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July/August 2014 | $3.00

GET OUT! A variety of adventures awaits your dog

Paula Creamer

LPGA star’s dog is her No. 1 fan

Canine Capital

Destination Austin, Texas Vol.2, No.6

e av S






Dog park.

Dog tested. Dog approved.™

Delta Subaru | Grand Rapids, MI | 888.44.DELTA |

2 Dogs Unleashed July/August 2014

Subscribe Publisher: Pet Supplies Plus U.S.R. Services 18000 Cove St., Suite 201 Spring Lake, MI 49456 Editor: Mary Ullmer Creative Director: Kevin Kyser Dogs Unleashed is a bi-monthly magazine especially for dog lovers. It is available at Pet Supplies Plus stores in west Michigan; Dallas/Fort Worth; Birmingham and Mobile, Ala., and Appleton, Wis. It also can be purchased via mail-order subscription at

Today! Every other month you get: • Expert advice • Fetch! Products • Doggy Destination

All material published in 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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PeRFeCt hOSt

• Entertaining stories

John O’Hurley on dogs, books, life and, yes, J. Peterman

• Great photography

3 for the show

• Products and services from great advertisers!

A trio of new breeds debuts at this year’s National Dog Show

Pooch Patrol

Wyoming K9s protect and serve

To subscribe visit To advertise in Dogs Unleashed, contact Mary Ullmer at:

from Pet Supplies Plus Vol.2, No.2

Also available at your local


5 Paws-Ability 6 Canine Calendar 8 Fetch! 10 From Pet Supplies Plus 12 The Groom Room 14 Profile: Paula Creamer 16 Issues: Bully Breeds 19 Working Dogs 22 Get Out! 32 Destination: Austin, Texas 36 Around Town 38 The Tail End

on the cover

photo by jennifer waters

For our Get Out! cover, we used Murphy, a goldendoodle. He was enjoying the great outdoors during a photo session with Grumpy Pups Pet Photography’s Jennifer Waters. Murphy’s people are Steve and Kristin Spykerman of Jenison, Mich. Whether romping in a field, hiking in the woods or kayaking on the river, there are plenty of outdoor activities you can share with your dog.

July/August 2014 Dogs Unleashed 3

West Michigan Spay & Neuter Clinic

6130 Airline Road Fruitport, MI 49415

contributors Writers: Abigail Carlon (Issues/Bully Breeds), Cindy Fairfield (Paula Creamer profile, Get Out! Running), Susan Harrison-Wolfiss (Working Dogs, The Tail End), Paul R. Kopenkoskey (Get Out! Biking), Candilynn and Michael Lockhart (Doggy Destination: Austin), Linda Odette (Fetch), Ron Rop (From PSP/Kelly Iris profile), Kristie Swan (Paws-ability), Melissa Verplank (The Groom Room), Jennifer Waters (Get Out! GR Dog Adventures, Long-distance Dog), Tricia Woolfenden (Get Out! Kayaking).

Simply go to getdogsunleashed. com and complete the payment information using our secure credit card form. Questions? Write to

Photographers: Katy Batdorff (Get Out! Kayaking), Kate Jonkman (Longdistance Dog), Candilynn and Michael Lockhart (Doggy Destination: Austin), Rob Meendering (Long-distance Dog), Kendra Stanley-Mills (Working Dogs).

Kevin Kyser (Creative Director), owns Kyser Design Werks, a full-service branding and marketing firm. Kevin and his wife Jody have four children, three cats and a 150-pound Lab/ Rottweiler mix named Gus. Email him at

Cartoonist: Jonny Hawkins

Jennifer Waters (Photographer), is a professional pet photographer at Grumpy Pups Pet Photography, (ad on p. 28) 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

Copy editors: Linda Odette, Jody Mercier

to subscribe Order a one-year subscription (six issues) to have Dogs Unleashed delivered to your home for just $14.97. You also have the option to order it as a gift for a dog-loving friend.

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 NewsLeader and Muskegon Chronicle. Email her at

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Training vs. behavior modification: There is a difference Summer brings with it new experiences, and young dogs may have forgotten what happens when the weather warms up. Regardless of your dog’s age, though, summer brings challenges. From re-learning leash walking to dealing with skateboards, rollerblades, bikes, picnics and overly friendly strangers who want to say hello, it’s important to know your dog so you’re both able to navigate these situations. If your dog reacts in a less-thanideal way, it’s important to recognize whether it is a training issue or a behavior-modification issue. Training teaches your dog to respond to a cue or perform a particular way in a given situation. Behavior modification, meanwhile, is meant to change a pre-existing behavior or response to stimuli. The distinction is important. Take pulling on leash, for example. Training teaches a dog not to pull in the first place; behavior modification requires working with a dog who already pulls to lessen or eliminate leash tension. The second scenario is much more difficult. A closer look at such behaviors reveals they could result from a need for comfort and security. In these cases, simply treating symptoms can lead to greater issues. Just as you would want to know the cause of repeated headaches, you need to investigate the root of unwanted behaviors before attempting to extinguish the problem. Methodology for training behaviors and resolving issues is extremely important. A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior compared correction and rewardbased training methods. Researchers Stephanie Deldalle and Florence Gaunet found 65 percent of dogs trained in a correction-based style displayed stress-related behaviors compared to eight percent of those trained in a reward-based style. Also of note, just 38 percent of the correction-trained dogs looked at their owner. In the positively trained group, 88 percent gave their owner voluntary attention. A study of Belgian Army dog and handler teams published in the journal of Applied Animal Behaviour Science also found the dogs who had been punished were less attentive to their handlers and showed signs of stress. Additionally, these dogs were more distracted and sometimes avoidant when it came to tasks. With punishment, the handler and task became sources of stress and discomfort. Whether a dog feels insecure or uncomfortable about an

65 percent of dogs trained in a correction-based style displayed stressrelated behaviors compared to eight percent of those trained in a rewardbased style. Also of note, just 38 percent of the correction-trained dogs looked at their owner. In the positively trained group, 88 percent gave their owner voluntary attention. advancing stranger or a speeding bicycle, punishment could be akin to pouring gas on the fire. These studies illustrate positive training is not only about kindness to the dog; it is also about results. Kristie Swan, a certified professional dog trainer, is head trainer and manager at Whiskers University in Grand Rapids, Mich. Contact her at (616) 575-5660 or

July/August 2014 Dogs Unleashed 5



All: Animal Summer Camps, 9:3011:30 a.m., Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. All camps feature cool speakers, games, fun crafts, and lots of animal time with dogs, cats, bunnies, and more! For information, visit or contact Jen SelfAulgur (616) 791-8066 or jaulgur@


Paws 2 Remember, 6 p.m., Hospice of North Ottawa, 1061 S. Beacon, Suite 100, Grand Haven. Pet loss grief support group presented by Clock Timeless Pets. Free. For information, call (231) 7223721 or (616) 844-4200.


Toddler Tails, 10-10:45 a.m., Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Designed for ages 2-4 and includes stories, activities, crafts and animal interactions. Cost is $5 per family. Contact Jen Self-Aulgur (616) 791-8066 or


Companion Animal Grief Support, 6-7 p.m., Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Group sessions offer a safe, confidential, structured environment. 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 jaulgur@


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

6 Dogs Unleashed July/August 2014


Baby Ready Pets, noon2 p.m., Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. A workshop to help prepare your pet for the arrival of your bundle of joy. With a little training and assistance, you can make it a safe and stressfree experience for the whole family. Contact Jen Self-Aulgur (616) 7918066 or


Paws 2 Remember, 7 p.m., Scolnik Healing Center, 888 Terrace St., Muskegon. Pet loss grief support group presented by Clock Timeless Pets. Free. For information, call (231) 722-3721 or (616) 844-4200.



Dog Day at the Ballpark, 1 p.m., FifthThird Ballpark, 4500 West River Drive, Comstock Park. Enjoy the Fort Wayne TinCaps-West Michigan Whitecaps baseball game with your furry best friend at this annual event. Lawn sections preferred for those with dogs, but reserved seating also available. All dogs must be leashed, and owners are responsible for their dog’s conduct and cleanup. Drinking pools will be available in the park. Tickets are $6 for lawn seating and $10.50 for reserved. Before the game, catch the World’s Largest Dog Wash in the FifthThird parking lot. Proceeds from the dog wash, which runs from 10 a.m. until the first pitch at 1 p.m., benefit Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids. To order tickets, go to


Paws 2 Remember, 6 p.m., Hospice of North Ottawa, 1061 S. Beacon, Suite 100, Grand Haven. Pet loss grief support group presented by Clock Timeless Pets. Free. For information, call (231) 7223721 or (616) 844-4200.


Toddler Tails, 10-10:45 a.m., Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Designed for ages 2-4 and includes stories, activities, crafts and animal interactions. Cost is $5 per family. Contact Jen Self-Aulgur (616) 7918066 or


Paws 2 Remember, 7 p.m., Scolnik Healing Center, 888 Terrace St., Muskegon. Pet loss grief support group presented by Clock Timeless Pets. Free. For information, call (231) 722-3721 or (616) 844-4200.


Companion Animal Grief Support, 6-7 p.m., Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Group sessions offer a safe, confidential, structured environment. 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 jaulgur@



Paws 2 Remember, 6 p.m., Hospice of North Ottawa, 1061 S. Beacon, Suite 100, Grand Haven. Pet loss grief support group presented by Clock Timeless Pets. Free. For information, call (231) 7223721 or (616) 844-4200.


