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|Amber Brooks • 6/15/17|
The Short Version: Innovating what it means to be a matchmaker, Sarah Brasky, aka the Dog Matchmaker, dedicates her energy to connecting available dogs with loving homes. New dog owners can come to her for guidance on the adoption process, and she’ll expertly pick out the right dog for their individual needs. Just like matchmakers in the dating industry, the Dog Matchmaker uses personality assessments and networking ability to search New York City for the perfect fit. Sarah matches people with dogs based on the dog’s personality and the adopter’s lifestyle and experience. Whether you’re a young couple looking for an energetic fur baby to spoil or a retiree looking for a reliable dog to snuggle with on the couch, the Dog Matchmaker tailors her match recommendations so adopters find a compatible pup to take home.
In my search for a long-term companion, I had a list of desirable traits in mind. I wanted a cuddler. I wanted a laid-back sweetheart who was a little older than the rest of the pack. I wanted to find a lover, not a fighter. I wanted a black-haired, brown-eyed buddy to go with me on my walks. In short, I wanted a big, furry, lazy dog to call my own.
I went to my local humane society with all these preconceived ideas tumbling in my head. All that vanished when I saw a Lab/Aussie mix curled up in a ball, fast asleep while dogs all around her clamored for attention. The 1-year-old puppy was younger than the age range I had in mind, but she stole my heart when she opened her soulful brown eyes. Her tail thumped up and down in greeting, and I knew the attraction was mutual. She was the girl for me.
Adopting a dog is like dating — you never know who you’re going to fall for. You can have your ideal checklist of age, weight, and looks, but in the end, the personality of your dog (or your date) is what melts your heart and makes you want to take that cutie home.
If you’re searching for your own perfect match, an experienced matchmaker can point you in the right direction. And nowadays, matchmakers aren’t just for humans. Dog lover Sarah Brasky is known as the Dog Matchmaker in New York City, where she runs her own small matchmaking firm tailor-made for potential dog owners. With experienced guidance, she helps people adopt the right dog to complete their families.
“I don’t help people look through breeders, and I don’t help them look at pet stores. I help them look for an adoptable dog,” she told us. “The goal is to help the adoption rate around the country — starting with my own neighborhood.”
As many daters know, it’s easy to fall in love with a cute face, but what strengthens the initial bond is the personality of that good-looking companion. If you don’t have the same interests or enjoy the same activities, your relationship may feel strained over time. For that reason, the Dog Matchmaker focuses on ensuring personal compatibility between the dogs and humans she pairs up.
Whether you’re looking for a coach potato or a running buddy, Sarah can connect you with a dog that’s pawsitively perfect for you.
“I’m able to handpick the traits that people are looking for in the dog, and I base my selections on their experiences and lifestyles,” Sarah explained. “There are similarities when it comes to human matchmaking and dog matchmaking, for sure. It’s very much the same psychology.”
For Sarah, helping dogs has been a lifelong passion. She’s spent her free time volunteering at local pet shelters since she was little. At her 10th birthday party, she and her friends decorated collars and leashes for rescue dogs. Throughout high school and college, she enjoyed lending a hand at shelters and rescue groups.
In 2009, she established a nonprofit organization called Foster Dogs Inc. to support dog fostering with online resources for fostering dogs in New York City.
Over time, she became a go-to person for friends, family, and anyone thinking of fostering or adopting a dog. She used her insider connections and knowledge to pair up families with dogs who are a good fit for their needs. “I’m constantly in touch with rescue groups, shelters, and potential adopters,” she said, “so it just made sense to put a name to it.” Today, this devoted dog lover offers her professional assistance in dog adoptions as the Dog Matchmaker.
“It’s just me. I like keeping it smaller,” Sarah told us. “The real power in my matchmaking business is in my personal experience rescuing dogs and my ability to work with people one on one.”
In dating and adopting, sometimes choosy people have a hard time meeting someone who checks all their boxes. My brother and sister-in-law have been trying for months to find a small, hypoallergenic puppy at the shelter, with no luck so far. Sometimes your dream dog (or date) is far too specific and leads you to overlook a compatible and available alternative.
For people with high standards, an experienced matchmaker can apply a little logical discipline to separate out truly mandatory qualities (hypoallergenic) from desirable traits (floppy ears). One is a dealbreaker; the other has some wiggle room for the right personality.
