Feature Story: Ali Jarvis, Sidewalk Dog Media

Ali Jarvis’ Media Company Fosters Thriving Relationships Between Dogs, Their People and the Community

By Stef Tschida

“I didn’t have a choice in doing this.” When Ali Jarvis formed her business, Sidewalk Dog Media, that’s how strongly she felt about it. Luc, her beloved Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, had just been diagnosed with a rare muscular disease. Ali had always wanted to spend as much time with Luc as possible, but now she really needed to—he had to be given medication throughout the day.

Ali began looking for ways to have Luc with her as she went about her everyday life, but she couldn’t find a resource that identified which workspaces or restaurants were dog friendly. As she started talking to others about her situation, Ali quickly learned she wasn’t the only one who considered her dog a full-fledged member of the family. Others also wanted to spend more time with their dogs and didn’t know about the resources and opportunities available to them either. That’s when the idea for Sidewalk Dog was born.

Ali initially launched in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Over the next decade, the directory expanded, and it now connects thousands of dog owners with dog-friendly restaurants, breweries, apartments, workspaces and more throughout the Austin, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Portland and Seattle. Businesses are excited to be featured by Sidewalk Dog. They know they’ll capture the hearts of humans who will become loyal customers, willing to drive out of their way for somewhere they can bring their beloved companions.

The thing Ali is most proud of though? The number of dogs she’s been able to help through her organization. A big part of Sidewalk Dog Media’s mission is to give back to nonprofits that help animals. She’s helped hundreds of dogs get adopted by featuring their stories on her blog and appearing with the pups on local television shows. She offers free and discounted advertising to dog-related nonprofits hosting events, and Sidewalk Dog also host online and in-person fundraisers for special causes.

Luc’s disease took his life when he was just 5 years old, but Ali is so thankful he got to benefit from the first three years of Sidewalk Dog’s existence, tagging along with her as she frequented dog-friendly businesses while helping others do the same.

The community Ali’s company helped create helped her too. While she never thought she would have another Cavalier King Charles Spaniel after Luc, she received many messages from Sidewalk Dog followers about other dogs of the same breed who needed good homes. As a result, she eventually adopted Maggie Moo. Today, Ali and Maggie Moo are among thousands of pairs of humans and dogs who head out the door to dog-friendly businesses and spaces together a lot more often than they would have before Sidewalk Dog.

To learn more about Ali’s business, visit SidewalkDog.com.

Photo: Sidewalk Dog Media

About the author: Stef Tschida is a former corporate communicator and lifelong storyteller. Stef’s WHY became clear when she worked at her daily campus newspaper. She realized she didn’t want to ask tough questions as a reporter—she wanted to help organizations answer those tough questions. She’s been doing that work ever since.

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