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Brought to you by Pet Supplies Plus

July/August 2013

Paradise for pooches Muskegon Dog Beach

is a little slice of heaven for canines and owners alike

Going to the dogs HopCat and Old Boys’ Brewhouse roll out the welcome mat

Wade Rouse,

best-selling author and Saugatuck resident Vol.1, No.6

Zeke the Wonder Dog takes fLIGHT

C-SNIP is a non-profit, charitable organization, providing high quality, high volume, low cost spay/neuter surgery for dogs and cats whose caretakers cannot pay the fee at a full service veterinary clinic. It's a sad fact that there are more dogs and cats born every day than there are homes to accept them. Pet sterilization is THE solution to a problem that drains communities both emotionally and financially. Until every dog and cat born is assured of a safe and caring home, this essential surgery must be available to everyone. C-SNIP is making that happen by providing pet owners with a spay/neuter clinic whose prices they can afford. Learn more about C-SNIP on our website. If you believe in a proactive, humane solution to an age-old problem, would like more information, would like to help as a donor or volunteer, please email us at or call (616) 455-8220 x105. 2 Dogs Unleashed

May/June 2013

Publisher: Steve Adams U.S.R. Services 3597 Henry St. Suite 103 Muskegon, MI 49441 Editor: Mary Ullmer Creative Director: Kevin Kyser Dogs Unleashed is a bi-monthly magazine especially for dog lovers. At this time, it is available free of charge at more than 300 locations in Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon counties. To advertise or become a distribution location for Dogs Unleashed, contact Mary Ullmer at: All material published is Dogs Unleashed is copyrighted © 2013 by Dogs Unleashed. All rights reserved. Reproduction of material presented in Dogs Unleashed is prohibited without written permission. Contents are for entertainment only. Publisher assumes no responsibility for the accuracy, safety, or performance of the information or products presented. The opinions presented are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or judgment of the publisher or advertisers. Send photos, questions or comments to:

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Expert advice Canine calendar Fetch! Products Doggy Destination That’s My Dog - readers’ photos Entertaining stories Great photography Products and services from great advertisers!

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6 Canine Calendar 8 Fetch! 10 Ask The Vet 11 From Our Sponsor 12 The Doctor Is In 14 Good Grief 16 Doggy Destination: W. Michigan 27 Profile: Author Wade Rouse 30 A Russell Rescue 32 Working Dogs 35 Kid Stuff 38 Giving Back 40 Photos from Around Town 42 The Tail End

on the cover

photo by jennifer waters

Sometimes, outdoor photo assignments involving dogs can be tough to pull off. Weather, light and the dogs themselves are all factors. Fortunately, a gorgeous sunny day greeted photographer Jennifer Waters and writer LeAnn Secord when they set out to capture the essence of Muskegon Dog Beach. But they needed just the right dog to sit still and pose on the beach for our cover photo. If you’ve taken your dogs to the beach, you know how difficult that can be. Koda, Secord’s golden retriever, came to the rescue. Koda is a certified therapy dog, so commands like “sit,” “down,” and “stay” are second nature for him. And after his photo shoot, Koda was rewarded with a swim in Lake Michigan, followed by a good shake on the beach (above).

July/August 2013

Dogs Unleashed 3

Contributors Alexis Crosswell (Considering adopting, p. 38) is a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University with a degree in marketing. In addition to Dogs Unleashed, she writes about local food and vegan eating for a few blogs, and she holds three part-time jobs that she loves. Her writing time is usually spent with her adorable pet rat, Boo. Contact Alexis at croswela@ Patti Eddington (Wade Rouse profile, p. 27) is a freelance journalist who is married to Dr. James Moore, owner of Harborfront Hospital for Animals in Spring Lake. She owns a ridiculously needy, but lovable greyhound named Gabbana Huffington, and writes a blog about her life: “Don’t Look in The Freezer, the Life and (Sometimes Strange) Times of a Veterinarian’s Wife.” Her blog can be found at Emma Fox (Kid Stuff, p. 35) is a 13-year-old dog lover, a volunteer at Humane Society of West Michigan and an aspiring writer. She currently has an adopted dog, Lexi. Emma also is interested in art and horseback riding.


“Treat” your dog RIGHT!

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Susan Harrison Wolffis (The Tail End, p. 42) is an award-winning journalist, retired from newspaper work after more than 40 years. While she’s more of a cat person, she also loves dogs (just not as much). She and her husband live with two rescued cats — Vincent and The Little Cat. Contact Susan at susanharrisonwolffis@yahoo. com. Paul Kopenkoskey (Mugs and Mutts, p. 22) is a freelance writer and a zealous fan of Star Trek because he really does want to live long and prosper. He has been married 30-plus years to Barb and owns the world’s spunkiest Pug and a very mellow Cockapoo. Contact Paul at Ginny Mikita (Good Grief, p. 14) is a certified candidate for ordination in the United Methodist Church and Night Chaplain at Spectrum HealthButterworth. Ginny is a 1991 graduate of Notre Dame Law School and has been honored for her work in the animal protection field. Ginny and her husband, Bob Kruse, have their own law practice, the Mikita Kruse Law Center. They have two school-aged children and one black Lab/beagle rescue named Kadie. Linda Odette (Fetch, p. 8) is a freelance writer and fan of Johnny Cash and the Detroit Tigers. She is a former newspaper features editor and writer based in Grand Rapids. Linda is the proud owner of a rat terrier, Otis. Contact Linda at Ron Rop (From Our Sponsor, p. 11) is the communications director for U.S. Retail, franchiser of Pet Supplies Plus. He also is the copublisher of the Muskegon-based website and worked 31 years as a sportswriter in Muskegon. Ron and his wife, Kristi, have three sons, Aaron and Andrew, who are serving in the U.S. Navy, and Alex, who is in high school. They also are proud owners of two dogs, Chance and Bisquit. Contact Ron at LeAnn Secord (Diamond in the Ruff, p. 16) is a professional fundraiser for the Pilgrim Manor Foundation, sustainability grant researcher for Chase Park Grants and a freelance writer for Women’s Lifestyle magazine. An aspiring guitarist and comic book enthusiast, LeAnn also volunteers for West Michigan Therapy Dogs with her

golden retriever, Koda. Contact LeAnn at Wendy Swift, DVM, (Ask The Vet, p. 10) is Associate Veterinarian at Ottawa Animal Hospital and Surgeon at West Michigan Spay Neuter Clinic. Contact Dr. Swift at Shane Thellman, DVM, (The Doctor Is In, p. 12) owns Modern Health Veterinary Hospital in Grand Rapids with his wife, Nikki, who also is a veterinarian. The Thellmans have a son, Clayton, as well five cats, two dogs, a tortoise and an iguana. Contact Dr. Thellman at smthellman@ Tricia Woolfenden (This Cat is Going to the Dogs, p. 20 & Zeke The Wonder Dog, p. 32) recently returned to Grand Rapids after living in South Florida for four years. She writes about the environment, wildlife, music, art, and culture for a variety of publications and is researching and writing a nonfiction book about wild birds. Though she’s a devoted “cat lady,” she loves all animals and hopes to one day welcome a golden retriever into her family. Contact Tricia at twoolfenden@

who we are Mary Ullmer (Editor), is a former manager, editor, reporter and blogger who previously worked for the Grand Rapids Press, Chicago Tribune, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Springfield News-Leader and Muskegon Chronicle. Email her at Kevin Kyser (Creative Director), owns Kyser Design Werks, (ad on p. 19) a full-service branding and marketing firm. Kevin and his wife Jody have four children: Courtney, Cameron, Collin and Caden. They also have three cats and a 150-pound Lab/Rottweiler/ Newfoundland mix named Gus. Email him at Jennifer Waters (Photographer), is a professional pet photographer at Grumpy Pups Pet Photography. She also is a freelance writer and volunteer photographer at Harbor Humane Society. She credits her three boxers — the original “grumpy pups” — for her love of working with animals. View her work at or contact Jennifer at grumpypups@

Improve your health: Play with your dog! Did you know that 57 percent of Americans have little to no relationship with their neighbors? Or that marriage rates have trended downward from 66 percent in 1950 to just slightly more than 50 percent today? Given the proliferation of technology and how it has changed expectations at work, weekly free time is an hour and a half less than it was in 1985. It seems rushing and social isolation are the new normal, according to a 2010 research study commissioned by Pet Supplies Plus that looked at health, stress and the positive effects of pets on our lives. Stress levels have skyrocketed among children and adults the past 20 years with 49 percent of women reporting they feel significantly more

stressed than five years ago. Stress-related anxiety disorders, depression, heart disease, blood pressure increases and obesity have all trended negatively as well. There are so many problems that affect our health and well being, it can be overwhelming. What do we know that can reverse these trends? Strong social bonds are believed to improve our stress levels and help lengthen our lives. Scientists believe the quality of our relationships is the single biggest predictor of happiness, which can lead to a longer life. One other important thing we can do to improve our health is to exercise. Americans spend nearly three hours a day watching television and only 19 minutes doing some form of exercise. I don’t need to add anything more as we all know this. So, what is one thing you can do? Get out in the beautiful West Michigan air to walk and play with your dog.

from the publisher

steve adams

Here are some interesting facts to be encouraged by: • Dogs will cause you to exercise and socialize more. Forty percent of dog owners cite their pooch as a major motivation to regular physical activity. • 83.8 percent of pet owners who walk their dog talk to other pet owners while out, thus increasing social interaction. • Research has shown pets lower stress, improve social interaction, lower our blood pressure and have many other positive effects on our health. OK, with all these facts from the study, do you need any more reasons to get out and enjoy the summer? We have the pier at Grand Haven, the Muskegon Dog Beach and beautiful parks all over West Michigan to walk, talk with other pet owners and enjoy our dogs. So, what’s stopping you?

Your Dog’s Bad Breath… A Mere Nuisance or Silent Killer?

We have a free report on simple ways you can add years to your dog’s life and enjoy her affectionate kisses without pinching your nose! When you download your Free Report we will also give you several free bonuses for you to enjoy as well.

Healthy Pet Toolk it

The bad breath that makes you pinch your nose when your dog licks your face could be a sign of dental disease. She could be suffering in silence from what veterinarians call the “Silent Killer.” To learn how you can prevent this “silent killer” from striking your dog go to 2013

a lesson le about se arned, at belt restrain ts



Puppy & Kitten Checklist


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Critter Career Camp, Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Explore animal-related careers and meet professionals who work with animals every day! Camp includes interactive presentations, animal interactions, games and crafts. Times are 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for 7- to 9-year-olds and 1:30-5 p.m. for 10- to 12-year-olds. Cost is $75 per child. Visit hswestmi. org for more information or contact Jen Self-Aulgur at 616-791-8066 or


Toddler Tails, 10-10:45 a.m. at Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Toddler Tails is designed for ages 2-4 and keeps your tot engaged through stories, activities, crafts and animal interactions. Cost is $5 per family. Pre-register by contacting Jennifer Self-Aulgur (616) 791-8066 or


Dance for a Cure and Oh You Dirty Dog ‌ Wash, Harborfront Hospital for Animals, 807 W. Savidge, Spring Lake. HHFA celebrates its 25th anniversary with a day of charity events. At 10 a.m., Jazzercise of West Michigan will hold a demonstration class in the clinic parking lot. All donations will benefit local participants in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. At 1 p.m. the popular annual dog wash is back, with donations benefiting the Leukemia Foundation and Arise Academy. Call (616) 842-7011 for more information.