5K Dash for Dogs, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Holiday Inn Spring Lake, 940 W. Savidge, Spring Lake. The 5K run/ walk benefits the Muskegon Humane Society and features a packet pickup from 6-8 p.m. on Sept. 12 at Jack’s Waterfront Bistro in the Holiday Inn. A beer tent and pizza bar available after the walk/run. Register early and begin gathering pledges at Registration forms also available at the Grand Haven Chow Hound store, Muskegon Humane Society

and Spring Lake Holiday Inn. Cost is $25 for early registration, $30 on day of event. For information, go to


Dog Day in the Park, 9 a.m., Riverside Park, 2907 Monroe Ave., Grand Rapids. The annual day-long extravaganza, presented by the Grand Rapids Kennel Club, promotes responsible dog ownership and includes educational booths, dogfriendly apartment communities, demonstrations of various types, dog carting, canine first aid and CPR, micro-chipping, Police K-9 Unit, contests and more! Additionally, Canine Good Citizen evaluations will be conducted and rescue groups and vendors will be available to offer information regarding services and products. Free. For information, visit




Critter Camp, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Greater Birmingham Humane Society, 300 Snow Drive, Birmingham. Session II is for ages 7-8 and will feature presentations on different animal careers. Students will have the opportunity to meet professionals who work with animals and have daily hands-on interactions with animals in the adoption center. For more information, go to


Critter Camp, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Greater Birmingham Humane Society, 300 Snow Drive, Birmingham. Session III is for ages 9-10 and will feature presentations on different animal careers. Students will have the opportunity to meet professionals who work with animals and have daily hands-on interactions with animals in the adoption center. For more information, go to



Picasso Pets, 5:30-9:30 p.m., Old Car Heaven, 3501 1st Ave. South, Birmingham. As Hand in Paw’s 14th annual signature event and fundraiser, Picasso Pets is a memorable evening that will leave you amazed and in awe of the miraculous things animals are capable of doing. The event was created to showcase not only our love for animals, but to celebrate their amazing ability to help people have a brighter day, to heal, to realize their potential. The evening will begin with the opportunity to browse the Picasso Pets silent auction accompanied by food, beer, wine and a specialty drink. A live auction will include one-of-akind pet paintings. Cost is $150 per person. For information or to order tickets, go to




Doggies at Dusk, 6 p.m., Lawrence University campus Main Hall (between Drew Street and Lawe Street on College Avenue). A 1-mile pledge walk through downtown Appleton to benefit the animals in need at the Fox Valley Humane Association. Registration and activities start at 6 p.m. with the walk beginning at 7:30 p.m. Preregistration is $25 for adults, $15 for children 8-12. Children under 8 are free. Pre-registration includes goody bag of glow-in-the-dark items while supplies last. Registration on day of event is $30 for adults, $20 for children 8-12. For information or to register, visit




Paws in the Pool, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Crawford Park Pool, 530 Krantz Road, Cedar Hill. Bring your dog for a dip in the pool to close out the summer season. Events and contests include best swimsuit (for dogs), doggy paddle race and retrieving contest. No puppies under 6 months of age and no dogs in season, please. For information, contact paul. or (972) 2915130.



Wags and Waves 2014, Hawaiian Falls Water Park, 4550 North Garland Ave., Garland. Float down the Kona Kooler Lazy River or catch waves in the Waikiki Beach Wave Pool with your four-legged friend. Cost is $20 per person and includes admission for two dogs. There are separate pool areas for large and small breed dogs. Contests include costume, pet tricks, agility and retrieving. All dogs must be spayed/neutered and up to date on vaccines, including rabies. For information, go to



Full Service Animal Care • Pharmacy • Surgery • Dental • Lab • Xray • Laser • Boarding • Grooming

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July/August 2014 Dogs Unleashed 7



DOGGY DESTINATIONS What it is: “Ruff Guide to the United States” is what you need if you’re wondering where to take your dog on vacation. There’s a ton of information about 365 of the best places to stay and play with your dog in all 50 states. Check it out at But wait, there’s more: The book comes from the editors of Order from the, put “DaVinci Foundation” in the note/code box, and part of the proceeds will go to the foundation. If your favorite dog organization is registered with, write its name in the box, and it will receive the donation. Fetch it: $24.99 at or

WAY TOO COOL What it is: A beautiful fan that looks like a dog and is made of fine metal. It will make your dog-loving friends jealous, or at least say “Where did you get that?” But wait there’s more: The fan is 13 x 14.5 inches, has a 20-watt motor and comes with a one-year warranty. Fetch it: Available for $84.95 from Deco Breeze at

EASIER RIDER What it is: This dog car step makes it easy and safe for your dog to get in your vehicle. But wait there’s more: It stores beneath the vehicle, so you don’t have to remove it, and it can support up to 400 pounds. The step area is 19 x 22 inches and weighs 24 pounds. Fetch it: Available at for $249.

8 Dogs Unleashed July/August 2014

SUNNY DAYS CALL FOR SUNSCREEN What it is: When you need sunscreen, so does your dog, especially on his cute little nose and paws. Pull out Burt’s Bees Paw and Nose Lotion for Dogs to take care of it. But wait there’s more: The lotion is made from all natural ingredients, and the rosemary and olive oil moisturize the skin. Fetch it: A four-ounce bottle is $9.99 and can be found at various pet stores.

POKER FACES What it is: How can you call yourself a dog lover without at least one print, rug or mug of “The Dogs Playing Poker” image?

TRACK YOUR PUP What it is: The WhistleGPS monitors your dog’s activity, making it possible to locate your dog or check in using a mobile app.

But wait there’s more: A fascinating website dedicated to the paintings of dogs playing poker and artist Cassius Coolidge, who created the original dog scene, can be found at

But wait there’s more: The manufacturers claim it’s the “smallest, longest-lasting and most affordable pet location and activity monitor available.”

Fetch it: Posters, wall hangings, coffee mugs, cell phone covers, ties, water bottles and more products with the poker game image can be found at

Fetch it: $129, plus a $5 monthly service fee at



Veterinary Technicians help care for animals, educate pet owners, and even assist in surgery. If you love animals, then you’ll love this career.

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from pet supplies plus

Kelly Iris of Star 105.7 FM participated in the Fifth Third River Bank Run dog walk with Spooner.

Radio personality Kelly Iris always on the go, with Spooner at her side story By RON ROP photos by jennifer waters

No matter where her life’s journey has taken her, Kelly Iris has found a place in her heart for dogs, especially those who may need some extra attention.

Kelly Iris adopted Spooner, a “puppy mill mom,” from a shelter after the bluetick hound was saved from a puppy mill.

10 Dogs Unleashed July/August 2014

Iris’ travels began in Stevens Point, Wis., then Milwaukee, then West Michigan, off to Pennsylvania and back to West Michigan. Though she’s logged many miles, her love for dogs has remained constant. Iris is the program director and afternoon on-air personality for Star 105.7 FM in Grand Rapids, Mich. She is a spokesperson for Pet Supplies Plus, is involved with the Fifth Third River Bank Run and partners with Blue Cross Blue Shield for its 10,000 steps program. She also has been involved with the West Michigan Pet Expo. If that’s not enough to keep her busy, there’s the added responsibility of Spooner, a 7-year-old bluetick coonhound. Spooner is a puppy mill mom who endured a rough life prior to Iris adopting her three years ago. Spooner is the second special-needs

dog Iris has adopted since returning to West Michigan. The first was Blue, also a bluetick coonhound and puppy mill mom who caught Iris’ eye at the West Michigan Pet Expo. “Of all the dogs very actively looking for homes, Blue was sort of just curled up and mellow with everything,” Kelly said. “I am like, ‘That is an unusual dog.’ I took her for a walk and fell in love. I’d like to think the last year and a half of her life was her best year and a half.” When Blue died, Kelly began a search for another furry companion. “I walked into the house, and it was too quiet, and I asked some friends who foster dogs, ‘What is the appropriate mourning period?’ and they said there wasn’t one,” Iris said. That answer prompted an online visit to Petfinder’s website and the

adoption of Spooner, another puppy mill mom who, along with one of her puppies, escaped the mill and found her way to a shelter. When Spooner and her pup arrived at the shelter, the puppy was in great shape, thanks to Spooner. Spooner was not well. “She was extremely emaciated,” Iris said. “She took excellent care of her pup, but at her own expense. They got her back on the road to health, but she was still pretty skinny when I got her. Her foster family was amazing.” Iris has become the spokesperson for the annual Fifth Third River Bank Run’s community walk. This year, it included owners and their pets walking a noncompetitive 5K. “Runners get the ‘eye of the tiger’ thing that some of us are never going to get,” Kelly said. “But being active is important, and I had so much fun doing it last year they invited me back to be the spokesperson this year. Spooner is the ‘spokesdog’ of the community walk for dogs, and she actually got her name and results right next to mine. I think that is just genius.” While Spooner likes to spend time couch sitting and even watching Netflix,

she does get up and get active, which Iris said is great to see from a puppy mill mom. “She still knows she is a dog and enjoys it,” she said. “But being a hound dog, she enjoys her relaxing time as well.” Spooner went through the Nutrition Consultation and Body Condition Score Assessment during a recent visit to Pet Supplies Plus. “I was impressed with how thorough it was,” Iris said. “The kinds of questions really got at the heart of who the dog is and what her needs are. And, it takes into consideration my interaction with my vet.” The assessment took only 20 minutes, but Iris gleaned some vital information about feeding time for Spooner. “We are going to start eliminating one thing and start getting her on a healthier food, and, so far, so good. I am really impressed with the results,” Iris said. “It wasn’t just a ‘you need to change your dog food’ … it was a look at the treats, a look at when you’re treating. It was a look at the bigger picture.”



