always say this. Many of our volunteers are a little bit younger. Not all of them but a large percentage of our volunteers are in their 20s and 30s. It’s like a surrogate grandparent or pet. These amazing relationships form where it’s not just this transaction that’s happening, where they show up, “I’m doing this, and I’m leaving.” They develop a relationship. They celebrate birthdays and holidays together.

We learned over time that our volunteer training has to be focused on that human element. You need to have experience walking the dog if that’s what you are signing up for. Now is not the time to be experimenting with walking a 100-pound dog if you have never walked a 100-pound dog, for example. Number one, we talk about the different types of clients that we are working with. Maybe you will be paired with somebody who has dementia or somebody undergoing chemo or cancer. Helping volunteers be prepared for what they are walking into, so ideally, it can be a successful match.

We talked about boundaries because, as you mentioned, you developed this relationship. Our volunteers are so empathetic. That’s why they are there working with us. You go into some of these homes, and you see different things that they might need help with that are beyond the scope of our organization. It’s natural for them to want to help. For me, as the Executive Director of the nonprofit that’s sending them in, we have to be very clear. You are going in for X, Y, and Z reasons, and that’s what’s approved. Anything else is not. What we do tell volunteers is it can be a slippery slope.

The most powerful stories, in many ways aren’t about pet care. It’s about the people. The human relationships that are formed outside of that pet care are so important.

Something as simple as, “On your way out, can you throw the trash in the chute? It’s so easy. I’m going to say yes but maybe next week, it’s the same thing or something else. What we also try and do is give our volunteers the tools and the language that they can use because what we don’t want is for volunteers to feel that they are put on the spot and asked to do something they are uncomfortable with. We always explain to volunteers that if you are asked to do something that’s beyond the scope of the pet care that was approved, all you need to say is, “That’s not why I’m here for. Let me run it by PAWS.”

You blame someone else like the rule, as opposed to it saying, “I don’t feel comfortable with that. I was told XYZ.” That’s really smart.

You are following the rules, essentially. That feeling put on the spot makes a volunteer feel uncomfortable, and they don’t want to go back the next week, in some cases. We want our volunteers to know we are here for them, and many of our clients have case managers or social workers. What we explain to our volunteers is you communicate to us what you’ve learned the client needs, and we will reach out to the person working with them who can maybe help them access those resources.

You have that information as well as the case manager.

In cases where not all clients have that and when they don’t, we will talk to them and try and help set them up but in a lot of cases, they do have case management already.

Rachel, do you typically find clients through case managers or through the clients themselves? What’s the theory there?

Through case management and more. Our Deputy Director of Programs and Strategy, Carrie Finch, a big part of her role at PAWS is partnership development. She goes around and identifies organizations in the community already serving the same demographic. She will introduce our work, talk about our services, and usually go in and do a presentation to staff, whether it’s social workers, case managers or anybody else. She talks to them about how you can make a referral if you are working with somebody who you think needs our help. Not 100% of our clients but a majority of our clients come through those relationships.

I like that because then you have the infrastructure in place to be able to manage it more effectively than if you are dealing solely with a senior, which at times you are. I will have to tell you my story, which I’ve forgotten about because it was many years ago. When I graduated from college, I wanted to do volunteer work. I worked at an organization in New York also called DOROT. They hook young people up with seniors.

I visited this woman every two weeks for about a year, and it was a really meaningful relationship. I remember bringing my girlfriend at the time to visit and introduce her. It was an incredibly enriching experience. I got so much out of it that fast-forward when we had young kids, it was a Martin Luther King Volunteer Day, a couple of ones that we went to, and then we took our kids to visit seniors as well through that same organization. I know you have a kid. It’s going to be wonderful with your kid. I’m sure you are already doing it but to pass that on to your child can be very meaningful.

We work with DOROT. They are one of the organizations we work with. They are great, and that’s amazing. I have two young girls who love PAWS, my older one, especially because she can formulate sentences a little bit better than my younger one. She is always talking about wanting to work for PAWS and help out in any way she can. It’s very sweet. I love it.

They will be in college when they develop their version of PAWS, not graduate school like you. They are going to pass you in some way. Our readers love stories, and the sentence that you said that it starts with a pet and people stay because of the human is very powerful to me. They stay for the pet too, of course, but it’s about the human and the pet. Do you have a story that you can share? If not, it’s okay and without names, about the organization and the experience?

There are so many stories. One that comes to mind that happened during the pandemic was we had a client who turned 100, which is amazing. It was the height of the pandemic. We did suspend our visits for a time because our client base is a really high risk but we did everything we could to increase support through all of our other programs and keep in touch because the isolation was so critical.

Our volunteers all remain in contact, and it was our client’s 100th birthday. One of her volunteers took the lead to organize a birthday party and a virtual celebration. We had a virtual card, and over 80 volunteers signed it for this client. This volunteer went over and printed out the card. She brought it over. She brought her flowers and gifts. I feel like the most powerful stories, in many ways, aren’t about the pet care, even though that’s why we are there, and it’s so important to show the power of the relationships or the things that are happening outside of that. These relationships that form.