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Animal Care Experience Camp, Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. For children ages 10 to 12. Delightful Dogs Session from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Fun Felines and Crazy Critters from 1:30-5 p.m. Cost is $75 per child for half days or $140 per child for full days. This hands-on camp gives campers an in-depth look at dogs, cats and small animals. Each session will focus on different aspects of animals including breeds, grooming, training, basic care and more. Visit hswestmi. org for more information or contact Jen Self-Aulgur at (616) 791-8066.


Companion Animal Grief Support, 6-7 p.m., Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Please pre-register by noon on the day of the meetings with facilitator Ginny Mikita (616) 460-0373 or Jen Self-Aulgur (616) 791-8066 or


Pet Pals, 9 a.m. to noon, Bellwether Harbor, 7645 West 48th St., Fremont. This hands-on humane education program is for kids 8 to 14 who are too young to volunteer at Bellwether. Sessions include shelter/home animal health care, dog and cat grooming, dog training and agility and animal safety. Juice and light refreshments will be served, and kids earn a Pet Pals Certificate. Cost is just $20. Classes are limited to 20 students, so contact Bellwether by phone (231) 924-9230 or online at to reserve a spot.


Furry Friday Films, 5:309:30 p.m. at the Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Kids in grades K-5 are invited to join HSWM for a fun night of animal time, games, crafts and an animal movie. Pizza, pop and popcorn are provided. Cost is $25 per child with a $10 sibling discount. To register, contact Jen Self-Aulgur (616) 791-8066 or

POMA for Homeless Pets, Wealthy Street Theatre, 3 p.m. This event is the brainchild of a HSWM volunteer who is a member of the Professional Orchestral Musicians Association (part of the Grand Rapids Symphony). Musicians will entertain the crowd with wonderful animal-related music. Tickets are $25. Those bringing donations to HSWM’s Kibble Konnection will receive a free pop and popcorn. For information or to purchase tickets, contact Nicole Cook at or (616) 791-8009.


Pet Lover Camp, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Does your child have what it takes to own a pet? This camp for kids ages 5 to 7 is a fun-filled week where kids adopt an animal! Kids will foster a stuffed animal for the week while treating it like a real live animal. Kids will find out the ins and outs of pet ownership while enjoying real animal interactions, games, interactive presentations and crafts. Visit for more information or contact Jen Self-Aulgur (616) 7918066 or



Animal Academy, Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Ave. NW, Grand Rapids. Times are 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for ages 10-12 and 1:30-5 p.m. for ages 13-15. Spend a week at HSWM, learning how to volunteer with shelter animals. Then get a year membership into our Junior Volunteer Club and volunteer throughout the school year! Cost is $95. Visit for more information or contact Jen Self-Aulgur (616) 7918066 or


Animal Advocate Camp, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for 9- to 13-year-olds. Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Ave. NW, Grand Rapids. Is your child an advocate for animals? Do they want to protect animals in their community and beyond? Join other dedicated kids as we learn how to help animals. Many topics are discussed and kids will develop a greater understanding of animal welfare, as well as furthering their animal skills while learning to protect and care for animals. Cost is $140. Visit www. for more information or contact Jen Self-Aulgur (616) 7918066 or


Toddler Tails, 10-10:45 a.m. at Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Toddler Tails is designed for ages 2 to 4 and keeps your tot

engaged through stories, activities, crafts and animal interactions. Cost is $5 per family. Pre-register by contacting Jennifer Self-Aulgur (616) 791-8066 or


Pet Pals, 9 a.m. to noon, Bellwether Harbor, 7645 West 48th St., Fremont. This hands-on humane education program is for kids age 8 to 14 who are too young to volunteer at Bellwether. Sessions include shelter/ home animal health care, dog and cat grooming, dog training and agility and animal safety. Juice and light refreshments will be served, and kids earn a Pet Pals Certificate. Cost is just $20. Classes are limited to 20 students, so contact Bellwether by phone (231) 924-9230 or online at to reserve a spot.


Furry Friday Films, 5:30-9:30 p.m. at the Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson

Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Kids in grades K-5 are invited to join HSWM for a fun night of animal time, games, crafts and an animal movie. Pizza, pop and popcorn are provided. Cost is $25 per child with a $10 sibling discount. To register, contact Jen Self-Aulgur at (616) 791-8066 or


Companion Animal Grief Support, 6-7 p.m., Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Please pre-register by noon on the day of the meetings with facilitator Ginny Mikita (616) 460-0373 or Jen SelfAulgur (616) 791-8066 or

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What it is: So, you’re at the dog park, petting all the wonderful dogs, and suddenly this big Lab comes up with a face full of slobber. Before you can discreetly step away, he gets it all over you. Ick. It’s time for the hand sanitizer Dog Slobber to come to the rescue. The product kills 99 percent of germs, according to the packaging by its maker, Blue Mountain Q. But wait, there’s more: You don’t have to be near a faucet to rinse off the sanitizer. Just squirt it on your hands, and let it dry without wiping. Dog Slobber is slightly scented and includes aloe. Fetch it: The cost is $5.49 for a 2-ounce bottle. You can find it at Schuler Books and Music at 2660 28th St. in Grand Rapids or find it online at



What it is: Since you can’t take your dog to the Fulton Street Farmers Market in Grand Rapids, you should at least bring it home a treat. We found two — Peanut Butter Dog Treats and Great Harvest Bread Company Dog Bones — at the market recently. Both are made with natural ingredients you’d find in your kitchen. But wait, there’s more: Tina Frankenberger, who was selling the crackers at the D&M Farms booth, said the treat seems to make her Lab/Husky mix Kelsey, who is very finicky and has allergies, feel better. They are baked in small batches with “love and care” by Teith Van Noord of Grand Rapids. Fetch it: Get them at the Fulton Street Farmers Market or the Great Harvest Bread Co. store at 850 Forest Hills SE, Grand Rapids. They’re also available online at and




What it is: Dogs are turning green, getting into the environmental movement with BambuBowls. The new product is made out of cornstarch and bamboo, an abundantly sustainable and renewable resource, according to the makers of the bowls. But wait, there’s more: The bowls don’t just look good, they even have antibacterial benefits. Fetch it: BambuBowl for Dogs prices are $3.99 to $8.99, depending on the size, and are available at

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What it is: You and your pooch can be side-byside when you hop on your treadmill with one made especially for dogs. Helping obese dogs slim down is one of numerous health benefits the treadmill provides. Plus, it helps keep a dog calm and able to exercise in bad weather. But wait, there’s more: Electronic displays, safety collars and adjustable speed and incline settings are some of the features you’ll find on the treadmills. Fetch it: At Jog-A-Dog, which has been making dog treadmills for 41 years, prices range from $1,200 for a small model to $2,995 for an extra large model and are available online at Other models are available for less than $500 (just Google “dog treadmill”).


What it is: Walking on hot pavement or sand is tough on dogs’ feet in the summer, so pick up Pawz disposable, reusable and waterproof dog boots to protect them. They go on easy without any zippers or straps. The boots work like a sock, letting your dog walk normally. But wait there’s more: The boots are 100 percent biodegradable and also protect dogs from ice and snow in the winter. Fetch it: The boots come 12 per box, can be worn several times and cost $13 to $17 at retailers and online at



What it is: Maddie on Things: A Super Serious Project about Dogs and Physics features Theron Humphrey’s photos of his dog sitting on more than 100 objects, including mailboxes, a satellite dish and a green dinosaur. Huh? Yes, it’s quirky, but it’s also a great coffee table book, and you can buy the photos. But wait, there’s more: Humphrey rescued his coonhound through, and writes in the book’s description: “Maddie taught me that I should wake up every morning and be grateful. She taught me that committing to something and sticking to it is how we grow.” They appeared on the Today Show in May and the photos became a viral sensation on Instagram. Fetch it: Chronicle Books is the publisher of the book, which can be found at bookstores and online. Cost is $12.18 at, where readers give it a five-star rating. Put a smile on your face by checking out more pictures at Humphrey’s website,

Send us your product! To have your product featured in Fetch! send us a professional product shot of your featured item along with a description to be written in our Fetch! format to the email address below. Photo must be at least 300 dpi with the smallest full-size dimension at least 2 inches. Do not use software to increase the resolution. Please save as JPEG and send to info@

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• Boarding for ALL BREEDS and personalities • Affordable rates • Clean, comfortable country setting • Professional grooming

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wendy swift, DVM


Summer temps + cars + dogs = danger

Dr. Swift, My dog likes to go for rides in the car. I often take her with me when I go to the grocery store and leave my car windows cracked. I have heard that this may not be a good idea, even if I’m only in the store for a half hour. Dear Reader, During the summer, it takes only a few seconds for a vehicle to heat up to an uncomfortable temperature and only minutes for it to become so warm that it can cause heat stroke for pets and people. Unfortunately, leaving your windows down does not cool your vehicle enough to prevent the risk of deadly heat stroke. Studies have shown that leaving the windows slightly open won’t stop the temperature inside the car from climbing. During an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature in a car can climb to 102 degrees in just 10 minutes. In 20 minutes, the temperature in the car can reach 120 degrees. The best way to avoid heat stroke while traveling is to leave your pet inside your vehicle only while you are with them. If you have to go into a store that is not pet friendly, it is best for your four-legged friend to stay at home. If you must travel and have to fill up your gas tank or run into the restroom, park in the shade and leave your windows down at least a few inches (but not down far enough for your pet to be able to climb

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out) so there is good air circulation to help keep your pet cool. Heat stroke can be deadly, so it is essential you recognize the warning signs. Pets may pant excessively, have an increased heart and respiratory rate, drool, stumble or fall over, and their temperature will be above 102.5 degrees. Contact your veterinarian if your pet is exhibiting signs of heat stroke, as it is an emergency that needs immediate attention. Heat stroke can even occur by just sitting in the sun too long. Pets can also suffer heat stroke from overexertion caused by all types of exercise, including long walks, running, rollerblading, biking and swimming. Remember, not all dogs can swim, so use caution when swimming with your pet. Take into consideration the age, breed and fitness level of your dog prior to exercise. Each pet is different, and all have certain needs when exercising. In addition, I recommend you always check the temperature of the surface on which you are exercising with your dog. Pad burns can occur while walking on hot concrete, rocks or sand! Keeping your pet hydrated is another important component of exercising. There are many pet friendly

water bottles available and even some that can be shared between you and your pet so neither of you suffer from dehydration. If your dog has dry and sticky gums or you notice your dog’s skin is not as flexible as normal, contact your veterinarian immediately. Other warm-weather risks include backyard parties, fireworks and “highrise syndrome.” To prevent upset stomach issues from eating food that is not appropriate during a backyard cookout, make sure your friends know what is safe for your pet. The best rule of thumb is not allowing friends to feed them at all. Fireworks and pets do not mix. Contact your veterinarian for the best course of action to decrease anxiety from fireworks if your pet suffers from noise phobia and never let your pets near extinguished fireworks. Check all your screens to prevent “high-rise syndrome.” Every year, many pets suffer from fractured limbs after pushing a screen out and falling to the ground below. Summer is a great time to have fun and following these few simple safety tips will help you avoid any emergency trips to your veterinarian. danger zone You can help spread the message to remind people that it is dangerous and deadly to leave a dog in a hot car, even for “just a minute.” Download fliers and posters on the subject to leave on windshields or ask permission to post them in area businesses you frequent (grocery stores, for example). Free fliers and posters can be found at redrover. com/mydogiscool/fliers. For more information on the subject, visit

from our sponsor

Food for thought: Those extra calories may be hurting your pet


Obesity isn’t only a national issue when it comes to people. It’s also affecting pets in record numbers. The sixth annual National Pet Obesity Awareness Day survey reported 52.5 percent of dogs and 58.3 percent of cats are overweight. Obesity means an increased likelihood that other health problems — diabetes, poor joint health, cancer and heart, respiratory and kidney disease — will become an issue. But it’s never too late for pet owners to take control, said Dr. Sarah Abood, assistant dean for student programs and small animal clinical nutritionist at Michigan State University. She focuses on three specific areas on the issue of pet obesity: body condition scoring, portion control and exercise.

