Pet Connections

Paws in the Sand

To say Matt Arch only loved all living things would be an understatement. To say Matt Arch only encouraged all living things to connect with and support one another would even be an understatement. To say Matt Arch loved all living things, encouraged all living things to connect with and support one another all the while helping all who knew him to first love and accept themselves is just about right. Matt Arch was a humanitarian, philanthropist, care taker, animal lover and advocate, social worker, beloved friend and devout son, brother and uncle. In addition, Matt was a self-branded connectarian. Arch defined a connectarian as a person who builds relationships to maximize social capital in all facets of life. Even after Matt passed in March of 2015, his connectarian spirit and selfless lifestyle lives on in all who knew and loved him

Christine Kleck Galket, Owner and President of Paws in the Sand Pet Treats first met Matt when she was a college senior working as part of a film team on a documentary about first year college students at Penn State Behrend in Erie. She had just lost her father in 2002 to an extended illness and Matt’s compassion and heartfelt friendship helped her through that difficult time. It was then that Christine knew she and Matt would be life-long friends. Throughout their professional lives, personal triumphs, entrepreneurial endeavors, graduate degrees, good times and difficult moments, the two remained connected and supportive of one another. Matt’s love of animals lead him to begin dog walking and eventually he became a pet caretaker in the Pittsburgh area. Christine and her husband, Greg Galket also began a pet-based business making pet treats, toys and gift items and selling them in the Pittsburgh area and beyond. Arch would often give these pet treats to his clients’ pets and Matt even watched Christine and Greg’s dog, Brandy several times when they were both working on events together for their pet treat business. 

Before Matt made the decision to move to Florida in late 2014/early 2015, he encouraged and inspired Christine and Greg to grow their business and possibly even rebrand. Christine and Matt kept in close contact even as he was living in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. He always made sure to check in on the status of Christine’s pet treat business even until he passed away a few months later. Around the time that Matt passed in March of 2015, Christine got out pictures to remember all of the good memories that she and Matt shared. One particular memory she shared with Matt was just what she needed to find comfort in the grief she experienced. Reliving these beach road trip memories was also just what she needed to rebrand and expand their pet treat business: In 2004, Matt and Christine joined several friends while in college to make a trip to Orlando to visit another friend who as working for Disney. The group made a stop at Daytona Beach just before they got to Orlando. It was late when they got to Daytona, but Christine will never forget what Matt said to her when they reached the beach. The travelers were exhausted from finals and everything that comes along with the end of a college semester. Matt said to Christine “No matter how crazy life gets and no matter how stressful things are – when you get to a beach, you can’t help but want to PAUSE IN THE SAND.” Christine knew at that point what their new brand should be. With a little wink to her dear friend, Matt and all those great beach memories they shared, PAWS IN THE SAND PET TREATS came to be.  

Christine joined together with many of Matt’s friends and family members within weeks of his passing to raise over $12,000.00 for the Out of the Darkness Walk at Robert Morris University on March 29, 2015. The money raised by the walkers went to support the efforts of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Since then, friends and family members from other cities and states have also raised money to support their local Out of the Darkness walks and fundraisers. Many of the local Pittsburgh friends and family members who participated in the walk at RMU continued to remain close and have most recently began plans to start a foundation in Matt Arch’s honor. The group recognized a need to support research, advocacy and awareness for those suffering from depression and other forms of mental illness. In the four months since Arch’s passing, this group has come together to begin what will be known as The Matt Arch Foundation. This grass roots think tank recently began working with Side Project, Inc., a 501© (3) nonprofit in the state of PA and FL committed to helping nonprofits to get their start. Side Project Inc. is serving as the fiscal sponsor of this group and is also assisting in legal and accounting matters related to the startup of the foundation. 

Just recently on July 18, 2015, The Matt Arch Foundation held their first fundraiser in the Pittsburgh Area. People who knew and loved Matt and all that he stood for were able to participate in “A Day in the life of Matt Arch City-wide Scavenger Hunt” with the proceeds benefitting the startup of the foundation. Following the scavenger hunt, the family and friends of Matt hosted a cookout at Mt. Lebanon Park in the south hills of Pittsburgh where Matt grew up. Guests of the scavenger hunt and cookout were invited to connect with one another all while remembering Matt and learning about the plans for his namesake foundation. The winners of the scavenger hunt received traveler tote gift baskets filled with prizes representing different areas, memories and times in Matt’s life. All prizes were graciously donated by local businesses, groups and organizations. Paws in the Sand Pet Treats “Connectarian Canine Confections” were available for purchase at the cookout with the proceeds benefiting The Matt Arch Foundation. Throughout the year, Paws in the Sand Pet Treats will continue to give back to the foundation, whose namesake was a big part of this business’ expansion and success. Many of the dogs that Matt would care for received treats following the cookout. Each bag of treats spelled out “I Love Matt.” Just like their owners, any pets who knew Matt would certainly agree with this statement.

While Christine and so many miss their dear friend and family member, Matt Arch – all have found comfort in the way that he loved and inspired each of them. They also have found comfort in the way that he brought them together – to connect, to inspire and to help those suffering from depression and other forms of mental illness. To learn more about The Matt Arch Foundation visit To learn more about Side Project, Inc. visit To learn more about Paws in the Sand Pet Treats and Connectarian Canine Confections, visit


December 14, 2023
December 14, 2023