PITTSBURGH -- Today it is not uncommon to create a social media page dedicated to your pet, but how many people’s pets have more followers than they do? Alumna Michelle Drager ’88 can say her golden retriever, Bean, has more than 77,000 followers and counting because his mission is simple—to share joy.
Since the day she stepped off Carlow University’s campus, Drager has carried Carlow’s core values of mercy and service with her, encapsulating them into her life and work. Today, with the help of Bean, she has brought hope, encouragement and kindness to many children and adults across the country.
Drager lives in Morgantown, Pa., with her husband, Jim and four golden retrievers, including certified therapy dog Bean, whose registered canine name is Neversink’s Never Bean Better. Bean has traveled throughout the country comforting those he visits. Whether he is making the rounds in a children’s hospital or spending some quiet time with the elderly, Bean is there to share what Drager calls “the Bean wuv” with those who need a companion, and even with other dogs in need.
Bean’s adventures of visiting his friends are documented on his own Facebook page Drager started for him. All who follow consider Bean their own dog. “So many people have told me that because they can’t have a dog where they live, or are just not able to take care of a pet, they consider Bean their own dog. He has enough love and joy to go around to everyone, so why not share it?” Drager said.
Along with his ever-growing fan club, Bean has his own trademark of cartoon books and a stuffed animal dog that resembles him. “I thought it would be wonderful to be able to expand the love and kindness to even more children. That’s when we started Never Bean Better,” Drager said. Never Bean Better encompasses Bean as a public figure, the encouragement he shares around the nation, and the Never Bean Better Buddy™ toys sold.
A special part about Never Bean Better is that for every toy that is purchased, one is donated to a child in need.
The mission of Never Bean Better is rooted in Drager’s own work ethic and the values she learned while at Carlow.
“My experience and education prepared me to be the business woman I am today. The core values that were instilled in me play a role in my work every day,” said Drager, who earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications and a minor in business at Carlow.
Back in 2002 after earning her master’s degree, Drager took a risk by stepping out of her corporate role to start her own marketing firm in order to spend more time with her family. She now co-owns The Drager Group Inc. with her husband.
“I could not have done it if I did not surround myself with the right people who encouraged me to succeed,” Drager said. Some of those encouraging people span back to her friends at Carlow. The Drager Group Inc. works with numerous clients, helping them succeed in business, especially during times of transition, or in the development of strategic planning. Bean, of course, is a client.
“We need to be more merciful to one another. Kindness is a common thread to success. Being more open to the world and taking time to understand others is part of who I am. I think through Never Been Better we are doing just that,” Drager said. For more on Bean’s adventures, visit Never Bean Better and follow Bean on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram at Never Bean Better.