“In the end, what’s most important is the personality,” Sarah said emphatically. Many human matchmakers rely on personality profiles to help them understand their clients and make a great match, and the Dog Matchmaker operates the same way. When applying online, you’ll fill out a quick questionnaire to let Sarah know your basic information and what you’re looking for in your ideal furry playmate.
If her client is a retiree and a homebody, for example, she would avoid high-energy dogs and look for a more manageable adult dog for that person.
“Getting to the root of their checklists is what makes me so successful,” Sarah explained. “As a matchmaker, you have to figure out what the person is really looking for and what makes sense for them.”
Her mission is to connect the right dog with the right owner. She creates a customized list of recommended dogs and gives her personal advice along the way. With sure leadership, she introduces people to dogs selected for their compatibility. The Dog Matchmaker is intimately familiar with the pet adoption process and assists every step of the way from the introduction with the rescue group to filling out the adoption paperwork, to what happens after the dog comes home.
Like a human matchmaker, Sarah always looks for opportunities to facilitate matches in person. Adoption events, similar to single events, give people that face-to-face contact that’s so critical to establishing a heart-to-heart connection. In 2017, at the My Furry Valentine event organized by Foster Dogs Inc., Sarah was pleased to see many young puppies and adult dogs find their human packs.
Rescuing dogs is a personal mission for her, and she brings her own personal experiences to the table when advising adopters. In her own household, she has two beloved pups: Ozzie, a lab mix, and Shaggy, an Aussie mix. “I have a wild crew,” she told us. “I always tell people, you can have a big dog in the city, even if your apartment isn’t huge. It’s doable — I have two!”
Over the past few years, Sarah has grown her matchmaking business primarily by word of mouth. The Dog Matchmaker told us her favorite success stories came from people who were totally new to dog adoption but trusted her guidance and found a compatible companion to add to the family.
The site boasts thousands of “happy tails” from loving dog owners, many of whom send in follow-up pics of their adventures, naptimes, and special moments with their canines. “Once they’ve moved in, it’s a thrilling feeling to see them snuggling in bed or playing in the backyard,” Sarah told us. “There’s so much joy in seeing the after photos and hearing their stories.”
“We’d like to thank you again for matching us with Lucy,” said Jon and Marjorie, an engaged couple who adopted a dog recommended by the Dog Matchmaker. “She continues to be such a big part of our lives. Last weekend, she played a crucial and cute role in our engagement.”
Like any good matchmaker, sometimes Sarah’s job is to mediate expectations and show her clients what they think they want may not be the best thing for them.
A while back, one single mom came to the Dog Matchmaker for help replacing a family dog. Her kids were grown, and she wanted a dog that was just hers. In the past, she’d gotten her dogs from a breeder, but Sarah encouraged her to try adopting. Though the woman had said she wanted a dog no older than 4 years old, she ended up adopting an adorable adult dog who now goes wherever she goes.
“It took a little creativity, but she ended up being thrilled,” the Dog Matchmaker told us. “He was exactly what she wanted in every other way, and the age just didn’t matter.”
In her work, Sarah helps dog owners, like that single mom, consider adoptable dogs that may not have the look they imagined or may not be the age they think they want — but could nevertheless be a sweet addition to a loving family.
“Dogs are not custom-built,” she told us. “They come in all shapes and sizes and personalities. With adoption, you can get what you want, as long as you have some flexibility and stay open-minded.”
When I adopted my dog, it was love at first sight. All my criteria melted away, and I knew she was it for me. Finding “The One” on your own isn’t always easy, though. Especially for new dog owners, it can be hard to identify what canine qualities you want versus what you need.
Fortunately, Sarah’s experience and intuition can fill in the gaps for dog adopters. This caring New Yorker used the methods of a traditional matchmaker for singles to position herself as a pioneering matchmaker for dogs. Today, the Dog Matchmaker spends her days working with rescue dogs and potential dog owners to create happily-ever-after stories.
“I am so happy with Oliver. He is such a great dog and exactly what I needed/wanted in a companion. The process was made so much easier with Sarah’s guidance.” — Lily, an adopter helped by the Dog Matchmaker
By connecting people with adoptable dogs, Sarah aims to make a difference in her community and bring joy into the lives of people and dogs across the Tri-State Area. In the coming years, she hopes to expand her reach, so she can help more people find a new leash on life and add a furry sidekick to their families.
Sarah’s main takeaways as a dog matchmaker are true in the dating world as well. “Meeting in person makes a world of difference,” she told us. “Getting to know the dog helps people to realize it’s not about what the dog looks like or the exact age or exact weight — it’s about the dog’s personality.”