Body condition scoring The first step in assessing a pet’s health is conducting a body score assessment. Abood uses one of two scales when evaluating dogs and cats: A 1-5 scale or 1-9 scale, with 1 being very thin and a 9 being very obese (too heavy for the health of the animal). Of course, that means a 3 on a 1-5 scale or a 5 on the 1-9 scale is ideal. The body score assessment is rather detailed and can take an hour or more

to complete. It includes a physical examination as well as a lot of questions to determine the environment in which the pet lives. The pet’s breed, age, activity level and living conditions are all factors taken into consideration when determining the overall health of the pet. A visual exam will determine if there is a defined waistline — an hourglass figure if you look at the animal from above. Another part of the exam is running the hands along the ribs. Is there an hourglass shape or does it run straight down the sides? “If it’s straight down the sides, there’s too much condition,” Abood said. “If they don’t have a tuck up in the tummy, if it’s solid down there, there’s too much condition for that breed and that age of that animal.”

organs in good condition.” More weight on our pets means more stress on those vital organs. And while your pet is still able to jump up onto the couch to snuggle, the extra pound or two is putting more stress on their joints, heart, liver and lungs. Abood suggests 5 to 10 minutes of exercise per day for a cat and 15 to 30 minutes for dogs. Start out slowly and gradually work your way up to 30 to 60 minutes per day for dogs.

Portion control Many pet owners do not know what the daily caloric intake is for their pets. That includes their regular food as well as treats, and the calorie count can vary greatly between brands. “If you don’t know that, it’s pretty easy to overfeed your pet, so understanding how many calories your dog or cat needs and how many calories are provided in the treats and food can help you get a sense of ‘Wow, I really shouldn’t give her all she wants.’ ” Abood said. Abood suggests pet owners learn to read labels. And if you don’t see how many calories are included in each portion, find the toll-free number on the bag and call the company or check the company’s website and do a little investigating on your own. That’s what she calls being an “informed consumer.”

Your Pets’ Personal Assistant! Call... (616) 633-9902

Exercise and activity “Animals, like people, need regular activity,” Abood said. “Regular kinds of exercise every day, to get the muscles going, to keep our muscles and bones in shape and able to keep our internal

July/August 2013

Dogs Unleashed 11



Heat stroke, sunburn and insect bites ‌ summer has arrived! Summer is here, and our dogs look forward to long walks, fetch in the park, traveling to the beach and romping through the woods. What a great time to be a canine! As a dog owner and veterinarian, I am constantly on the lookout for things that can hamper the summer fun. My first job after veterinary school was in Las Vegas. I was surprised to find that Las Vegas, located in the middle of the desert, offered a plethora of outdoor activities that are dog friendly; our favorite was hiking the trails in the desert. Hot weather was inevitable. Heat stroke was a real concern. I once measured the temperature of my car after picking up groceries at 137 degrees. Extreme heat is inevitable in the summer. Even shaving down arctic breeds (Husky, Malamute, Keeshond, etc.) will not protect them from the heat. To the contrary, shaving an arctic breed can expose their sensitive skin to direct sunlight, causing extreme sunburn. In addition, many of these arctic breeds love to swim, and their undercoat is protection from cool water and can act as a subtle cooling device by retaining water, helping them stay cool. Heat stroke can be the end result of increased body temperature and may or may not be associated with the duration of the heat exposure. The normal internal temperature of a dog is around 99 to 102 degrees, but can be slightly increased at the veterinary office due to stress. I start to worry about hyperthermia (point at which the body can no longer control the increase in temperature via normal, everyday functioning, such as panting) at around 103.5 to 104 degrees. Once 12 Dogs Unleashed

July/August 2013

photo by jennifer waters

Plastic kiddie pools are inexpensive and can help keep your dog cool in the summer heat.

a dog has become hyperthermic, if the body cannot decrease the internal temperature, heat stroke will start. Heat stroke in dogs occurs when the core body temperature exceeds 105.5 degrees. Symptoms of heat stroke can include excessive panting, vomiting, seizures, irritability and lethargy. Some medical conditions that can predispose a dog to heat stroke include: brachycephalic breeds (i.e. Pugs, Boxers, and Boston Terriers), obesity, heart disease (murmurs), breeds with excessive skin (Sharpei), and senior dogs. During the early stages of heat stroke, the only symptom could be excessive panting, which can progress rapidly to the previously mentioned symptoms. If you suspect your dog is

in danger of heat stroke, do not wait to contact a veterinarian. Once your veterinarian has diagnosed heat stroke, the goal is to get the body temperature down quickly. The best way to decrease internal temperature is with internal treatments, such as IV fluids. External cooling will also be attempted with lukewarm water and fans to circulate air. It should be noted that placing a heat stroke dog in an ice cold bath can actually cause shock and make an already critical situation worse. Lab work, such as blood work and urine testing, will help the doctor determine the extent of the damage and give insight as to overall prognosis. The full damage of heat stroke usually isn’t evident for a few days, as many internal

organs may experience functional problems that have a delayed onset. Prevention of heat stroke can be as simple as providing cover (shade) and plenty of water for our fur kids on those walks and hot days. A solid plastic kiddie pool in your yard works well and can be easily cleaned when needed. Just make sure your dog isn’t a chewer, as I have seen dogs actually eat plastic pools. Light colored fur, sparse belly fur, thin skin and lifestyle can all be factors when considering sun damage to our dogs’ skin. Dogs can develop sunburn as well as an array of more serious diseases, such as skin cancer. Chronic sun exposure will also change the skin’s ability to heal and maintain healthy oil, resulting in cracking and wrinkles. Dogs that are outside for most of the day should have ample shade, water and sunscreen applied to the area on the nose where there is no hair. In addition to pet-safe sunscreen to protect our dogs from sun exposure, consider adding roofing for shade or even a sun-protective T-shirt such as a dog sunsuit. Normal (human) T-shirts will not protect the groin area for those sun-bather dogs.

Dogs that are outside for most of the day should have ample shade, water and sunscreen applied to the area on the nose where there is no hair. The skin in the groin area can be comparable to a baby’s skin in thickness and sun sensitivity. As little as 30 to 60 minutes in the sun is enough to cause damage to the top layer of the skin. If you do notice any changes in color, bumps, severe redness or cracking on any area of the skin, call your veterinarian for assessment as sunburn is a serious issue and will need to be treated with topical medications and even pain medications at times. It’s not just the summer heat and sun that can cause issues for our canine kids. Summer also means bugs, and lots of them. Only a few of the bugs actually cause harm, but stings and bites can really wreak havoc on those sensitive parts such as nose, paws, ears, eyes and even the tongue and throat area. My German Shepherd was unlucky enough

to bite a red wasp one summer, which resulted in difficulty breathing from the extreme swelling of her nose and face, followed by an emergency trip to the veterinary office for continued treatments. Spider bites actually are less common. Spiders bite mainly for two reasons, food and protection. Most often our dogs are bitten as a result of lying on the spider. However, I have seen a few cases where the dog was bitten on the nose as a result of being too inquisitive. Scorpion stings are also a concern here in Michigan as they love to hide in dead leaves and gardens. Most of these types of stings are located on the feet, legs, nose and face. If you see or think your dog has been stung or bitten by a spider, place ice on the wound or bite and also give a dose of Benadryl (pill form) of about 25 milligrams for most medium-sized dogs. First aid treatment should be promptly followed by veterinary care as many stings and venom cause systemic effects on the whole body (such as extremely high blood pressure or even shock) as well as severe local tissue death.

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Dogs Unleashed 13

good grief

ginny mikita

A seasoned veterinarian recently wrote of his experience accompanying his sister to another veterinarian’s office to have her dog Monte euthanized in an article titled, “A Vet’s Personal and Horrific Story.” Almost before Monte took his last breath, the veterinarian handling the euthanasia headed for the door, leaving the author and his grieving sister with Monte’s body and no idea what to expect next. When would he be taken out of the room? If his sister chose to have Monte cremated, who would cremate him and where? When would his ashes be ready? Would they just be his ashes, or would they be combined with the ashes of other beloved pets? Aside from the seemingly heartless behavior of the veterinarian who performed Monte’s euthanasia, this story raises an equally and arguably more important issue: what to do with a pet’s remains. Just as with human family members, these decisions are highly personal and can be critical in grieving and healing journeys. Learning about available options now has the potential to avoid making decisions clouded by emotion and regret when a pet dies, especially under unexpected circumstances.

BURIAL I recall early on as a child orchestrating with my friends backyard funerals for goldfish found floating in their bowls and tiny, winged creatures found lying outside on the ground. Without adult direction, we knew the reverence of the occasion. And despite our immature faith, we invoked God’s presence with crosses made from broken sticks, tied together with blades 14 Dogs Unleashed

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Burial? Cremation? Memorial? Even after death, decisions remain

of grass and carefully planted in mounds of dirt under which the shoe box bearing our companion’s remains was buried. Burying remains is an ancient human practice and, as it turns out, a rite shared by other species. Elephants and badgers do the same with their fallen companions. It is one of the most common methods for caring for a companion’s body after death. For homeowners who have sufficient land and are not restricted by local regulations, burial at home offers a good choice. Not only is it economical, but it can provide a literal sense of remaining near. For others who move frequently or whose homes are located in places in which animal burial is prohibited, designated pet cemeteries offer a permanent resting place for companion animals. In West Michigan, two pet cemeteries, Noah’s Pet Cemetery & Pet Crematory and Sleepy Hollow Pet Cemetery, have served the community for a number of years. Just as with humans, there are casket and headstone choices. Some prefer plastic, non-biodegradable options, while others prefer wooden — from simple to ornate — materials. Similarly, headstones are available in a number of materials.

CREMATION For many, cremation — a word just one letter away from creation — is the preferred choice. If your pet dies naturally at home, you can take the body to a pet crematory. If your pet dies at a veterinarian’s office or a veterinarian performs in-home euthanasia, the veterinarian can transport the body. Costs vary depending on the weight of your pet and whether you choose private, semi-private or communal cremation. With private cremation, your pet’s ashes, or cremains, are returned to you. Some crematories offer semi private cremation in which more than one pet is placed in the crematory (but in separate places, so the ashes do not commingle) at the same time. Again, your animal’s cremains are returned to you. With communal cremations, several animals are cremated together, and all cremains are buried on the cemetery grounds. As for what to do with your beloved companion’s cremains, the options are endless. Bury them in your yard — maybe where your pet kept his treasures. Scatter them in a special place — maybe in the lake in which he stood quietly watching tiny fish dart

in and around his paws. Place them in an urn or some other container: Pet cemeteries also offer decorative urns that look more like beautiful vases. Or, use them to make jewelry or stones or sun catchers. There is even an artist who will use the ashes to paint your companion’s portrait. In recent years, a third option has become available for companion animals: Taxidermy, using freeze-dry technology, the cost of which may be determined by contacting individual companies who provide this specialized service.