KCM 38 | Pets Are Wonderful Support
Pets Are Wonderful Support: Word of mouth and other volunteers sharing their experiences has been the way of sourcing new volunteers for PAWS. They are the best ambassadors and the biggest advocates of PAWS.


When I think about it, it makes me so happy because everyone is stressed out. We are dealing with a global pandemic, and the volunteer wasn’t even living in the city anymore and went above and beyond to make sure that that day was special for this client. It was beautiful. That’s one example of the community coming together and that relationship that’s at the forefront of why our volunteers keep coming, and we have so many others. Even showing relationships of volunteers with the pets, we have an example of a client and unfortunately, who passed away, and her dog was adopted by a family who lives out in Martha’s Vineyard. We have a volunteer who actually goes to visit the dogs still in Martha’s Vineyard.

For those not in the New York area, it is a few hours commute to be able to get to. That is fun.

You have to take a boat. He’s done that a few times. He’s gone to visit and then takes photos. He sends them to all the volunteers. We have other examples if a client passes away, the volunteer team takes the initiative to organize a memorial where we are all getting together and celebrating the client.

The families of these seniors must be so appreciative and feel connected when you sometimes meet the larger family that may not live nearby and like, “I’ve heard about you. My grandmother, my father or my parent talks about you. It’s so nice to be able to meet you, unfortunately, under XYZ circumstances.” There’s always a question of who gains the most, and it’s probably a silly question because they both gained, the volunteer or the client. For all those readers that don’t volunteer or don’t have time to volunteer, it’s oftentimes the volunteer that gains the most from these opportunities.

To know your story about many years ago, you volunteered, and that’s had an impact on you, and you are talking about it now. That’s an example of how great an impact this experience can have on somebody’s life. Again, sometimes people sign up to volunteer and think, “I will do this for a month or two months.” Suddenly, we have volunteers who have been with us for years with the same client. It’s maybe not what they thought they were signing up for but it’s what has happened. I’m sure it has been such a positive gift in their life that was so unexpected. It’s great.

You talked about the pandemic time when people couldn’t necessarily come, and you had to suspend things. I’m sure that was very hard for all parties, volunteers, and clients, and then things opened back up again, fortunately. Obviously, during the pandemic, I don’t know the exact percentages but there was a tremendous increase in the number of people that had pets for the first time.

Are you seeing that opening up opportunities? Are you seeing that posing challenges because maybe the people who are having pets can’t care for them? What are you seeing with this enormous increase in the number of pets in the United States specifically? I can’t speak about other countries but what are you seeing and the implications, good and bad?

There’s one big implication that we’ve seen, which is negative, which is there’s now a veterinary shortage, which is happening for a few reasons. I’m not an expert, so I apologize if anything I say is not exactly correct. My understanding of the situation is that number one, vets, it’s a highly emotional job, and you can get burnt out, which I completely understand. On top of that, so many people put off scheduling vet care for their pets during the pandemic. You have this backlog of care that pets need.

Now, there has been some veterinary turnover on top of this increased need, and it’s not necessarily because there are more pets but it’s like us, humans. People put off going to see doctors because we were afraid to leave our homes at certain points. The same thing happened in scheduling vet appointments. It’s taking longer to schedule appointments, especially for specialty care. If a pet is sick and needs chemo or any kind of specialty services, those are much harder to schedule and are taking a lot more time to schedule. Prices are going up a little bit, and we don’t have as many veterinary partners. That makes that program particularly difficult for us.

It’s putting a lot of strain on the industry, and my understanding is that the cost to become a veterinarian is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is tremendously expensive to go to vet school, and it is a very serious problem. Unfortunately, individuals with money that can afford extra concierge-type care are spending that money and are getting that but for most people, they can’t. That is a big challenge.

We are feeling that. For us, it is a priority to try and identify a few more veterinary partners because our clients live all around New York City. We need to have a large network of vets so that we can easily get pets to clinics if we need to. Ideally, as I said before, having vets who can make house call visits are important to us to ease the logistical challenge and help our clients be able to be there with their pets during visits. We lost a couple of our partners for various reasons throughout the last couple of years. It’s something we are working on.

Hopefully, people are going to be reading this episode and are going to be running to reach out to you. Before we get in, how could they best reach out to you, Rachel?

Thank you for that. Our website is PawsNY.org. Social media is probably the best way to find out about us. Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, our handle is @PAWSNY. We try to be as active as we can there, showing pictures and videos, and sharing stories. It’s a great way to stay engaged with what we are doing, so follow us.

Try not to think of yourself in a hierarchy in your business. You’re all in it together and doing great work.

I have to ask, have pets been in your blood? When you were two years old, where you are rolling around with your pet cat, pet dog or pet anything? Have you always been an animal lover from a very early age?

