“Dog Moms Of Tampa Bay” Brings Puppy Lovers Together And Support Local Shelters

In 2020, the onset of the pandemic limited human interactions. Because people stayed at home as much as possible, it was not easy to make new friends, especially for those who were new to an area. Zoe Lee, who lives in Tampa, Florida, wanted to find a way to bring people together, even in difficult times.

Lee is a dog mom to a 3 year old Boxer/Hound mix named Kali, so she was eager to meet other dog parents in the area. She was shocked to find that no such group existed in Tampa. So she created ‘Dog Moms of Tampa Bay’.

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A space for dog lovers

Lee realized she couldn’t do it all alone, so four other dog moms joined her to cover all areas of Tampa. Ashley Miller manages Clearwater/Dunedin, Jen Heckner handles St. Petersburg, Sarah Gill and Dorie Voecks team up to cover Tampa, and Lee manages Pasco County.

“I just wanted one place where everyone can find all the dog-friendly places in Tampa Bay. I did research and stuff and I didn’t find any pages that had anything. So I was like, ‘Okay, well, I’ll just put it together myself,’ Lee said.

Women running dog mother group
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Tampa is one of the most dog-friendly cities in the United States, so there was no shortage of places for dog parents to meet. Once the group started, they reached out to other dog lovers through social media and scheduled events where dogs and their people could meet in person if they liked.

Although the group is called “Dog Moms of Tampa Bay”, it is not exclusive to dog moms. Lee says anyone who loves dogs is invited. Some people are not allowed to have dogs due to housing, or their pets may not be dog friendly. If so, they are still welcome to come without their dog so they can meet other dog lovers and play with some cute puppies.

Dogs at baseball game
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Dog Moms Give Back!

As the group grew, the responsible dog moms decided to add a charitable aspect. They do raffles and sell branded items like shirts and car stickers. All proceeds go to shelter and rescue groups. They also hand out business cards of local dog-friendly places.

“We wanted to give all those proceeds back to the local shelters. So we’re actually picking a handful between Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties that are smaller, that don’t get the attention like your Humane Society that everyone is familiar with, so that we can continue to support the local, smaller rescue efforts,” Heckner said.

Autumn portraits of dogs
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Lee is amazed at the growth of the group in 2021. She is optimistic that it will become even more successful in the coming years. Many people in the group are not from Tampa, so it’s an excellent way for dog lovers to meet like-minded people.

If you want to learn more about the Dog Moms of Tampa Bay, check out their Instagram page!

Dog Mothers of Tampa Bay Mural
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H/T: wfla.com
Featured Image: Instagram

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