MEMORIAL/FUNERAL SERVICES Animals have long been integral parts of our families and are increasingly so. The death of a pet is often the first loss suffered by children and greatest loss suffered by adults. And yet, memorial and funeral services, for the most part, have not extended to our non-human companions. Prayer concerns rarely, if ever, include companion animal issues. Casseroles are rarely delivered. Cards are rarely sent. When an animal dies, many expect the grief journey to be over quickly

at an inside chapel, with or without an officiant and with or without religious foundation.

Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there - I do not sleep. I am the thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints in snow, I am the sunlight on ripened grain, I am the gentle autumn rain. As you awake with morning’s hush I am the swift-up-flinging rush Of quiet birds in circling flight. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there - I did not die.


— Mary Frye (written in 1932)

with a resumption of normal routine almost immediately. Many inquire, with good intentions and as if animals are fungible, “When are you going to get another dog?” There is an unspoken notion that other burdens are more deserving of prayer and outward shows of compassion. A memorial or funeral service offers an opportunity to give voice to deep feelings of loss and offer words of comfort to an animal’s human companions, as well as to honor the deceased and celebrate his or her life. It can be formal or informal, outside or

There are a multitude of other simple, yet meaningful, memorial options. Some have the name of their animal tattooed on their body or wear their dogs’ tags. Some keep a paw print or a clipping of hair. Others write an online tribute, plant a tree, contribute to animal protection organizations or commission a portrait. How you choose to memorialize your companion animal is highly personal. Just as with human companions, memorial services, burial, cremation and the holding/scattering as well as other tangible items and acts evoke a literal sense of continued closeness to your beloved pet and facilitate healing and letting go in the grief journey. Paying attention and responding without judgment to the deep needs of your soul and grieving heart are critical. “I am the thousand winds that blow.”

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Dogs Unleashed 15


MUSKEGON dog beach


in the


Clockwise from top: Ada, a 3-year-old mixed breed; Mondo, a shepherd mix; and Polly, a Great Dane, enjoy a day at the beach.

Residents, visitors treasure the jewel that is Muskegon Dog Beach 16 Dogs Unleashed

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s drivers head west on Sherman Boulevard in Muskegon, they’ll find themselves with two choices. Follow the slight right turn through modest homes and carefully landscaped yards, and head toward Beachwood Park and an area commonly known as “The Curve.” Sand dunes and a stunning panoramic view that comes up suddenly let you know you’ve arrived at The Big Lake. This area is a little slice of heaven for Lake Michigan residents and visitors alike, who come to enjoy the miles of sandy beaches, kiteboarding, playgrounds, beach volleyball and a stroll on the pier. Or continue straight, and Sherman dead-ends at Norman F. Kruse Park, named for Muskegon’s former mayor. It is here that you will find a slice of doggie heaven, for the area south of The Curve belongs to the dogs. You’ll find big dogs, little dogs, dogs who love to swim and dogs who don’t, dogs who run the shoreline chasing tennis balls, black dogs, white dogs, brown dogs … all enjoying the half-mile stretch of beach dedicated to them and their owners. Muskegon’s 26 incredible miles of beachfront and sand dunes are indeed a destination. And Kruse Park’s stretch dedicated to canines is the ultimate Doggy Destination. In 1999, the City of Muskegon made the half mile of beach in the northern section of Kruse Park official, designating it as a dog beach. The Muskegon Dog Beach is an incredible and unique resource enjoyed by locals and also attracts an abundance of visitors from out of town. Laura Schollaart of Hudsonville recently visited with her 2-year-old yellow Lab, Friday. “This is only Friday’s third time off leash,” Schollaart said. “It is worth the trip to come here. The dog beach is so beautiful and clean. It is a fun and wonderful way to spend a day and exercise Friday.”

Caleb Siefert is a Muskegon native living in Ann Arbor. He and Krista Foley, from Maumee, Ohio, brought Mondo, a shepherd mix, for his first visit to the dog beach. “I am from Muskegon originally and live here during the summer,” Siefert said. “Mondo is still between puppy and adulthood. We thought the dog beach is a great place to bring him to work on commands, especially with the distractions of water and other dogs around. This place is beautiful and I love that you have the combination of sand dunes and the beach all in one area.” Added Foley: “I love to come here with Mondo so he can play with other dogs and socialize. Today is Mondo’s first time at the dog beach and the first time in the water. He is learning so much from the dogs here already. It is so beautiful here. I can see the three of us spending a lot more time here this summer.” Zoey, a 10-year-old blue heeler mix, also experienced Dog Beach for the first time recently. Her owner, Paul Bowerman, said it won’t be her last. Bowerman moved to Muskegon from Lowell. “This is our first time at the dog beach,” Bowerman said. “My friends at work recommended we visit and I can honestly say that this will be a regular destination this summer. Zoey can run around and wear herself out and socialize with other dogs. She sure seems to like it here.” Some visitors loved Dog Beach so much, they found homes in Muskegon to be nearer to it. “We recently bought a new place in Muskegon just to be closer to the dog beach,” said Topher Crowder, a Livonia resident who visits the beach with his wife, Johanna, and dog, Sassy. “It really is beautiful and the best beach in Michigan. We love coming down to the beach and making a day of it.

FRIENDS OF MUSKEGON DOG BEACH The organization is made up of friends and volunteers committed to supporting Kruse Park Dog Beach and responsible ownership through cleanup, education and recreation. It does this through: • Organizing cleanups and recruiting walkers to help keep the beach and surrounding areas free of dog waste; providing holders and bags at the dog beach and surrounding areas. • Touting the health benefits of dog companionship for people, and promoting regular veterinary care and training for dogs. • Organizing and participating in dog-related events. • Supporting dog fostering and adoption. • Regularly communicating local dog information via its Facebook page: muskegondogbeach. To join the Friends of Muskegon Dog Beach, simply join the group or send a message via its Facebook page.

“This place is more than anyone could ask for. Historically, this is an exceptional piece of land.”

PASSION PROJECT This exceptional piece of land does not exist without work. It takes a dedicated collaboration of organizations and dog lovers alike. One of the dog beach’s biggest and most enthusiastic advocates is Chris Willis, founder of Friends of Muskegon Dog Beach. “I moved to Muskegon three years ago to be closer to the Kruse Park dog beach after it became the place I wanted to visit every weekend,” Willis July/August 2013

Dogs Unleashed 17

said. “After convincing my husband to make the move, we started hearing about how the dog beach had special maintenance concerns (mainly around dog waste pickup) that made it a target of visitor complaints and placed an extra burden on shrinking city budgets. “I met with parks supervisor Bernadette Young to learn more, and then approached the City of Muskegon about forming a citizen support group to help keep the dog beach freely available for all who love it as much as I do.” Willis said the top priority of Friends of Muskegon Dog Beach is to promote responsible behaviors by dogs and their people. “We work to make sure that the dog beach remains the amazing city asset that it is, and is never seen as an extra budget, risk or maintenance burden,” she said. After living near the dog beach for a full year, Willis said she gained an appreciation for all the City of Muskegon does to groom and maintain the area parks and beaches. Friends of Muskegon Dog Beach lends a hand by assisting in the cleanup of the area and by trying to keep it safe, clean and self-policing. Willis, however, has bigger plans. “I hope at some time in the future to be able to provide financial support to ensure the sustainability of Dog Beach,” she said. “Seeking a not-forprofit status is one of the options I am considering for fund-raising activities to earn money to support Dog Beach and local dog-related charities. We’re working toward that future goal of a Friends of Muskegon Dog Beach endowment to support the dog beach for years to come, for future generations to enjoy.”

IT TAKES A VILLAGE The biggest challenge — but perhaps the one with the easiest solution — for the dog beach is the issue of people not cleaning up after their dogs. Yet the most popular request from visitors is for more trash receptacles and waste removal bags, making it easier to be a responsible dog owner. Additional trash receptacles and waste removal bags cost money. There 18 Dogs Unleashed

July/August 2013

Kevin Albery, of Lansing, launches a tennis ball for his dog Ada (right) and Mondo, a dog visiting from Ann Arbor owned by Caleb Siefert. KEEP IT CLEAN When enjoying Muskegon Dog Beach, follow the rules and use proper dog etiquette. 1. Keep dogs on leash or under control and supervised at all times. Always leash up from the car to the designated Dog Beach off-lead area, around small children and any time your dog may be perceived as threatening or bothering others.

your dog and “pay it forward” by picking up any stray waste or trash you see. 5. Don’t bury dog feces in the sand or throw it in the dunes or water. 6. Bring dogs to the beach early or late. You’ll find it’s less hot and less crowded. 7. Respect the posted dog-free beach areas to the south and north of Dog Beach.

2. While off leash, let dogs run in uncrowded areas, giving no one reason to complain.

8. Don’t litter. If you bring it to the beach, take it home from the beach (including cigarette butts).

3. Don’t let dogs invade the space of other people or dogs uninvited. Ask first if it’s OK for your dog to visit or play.

9. It is in your interest to take this seriously, be a good neighbor and honor these rules. If humans do not respect others, dogs won’t have a beach to enjoy. Enjoy and protect this treasured place.

4. Please carry at least two cleanup bags for every dog. Pick up after

are costs associated with acquiring the supplies themselves as well as with the manpower needed to stock the waste bag holders and trash pickup. Young said the limited budget of Muskegon Parks and Recreation puts more onus on dog owners to do their part. “People need to be stewards of the jewel they have in Dog Beach,” Young said. “It would be extremely helpful if everyone would just do their little part — clean up after their own dog and encourage other beachgoers to do the same.

“A limited budget makes it challenging to maintain clean parks and beaches. We are very grateful to the people and the groups that take pride in our area parks and beaches and help us keep these places clean and safe.” In addition to Friends of Muskegon Dog Beach, other local organizations are dedicated to supporting Dog Beach. One of those groups is the BeachwoodBluffton Neighborhood Association. Since Dog Beach is geographically within the association’s jurisdiction, it made sense for the group to assist with

its maintenance and care. “We have regular cleanups around the entire area. We also supply the City of Muskegon with the dog waste removal bags and receptacles put up at Dog Beach,” said Bonnie Witt, president and treasurer of the Beachwood-Bluffton Neighborhood Association. “There are very few public places to take your pets to run, especially where there is a large body of water. The dog beach is so unique in that it offers a half mile of beautiful lakeshore for you to enjoy with your dog. Plus, it’s free! “The public can help out by keeping everything picked up and clean. What it boils down to is that we just don’t want to risk losing this treasure [that we have in the dog beach] over something that has such a simple solution.” Dog Beach has another supporter in the Greater Muskegon Kennel Club. With a mission statement that encompasses responsible dog ownership, dog education and service to the community, supporting the cause just made sense. Kevin Nieboer, President of the Greater Muskegon Kennel Club, is a regular patron of Dog Beach with his Pomeranian. “Supporting the dog beach is a no-brainer for the GMKC for several reasons: We are in Muskegon, there is a demonstrated need for support,

it is a project worthy of support, we have the money, and we have a social responsibility,” Nieboer said. The GMKC this winter made the decision to provide the dog waste removal bags to fill the holders purchased by the Beachwood-Bluffton Neighborhood Association and installed by the City of Muskegon. The kennel club agreed to provide these bags on an ongoing basis at an annual cost of about $2,500. Nieboer encourages patrons to use the bags provided by GMKC, because they are biodegradable. “People typically turn to using plastic grocery bags to pick up dog waste when the bag holders at the dog beach are empty,” Nieboer said. “The problem with this is that those bags are not biodegradable. The bag holders installed at the dog beach were built for a specific biodegradable dog waste bag. By supplying the proper bags on an ongoing basis, we are not only helping people be responsible dog owners, but we are also helping offer a green friendly way to do so. Given the opportunity, most people will do the right thing if provided with the right tools.” Nieboer echoes the sentiments of all who visit and work to keep the beach a paradise for dogs and their owners. “The dog beach needs to be preserved,” he said. “It is very unique and has a great reputation. We want to do our part to keep it that way.”