While she’s an active dog, the hound in Spooner also comes out — she enjoys relaxing on the couch at home or in the office just as much as the next dog.

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(Good for anything in the store) Offer only Valid at any West Michigan Pet Supplies Plus location - Grandville, Kentwood, Holland, Woodland, Walker, or Wyoming, and Dallas/Ft. Worth, Alabama, and Appleton, WI markets. Limit one per customer. Cannot be used with any other offer. Not redeemable on purchase date of magazine. Offer good August 1 - August 31, 2014 July/August 2014 Dogs Unleashed 11

the groom room

melissa verplank

Should I shave my dog? I’m a fur fancier from way back. When I was 7 years old, I would search the neighborhood for dogs who needed to be brushed. I didn’t seek the short-coated dogs. Oh no, I hunted down the furriest critters. I could sit for hours and brush a dog. I loved it — and so did they. I was destined to be a professional pet stylist. In the sweltering heat of summer, shaving a dog is a common request at grooming salons. Owners of heavycoated shedding breeds (golden retrievers, Chows, collies, Pomeranians, husky-type breeds, etc.) say, “He’s so hot, I just want all his hair shaved off!” Before you ask, imagine what would happen to your skin if you were dropped naked in the great outdoors. Being a fur fanatic, it’s my duty to defend the coat. Fur protects the skin against minor injuries, sunburn and biting insects. It insulates your dog, keeping it warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Kept in peak condition, it’s also visually appealing. A dog’s coat needs to be healthy and free of dead coat (the loose hair that falls out and clings to everything.) It also needs to be clean and free of If you shave a mats and tangles. But most importantly, air needs to heavy-coated, through it. typically shedding circulate If you shave a heavydog, there’s a coated, typically shedding dog, there’s a good chance its good chance its coat will not grow back in its coat will not grow healthy state. It can lose its back in its healthy shine, density and possibly grow back unevenly, giving state. It can lose the dog a moth-eaten, sickly its shine, density appearance. This is especially and possibly grow true with older dogs. In a few situations, it is back unevenly, beneficial to shave a heavygiving the dog a coated dog, but in most cases, moth-eaten, sickly removing the fur is not the best choice for health or appearance. comfort. Instead, the best solution for the dog days of summer is to keep your pet well groomed. Professional grooming every four to six weeks will keep your dog cool and comfortable. Groomer’s heavy-duty tools can safely and gently remove a shedding coat. Between professional grooming sessions, maintain your pet’s fur at home. Most dogs enjoy being brushed. It’s 12 Dogs Unleashed July/August 2014

The fur of a heavy-coated Keeshond (top left) or retriever (above) protects the skin and insulates the dog, keeping it warm in the winter and cool in the summer. You may think twice before asking to have such breeds shaved (right).

soothing and relaxing, and it provides quality time with your pet. If you are unsure of the correct grooming method for your pet’s coat type, talk to your professional groomer. Most are more than willing to help and will make suggestions and recommend the best tools to get the job done effectively. They will show you the proper methods to brush your pet at home. It’s critical to use the correct tools and brush all the way down to the skin to keep your pet tangle-free, which will allow air to circulate and make them cooler. If you don’t want to maintain that coat between

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professional groomings, look for a dog-crazy kid in the neighborhood. Who knows? Maybe you live next to a budding pet groomer or stylist. Melissa Verplank has more than 30 years of experience in the pet industry. She has won numerous national and international awards for her mastery of grooming and is author of the award-winning books “Notes From the Grooming Table” and “Theory of Five.” She also is creator of, an online educational video library for pet grooming, and has owned multiple West Michigan pet companies, including Paragon School of Pet Grooming and Whiskers Pet Resort and Spa.

Pet-Agree is more than just dog walking and pet sitting Your Pets’ Personal Assistant! Call 616-633-9902 July/August 2014 Dogs Unleashed 13


paula creamer

Studley is a fixture on the range when LPGA star Paula Creamer goes to work refining her game.

photos by tracy wilcox for golf week

Canine Cart Partner

Paula Creamer travels the LPGA Tour with dog Studley in tow


By Cindy Fairfield

ou might think golf is the love of Paula Creamer’s life. After all, it has enabled the LPGA star to travel the world, earn millions and meet interesting people. These days, golf plays second fiddle (or third?) to the two men in Creamer’s life: Studley and Derek. Studley is Creamer’s 2-year-old dog, a Coton de Tulear she adopted when he was a few weeks old. Derek is Creamer’s fiancé. The two were engaged earlier this year. “It only took Derek a few minutes to figure out how important Studley is to me. Thank goodness they got along well almost immediately,” Creamer said. Yes, Studley is Creamer’s tiny bundle of white, fluffy joy who looks at her with longing eyes whenever she goes to the closet to pack her suitcase, which is often, given that she plays in dozens of tour events a year. Studley is expected to be in tow when the 27-year-old Creamer flies to Grand Rapids, Mich., 14 Dogs Unleashed July/August 2014

for the inaugural Meijer LPGA Classic at Blythefield Country Club Aug. 7-10, just two days after her birthday. Creamer hasn’t visited Michigan since her days on the junior tour, when she won back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2002 at Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs. “I am very much looking forward to seeing another part of Michigan,” she said. Studley, of course, is happy to go anywhere with his owner. “Studley knows when the suitcases come out that I am going to travel or go away,” Creamer said. “He just sits there waiting to see if his travel bag is also brought out. If it is, he perks up. If not, he looks sad and just follows me everywhere as if he was my shadow, probably hoping to change my mind.” But Studley doesn’t often get left behind. “I take Studley with me to almost all the domestic tournaments plus the events in Canada. I even had him with me in the Bahamas last year,” Creamer

said. “Sometimes, I start to pack a day or two in advance and just add to the suitcase when I have time. That confuses him somewhat, but if his bag is out, he dives into it and just stays in there. I think it is his way of saying ‘I am ready to go with you so don’t forget me!’ ” A good fit on the course

Few forget Studley, whether it’s competitors, fans or just passers-by. “Since he is snow white and very soft like cotton, many people cannot keep their hands off of him,” Creamer said. “I get a lot of offers from other players to watch him if I ever need someone. I think that is a good reflection of how much other players like him.” Studley is a fixture on the course during practice rounds, usually sitting upright in the golf cart, bobbing his head from side to side as Creamer explodes on a tee shot or dawdles over a putt. “Stud goes with me to the range quite often,” Creamer said. “He stays in the golf cart most of the time and

watches everybody. If anybody shows any interest in him, he really turns on the charm. Most people cannot resist walking over and saying ‘hi’ to him.” Studley fits perfectly with Creamer’s lifestyle because he isn’t a high-energy dog who wants to run and fetch, so he is not disruptive on the course. He is more content to sit and snuggle, she said, unless there is a sand trap around. “What he does like (way too much) is running all over in the sand traps on the golf course. He stays in them and just runs all over, then afterward, lies down and takes a nap.” Creamer said. “Studley really isn’t into retrieving or chasing things unless you are playing with one of his toys. But he doesn’t like giving it up, so you have to trick him to get it.” Studley is an “inside” dog, living with Creamer at her home in Windermere, Fla., where he has “total freedom” in the house. Creamer said she is lucky to have her parents nearby; they love watching Studley when she can’t take him with her. “You could say he gets spoiled over there,” she said. He is always excited when Creamer gets home. “He is my buddy and never asks me how I played that day,” Creamer said. “He gives so much, and all unconditional.” Love at first sight

Studley is not Creamer’s first dog. She grew up in Pleasanton, Calif., the only child of a stay-at-home mom and airline pilot dad, who also had a golden retriever named Rusty. “My parents had him for about five years before I was born so he was kind of my parents’ dog really,” Creamer said. “I had to close my door to get him to sleep in my room, which I desperately wanted him to do. Somehow, he always seemed to sneak out during the night.” By the time Creamer was 12, she had won 13 consecutive regional golf titles on the junior golf tour and put her desire for a dog on the back burner.

Creamer won the LPGA Rookie of the Year award in 2005 and earned more than $1.5 million, second on the money list behind Annika Sorenstam. She also recorded eight top-three finishes. Yet, as her career continued to blossom, she felt incomplete. Creamer wanted her own dog, one who could be a travel partner and friend. “I was looking for a smaller dog that could fit under the seat in front of me on an airplane,” Creamer said. “He would have to be smart and wellbehaved to be able to travel with me as often as I was hoping for.” Before Studley, Creamer adopted a mixed-breed rescue dog, but it wasn’t the right fit. “I found that dog a wonderful home on a farm,” she said. Creamer decided her next dog would be a puppy. “I did quite a bit of research on dog breeds, traits, etc. and decided to further investigate the breed of Coton de Tulear,” she said. “When I saw that little snow white, fluffy ball which is now Studley, I knew immediately he was the one. I really needed to have Studley travel well, and he has not disappointed. Studley is now a true professional at it and I think he knows it.” Most times, he travels on commercial flights with Creamer, stowed away in a small bag beneath the seat in front of her. “He is such a good little boy that many times the person in the seat next to me doesn’t even know there is a dog until we are getting off the plane and I unzip his bag and he sticks his head out,” Creamer said. About the only destruction Studley committed during the puppy stage was chewing on a pair of Creamer’s mom’s sandals. “That was when he was teething,” said Creamer, “and it was not a big deal because he just left a few teeth marks in the soft rubber.” ‘I couldn’t be happier ...’

