Last week, her dog – Lilush – made headlines as GatherDC’s first-ever Jewish Dog of the Month. This week, we have the inside scoop on the woman behind the dog. And guess what, she’s awesome.
Get to this dog-loving equestrian who we are lucky to have as a part of our Jewish community here in DC.
Allie: What brought you to DC?
Sarah: I moved back in August, 2016 when I was hired to work on Hillary Clinton’s campaign. I moved here after living in Tel Aviv for 3 ½ years.
Allie: What were you doing in Tel Aviv?
Sara: I went on a Masa Israel program where I interned in Tel Aviv, and then I stayed to go to grad school in government and diplomacy and conflict resolution at IDC. I was never able to study abroad because I was a competitive equestrian in college, so I thought of this as my study abroad experience.
Allie: How did you get into horseback riding?
Sarah: I started when I was 10 years-old at summer camp. I fell in love with it. I love animals. Finding a hobby that combined exercise, animals, and was a challenge was the greatest thing ever. I love the feeling of bonding with your horse. Riding also teaches you so much responsibility. It shows you how to care for another animal and be responsible for their well-being. I loved all aspects of learning how to groom and properly take care of the horse and the competitiveness of showing.
Allie: What is showing?
Sarah: Showing is essentially competing against your peers to win ribbons and rankings. I did dressage and hunter/jumpers. which are different types of riding. Dressage is like dancing on horses, its being one with your horse. Hunter/jumper is going over obstacles in a course.
Allie: Do you still ride?
Sarah: When I went to Israel, there wasn’t much opportunity to ride horses. But, whenever I go back home to visit my family in Florida, I visit Jasper who is living in a stable near them. I definitely want to get involved in riding in DC. It’s just so expensive.
Allie: Do you have any other favorite hobbies?
Sarah: I love board games, and trivia. I also love 305 Fitness dance classes.
Allie: How did you come up with the idea for your new Jewish Dog of the Month feature?
Sarah: It was a team effort with the other Open Doors Fellows. We had a meeting where we talked about what we would like to bring to the Jewish community as our capstone project, and I knew I wanted to do something with animals. One of the Fellows, Julia, said “I hate dogs, but people seem to really like them.” That got me thinking about this, and then another Fellow, Ben Cohen, suggested the idea of a Jewish Dog of the Month feature. He may have been kidding. But I said, “Yes! That’s perfect.”
Allie: What do you hope comes from this feature?
Sarah: I hope people enjoy reading more about the dogs in DC, and the owners will learn new, fun places to take their dogs. I also hope we can have fun, social events where you can come with your dog to a Nats game, a brunch, or a “yappy hour”. I hope we can get a great community out of it, as well as a network of both dog owners and people who love dogs and want to get their puppy fix. I know a lot of people who love dogs but don’t want to get one because of the whole time commitment, so I’d love to have a training session where we go over how to own a dog in the city. Email me if you’d be interested in a doggy owner/lover meet-up!
Allie: What’s your favorite thing to do with your dog, Lilush, in DC?
Sarah: I love taking her to the park. She gets so excited. I just love having quality one-on-one time with her. After the park, there’s a dog store called Doggy Style Boutique, and she loves to stand in front of it until I get her a treat.
Allie: How has Lilush’s life changed since being named “Jewish Dog of the Month” ?
Sarah: I think she definitely has more recognition. She loves meeting people – not dogs necessarily, so it’s been a great way for her to meet new faces and make new friends. She’s excited to see what the future holds. She’s getting a little brother in July. My boyfriend and I are getting an English golden retriever on July 5th whose name is yet to be determined. Lilush is going to be 11, and she’s not as mobile as she used to be. I’ve read that the older the dogs get, if you introduce them to a puppy, it will keep them young.
Allie: Describe your perfect DC day from start to finish?
Sarah: I love to go to the Dupont Farmers Market, and then go kayaking along the Georgetown Waterfront. Then, I’d go for Sunday happy hour on 14th Street at Ghibellina or Sette Osteria – with Lilush. Then, I’d just hang out at home and watch Law & Order: SVU or Fauda.
Allie: If you could eat at one restaurant every night, which one would it be?
Sarah: Aqua Al 2 in Capitol Hill. They have these really awesome vegetarian pasta, salad, and dessert tasting menus. Last time I was there I saw Nancy Pelosi!
Allie: What are you most excited about this summer?
Sarah: I love going to the outdoor movies. I am also really excited because I am going to Israel and Ireland for two weeks. In Ireland, I’m planning this amazing riding excursion where I’ll ride through the forest to a haunted castle.
Allie: Complete the sentence: When Jews of DC Gather…
Sarah: They’re welcome to bring their dogs!
Want to nominate your amazing Jewish friend to be featured on GatherDC? Send his/her name, brief blurb, and contact info to firstname.lastname@example.org.