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6130 Airline Road Fruitport, MI 49415 Ada, a mixed breed, leaps high at the shoreline for his tennis ball. July/August 2013

Dogs Unleashed 19


Kent county


photos by jennifer waters

cat dogs is going to the

Share a brew with man’s best friend in the town dubbed Beer City USA 2013. By TRICIA WOOLFENDEN

As the evening approached in downtown Grand Rapids on a finallystarting-to-feel-like-summer Sunday in May, the outdoor deck at HopCat was aglow in what photographers refer to as the “golden hour.” Young professionals propped elbows on tables as they poured over the menu of craft beers and dignified bar food, with selections like locally brewed IPA and the aptly named (but narcotics free) “crack fries.” In the midst of earnest conversations about IBUs and hop origins sat two perfectly behaved pups, welcomed guests at one of the only West Michigan establishments to allow canines to share outdoor dining space with their human counterparts. Though named for the feline

20 Dogs Unleashed

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contingency of popular domestic American pets, HopCat has been pro-dog since its inception in 2008. The world-renowned beer bar and microbrewery has long permitted leashed dogs to hang out in designated spaces, said manager Garry Boyd, who credits dog-loving owners for the restaurant’s laid back attitude. On this particular weekend afternoon, the human parents to Zoe, a 3-year-old Golden Retriever/Golden Doodle mix, and her sister, Piper, a 2-year-old Maltese, were enjoying the privileges of being able to hang with their fur-babies on HopCat’s deck. “They’re a part of our family, they have personalities,” said Carter Anderson of Lansing, who sipped a Freedom of ’78, an American-style IPA by Michigan-based Short’s Brewing Company. Anderson and his fiancé, Kaitlin Cameron, also of Lansing, were taking a breather at HopCat after an hours-long engagement photo session that had them all over the city for the better part of the afternoon. After the shoot wrapped, their photographer pointed them in

the direction of HopCat, knowing the couple would relish the chance to bring their dogs along for the break. “We don’t like leaving them at home,” said Cameron, who was working her way through a Whitsun Ale, a pale wheat ale brewed by Arcadia Ales in Battle Creek. The couple, who will be married next May, make an effort to bring Zoe and Piper along to as many outings as possible, but said it can be a struggle to find places in Michigan that will accommodate four-legged guests. With their calm demeanors and perfect

Zoe (top photo) and Piper (above) recently spent time hanging out at HopCat with their humans, Carter Anderson and Kaitlin Cameron, who were visiting from Lansing.

manners, the two young dogs were just the kind of pets that are welcome at this out-of-the-ordinary establishment. There are just a few “simple rules” to bringing a dog — or for that matter, a cat — to the patio. Boyd said the animals must be “behaved.” Owners, meanwhile, are asked to use good judgment (keep the dogs off the couches, leave overwhelmingly large dogs at home, etc.). A back entrance to the patio makes it possible to skip the indoor dining area entirely. Canine guests are treated to a bowl of fresh water, and Boyd said the restaurant has even experimented with making dog-safe “beer” and housebaked dog treats. He said the business has yet to encounter any issues and said they work hard to ensure that all guests — dog-loving and otherwise — are comfortable and happy in the space. “Most people are down with what HopCat is doing,” Boyd said. Indeed, the bar has enjoyed a resounding show of support from both the local West Michigan community and the craft beer movement at large.

HopCat Location: 25 Ionia SW, Grand Rapids Contact: 616-451-4677 Website: Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday to Saturday and noon to 2 a.m. Sunday this year named HopCat the “best brewpub in the United States” while called it the “second best craft beer bar” in the country. Industry leader Beer Advocate magazine last year designated the spot “third best beer bar in the world.” Perhaps part of HopCat’s success can be attributed to its early start in the now booming Grand Rapids craft brew scene. When the bar debuted more than five years ago, Furniture City was in the beginning stages of its beer renaissance. Now, the city, recently crowned “Beer City USA 2013,” is taking a lead in the industry. Familiar names like Founders Brewing Co.

consistently earn international acclaim while up-and-coming microbrews, like Mitten Brewing Company on the city’s west side, add diversity to the growing microbrew ecosystem. “We came in at a really good time in the market,” said Boyd, who believes the bar and other businesses like Founders have been able to work in a “symbiotic relationship” to help “blow up the craft beer culture” in the region. In addition to fostering a company culture that’s supportive of local beer brewers and fans, HopCat has made a point to be socially active in the community, contributing to local efforts to help the city’s homeless population. The bar’s other “pet cause” – so to speak – is animal welfare, with the company contributing to local nokill pet shelters, spay/neuter services, the humane society, and other animal friendly organizations. “It’s a fun place,” Boyd said, explaining why the dog friendly patio makes sense in the company’s overall business model. “We’re very eventdriven and about just plain having fun.”

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Dogs Unleashed 21

photos by jennifer waters


ottawa county



ld Boys’ Brewhouse displays an open fondness for dogs. Taped to the walls of the Spring Lake eatery’s faux factory interior are dozens of canine photos, brought in by dog owners throughout the years. It’s apparent from gazing at the hundreds of photos that dogs seem to have an instinctive desire to mug for the camera. There are ample photos of owners sitting proudly next to their Labradors, beagles, golden retrievers and an assortment of other breeds, including — to the everlasting annoyance of Late Night comedian Jay Leno — some dressed in costumes, such as a pug outfitted as a Halloween pumpkin. A handful of cat photos are there, too, as long as a dog also is in the picture. Equally as important to dog lovers at the Brewhouse is its adjacent outdoor deck. During the warm months, dog owners are allowed to bring their canines along and enjoy their specialty brews and meals, which include everything from snacks to pizza to burgers to entrees featuring fresh fish, steaks or Mexican cuisine. While owners dine at tables on the patio deck, their dogs are in sight a few feet away, leashed outside the low wrought-iron fence of the deck’s eating area. Having dogs outside the deck is a health department requirement, although a bill introduced in the Michigan Legislature proposes to change that and allow dogs and pet owners to be together. The inspiration of allowing dogs and humans to enjoy their experience at Old Boys’ is derived from Brutus, “The snake Malone,” a chocolate Labrador whose nickname was Old Boy and whose facsimile plays a prominent part in the Old Boys’ Brewhouse logo. Old Boy touched the lives of his family and friends with his gentle demeanor and unique eating habits — catching fish out of a lake — but most of all by his ability to interact with humans. It’s that bond humans 22 Dogs Unleashed

July/August 2013

Mugs & Mutts Old Boys’ Brewhouse features plenty of each Visitors to Old Boys’ are greeted with photos of dogs throughout the establishment.

form with their dogs that Old Boys’ Brewhouse celebrates, owner Melissa Brolick said. “I researched this for 13 years,” said Brolick, who founded Old Boys’ Brewhouse in 1997. “The real issue was finding a building and a spot. And I started researching craft beer because our water here is very, very good.” Brolick eventually decided to construct her own 6,750-square foot bar and grill. But she wanted a place

that would stand out from the pack. Distinctive features of her place include a Mug Club, which allows patrons a reserved parking spot, the dozen-plus craft beers they make and a select number of the 120 or so wooden chairs with regulars’ first names painted or stenciled in red, and, of course, its homage to dogs. “I’m a dog lover and I wanted to do something different from a nautical theme in the area,” Brolick said.

“Animals are a pretty big part in this area. I want to make it a happy, casual environment.” What may make Old Boys’ atmosphere even more festive is if a proposed state bill is passed into law, giving restaurant owners the right to decide whether to allow dog owners to bring their pets into outdoor dining areas. Currently, state law doesn’t allow dogs in outdoor seating areas, although many eateries allow people to keep their pets just on the outside of the fenced dining areas. Support for the bill, such as from the House Tourism Committee, is strong, while others are concerned about handling the waste by both the dog owners and staff at restaurants, unruly and vicious dogs and whether liability for problems caused by the dogs lies with the restaurant or pet owners. Brolick in general supports the proposed law, though she said she would want to know more about liability issues and wonders how much the Ottawa County Health Department would weigh in if the state bill is adopted into law. “I think it’s a really good idea, however, depending on your situation and what your area is like, you still have

to have an organized process,” said Brolick. Old Boys’ patron Rudy Vedovell wouldn’t mind having the deck opened to his canine companion, Trigger. Vedovell, owner of Lots of Green landscape design and installation in Holland, finished up lunch recently at Old Boys’ with a couple of friends.

Owner Melissa Brolick and her chocolate Lab, Marge.

Trigger was leashed just outside the fence, a bowl of ice water at the 7-yearold German shepherd dog’s feet. “Trigger is with me about 70 percent of my time,” Vedovell said. “Because of my business, I’m able to have him with me most of the time. I’ve been here a few times. It’s nice to have Trigger here, too.”

Old Boys’ Brewhouse Location: 971 W Savidge St, Spring Lake, MI 49456 Contact: (616) 850-9950 Website: Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 11:30 a.m. to midnight (bar open later); Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Live music is featured every Friday and Saturday night.

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July/August 2013

Dogs Unleashed 23


kent county

Dog Parks n Hillcrest Dog Park Location: 1200 Lyon St NE, Grand Rapids Facebook page: Hillcrest-Dog-Park/100854359973761 The scoop: Free off-leash dog park on the Northeast side of Grand Rapids open year round. Shaded, large area, one for small dogs and a larger area for bigger dogs. n Shaggy Pines Dog Park Location: 3895 Cherry Lane, Grand Rapids Contact: (616) 676-9464 Website: The scoop: This 20-acre private park located in the heart of Cascade Township features plenty of towering pines, rolling hills and wide-open green spaces. Fenced-in grounds include a one-mile lighted jogging/ hiking trail, two large dry dog areas and an ample number of benches and tables to relax, a “doggy mountain” sand pile for climbing and digging, a dog swimming pond and a deck overlooking the pond. Membership required, day passes available.

in warmer months. Dog areas are gated and locked and electronically controlled to keep out non-members and dogs not current on vaccines. No puppies under 6 months, no children under 10 allowed. Children 11-13 must be accompanied by an adult.

HOTELS n Baymont Inn & Suites GR Airport Location: 2873 Kraft Avenue SE, Grand Rapids Contact: (616) 956-3300 Website: The scoop: Dogs of all sizes are allowed. There is a pet fee of $10 per pet per night. n Days Inn & Suites Location: 3825-28th St. SW, Grandville Contact: (616) 531-5263. Website: The scoop: Dogs of all sizes allowed. There is a pet fee of $10 per pet per night. A $50 deposit required if paying with cash.

n Whiskers Resort & Pet Spa Location: 3100 29th St. SE, Grand Rapids Contact: (616) 575-5660 Website: The scoop: A luxury pet care center for overnight boarding, grooming, training and daycare. Features 45 canine suites with more than 70 square feet per room and feature the look, feel and sound of home, including flat screen TVs. Grooming spa offers customized bathing and styling services. n Winking Duck Bed & Biscuit Location: 553 Carrier NE, Grand Rapids Contact: (616) 233-0726 Website: The scoop: Small-scale dog daycare and boarding (only 8 dogs maximum at a time), in-home setting ideal for owners who want companionship for their canines while owners are working or traveling.

SPECIALTY SHOPS n Dogwood Barkery Location: 4693 Wilson Ave. SW, Grandville Contact: (616) 288-3130

n State Park Campgrounds


Location: With few exceptions, pets are welcome in Michigan state parks, recreation areas and at boating access sites. Contact: (800) 447-2757 Website: The scoop: Pets must be accompanied at all times by responsible owners. Some campgrounds have established pet-free areas.