Like most dogs, Studley responds to attention and treats. Some of his favorite activities are just “hanging out,” Creamer said, and cuddling while she’s reading a book, watching a movie or going to bed. But Studley likes his exercise, too. “He really likes to go running on the golf course,” Creamer said. “In the evening after all the golfers are gone and the sun is setting, I take him out in the golf cart and let him run. He usually will

The Paula Creamer file Personal: Started playing golf at age 10 Family: Engaged to Derek Heath, an Air Force Reserve pilot, and proud owner of Studley, a Coton de Tulear. Residence: Windermere, Fla. LPGA victories: 10 Last win: 2010 U.S. Women’s Open Top 10 finishes: 93 Earnings: $10.8 million

sprint [14-16 mph] the first par 5 and then smell everything in the area. “The next par 4 and par 3, he will just jog at about 6 mph. All total, he runs about three quarters of a mile, which is a pretty good run for his little 4-inch legs.” Nicknamed the “Pink Panther,” because of her penchant for pink, Creamer said she’d never dress Studley in her favorite color. “His name is Stud … and as such, I don’t dress him in pink. After all, he does have an image to protect,” Creamer joked. And a role to maintain as Creamer’s best “buddy” and travel partner. “I take him with me because he is such a great traveler and is part of my family,” she said. “He is great to come back to the room to. He gives unconditional love and is perhaps the best ‘greeter’ in the world. I think all the greeters at Wal-Mart, Home Depot, etc., would have a hard time holding on to their positions if Stud ever applied for the job. “I couldn’t be happier with my little man.” July/August 2014 Dogs Unleashed 15


bully breeds

Almost 3,000 people attended a rally in Washington to speak out against Breed Specific Legislation and discrimination of “bully” breeds.

Marching for dogs and against breed discrimination Story and photos by Abigail Carlon


rowds gathered on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol, and the excitement was palpable as emcee Chris Williams took the stage to lead a rousing chant of “I say Pibble, you say love.” Williams then introduced Rebecca Corry, and the crowd greeted her like a long lost friend. Standing on a box to see over the lectern, the fiery, diminutive supporter of Pibbles spoke with passion. “Pit bulls are born inherently good,” Corry began. “Breed specific legislation is discrimination enshrined in law and goes against the very fiber our nation was built on. Pit bull terriers are not to be feared, humanity is to be feared.” Such began the One Million Pibble March on May 3 in Washington, D.C.

16 Dogs Unleashed July/August 2014

The march was the brainchild of Corry, a Los Angeles comedian who adopted her dog, Angel, from a Los Angeles shelter where she had been dumped once she no longer served her purpose as a breeding and bait dog. Angel inspired Corry to create the Stand Up For Pits Foundation, dedicated to being the voice of Pibbles (pit bulls). Among its goals are ending Pibble abuse and discrimination, saving lives and correcting public misconceptions about bully breeds. Last year, Corry took Angel to Washington and snapped a picture of the pooch in front of the White House with a sign reading, “Mr. President, be our voice.” Realizing the power of the image, Corry set to work organizing the march. Almost 3,000 people from the U.S. and Canada rallied to speak out against Breed Specific Legislation, dog fighting, pit bull discrimination and

abuse. They carried signs, banners and posters proclaiming their support for bully breed dogs, suggesting a ban on bad owners rather than pit bulls. Rescue groups, shelter volunteers, pit bull owners, politicians and more were in attendance on the sunny day. In the crowd were members of the Detroit Bully Corps, who made the nine-hour drive from Lapeer, Mich., to take part. “The Pibble March gave me a feeling of unity; that if we all work together toward a common goal, we can accomplish great things,” said Bully Corps founder Bill Belloitte. Amber Wolf, a Detroit Bully Corps employee, pit bull owner and mother of two, included her kids in the event. She said she hoped her children, Jake and Abby, would educate their peers about BSL and dog fighting. Another featured speaker at the event was Leah Brewer, whose dog, Elle,

was the American Humane Association’s American Hero Dog in 2013. Brewer admitted she was one of those “uninformed pit bull people,” before meeting her husband and his dogs. After rescuing Elle from a backyard breeder, Brewer started Tail Waggin Tales, a therapy dog reading program for elementary school children. Since then, Elle has earned dozens of awards for her work as a therapy dog and defeated the negative stereotypes of pit bulls in her community. Brewer shared a testimonial from the mother of one of Elle’s reading students. Josiah struggled with reading and lacked the confidence to read aloud in class for fear of making mistakes, his mother said. However, when reading with Elle, Josiah didn’t worry about making mistakes and tried hard words with success. Josiah’s mother reported her son now is active in reading in front of his class. Elle was not the only celebrity in attendance. MMA fighter Gordon Shell, who once famously challenged Michael Vick to fight him instead of dogs, showed his support, while another MMA star, John Rallo, spoke about his efforts to overturn BSL. Rallo has

HOW TO HELP There are a variety of ways to help animals in the community. • Volunteer at a shelter or with a rescue. These organizations are grateful for you and will put your many talents to use helping their animals. • Sign up to be a foster parent to animals. Many organizations are in desperate need of fosters. • Donate. Local organizations have long lists of items they need to help their animals on a daily basis, from cleaning products to pet food to gently used dog clothing and bedding. County shelters typically cannot solicit the public for donations, however, they will readily accept donations for the animals if you offer. • Educate yourself through reputable sources and then educate people around you. • Know the local low-cost spay/neuter and vaccine providers. Provide this information to people who cannot spay, neuter or vaccinate their pets for financial reasons. Help control the pet population and overcrowding in shelters. • If you suspect or witness animal abuse or neglect of any kind, report it to your local animal control for safer communities. You can remain anonymous. People who abuse animals will also bring violence to humans.

July/August 2014 Dogs Unleashed 17

also utilized social media to encourage athletes to speak out against animal abuse with his “Show your soft side” campaign. A victim of a breed ban in Toronto, pit bull owner Jamie Buehrle showed her support. Buehrle’s husband is Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle, and the city’s law banning pit bulls has forced her family to live divided. While he spends the season in Toronto, Jamie and the rest of the family live at their home in Broward County, Fla. Buehrle previously pitched for the Miami Marlins, and a breed ban in Florida’s Dade County, where Miami is located, sent the couple north across the county line to the Fort Lauderdale area. When he became a Toronto Blue Jay, Jamie opted to stay in South Florida rather than relocate again because of the family dog. Working together for dogs’ rights and not for personal praise was the common thread of the march. “We need everyone in this together to save lives,” Corry said. “And you people, the ones with compassion and intelligence, are making that happen by

being here today.” Kelly Steinhorn, of the Baltimore Police Department, has seen the difference cooperation can make toward changing perceptions. Steinhorn educates law enforcement officers to read canine body language hoping to stem the growing number of caninerelated shootings. In the greater community, she encouranges citizens to be an extra set of eyes. “Citizens assisting the law enforcement community helps not only defenseless animals but the whole community; dog fighting never exists by itself,” Steinhorn said. “One-hundred percent of dog fights are connected to other violence and crime.” The most enduring example of the inherent goodness in these pit bulls might be Hector. Known as the “Vicktory” dog after being rescued from Michael Vick’s dog fighting ring, Hector was adopted by Roo Yori and now works as a certified therapy dog. Yori left marchers with this message. “I’ve found that the best thing to do is to get out of the way and let the dogs represent themselves,” Yori said. “Our job is to be the megaphone for



Boarding | Day Care | Training Bite prevention for aggressive dogs | Dog psychology and problem solving 6363 56th Ave, Hudsonville, MI. 49426 616-209-5501 • “Specializing in off-leash reliability” 18 Dogs Unleashed July/August 2014

In attendance for the May 3 event in Washington was a group from Detroit Bully Corps, which made the nine-hour trek from Lapeer, Mich.

their accomplishments. Just because other people act in a certain way doesn’t mean we have to. In fact, if we act that way in retaliation, how are we any better? Be better. Talk less, do more.” The Million Pibble March, it seems, was a jumping off point for that action.

working dogs:

outdoor dog

Guide dog Whether fishing or hunting, Orvis knows the way Story by Susan Harrison-Wolffis Photos by Kendra Stanley-Mills

This is no ordinary dog. He hunts. He fishes. He retrieves. He teaches other dogs to do the same, taking them under his wing — so to speak — and passing on the tricks of the trade by example. What’s more, he works a room like few others. He meets and greets everyone who walks through the door of the fly-fishing shop at Pere Marquette River Lodge in Baldwin, Mich., a mecca for those who love the great outdoors — and the big yellow dog who is as big a draw as the river itself. Meet Orvis, an 8-year-old English yellow Labrador, so handsome he’s the subject of paintings and photographs in books and galleries; so talented, he’s a star known far and wide in the outdoor world. “He’s a super-famous dog ... very photogenic. People come just to see him,” said Frank Willetts, one of the lodge’s co-owners and most popular guides. But Willetts, who has had Orvis since he was a 13-week-old puppy, is his dog’s favorite hunting and fishing buddy. Or maybe it’s the other way around. “Him and I have an unusual bond,” Willetts said. “We’re together every day, all day.”

