Pals come together to save shelter dogs with Project PAL

August 12, 2016 –

Four women from Tempe have come together to help find homes for dogs in need of love throughout the Valley.

Every week, the Project PAL friends pick one dog to feature on their website and social media in hopes that they can find it a home. Once they have chosen a dog, they make a donation to the dog’s shelter.

“We started our project the first week of January 2016,” said Kim Bistany, one of the founders of Project PAL. “We wanted to literally put our money where our mouths were, so we decided to put together an initiative where we focused specifically on one dog per week to sponsor and promote.”

Bistany explained that the four—Tristan Gertsch, sisters Nikki and Nina Maggio and Bistany—grew up in Tempe in the same community. She said, “the four of us were constantly searching ‘adoptable dogs’ online and sending each other links to look at different dogs we had fallen in love with. So, we wanted to come up with a concept that would allow us to share these adoptable dogs and tap into our networks, neighborhoods, and our communities.”

Bistany said that since the shelters house so many dogs, they have to promote multiple dogs per day. So, they thought it would be interesting to take a different, more targeted approach.

“Once the dog is selected, we make a donation to help with costs for that week and we obtain as many photos and information on the dog as we can.

“Then, we create a blog to highlight the dog’s qualities, and we spend the whole week blasting pictures and information on the dog to our social media followers.”

Project PAL’s blog is at and on Facebook at

 Project PAL has now featured 29 dogs, and only four are still available for adoption, Bistany said.

“Looking back, we know for sure 14 of those adoptions were directly from our efforts,” she added. “The others we believe were a combination of social media outreach from the shelters themselves, volunteers and other organizations cross-promoting at the same time.”

Bistany added that after a few months, the girls noticed they were cross-promoting some of the same dogs as One Love Pit Bull Foundation.

“We reached out to them to see how we could help support their work since they already have the non-profit status, the structure, and all of the knowledge to really be the ones to make a difference,” she said. “After meeting with them, we decided to team up and now we have created Pup Tees by Project Pal” at

The two teams worked together to launch this campaign, have all of the costs to purchase and print shirts underwritten by sponsors. All of the money from each Pup Tee purchase goes directly to their foundation to support the shelter dog program.

“We do not accept donations for Project PAL specifically. Since we do the weekly donations personally, we now have a way for our community to support the efforts,” Bistany said. “So many people have already purchased our Pup Tees that we are getting ready to launch our second campaign.”

Bistany said that the members of Project PAL are just four young professionals who have a heart for shelter dogs.

“We are all overwhelmed and so excited that our community has rallied behind our efforts and helped us start off so successfully,” Bistany said. “It has truly been an honor to get to know the different people advocating for the pups.”


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