The scoop: Dogwood Barkery specializes in freshly baked healthy treats, pastries and cakes that are made in its in-house bakery. They do not contain additives, by-products and preservatives. Services include a salon that provides the choice of basic bath, deluxe bath or deluxe bath and a haircut, and obedience training.

n Wyoming Dog Park Location: At Marquette Park just north of Kimble Stadium, 1414 Nagel. Contact: (616) 530-3164 Website: DogPark.asp The scoop: All dogs must be preregistered with Wyoming Parks and Recreation to gain entrance via key card. There are two fenced-in dog runs (one for small dogs and one for large dogs), with running water available

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n Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Downtown Location: 310 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids Contact: (616) 235-7611 Website: The scoop: Holiday Inn is the only downtown hotel to welcome pets. Fee is $25 per night.


DAYCARE/BOARDING n Pet-Agree Contact: (616) 633-9902 Website: The scoop: Pet-Agree offers in-home daily visits, overnight stays in the client’s home or the pet-sitter’s home and dog-walking services in the greater Grand Rapids area. Electronic reservations available through PetAgree’s website.

Location: 25 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids Contact: (616) 451-4677 Website: The scoop: An outside deck for leashed dogs and their owners is available. Common sense is highly recommended on busy nights as dogs and big crowds sometimes don’t mix and leashes can create an obstacle course for staff and patrons.

destination: MUSKEGON/ottawa

DOG PARKS n Dog Star Ranch Location: 4200 Whitehall Road, Muskegon Contact: (866) 766-0444 Website: The scoop: This 48-acre facility is a renovated golf course surrounded by naturally wooded areas. Dog Star Ranch offers wooded walking trails, a pond, several separately fenced dog parks, agility courses and a canine excavation area, as well as a boarding facility. Annual, monthly and daily pass memberships available. n Norman F. Kruse Park Location: At the end of West Sherman Boulevard at the beach in the city of Muskegon. Contact: (231) 724-6991 Website: departments/parks/kruse/ The scoop: Kruse Park has about a half mile of Lake Michigan beach,

with an accessible ramp to the beach and into the dunes. The dog beach was created on the beach along the northern part of the park, and is officially open from April 1 to Sept. 30. n Park Township Dog Park Location: Off Ottawa Beach Road in Holland just past 152nd Avenue, enter the Ottawa County Fairgrounds entrance, and follow the signs. 
 Contact: (616) 399-4520 Website: departments/parks-bike-paths/dog-park The scoop: This use-at-your-own-risk park requires dogs to be on a leash to and from the staging area. No dog younger than four months allowed. Owners should not bring more than three dogs, and no children under 10. Small treats allowed only when training a dog. The park is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. n Hager Park Location: 8134 28th Avenue, Georgetown Township Contact: (616) 738-4852 Website:

The scoop: From May 1 through Sept. 30, owners are required to take their dogs on designated trails only. Pets must be on a 10-foot or shorter leash. Dogs are not permitted in park buildings, restrooms, picnic shelters, playground areas or as posted. Leader dogs for persons with disabilities are permitted in all areas at any time. Many Ottawa County open space lands allow dogs year-round off leash. For information, go to Parks/parks.htm. n Grand Haven City Beach Location: 1299 South Harbor Drive, Grand Haven Contact: (616) 842-3210 Website: The scoop: Sandy swimming beach located on Lake Michigan, this city beach is nestled between The Bil-Mar, a beachfront restaurant, and Grand Haven State Park beach on Harbor Drive. Dogs are welcome on the beach except when swim buoys are in place. If this is the case, dogs are permitted to swim on the designated beach just south of the swim area.

I saw my owners using to plan their next trip. Looks like I’ll be going too! Don’t leave your pets behind on your next trip! Use for a full list of Pet Friendly accommodations, beaches, and parks in West Michigan.

Photo by Kevin Povenz

July/August 2013

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SPECIALTY SHOPS n ArtCats Gallery Location: 1845 Lakeshore Drive, Muskegon Contact: (231) 755-7606 Website: The scoop: A unique shop in Muskegon’s Lakeside district (with a second location recently added in Petoskey), ArtCats features fine contemporary crafts, original paintings and artful accessories. Many of the specialty items include portraits, pottery and jewelry featuring dogs and cats. n Must Love Dogs Boutique & Spa Location: 211 Washington Ave., Grand Haven Contact: (616) 935-9588 Website: The scoop: This boutique offers a panoply of products, including all natural foods, bakery treats, toys, collars, leashes, beds, bowls, as well as canine and people clothing, jewelry, spa products and dog-related gifts. Must Love Dogs also offers a selfserve dog grooming facility, which includes an elevated claw-foot tub and grooming table.

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DAYCARE/BOARDING/ GROOMING n Dogs Bay Country Club Location: 3675 64th St., Holland Contact: (269) 857-8310 Website: The scoop: Dogs get to romp around the 2,200-square foot facility and are treated to breed-specific games daily to fulfill their instinctual needs so they come home happy, balanced and tired. Dogs are supervised together in core color groups based on size, temperament, special needs and energy to ensure a safe and fun experience. n Paw-Pro & Company LLC Location: 1107 Washington Ave., Grand Haven Contact: (616) 850-0035 Website: The scoop: Full-service grooming and daycare for dogs and cats serving Grand Haven, Muskegon, Spring Lake, Ferrysburg, Fruitport, West Olive and further. All breeds, mixed breeds are accepted at this full-service grooming parlor located in Washington Square. Services include doggie daycare, obedience training, pet supplies and

accessories, hair cutting, bath and brush, ear cleaning, teeth brushing and anal gland expression. n Tun-Dra Kennels Location: 16438 96th Ave., Nunica Contact: (616) 837-9726 The scoop: Tun-Dra Kennels has been serving dogs and their owners in West Michigan for more than 50 years. Owner Lyn Anderson welcomes all breeds and personalities to her comfortable country setting and offers affordable rates. Grooming service also available.

HOTELS n Grand Haven-Spring Lake Holiday Inn Location: 940 West Savidge Street, Spring Lake Contact: (616) 846-1000 Website: en/spring-lake/grhmi/hoteldetail The scoop: A limited number of rooms are set aside for dogs and their owners. Fees are $25 per night, per dog, and are non-refundable. One dollar of each pet fee is donated to the Muskegon Humane Society. Upgrades unavailable.


author wade rouse

Wade Rouse (left) and partner Gary Edwards at home with their most recent adopted dog, Mabel.

Mutts as a Muse

Best-selling humorist Wade Rouse has drawn inspiration from his canine companions


t is a sunny day which can only be described as charmed in the countryside near Fennville, Mich., where bestselling author Wade Rouse and his longtime partner, Gary Edwards, live in their perfectly decorated knotty pine cottage. There has been a gourmet lunch served on the screened porch and Edwards, the chef, has just given a tour of the enviable grounds, complete with Adirondack chairs and cunning potting shed. The birds are singing and the silverware is clattering. Wait ... the silverware is clattering. Rouse and Edwards stare at each other for a moment, then shout in unison: “Mabel!” So much for seconds on those banana bars with burnt sugar frosting Edwards slaved over. Mabel — the couple’s much loved, fuzzy-faced mutt — is in the house. Literally. It’s not the only time. The couple recall a dinner

party in which the first guest to the table, actually the first guest on top of the table, was their dog. They’re good-natured about such shenanigans. If there is anyone who subscribes to an “it’s OK if life is messy as long as love abounds” philosophy, it is these two. That messiness is detailed in each of Rouse’s four warm, poignant and funny memoirs which trace life from his fish-out-of-water childhood in the tiny farm town of Granby, Mo., — “Growing up gay in the Ozarks is like being a fat stripper in Vegas, there’s nowhere to hide” — to his 17-year relationship with Edwards: “Gary is home.” His fifth book, I’m Not the Biggest Bitch in this Relationship, is an anthology he devised and edited of essays by humorists about man’s best friend. The book was a Today Show “holiday pick” when it was released and 50 percent of royalties are donated to the Humane Society of the United States.

___________________________ Story by PATTI EDDINGTON | Photos by Jennifer Waters _________________________ July/August 2013

Dogs Unleashed 27

author wade rouse

courtesy photo

There are a few undeniable themes in Rouse’s writing and — along with his hair, his tan, his beloved mother and his relationship with Edwards — dogs are one of them. “I grew up with a lot of pets. I know most ‘dog people’ sound the same way — ‘they are more than pets to me,’ — but it’s true. They provide deep joy,” he says.

Wade Rouse with his brother, Todd, and their puppy, Racer.


Rouse’s mother, Geraldine, worked as a nurse in the trenches, spending the bulk of her career in intensive care, emergency and hospice settings. Pragmatic — she never wanted to miss one of her sons’ school activities so she once showed up in her blood-stained uniform — and funny, she was a staunch supporter of not only her two boys, but every abandoned pet in the vicinity. “Growing up in such a rural area, people simply dumped their animals. My mother made every effort to bring them in,” he remembers. “She always said: ‘Prayers and penicillin in equal doses. Prayers and penicillin.’ ” The cover of Rouse’s first memoir, America’s Boy, is a sepia tone photo of Rouse and his beagle pup, Rouse’s Rabbit Racer (Racer for short). His brother, Todd, also is in the photo. Like so many siblings, as the brothers grew they had a love/hate relationship, a fact that haunted Rouse when, shortly after his own graduation 28 Dogs Unleashed

July/August 2013

cold. She licked my face when I would get angry or cry. She lay on my feet, never leaving my side, no matter how many hours I wrote,” Rouse relays in his memoir, It’s All Relative. “Marge would stare at me with such intensity and need and love that my heart melted about fifty times a day.” Several years ago, Marge moved with the couple when they left St. Louis, Mo., where Rouse worked as the director of public relations for a tony prep school, which he later chronicled in his book Confessions of a Prep School Mommy Handler. It was a nightmare job, even if it did provide hilarious fodder for his book. But, it was during that time that he decided to devote himself to his passion, rising before dawn each day to work on America’s Boy. Marge sat at his feet while he wrote. Eventually, the couple decided to take a leap of faith and move to the mitten, where Rouse could write and Edwards — a skilled gardener and chef as well as landscape designer — could pursue his interests. Typically, Rouse used the sometimes riotous adventures inherent in the relocation in another memoir: At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream. They have carved out a beautiful life in the Allegan County countryside, not far from vineyards, blueberry fields and Lake Michigan. Sadly, Marge died in April, 2011, but a few years before that, Mabel had become part of the little family.

from junior high, Todd was killed in a motorcycle accident. Witnessing the pain his family experienced, and suffering himself, he ultimately squelched his sexuality. “I decided out of pain and shame, out of respect for my family, to change who I was,” he writes in America’s Boy. “I would not allow my parents to mourn the loss of a second son in their lives. I decided I would be the son I should be, the son my family deserved, the son to bear them children.” Already struggling with a weight problem, he took comfort in still more food, and in his dog. “When my brother passed away, Racer was always there,” he says. “Dogs are always there.” Rouse met Edwards, then an interior landscape designer, when he was in his early 30s. He’d eventually overcome his weight issue and opened up to his family about his sexuality, but always maintained a love of dogs; particularly rescued pooches like Racer. Edwards grew up with black Labs named Midnight 1 and Midnight 2, and when he decided it was time to add to their family, though Rouse was unconvinced, they made a visit to an animal shelter, initially leaving without a dog. “But then I began to pout,” Edwards says. “No. Then you began to cry,” Rouse adds. “OK. Yes. Then I began to cry,” Edwards said, laughing. LIVIN’ LARGE MARGE

They ultimately went back and adopted their first dog, a lovable Rottweiler/Husky/Doberman mix they named Marge. They were told she would grow to be 45 or 50 pounds. She topped out at 80 pounds of sweet, goofy, neurotic behavior. Marge was an obedience school dropout, panicked when faced with a car ride, and responded to a Rouse/ Edwards devised language in which “Itty-bitty-boo!” and “Dum-diddledum-dum,” roughly translated, meant something like, “sit.” Still, she was a love. “She snuggled with me when I was

courtesy photo


Marge, whom Wade and Gary adopted, lay at the author’s feet during writing time. Now, Mabel fills that role.