July/August 2014 Dogs Unleashed 19



They make a striking pair. Rawboned and lanky, Willetts is always dressed for the river or hunting grounds. He wears his hair pulled back in a long pony tail covered by a baseball cap, heavy-duty sunglasses straddling the cap. Orvis, a handsome dude in his own right, is 72 pounds of muscle, focus and personality. Just look around the fly shop. Photographs line the walls of this Orvis Endorsed Outfitter, featuring years of anglers showing off prize catches for the camera; hunters with their kills, posing for posterity. In the background of almost every picture is Orvis, the original photobombing dog. “That’s my buddy,” Willetts said. Two stories: Artist David Ruimveld of Vicksburg, Mich., was so moved by the sight of Orvis in the back of Willetts’ drift boat, floating on the P.M. — as those who know the Pere Marquette call it — that he decided to paint a picture of a yellow Lab, inspired by the dog. Someday, he promises to paint Orvis in that very scene. “Orvis is part of the Pere Marquette Lodge,” Ruimveld said. Then there’s the glorious photograph of Orvis in the book, Tuesdays with Todd & Brad Reed: A Michigan Tribute. As Willetts tells it, the Reeds’ goal was to get a photograph of guide Chris “Uber” Raines fishing in the snow on a flies-only stretch of the P.M. — but guess who was on the riverbank. Orvis. His picture, watching Raines, both covered in snow is on pages 34 and 35, and again on page 71, art found in nature. But Orvis isn’t just another pretty face or calendar pin up. This dog is the

It’s not that Orvis is terribly interested in the fish … he’s just interested in whatever his owner is doing.

20 Dogs Unleashed July/August 2014


Frank Willetts, co-owner of Pere Marquette River Lodge in Baldwin, Mich., calls Orvis “the best dog I ever had.” Orvis, an 8-year-old English yellow Labrador, is an upland bird guide dog who also knows a thing or two about fishing and simply enjoying the great outdoors near the Pere Marquette River.

real deal. When he’s not “working” in the shop, he’s fishing alongside Willetts on his boat — unless he leaves the boat for the riverbank and occupies himself until Willetts, and anyone else aboard, has had their fill of fishing. Hunting is another matter. “He’s totally different,” Willetts said. “He’s a machine. He knows exactly what to do.” Orvis is an upland bird guide dog, working alongside Willetts, helping clients retrieve woodcock, grouse, pheasants and the like. He’s also a

crackerjack at bringing in ducks and geese. “He hunts anything with feathers,” Willetts said. Willetts illustrates Orvis’ instinct and skills with a favorite story. Once, a client wanted to go duck hunting on his own, without the expertise of Willetts or his dog. Eventually, the client asked if he could use Orvis to retrieve the ducks he’d shot but couldn’t locate. The client pointed in the direction he’d been. Orvis went the opposite way. “That damn dog,” the hunter

complained to Willetts, who — at least retrospectively — ignored the complaint. He knew his dog and his skills. “Always trust your dog,” Willetts said. Before long, Orvis brought in the ducks, and the hunter had to eat crow. “Don’t second-guess the dog,” Willetts told him. Especially this dog. Orvis is so skilled at what he does, clients request him. He’s such a good influence, a natural teacher, they bring their dogs along to learn from him. At 8, Orvis is still going strong, keeping up with dogs half his age and outsmarting most. “By far, he’s the best dog I’ve ever had,” Willetts said. Trained to follow voice and hand signals, Orvis will retrieve anything — lost cellphones, forgotten hammers, even remote controls. He cannot be distracted from the task at hand, even at soccer games, even when an appreciative audience calls out his name. He’s there for Willetts — hunting and fishing buddies, two guides who enjoy the great outdoors and each other’s company. “He’ll hunt and fish until the day he dies,” Willett said. “That’s just the way it is.”

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You’re welcome At Tun-Dra Kennels, we welcome all breeds and varieties to our clean, serene country setting. We offer: Personal service. The owners of Tun-Dra Kennels live on site and deliver hands-on care to each dog. Experience. Tun-Dra has been family owned and operated since 1964, and has cared for dogs in West Michigan for more than 50 years.

Orvis leads the way as Frank Willetts heads down the gravel road to his boat on the river.

A Happy, Healthy Environment: Our large indoor/outdoor kennels are designed to promote physical and mental well-being. Each dog has territory to call his own.

“Like” us on Facebook: Tun-Dra Kennels • 16438 - 96th Ave • Nunica • (616) 837-9726 July/August 2014 Dogs Unleashed 21

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gr dog adventures

Running, jumping over logs, sniffing out birds and frogs and having a blast are all on the menu for Giggs, a border collie who hikes with Eve Wrest each week in Ada.

22 Dogs Unleashed July/August 2014

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gr dog adventures

Adventures await you and your dog story and photos by jennifer waters

Once a week, while his owners are at work, Giggs leaves the house and runs through the woods for a few hours. He scampers over logs and races up and down hills, taking a break for water about halfway through. Then, he chases squirrels and slows down a bit to smell everything around him. When he’s had enough, Giggs heads back home. By the time his owners arrive, Giggs is tired and happy and perfectly well-behaved for the rest of the night. That’s the premise behind GR Dog Adventures, a new dog fitness option for West Michigan dog owners. Owner Eve Wrest, along with her husband Brian and a small team of distance runners, athletes and dog lovers, offers a step up from your usual dog walking services. Wrest provides adventures and high-energy workouts for her canine clients. Sometimes logging as much as 16 miles a day, she jogs, hikes and bikes, giving client dogs a chance to get outside, burn off some energy and return home to their owners wellbalanced and happy. The service is taking off with responsible pet owners who feel guilty for the long hours they put in at work while their dog is at home lounging on the couch or waiting in a crate. Not only are their dogs getting ample exercise and outdoor fun, but they also can be addressing physical problems such as obesity or anxiety at the same time. Mitzu, a beautiful white Chow who fast walks with Wrest for 30 minutes a day, is a good example. Since starting her workouts with GR Dog Adventures, Mitzu has been able to wean off her anti-anxiety medications and, according to her owners, she no longer is obsessively licking a hot spot on her leg. “There is a tremendous improvement in [Mitzu’s] energy level and attitude,” said Marti Despres, Mitzu’s mom. Mitzu’s personality also is changing for the better. As a typical Chow, Mitzu took quite a bit of time to warm up to Wrest. Her owners

requested three supervised meetings before Wrest could even start walking Mitzu on her own. Now, Mitzu gets excited to see Eve, and in general has become friendlier “and a lot less crabby,” according to Despres. Giggs, the border collie who treks through the woods with Wrest for two hours each week, was about 10 pounds overweight when his owners, Chris and Stephanie Kreft, contacted GR Dog Adventures. With a new baby in the house, the couple wasn’t able to make as much time for exercise as Giggs needed. Not only is Giggs now at an ideal weight, but his parents also feel a lot less guilt knowing their high-energy dog is getting a great workout. “Giggs loves his hikes,” said Stephanie Kreft. “It’s also a great relief to me to know that he gets good exercise at least once a week.” Wrest said even old couch potatoes will quickly start looking forward to dog adventures. “Dogs love to run,” she said. “They just need a consistent partner to become healthier, happier versions of themselves.” Consistency and personalization are key, she said. Wrest and her team

Eve Wrest gives some one-on-one attention to Mitzu, a Chow who has been taken off her antianxiety medications since starting her GR Dog Adventure walks.

travel West Michigan to either run with the dogs from their homes or load them into the car for a solo or group hike. While some clients choose just one hike a week, others arrange for daily walks or runs. Each dog gets a workout tailored to his fitness level and needs, but quite often the dogs are capable of a lot more than is expected. At almost 14, Abby is still up for a daily run with Wrest, showing as much energy and enthusiasm as some dogs half her age. Together they start out walking, then do some jogging through a nearby nature trail. Although she can no longer hear, Abby’s sense of smell is

Giggs and Eve Wrest take a water break halfway through their hike. According to Giggs’ owner, Stephanie Kreft, Eve is “one of the dog’s favorite people.” July/August 2014 Dogs Unleashed 23

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gr dog adventures

in overdrive during her daily adventures. With her nose to the ground, Abby, an Australian shepherd mix owned by April Kahler of Kentwood, Mich., gets the mental and physical stimulation needed to keep her from getting stiff and bored at home. Like all clients, her owner knows her senior girl is being well cared for by the notes and photos Wrests provides with each visit. Safety is a top priority for Wrest and her team. Although she has never had to use it, Wrest carries pepper spray to protect her and her canine clients. She also carries a first-aid kit that she modified for dogs, including tweezers (for ticks and thorns), bandages and a styptic pencil. At the end of their hike or run, dogs are given fresh water and treats, then cleaned up and returned home for a nice nap. While they are sleeping, Wrest heads off to her next adventure. Wrest started GR Dog Adventures after her kids were in school full-time. She saw a need for a higher level of dog walking

Eve Wrest and Abby run close to the 13-year-old Australian Shepherd mix’s house. Abby is deaf, so according to Eve, Abby is usually nose-down on their runs, picking up all the outdoor scents.

services, and through word of mouth and referrals, her client list has been steadily growing. Since starting her business, she has added two more employees. While the business may continue to grow, Wrest will always be out there hiking and running with a dog by her side.