My parents met in New York City, and they met walking dogs. They met, got married, and had dogs. They brought the dogs together, and we always had at least a couple of dogs and cats at a time growing up. I had dogs and cats my whole life. Now, as an adult, I have cats but I love dogs. One day, in the future, hopefully, we will bring another dog into our house.

It’s in the fabric of the Herman family for a long time and a gift that your parents gave you, which is an amazing gift that love. We have a section in the show known as Rapid Fire Questions. Here we go. Tell us about the first time that you saw yourself as a leader.

To be honest, I don’t know if I have ever seen myself as a leader. I can’t even answer that question because I don’t see myself as a leader. I see myself as somebody who collaborates and works with other people.

You started PAWS New York. You’ve introduced hundreds of relationships across different people. You are a leader. I promise you.

I have what they call Imposter syndrome. It has been a difficult thing for me. We do our annual events, and I get up and say my remarks. That’s the most tangible moment where I’m speaking but I feel like it happened over time where there wasn’t necessarily this moment where I thought, “I’m a leader.” When I look back, I can see different points in time where I thought, “This is happening.” Again, I try not to think of myself in a hierarchy with the people that I work with because we are all in it together and doing great work.

Servant leadership is probably the best form of leadership, and it sounds like humility is what you bring, and that humility is also what drives the connections and the community that you have with people. It’s very important. It’s one of the best forms. If you could access a time machine to go anywhere you want at any time, where are you going? It doesn’t have to be related to pets.

My easy answer because there are so many moments in history that I would like to be present for is I would love to see some dinosaurs. Go back a hundred million years and see dinosaurs. I would like to go to the future. Far enough in the future where my immediate family is no longer here, so I don’t have to know anything bad that might happen, and not so far in the future that I have to worry that we as humans don’t exist but enough that I can see how has technology advanced. There are so many awful things happening in the world now, too. I would love to go to the future and hopefully feel a little bit better about the world.

It makes sense, and hopefully, we will not see the dinosaurs in the future because that probably wouldn’t be a good thing for civilization.

As soon as I get back to the dinosaurs, I probably will regret being there because they will be big and scary.

Not necessarily a pet, though apparently, there were some small dinosaurs that people don’t understand because they go to museums. They see the giant dinosaur bones that are 100 times the size but there were some dinosaurs that were quite the size of a typical dog or cat now. One thing on your bucket list, Rachel. What is on your bucket list?

I have two little kids, so I am sleep-deprived and stressed out. For me, my bucket list is I want to travel somewhere far away, lay on a beach with a drink in my hand, and relax. My bucket list is going somewhere far, though. I’m not looking to go to Florida. Get on an airplane and go far away somewhere.

No Miami. It sounds like a Fiji vacation is in the near future.

KCM 38 | Pets Are Wonderful Support
Pets Are Wonderful Support: There is a veterinary shortage right now. And, during the pandemic, so many people put off their pet’s vet care scheduling. So there’s a huge backlog of care that pets need right now.


Also, Bora Bora is one of those over-water bungalows. It sounds pretty spectacular without the two kids.

I have three kids that are all teenagers. It’s a different stage in life. The last question. You are doing so many amazing things in your personal life, with the organization and building community between people and helping seniors’ and volunteers’ lives. It is special, and I hope you feel proud of it with the humility that you obviously have. What do you most want to be remembered by?

For me, it’s kindness, and being a kind person is the most important thing in the entire world, and caring about other people and not just yourself. I want to be remembered for being kind and helping others because I don’t feel like, as humans, we can exist if we are not thinking about other people and if we are not thinking beyond ourselves and our small community. We have to think beyond that. I would say being kind.

I want to live in a world where everyone is like you, Rachel. What a great world that would be where people are constantly looking to help other people to lead with humility, build a community, and comfort others. I wanted to thank you for the opportunity to spend some time together. It was motivational, frankly. With some of my extra time with my kids being older, I’m now going to reprioritize doing more volunteering because of this conversation. Thank you.

Thank you. Again, to have this platform to share our work is an amazing opportunity. I appreciate it. It has been so great talking to you.

Thanks for tuning in. Rachel is someone who I tremendously admire. She started off building relationships between volunteers and their clients, but then quickly realized that it’s actually the relationship between the volunteers that can also help to propel those individuals to stay. It’s that community that continues to keep them going. Even though she didn’t start with community, she certainly ended with the community. If you enjoy this episode, then please subscribe and leave a review. Check out my new book, Decide and Conquer and remember, let’s keep connected because life is better together.


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About Rachel Herman

KCM 38 | Pets Are Wonderful SupportRachel Herman was a graduate student at NYU when she discovered her calling to support pet owners in need. Now she’s the executive director of Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS), the largest organization in New York City that pairs volunteers with senior pet owners facing physical and financial burdens. Through her work with PAWS, Rachel has been recognized as the New Yorker of the Week, a Top 40 under 40 figure, and a New York Times Holiday Hero. She and David chat about the social aspect of pet ownership, the incredibly enriching experience of volunteering with the elderly, how to make a long-term difference through servant leadership, and more.

Last modified on June 8, 2022