These days it is Mabel who rises early with Rouse, watches him make his favorite latte, then follows him to his attic office overlooking a woodland and keeps him company as he writes. They share the spacious office with Edwards, who last year gave up his other responsibilities to work as marketing and events manager for his partner, arranging book readings and writing workshops around the country. Mabel accompanies them on their travels and is always a hit. It’s a pattern that will likely continue, since Rouse’s following continues to grow and he is now working on his first novel, tentatively titled The Charm Bracelet. Both Rouse and Edwards acknowledge there is still a void in their home, and their hearts, left by Marge. They say they will fill it ... someday. “I think a writer should always have a pet,” Rouse says. “We’re not sure what it will be or when. Whatever is at the shelter, probably. We’ll just know.”

WADE ROUSE Wade Rouse, best-selling author with five books to his credit, grew up in the Ozarks of Missouri. He earned a bachelor’s degree in communications at Drury College (now Drury University) and a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. More about Rouse: • He has written five books: America’s Boy, Confessions of a Prep School Mommy Handler, At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream, It’s All Relative, and I’m Not the Biggest Bitch in this Relationship. • Yes, he uses Twitter ( waderouse) and he blogs at waderouse. com and • His essays can be heard on NPR’s Michigan Radio (104.1 FM in West Michigan, 91.7 FM in Ann Arbor/Detroit and 91.1 FM in Flint). • He teaches writing workshops, “Facing Your Fear as a Writer: How to Find Your Voice (and An Agent) & Finish Your Book.” In July, he will have day-long events at Schuler Books in both Lansing and Grand Rapids. Visit for more information. • He is a volunteer and fundraiser for Wishbone Pet Rescue Alliance in Douglas.

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Dogs Unleashed 29

photo feature

A Russell Rescue The Jack Russells were a bit shy and fearful upon arrival, but settled into their new kennels.

Chelsi Hall, animal care specialist at the Kent County Animal Shelter, takes one of the freshly bathed rescued Jack Russells to its temporary kennel.

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When the ASPCA Animal Cruelty Investigation and Disaster Response semi-truck rolled into the parking lot at the Kent County Animal Shelter in June, Dogs Unleashed was on hand to document the arrival of 21 Jack Russell terriers rescued from a suspected puppy mill operation in Lake City, Mich. In all, more than 150 dogs were rescued from the puppy mill and dispersed to various shelters around the state. Of those, 15 went to the Kent County Animal Shelter and six to the Humane Society of West Michigan. Dogs Unleashed photographer Jennifer Waters captured these images of the terriers arriving at KCAS, where they underwent medical and behavioral evaluations and, in most cases, baths! The dogs were available for adoption soon after and, at deadline for this issue, 9 of the 15 at KCAS had found forever homes. The dogs at HSWM recently were made available for adoption and one has found a new home.

Crates of Jack Russell terriers lined the parking lot at KCAS after being delivered by the ASPCA’s semi truck.

Dr. Laurie Wright, staff veterinarian at KCAS, had her hands full evaluating all the new arrivals.

The Jack Russells, (left), were housed in their own kennel area at KCAS, where they awaited adoption into their “furever” homes. More than half already have been adopted.

All the Jacks at KCAS were given names of Detroit Tigers players, despite the fact that only one male was among the 15! The little sweetheart at right is Cabrera, named after Tigers superstar Miguel Cabrera.

Fielder, (above), named after Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder, gets a towel dry after her bath upon intake. Shortly after she became available, Fielder was adopted.

Make a Connection... Find True Love Today!

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32 Dogs Unleashed


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zeke the wonder dog

Carrying on the canine tradition at MSU (and beyond)


photos by jennifer waters


party — with his oversized head, bulging biceps, and green and white warrior’s costume — is an undeniable symbol of Michigan State University pride. But the university’s official mascot isn’t the only beloved halftime star known to rile up students and alumni alike. On and off for more than 30 years, Zeke the Wonder Dog has been a beloved MSU football tradition. The school currently is on its third incarnation of Zeke, but the theme remains the same: An athletic Labrador hits the field during breaks in play at Spartan Stadium and performs acts of derring-do, usually involving chasing a Frisbee (or six). The original Zeke reigned from 1977 to 1984. In 2001, the football program decided to resurrect the longretired Zeke persona. Terri Foley – coowner of Zeke II and III – is as excited today as she was a dozen years ago when she learned she and her husband Jim would become part of the official Zeke lineage. “If anyone had clued me in then that I would own the next Zeke...” Terri says, shaking her head and reminiscing about her graduate school days at MSU when she would root on the original Zeke during his halftime performances. “I always thought Zeke was cool,” says Jim, who has acted as both owner and trainer for the second and third Zekes. The Foleys stepped into the role of Zeke handlers when their black Lab, Dexter, won over the MSU athletic director in 2001, earning Wonder Dog status. Zeke III — the current Wonder Dog — took over for his older brother, Zeke II, when the senior pup retired in 2007. (Zeke II passed away in 2012

Owner/trainer Jim Foley says trust is key when it comes to Zeke’s performances.

at 16.) Jim Foley said he feels confident Zeke is on the cusp of hitting his stride. “Zeke will be seven this year; this and next year should be his prime years,” Jim says. Zeke works an average of eight home games every season, plus volunteering at numerous outside events throughout the year. The Foleys receive a modest stipend from the Michigan State Athletic Department to cover the expense of traveling between their Lakeshore-area home and East Lansing for the MSU performances. Mostly, it’s a labor of love for the dog and his human counterparts. “We’re just Spartans — you have to bleed green to do this,” Jim says. Zeke in Action – Home & Away Every Zeke — including the current yellow Lab whose offstage name is Boo Coo — must display a stunning amount of athletic prowess. His primary talent is “freestyle Frisbee,” in which he must leap, twist and dive to catch the flying

discs that Jim sends sailing from one end of the football field to the other at high speeds. Other tricks include leaping over Jim’s back and displays of dexterity and obedience. During a recent appearance at Petapalooza in Holland, Zeke — and a few four-legged members from his “team of friends” — entertained crowds with freestyle Frisbee demonstrations. But his time at the public pet adoption event also included one of his more important tasks: acting as an ambassador and schmoozing with an

Zeke gets cooled off while performing at the recent Petapalooza in Holland. July/August 2013

Dogs Unleashed 33

adoring crowd. “Wherever we take Zeke, it seems there’s people taking pictures of him,” Jim says. In addition to performing during MSU home football games, Zeke makes public appearances at pet parades, rescue events, fundraisers and numerous other community affairs. Jim hopes to one day soon have Zeke logging hours as a therapy dog. Jim says none of this would be possible without a profound level of trust between the pair. “To be able to let a dog loose on a football field with two football teams and 80,000 people watching me — he wouldn’t be out there if I didn’t trust him,” says Jim. It’s also critical that a Wonder Dog knows how to interact with the youngest, most vulnerable strangers with whom he’ll have contact; particularly those that might be prone to tugging on ears or tails. “Zeke loves kids — we do a lot of events at children’s schools,” Jim says. “He’s just a big-hearted guy.”

Zeke, sporting his MSU bandana, has special Frisbees with his name imprinted on them.

Zeke the Wonder Dog Name: Zeke III (or Boo Coo when “offstage”) Age: 7 Breed: Purebred yellow Labrador retriever. “He’s a bird dog,” owner/trainer Jim Foley says. “He is such a great dog with such a great lineage.” Specialty: Freestyle Frisbee Where to find him: Home football games at Michigan State University during the 2013/2014 season. Plus: 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 9, at Valley Court Park in East Lansing and 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Pentwater Homecoming Grand Parade in Pentwater.

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emma fox

A summer job that’s rewarding for dog and sitter If you’re looking for a summer job but aren’t into mowing lawns or selling lemonade, and you love animals, why not try dog sitting or dog walking? Gavin Stockton is a 14-year-old eighth grader at East Grand Rapids Middle School. He’s a dog owner (he has a 6-year-old golden retriever, Kyra), dog sitter and dog walker who happens to live in my neighborhood. I interviewed Gavin to find out more about his part-time job.

Gavin Stockton, an eighth grader at East Grand Rapids Middle School, and his dog, Kyra.

Q: What responsibilities do you have when you watch a dog?

Q: How old were you when you got your first job?

A: Well, you have to feed the dog however many times the owner tells you to feed it, walk it at least once a day for a good long walk, play with it a lot, give it lots of attention, pay attention to its mood and behavior so you know if it’s sick or sad, fill its water if it’s less than halfway full, hang out with it. It’s generally good to hang out with them a lot. Sometimes I’ll bring them over to my house for an afternoon or let them out in their backyard and throw the ball to them for a few hours every day. It’s good to engage with them because they need it, they’re missing their human. It also depends on if you have different ages or breeds of dogs, too. One time, I was babysitting two bigger dogs and a smaller puppy. The puppy got fed wet food from a can while the big dogs ate dry food. It took me a while to figure out how to feed them so they wouldn’t eat the wet food that Oliver, the smaller dog, ate. I ended up feeding him in a different room or in his crate so they wouldn’t bother him.

A: I was in fourth grade, so about 9 or 10 years old.

photo by emma fox

Q: How much do you charge? A: I generally charge $15 for a weekend taking care of one or two dogs and $30 a week for one or two dogs. If there’s three or more, probably around $50 and up because that can take a lot of time. It also depends on the owners and what the dogs need. If they’re all near the same age and are pretty easy to care for, I might charge $50, but if they’re rowdy and all different ages and are hard to care for, it’ll be more. Q: How often, on average, do you take care of dogs? A: Not very much, I’m pretty busy with school, sports, my own dog, and babysitting my younger brother, but I do it whenever I can. Q: What expectations do you have for people who are watching your own dog?

A: My dog’s kind of a princess, and she gets super anxious when she’s alone, so it’s good to have someone who stays over with her, or at least spends a good amount of time with her. I expect them to feed her the right amount of food and make sure she has water. She should be let out at meal times and once in the middle of the day so she can do her business. I expect them to take her on at least one 20-minute walk per day and play with her. She doesn’t like to be alone, but she isn’t a crazy dog, either, so it’s good for her even to hang out at their house for the day. Q: What tips do you have for potential dog sitters? A: Well, don’t throw a ball over the fence. It’s a pain to go get. Play with them and give them plenty of attention. Dogs are kind of like kids, they need a lot of stuff. They need attention and they need to be around people. But unlike kids, they don’t need the 24/7 supervision and the constant attention. Most of the time, it’s just good for them to be with people so they don’t get too stressed.

July/August 2013

Dogs Unleashed 35

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HSWM contest winners The Humane Society of West Michigan recently announced the winners of its annual “Be Kind to Animals� poster contest. Kids were challenged to design a poster that illustrated kindness to animals. Each winner receives a free Humane Society Summer Camp or Furry Friday Films registration.