“I absolutely love what I do,” says To “There learn more aboutjob GRinDog Eve. is no better the Adventures, or to schedule your world.” free meet and greet, visit or call (248) 980-9049.

Your dog will get a real workout… And you can stop feeling guilty! Enjoy coming home to a happy, well-exercised pup! Our High-Energy Dog Adventures are serious workouts for your active dog. Lonely, sedentary days will be replaced with high-energy, adrenaline-pumping fun! Whatever your dog’s current fitness level is, we will work with you to design a fun program that’s just right for your best friend. What makes us the best choice for your active dog? • Mix and match: Running, Hiking or Fast-paced Walking Services • Proven mental, physical & emotional benefits for your dog • Dog First Aid/CPR trained and always prepared for emergencies • Simple, convenient, 24/7 online scheduling and payment • Professional, dedicated athletes will exercise your dog. • Fully insured and bonded

The first 10 people to set up a no-cost evaluation will receive a free dog adventure of your choice. Be sure to mention this ad. Call or text (248) 980-9049 to set up your free Meet-AndGreet. Try our service for 2 weeks and if you’re not completely satisfied, you pay nothing! 24 Dogs Unleashed July/August 2014

Eve Wrest, Owner

248-980-9049 | |

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The art of paddling with your pup

Eleanor looks happy to be with owner Mike Bell on their demonstration for a photo shoot. On an actual kayak trip, both would have personal flotation devices.

All Aboard

story by Tricia Woolfenden | photos By katy batdorff


ogs and the great outdoors are among Mike Bell’s raison d’etre. In many ways, these two facets of Bell’s life are inextricably intertwined. As a teen, he adopted a female Lab mix, Tekay, and started “learning to love doing things outdoors with a dog.” Tekay passed away at age 17, so Bell and his wife, Leah, adopted a puppy last year. From the start, Eleanor has been trained to love the Bells’ outdoor lifestyle. “Teaching Eleanor to be outdoors and to be comfortable in the water, how to keep up with me on the trail and be in a boat and all that outdoor stuff was the first thing I thought of [when we adopted her] — that’s my first impulse with a dog,” Mike said. “We love doing so much stuff outdoors — I don’t even know what it means to do that stuff without a dog.” Kayaking ranks high on Mike and Leah’s list of favorite activities, so Mike set about teaching Eleanor

about the water as soon as her age and vaccination schedule allowed. He started slowly, taking her down to the banks of the Grand River when she was “small, but big enough” to safely enter the water. His goal was to acclimate Eleanor to the sensation and movement of water as young as possible to cultivate a strong swimmer. Mike said when Eleanor first stepped into the water, she looked at him as if to say “What is this?” Mike initiated a game of fetch to encourage her to explore the water. “When she figured out it was OK, she went berserk and loved it,” Mike said. Once Mike was comfortable with Eleanor’s swimming skills and familiarity with water, he and Leah took her on an easy, brief ride on calm waters. The young dog’s first ride was a quiet one: “She passed out and went to sleep.” Subsequent rides saw her remaining more alert — even enthusiastic — about the rides. July/August 2014 Dogs Unleashed 25

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Kayaking with Your Best Bud


• Safety first. Experts recommend outfitting your dog with a canine-specific personal flotation device (PFD). Don’t forget to bring one for yourself; U.S. Coast Guard regulations state all adults must carry or wear a PFD when in a kayak. • Bring the right supplies. Pack plenty of food and fresh water for your companion. Throw a spare beach towel or two in the car for post-ride cleanup. Mike Bell got Eleanor acclimated to the sensation and movement of water as young as possible to cultivate a strong swimmer.

During a brief demonstration and photo session in mid-May at Reed’s Lake, Eleanor splashed around on shore before hopping into the kayak with Mike and assuming her spot at the front of the boat. Her calm, alert demeanor served as tribute to her ease on the water. Evan Lyendecker, marketing manager for Perception Kayaks, says a dog’s comfort is critical to a successful kayaking trip. He encourages approaching the new activity in stages. “Dogs often like to be sitting up and looking ahead, so practice paddling with a dog in front of you before you go on a longer trip,” Lyendecker said. “It’s also important to train your dog to be out on the water with you. Your dog needs to be well-behaved and not afraid so that you don’t put yourself or your dog in jeopardy.” As with last season, the Bells will bring Eleanor along for the majority of their rides, but Mike believes it is crucial to know when a dog should be left behind. For instance, when he and Leah went on a camping and kayak trip to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, they left Eleanor in Grand Rapids with a dog-sitter, owing to the more “extreme” nature of the kayaking and camping in the Upper Peninsula. “You want to avoid intensive kayaking experiences when you’re with a dog,” Mike said. While Eleanor is a seasoned kayaking veteran, the mellowest of waters may prove too much for some dogs.

26 Dogs Unleashed July/August 2014

“Several years ago, we had a bad experience when trying to take our dog, a beagle, along on a trip. It did not work well,” said Jeff Neumann, owner of GR Paddling, an excursion group operating in West Michigan. “If there’s any advice I could share, it would be that bringing a dog on a trip would probably work out better if he/she enjoyed water. Ours hated it.” A final factor to consider is whether or not a particular outing is appropriate for a dog. A birding venture or other waterborne activity requiring minimal noise and movement may be a poor fit for your canine companion. “The whole nature of kayaking allows our customers to be ‘stealthy’ and the possibility of having a dog being a disturbance seems counter-intuitive,” Neumann said. To that end, GR Paddling doesn’t permit dogs on any of its excursions. Neumann said the company does this to increase the odds of customers enjoying an up-close-and-personal visit with nature and wildlife.

Like many dogs, Eleanor loves the chance to play fetch in the water.

• Evaluate your equipment needs. All kayaks are not created equal when it comes to welcoming aboard your pet. Sit-on-top kayaks, for instance, are not a good fit. Instead, choose one that will comfortably and safely accommodate you and your dog. The Perception Prodigy 13.5, for instance, is compact enough to be paddled by one person but specially designed with a cockpit for another person or dog. Optional accessories include items like the Pet Paddler Pad, a durable cushion to provide a comfy resting spot for your co-pilot. • Obey all local and state ordinances. Call your planned destination before bringing along your dog for the ride. Rules and regulations may vary depending on the waterway or boat launch area. • Know your dog. Do not take your dog out on the kayak until you are sure of his or her swimming ability and comfort level. Spend time playing on the beach or riverbank and gradually gain an understanding of your dog’s capabilities and habits when in the water. • Leave the landlubbers ashore. Operate under the assumption that at some point, you and your dog will dump (capsize, throw a yard sale, etc.). This experience could be stressful (or even fatal) for a dog who hates the water.

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Melissa Diekema and her husband, Paul, sought out a breed of dog that would enjoy daily runs.

On the run? Bring the dog! story By cindy fairfield | photos courtesy of Melissa Diekema

You might think Sadie, a 2-year-old McNab shepherd-border collie mix, would be out of her element in Grand Rapids, Mich. After all, the herding dog likes to run, but that’s precisely why Melissa and Paul Diekema rescued Sadie and brought her home to their three children and one-acre parcel perched in the middle of an area dotted with houses, businesses and four lanes of traffic. Most mornings, the Diekemas head out the door at six for a 30-minute run. Sadie, of course, is always waiting by the door, eager to be leashed and on her way. “Sadie loves to play,” said Melissa. “She would run all the time if you let her.”

That love for running is what caused the Diekemas to seek a breed that included the McNab shepherd. “We did a lot of research before getting Sadie,” said Melissa, whose family also has a 12-year-old Daisy dog. “We had a border collie before and knew that the breed is very loyal and pretty smart. We wanted a dog that would play and run with the kids (ages 12, 14 and 16). But border collies also can be a little high strung. “We wanted one that was half and half, and Sadie is the smartest dog I’ve ever met.” Melissa, a photographer, and Paul, a teacher at Grand Rapids Christian

Schools, only missed about three days of running last year “and that was because it was a downright blizzard,” Melissa said, laughing. Sweethearts and dog lovers since meeting as young teachers, the Diekemas wanted a dog who could join them on their morning jaunts. So they did their homework and learned breeds that seemed best suited for a farm can thrive in cities, too, as long as they get enough exercise. Eve Wrest, co-owner of GR Dog Adventures, said running regularly with your dog is great exercise, but it is important to do your research. Size matters. And so does body type.

July/August 2014 Dogs Unleashed 27

get out!


