For the past couple of years, Pawesome.net has been the Gawker of fuzzy cuddliness, collecting all the coolest, most relevant pet news onto one — yes — awesome blog. From in depth stories about Dogs of the Ninth Ward and Japanese disaster animal rescue help to peeps at intriguing and sometimes scandalous pet trends and products, Pawesome covers it all with fine feathered flair. Local BFF founders Sonia Zjawinski and Sarah Han (formerly of the Guardian) chatted with us over e-mail.
SFBG Pawesome is very active about animal welfare — what are some of the issues you’ve covered that have meant the most to you?
Sonia Zjawinski It’s the awful stories of abuse and neglect that often go viral, but for every horrible person out there we believe there are thousands of kind, selfless people who truly care about animals. For example, last year we posted about a group of Brooklyn bartenders who got together to save an abused and sick stray puppy. A lot of people walk past animals in need and think there’s nothing they can do, but this generous group proved that it doesn’t take much to help and the reward is priceless.
Sarah Han I’m a huge advocate for getting people to adopt from shelters and rescue groups. I find it really sad that there are so many perfectly adoptable animals in shelters that are at risk of being put down because people are still buying pets from breeders and pet stores. I’m all for the ban of selling animals in pet stores in San Francisco, and everywhere else in the country. I’m also a fan of rescue groups that focus on older pet adoptions, like Muttville in San Francisco. I love senior cats and dogs because they’re usually pretty chill dudes.
SFBG Which Pawesome post is your favorite?
SZ Last year’s April Fool’s joke — we wrote that Stephen Colbert bought Cat Fancy and was rebranding the magazine as Colbert’s Cat Nation. No calls from Colbert’s people asking us to come on the show yet, though.
SFBG What are some interesting trends or story lines happening now on the pet scene?
SZ One of the most exciting areas in the pet industry is the influx of goods on Etsy. The world of toys and accessories used to be very limited, and you were stuck with ones made out of eco-unfriendly materials produced in even more eco-unfriendly countries. With Etsy, there’s an amazing collection of handmade gear crafted out of organic or sustainable materials, and made right here in the States. And it’s stuff you won’t gag at when you see it in your home.
SH I’ve noticed that people are paying more attention to what their pets are eating these days. The pet food recalls definitely got people thinking about all the crap that big commercial companies (and even some pet “health food” companies) get away with. People are also concerned with pet obesity. As our lives get busier, we get fatter and so do our pets. There’s a pet-people gym in Bernal Heights (Fit Bernal Fit) and doggy yoga classes for folks to get in shape while exercising their dogs, too.
I think we’ll be hearing about more of those kinds of services in the future, and maybe because of the off-leash dog issue that’s been raging in SF. Dog owners are feeling very threatened by the GGNRA possibly ending their off-leash privileges in outdoor spaces. I’m torn on the issue because I think dogs need and love outdoor time, but I also believe in protecting what wildlife we have left in the city. Hopefully we can come to an agreement that allows for everyone, including dogs, to enjoy the outdoors.