First grade: Alexis VanGeest

Dogs Unleashed congratulates each of the winners and is proud to display their winning posters.

Third grade: Zoe Paskewicz

ung : Jordyn Yo Fifth grade

Four th g rade: Lil ly Parso ns

dmaier Sixth grade: Evelyn Wi Note: There was no second grade entry. July/August 2013

Dogs Unleashed 37

giving back

Considering adopting? First step is exercising patience By ALEXIS CROSSWELL

Grinning cheerfully, Erin Chillag asks, “Want to see a picture of her?” I’m handed an iPhone full of snapshots of Stella, Chillag’s adopted pit bull mix, whose honey brown eyes gaze up at the camera while she lays, a tangle of legs and a tail, on Chillag’s couch. For those looking to add to their mobile phone’s “gallery of cuteness,” West Michigan offers well-run shelters full of dogs (and other animals) waiting to find their forever home. Chillag adopted Stella from the Humane Society of West Michigan. “She had been transferred from the Kent County Animal Shelter and had probably spent most of her life in a shelter,” Chillag said. “She was only two years old. (After we met her), we slept on it and the next day I just had to go and pick her up. She jumped in the car and just laid right down. She’s my little gem.” Adopting a dog and integrating it into your life takes preparation, research and, of course, some fun time getting to meet your new pooch. The first step in understanding your new companion is appreciating the environment from which it came. There’s no question a shelter environment is stressful for dogs. “Close proximity to other dogs, constant noises, people staring, confinement in a kennel and separation

Stella and Erin Chillag. 38 Dogs Unleashed

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photos courtesy of grumpy pups PET photography

Stella, an adopted pit bull mix, gallops happily ahead of owners Erin and Kipp Chillag.

from families are some of what dogs experience,” said Namiko Ota-Novesky, behavioral specialist at HSWM. Even when shelters provide enrichment programs, the fact remains the animals are in an environment that vastly differs from living in a home, which can influence behaviors and actions. “For a social dog, even people walking by and not paying attention is stressful. So, aside from what we do to minimize stress, it is up to an individual dog how well he/she can cope with the situation,” Ota-Novesky said. Pets will need some time to adjust from the stressful environment of a shelter to the environment in a home. Patience is key, Ota-Novesky said. “Once you have your new dog in your home, be patient and remember that accidents happen,” she said. “Allow your new dog a time to learn and spend the time teaching him/her what good behavior is by rewarding them each time you see it.” Carly Luttmann, program supervisor at the Kent County Animal Shelter, sees firsthand the stress in dogs arriving at her facility. While her staff uses clicker

training to teach dogs proper behavior through positive reinforcement, she, too, advises patience for new owners. “Many dogs we work with have recently lost their home and their bond with their human family,” Luttmann said. “Besides adjusting to new people, there are all kinds of strange new smells, sights and noises. We utilize a variety of techniques to help reduce anxiety and stress for dogs at the shelter. “We always advise adopters to be aware that a new pet will go through a transition period when it arrives at their home. The same transitions the dog encountered when entering the shelter are present when becoming used to a new home and routine of a new family.” It’s important to think about how your new dog will fit into your environment, Ota-Novesky said. If you’re active, look for an active dog. If you’re a couch potato, find a dog that doesn’t need as much activity. One of the benefits of adopting a dog from a reputable shelter is that the staff get to know the dogs on a daily basis. They can give you insight into their personality, and as long as you are honest about your needs, you can find a

with, Luttmann said the experience of adopting is rewarding for both owners and dogs. “It is truly an amazing feeling to give a second chance to a dog that someone else could no longer care for and realize that this dog was meant to be your best friend all along,” Luttmann said.

with Stella. “I’m taking her to agility classes at Whiskers University, they said she’s very advanced,” Chillag said. “It’s a good mental challenge for her, but she’s so fit it’s not too difficult for her to do.” Whether your dog becomes an agility dog or just a pet to snuggle

ADOPTING 101 Namiko Ota-Novesky, (right), behavioral specialist at the Humane Society of West Michigan, offers these tips to those planning to adopt a shelter animal. • Be patient: Remember that “accidents” happen. Your new pet likely isn’t housebroken. • Plan ahead: What type of dog fits into your lifestyle? • Prepare your home: Puppy-proof or dog-proof your house. • Provide routines: Allow dogs time to “chill” once home, rather than overindulging them with affection right away. • Crate rules: Use a gradual approach to show your dog that the crate is a safe place and not “solitary confinement.” Don’t use the crate as a means of punishment. • Dogs do not come pre-programmed to understand your expectations: Rewarding good behaviors instead of punishing bad ones builds a mutually respectful relationship.

photo by jennifer waters

great match. Chillag initially went to the shelter seeking an older yellow Lab, because she knew that older dogs don’t get adopted as much. The dog she had in mind was in isolation, had pneumonia and a few others problems, so the staff couldn’t let him out that day to meet Chillag. Instead, they introduced her and her husband to Stella, a slightly anxious but active dog. “We are a very active couple, running, hiking, and we had filled out the adoption survey which includes a section about activity level, so we think that’s why they showed her to us,” Chillag said. “My husband and I talk about this all the time, how she’s so matched to our life because we just take her everywhere, she’s like a kid.” All dogs need some training on how they are expected to behave in a new environment. Some common issues for shelter dogs include house training, which, according to Ota-Novesky, can be a problem especially with dogs coming from hoarding or puppy mill situations. In addition, dogs can be anxious. “Because they had limited time to socially interact with people, they tend to become overly excited and anxious when people are around,” Ota-Novesky said. “Once people are gone, dogs may not immediately understand that people do come back.” Ota-Novesky suggests providing routines and allowing dogs time to “chill” rather than overindulging them with your affection right away. Though it may be hard to leave your new furry friend at home, it’s a fact of life that dogs can’t go everywhere with us. Luttmann suggests that after adoption, new owners continue the training that was followed at the shelter. Enroll in a dog training class that focuses on positive reinforcement. At HSWM, a six-week obedience class is part of the adoption process. “They worked with her so much while she was there that she really did well,” Chillag said. “I got her certified as a canine good citizen – AKC certification with 10 activities they have to pass, like walking on a leash, how she behaves when I leave the room, behavior around other dogs.” Chillag is taking it a step further


456 Kinney NW • Grand Rapids, MI 49534 • p.616.453.0080 • f.616.453.9825 • July/August 2013

Dogs Unleashed 39


Bissell blocktail party


From left, Amy Altschul, Diane Whyatt and Melissa Symanski of Pet-Agree dog walking and pet care service ham it up with their dogs at Blocktail.


Stephanie Newton cuddled with her tiny year-old Yorkie/poodle mix, Nugget.


This trio of well-behaved Great Pyrenees (from left, Cache, Pearl and Reagan) belong to Melissa VerPlank and Marc LeFleur of Paragon School of Pet Grooming, White Dog Enterprises and Whiskers Resort & Pet Spa.


Lucy, a ruby Cavalier King Charles spaniel, is deaf, but that didn’t stop her from having a blast with owner Kathy Wynsma.

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July/August 2013


Jorel Davis, assistant general manager at Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary, happily posed with his Olde English bulldog (a slightly taller breed than the more familiar English bulldog).


Yoki, a Chinese crested owned by Alyssa Rushing, and Maverick, a chocolate Lab belonging to Richard Martinus, hung out together for the evening.


Bissell blocktail party


A little Boston terrier couldn’t help but try to get to the yummy treats available in the Grumpy Pups Pet Photography photo booth.


Oliver came fresh from a dye job from his owner Jennifer Blurton, a Whiskers Resort & Pet Spa employee.


The gang from Carol’s Ferals, including founder Carol Manos (left) had a message to send during their time in the photo booth.


Marian Ward, groomer for The Paw Place in Grandville, brought her beautifully groomed Shih Tzu/Maltese mix Xulu to the festivities. Xulu is a certified therapy dog.


Lucca, an almost-4-year-old Great Dane, belongs to Brandon Bissell, nephew of Bissell Pet Foundation founder Cathy Bissell.

Show us YOUR dog! We welcome photos of readers’ dogs. Just send your picture (minimum 300 dpi, .jpg format) along with information about your pet, including name, breed and age, as well as your name and city of residence. Be sure to include some of your pet’s favorite (or least favorite) things, or a little anecdote on him or her. E-mail photos to

Photos by JENNIFER WATERS July/August 2013

Dogs Unleashed 41

the tail end


A sucker for Sugar, and every other creature I’ve been told I’m a soft touch when it comes to critters. Lift your paws. Perk up your ears, push them forward into that cute position. Greet me at the door when I come home, and you’re guaranteed a treat even before my husband gets kissed hello; that’s how much I love animals. Truth? I don’t even have to know you all that well, and you’ve got me at the first “boof.” Like the dog who lives next door to my mom. Her name is Sugar — the dog, not my mom. I don’t know how Sugar does it, but she knows my car. It’s not like I’m there every day, just a couple of times a week, but somehow, the minute I pull into the driveway, she appears at the fence like magic, out of nowhere, waiting for a cookie. Or two. My mother started it. She befriended Sugar — a beautiful Boxer, fawn colored, white chest, soft ears — soon after she moved in. My mom spends a lot of time in her

backyard, and Sugar spends a lot of time in hers, so my mom decided as long as they were neighbors, they’d better be friends. The next time my mom was buying salmon and potted grouse for her cat — the most indulged creature on Earth — she picked up a bag of dog bones. From that day forward, whenever my mom goes outside to fill the bird baths or feeders, deadhead the garden or sit on her deck, Sugar shows up on her side of the fence. “Do you want a cookie?” she asks — my mom, not the dog. The answer is always yes. Sugar wriggles, and she jumps, and she acts as if my mom is her best friend just home from a trip around the world — it’s been so long since they’ve seen each other — and then she sits down for her treat. One day, I was in the backyard, doing something, and there was Sugar. “She wants a cookie,” my mom said. “Why don’t you give it to her?” I went into the garage, got into the pail marked “Dog Bones” and grabbed one on top. “She likes two,” my mom said.


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They have this routine. Sugar takes the first treat and drops it, then comes back for the second one, which she puts in between her paws and eats immediately. Then she goes backs for the first. “Isn’t she smart?” my mom asked. Smart enough to recognize my car. Before I even open my car door, Sugar is at the fence, peeking through the chain links, tilting her head to follow my every move. If I take too long, she looks at me and says in her outdoor voice: “Boof!” “Just a minute, Miss Boof. I’ll be there,” I’ve been known to say, moving a little faster so she doesn’t have to wait. There are days she cons me out of four bones (don’t tell anyone). If she comes to the fence twice, I give in. I’m not too good at discipline, or counting, obviously. My own two cats — Vincent, our one-eared guy, and the Little Cat, who has outgrown her name — are at the back door the minute they hear the garage door go up. After our traditional greeting time, they head, a two-cat flotilla, for the cupboard with treats. Pretty smart. The last time I bought cat food — dry and canned — and kitty litter, I added a box of dog bones for Sugar. Lucky for my checkbook, I don’t have to buy anything for the crows that recognize my car. Oh, that’s right. I haven’t told you about the crows. The minute I pull into the driveway at a house my mom has near Stony Lake in Oceana County, the crows show up, calling out to the rest of their gang, because I usually have old bread in my trunk for them. They sit in the trees, chiding me if I’m not quick enough for their liking, a little like Miss Boof. Heaven help me if I ever get a new car. No one’s going to know me.

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July/August 2013

Dogs Unleashed 43

Dogs Unleashed July-August 2013  

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