“There are more than 700 breeds of dogs, so you need to narrow your search for dogs that will do well with the kind of running you plan to do,” said Wrest, whose business specializes in dog walking, hiking, boarding and dog sitting. “For example, you wouldn’t want to take an English bulldog on a long run. “An athletic, lanky body is good and a long nose snout makes it easier for the dog to cool down. The terrier, herding and husky type dogs are more highenergy.” Runners also need to be cognizant of running surfaces and weather conditions. “Some high-energy dogs can run as much as 30 miles a day as long as they are conditioned,” Wrest said. “But you want to be careful with the pads on their paws. Try to get them on grass and in the woods whenever possible.” Running for long periods on asphalt or concrete can be painful for dogs and breaks down their joints, she said. “The pavement can get so hot that you really have to watch their pads

closely,” Wrest said. Runners also need to ensure dogs don’t become overheated, especially on hot summer days. Signs of heat stroke include heavy panting, foaming at the mouth, fast, noisy breathing and bright red or blue gums. If you notice these signs, put your dog under cool — not icy — water immediately and seek medical attention if the dog’s condition does not change. Nutrition also is important for dogs who run regularly, Wrest said, explaining there are several “active-performance” dog foods available. Wrest said her clients run with their dogs for different reasons. Some do it because their dogs need to get back in shape after a snowy winter, like the one much of the country experienced last year. Others do it to improve their dog’s mental state. “A lot of dogs have behavioral issues because of a lack of exercise,” Wrest said. “Believe it or not, a lot of dogs are on meds to calm them down, but many wouldn’t need it if they exercised regularly. “We have a client who has a Chow and with five half-hour walks a week, the dog is much happier and

The Diekemas did their research before finding Sadie, a McNab shepherd-border collie mix.

more approachable and completely off its meds. I can’t stress enough how important exercise is for the dog’s mental state.” Its owners benefit, too. Just ask the Diekemas.

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28 Dogs Unleashed July/August 2014

get out!


Long-distance dog photo by kate jonkman

Brad Pruim typically trains for distance running with Mocha in the spring and fall when the temperatures aren’t as extreme. In the summer, they hike in the woods.


story By jennifer waters

rad Pruim, an avid runner for the past 20 years, has a loyal running partner in Mocha, his 4-year-old German shorthair pointer. Together, they have logged thousands of miles on trails and in races — sometimes up to 50 miles at a time. Mocha started long-distance running with Pruim soon after he and his wife, Laura, rescued her. Mocha had never been on a leash, but research told them German shorthair pointers could run long distances, and exercise could help resolve the behavioral issues Mocha experienced with her previous owners. Although they started slow, it wasn’t long before Pruim and Mocha were logging long miles. In the past three years, Mocha and Pruim have completed two 50K races, a half marathon, a 50-mile race and more. As incredible as those distances sound, Pruim points out that Mocha handles them very well. Even at the long distances, Mocha doesn’t seem to wear out, although she will take it easy for a day or two after a 50K or 50-mile race. “While I am running,” said Pruim, “Mocha is really just fast walking. She is not working very hard on her scale of oneto-10, especially compared to how hard I am working.” Hunting, herding, working and sled dog breeds — including German shepherds, Dalmatians, border collies and retrievers — can make great long-distance running partners. Pruim recommends looking for a dog who doesn’t get easily distracted by other runners, bikers or animals. This is especially helpful during races, which often require special permission for a dog to participate. Temperature is big factor in how long and hard a dog can run. Pruim typically trains with Mocha in the spring and fall when the temperatures aren’t as extreme. In the summer, Laura runs with Mocha in the early morning before the heat rises. On cold days, Pruim packs blankets for Mocha to bundle up in after the race, since she can cool off quickly. With the right training, long-distance running gives energetic dogs ample exercise and helps resolve behavioral issues, and it can also create a deep bond between you and your dog. “Mocha knows when I am going to go running,” said Pruim. “Even simple triggers like hearing my heart rate monitor beep when it turns on can get her excited. She follows me around and dances like crazy.” July/August 2014 Dogs Unleashed 29

get out!


story and photos By Paul R. Kopenkoskey

The long-awaited arrival of summer is spurring a number of bicyclists to enjoy riding with their dogs alongside them. But before you take your favorite tail-wagger along, consider the health and safety precautions necessary to keep you and your best friend safe. Be sure Fido is healthy

It’s important to ensure a dog is healthy enough to keep up with your faster speeds. Ask your veterinarian to examine your dog’s cardiovascular health beforehand, recommends Dr. Mark Stickney, clinical associate professor at Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Obese or overweight dogs do not make good runners. Know, too, that some breeds are better suited for running along bicyclists than others, Stickney said. “Some dogs, like your herding breeds, are able to go forever, and other breeds are not going to be able go that long,” Stickney said. “One of the most important things is to not suddenly wake up and decide, ‘I’m going to bike ride with my dog.’ Gradually work up to it. Start with short little rides to the end of the street and back, and make sure the dog knows some commands like ‘slow down’ and ‘speed up.’ ” To leash or not to leash?

Overall, veterinarians and experienced bicyclists agree attaching your dog’s leash to the handlebars — or anywhere on the bike — is a bad idea. Dogs are famous for suddenly darting after a squirrel, rabbit or another dog or rapidly changing directions. Any of these could result in the leash getting entangled in a bicycle’s tires. “It’s really hard to maintain your balance on the bike when you use a leash,” said Dave Markley, a mechanical engineer who lives with his family in Gahanna, a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. “I’ve heard some horror stories of people getting injured because their bike flipped,” said Dr. Therese Burns, president of the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association. Markley enjoys riding his bike, but 30 Dogs Unleashed July/August 2014

Be prepared before

Pedaling with your Pooch

Bicyclist Dave Markley, of Gahanna, Ohio, has discovered it’s best to leave his dog, Michael, at home when he goes out for a ride

gave up the idea of including Michael, a 70-pound mix-breed who resembles a Rhodesian ridgeback. Leash or no leash, riding proved too dodgy with Michael. “He’s an escape dog,” said Markley. “I can’t take Michael off the leash … because he will run away and we’ll have to go find him. Usually, that is not successful and we have to wait for someone to find him and call us [via the information on his dog tag]. He just got away about week ago and it was a mess. He’d evidently mixed it up with a skunk and so we had to bathe him several times to try to get rid of the smell.” For cyclists who avoid any tethering device, the upside is nothing will cause the bike to get entangled. Be forewarned, though, that going leashless might violate municipal laws. Going leash-free also requires

bicyclists to know their dog will stay relatively close and not dart off. “If they’re trained to trot alongside your bike, it’s probably not a problem at all,” said Markley. “Some dogs walk better on a leash and others heel pretty well next to a person. I would consider that aspect.” Play it cool, play it safe

The furrier the dog, the less inclined owners should be to have their canine run with them, particularly on hot, humid days, said Burns. “Dogs that have heavy double coats like huskies should not be exercised at all on hot days, just early or late evening hours when it’s cooling down,” said Burns. “If their body temperature goes over 106 degrees, their internal organs can shut down and cook internally. Depending on the degree of organ failure, a lot of dogs can die from that. Overheating is an emergency situation and very real problem with dogs exercising out in the summer.” Signs of overheating include excessive panting and drooling, the whites of the eyes turning pink or red or their ability to walk or run dramatically slowing. In these cases, the dog needs a long break or a walk home, according to Stickney. Hot surfaces can also be a hazard

“The concrete and streets can get really hot and dogs’ feet get blistered,” said Stickney. “That’s something to keep in mind. There are dog booties to protect dogs from hot surfaces.” Burns concurs. “Heat radiating can actually burn their feet,” she said. “I’ve seen dog’s pads peel off, and it takes a while to grow the pads back.” It’s also essential to bring along a collapsible bowl and a water bottle to help prevent overheating. Water is vital because dogs do not have sweat glands. They cool their body by sweating through their footpads and release heat through panting, but neither cools them as effectively as humans, said Stickney. Their inability to cool down is magnified on humid days. “Humidity always plays a role in how effective they are,” said Stickney. “The more humid it is, the more difficult it is for them to exchange that heat.”

get out!


SAFE TRAVELS Twitchy about attaching a leash to your bike? There are smart equipment options that make it possible for bicyclists and their dogs to enjoy a safer jaunt. Tow leashes are designed to account for a dog’s inclination to pull to the side and greatly reduce tipping forces, enabling bikers to maintain control even when your dog tries to chase after a cat or squirrel. Some tow leashes, such as the WalkyDog Plus, feature an internal spring system that acts like suspension when a dog pulls. If you have a small dog, bike baskets attach to bicycle handlebars and create a soft riding area. For small, older or injured pets, dog bike trailers are a great way to include your dog on your ride. Pat Lennon, salesperson and bike mechanic for Freewheeler Bike Shop in Grand Rapids, Mich., bought a bike trailer for his dog, Sabrina, a three-legged mix breed he adopted. “You can see she’s content,” said Lennon. “When we take her out, she likes hanging out with the family, smiling and looking around.”

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July/August 2014 Dogs Unleashed 31

doggy destination:


Canine Capital It’s all paws up for dog-friendly Austin, Texas story and photos By Candilynn and Michael Lockhart


ustin, Texas, continually lands atop trending lists — best city to visit, best Texas day trips, best place to raise a family. When it comes to dogs, the Texas capital doesn’t disappoint, either, as the largest metropolitan city to welcome dogs. Austin must be commended for its love of dogs. It is recognized as a no-kill community by Maddie’s Fund, and in 2006 passed a dog-welcome ordinance, making it the first city in Texas to allow dogs in restaurants with an outdoor seating option. Even if your dogs are not fans of live music or Tex-Mex dining, they will feel at home in the city with its 11 dog parks, more than 60 dog-friendly hotels, more than 200 patio-approved

Viewers line the Congress Avenue bridge to watch the bats take flight.

32 Dogs Unleashed July/August 2014

Dogs are allowed to tour the city with owners on a carriage ride through Austin.

restaurants, 40 doggy day care centers and dozens of dog walkers, sitters and trainers. To acquaint yourself with the city, begin with an Austin Carriage tour. Providing tours for more than 10 years, Austin Carriage offers a way for you and your dog to view the beauty of Austin, familiarize yourself with the surroundings and take advantage of the great weather. Carriages are elegant, white Victorian reproductions called a Visà-Vis, French for “face to face,” which describes the seating arrangements. Carriages seat up to six adults and

a soft-top provides protection from light rain or the Texas sun. Whether you want to take a historic tour, share a romantic ride or just enjoy unique transportation, Austin Carriage provides an unforgettable ride. Austin is also home to an unusual tourist attraction: the largest urban bat colony in North America. On summer nights, hundreds of people gather to see the 1.5 million bats emerge from Austin’s Congress Avenue Bridge. Occurring nightly from July to midAugust, watch as the Mexican free-tail bats awaken from their naps to take their nightly flight.

doggy destination:

Crowds gather on the bridge, the shoreline of the Town Lake or at the bat observation area. An estimated 100,000-plus visitors journey to the bridge to witness the bat flight yearly. This amazing Austin experience is one you and your dog won’t forget. Austin’s hospitality is also unforgettable, especially when it comes to dining out with your dog. The city council passed a 2006 ordinance allowing dogs, without discrimination of size or breed, to accompany their owners to restaurants with outdoor seating. When it comes to going the extra mile to accommodate dogs, the Austin Terrier is hard to beat. The restaurant serves gourmet sandwiches, fresh salads, specialty pizzas, craft beer and specialty desserts. Sounds typical, right? What sets the Austin Terrier apart is it uses local, fresh ingredients and pays homage dogs with its playful, pet-inspired names of its dishes. In 2013, the restaurant was voted Austin’s “Best Kept Secret” for its great food, inviting atmosphere and unique concept. Jamie Durnil, owner and creator of the Austin Terrier, wanted a place that was innovative, friendly and could satisfy all tastes buds. The upscale restaurant with a hometown twist resulted. “We show patrons that the Austin Terrier understands how important families are, and we include dogs as family, so, to the Austin Terrier, they are just as important,” Durnil said. The interior of the restaurant is expressive, colorful, inviting and clearly demonstrates a love of dogs. “Our staff loves dog humor and the little things that make up each special personality of dogs that visit,” Durnil said. “We love and support the efforts that Austin, Texas, has made in our community to support the well-being of every dog that lives or visits the city.” In addition to celebrating dogs, the Austin Terrier supports local dog charities and humane societies. So when you are in the mood for a gourmet food experience with a friendly, inviting hometown-feel, grab your dog, leash and seek a great spot on the outdoor patio of the Austin Terrier, where the motto is “Eat. Drink. Stay.”


IF YOU GO Austin Carriage Services Location: 8413 S. FM 973 Website: Contact: (512) 243-0044 or Austin Doga Location: Yoga classes held at various locations, see website Website: Contact: (512) 413-3648 or Austin Terrier Location: 3435 Greystone Drive Website: Contact: (512) 369-3751 Bow-Wow Bones Location: Various locations (get updates on Twitter) Website: Contact: Follow the food truck on Twitter, @BowWowBones Congress Avenue Bridge Bats Location: 305 S. Congress Avenue Contact: (512) 416-5700

Decker Creek B&B&B Location: 16029 Decker Lake Road Website: Contact: (512) 743-8835 or Driskill Hotel Location: 604 Brazos St. Website: Contact: (512) 391-7039 or (800) 233-1234 Irie Bean Coffee Bar Location: 2310 S. Lamar Website: Contact: (512) 326-4636

July/August 2014 Dogs Unleashed 33

doggy destination:


Restaurants and bars everywhere offer “Happy Hour” specials, but establishments in Austin take their dogfriendly attitude to another level. Many spots offer specials for dog owners, but the Irie Bean Coffee Bar takes it to the extreme. The last Friday of the month is devoted to dogs at the Irie Bean, a place created in 2006 by three friends who wanted a comfortable place to hang out, be themselves and bring their dogs. This coffee bar, which also offers beer, wine, tasty treats and live music, encourages customers to bring furry friends to the “Irie Bean Yappy Hour,” a true pampering event where patrons can stock up on doggy gear, get a doggy mani/pedi and discuss dog training tips. Food trucks are a growing trend in the U.S. and, once again, Austin is ahead of the curve. The city boasts a mobile food truck for dogs, called the Bow-Wow Chow. Founded by Austinites Lara Enzor and Kim Golden, Bow-Wow Chow is Texas’ first mobile dog food truck and regularly parks at one of the many off-leash dog parks in the city. Enzor said the inspiration behind the Bow-Wow Chow came from her dogs Dottie, a toy fox terrier, and Penny, a miniature pinscher. “The food-trailer scene seemed to offer something for everyone, except for dogs,” Enzor said. “Pets get hungry, too, after a long day playing at the park.” Enzor combined her love for pets and entrepreneurial expertise to launch Bow-Wow Chow in June 2012. Dog owners can spend time at the dog park, then go for a special all natural,

In Austin, food trucks have gone to the dogs.

34 Dogs Unleashed July/August 2014

The upscale Driskill Hotel has catered to dog guests since the late 1890s.

preservative-free, locally baked fresh pet treat without leaving the parking lot. To find the truck, follow Bow-Wow Chow on Twitter, @BowWowBones, for an up-to-the minute location. Proceeds of every purchase are donated to a local nonprofit organization, Austin Pets Alive, which provides resources, education and programs to promote its goal of making Texas a no-kill shelter state. When it comes to dog-friendly hotels, Austin has an astounding 60-plus venues, but two extraordinary spots elevate a getaway with your dog to an experience. Housed on Sixth Street, in the heart of downtown, is the luxurious, historical Driskill Hotel. The Driskill, the pride of wealthy cattle baron Jesse Driskill, opened in 1886. Dogs have been welcomed there since the late 1890s, when Gov. Jim Hogg lived there with his family and pooch. Recognized as the nation’s most pet-friendly hotel by Animal Fair magazine, the legendary Driskill caters to canine and feline guests. It has been honored with a Cesar’s Five Bone Award for being the perfect getaway

Dogs gather for breakfast at the Decker Creek B&B&B just outside of Austin.

for travelers and pets who want to experience the opulence of Texas. Pets 50 pounds and under are welcome and offered a special pampered pet program which includes a custom Driskill pet bed, designer dishes and mats, treats and more. If the Driskill doesn’t fit your style, try the Decker Creek, a bed and breakfast located in a quiet rural area 14 miles from Austin. It houses guests in private cabins on 50 acres with screened porches, fenced yards, dog agility courses, hiking trails, built-in kitchens, outdoor grills and other touches that provide a home-away-from-home feel. Decker Creek B&B allows dogs of all

doggy destination:

sizes and breeds, with no limit on the number of dogs. Whether you are in the mood for a stay at the historic, luxurious Driskill or a more private night’s rest at Decker Creek, you and your dog will be welcomed and pampered. Our last Austin spot provides the ultimate bonding experience for you and your dog, guaranteed to stimulate your mind and body. Austin Doga offers yoga with your dog. The goal of “Doga” is to strengthen the mental bond between you and your pooch while you become more relaxed and calm within. Take in a session together or practice yoga while your dog hangs out, gets some love, snuggle time and a gentle massage. All classes are taught by a registered yoga instructor who has training and experience in modifying yoga poses for varying levels of experience and body types. “This is the perfect place to relax,


renew and reset for you and your dog,” said Nicole Vykoukal, owner of Austin Doga. “It can be life-changing.” As you can see, Texas’ capital city won’t disappoint you or your beloved four-legged friend. Austin truly is a trendsetting city when it comes to its dog-friendly policies. If you’re looking for an incredible place for your next dog-friendly trip, think of Austin, where you’ll find great fun, food, places and people. Candilynn and Michael Lockhart are co-founders of The DaVinci Foundation for Animals, a nonprofit organization that helps animals in need. Their love of travel and having a dog companion on every trip inspired them to find the best travel options to ensure their furry family member is never left at home. Cadilynn also is executive editorial photographer for’s “Ruff Guide to the United States: 365 of the best places to stay and play with your dog in all 50 states.”

Austin Doga lets owners enjoy doing yoga with their four-legged companions.

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bissell blocktail | riverbank run walk | Spring Lake Heritage Festival Dogwalk



Whiskers Pet Resort and Spa offered temporary color treatments to turn pets into walking art pieces at the Bissell Blocktail Party.

Special orange bandanas at the Bissell Blocktail Party let guests know the dog wearing it was adopted from a shelter or rescue.


Dr. Emma Kate O’Brien of Allendale Animal Hospital escorted her Irish wolfhound Romey to the Bissell Blocktail Party on the grounds of Mangiamo restaurant in Grand Rapids


This bulldog puppy, owned by Jamie and Christian Frank, seemed amazed at (or afraid of) all the goings-on at the Bissell Blocktail Party. The more relaxed corgi belongs to Jane Timmer.


The Fifth Third River Bank Run this year included dogs for the noncompetitive community walk portion of the event.

36 Dogs Unleashed July/August 2014


Dogs of all ages, shapes and sizes walked the 5K at the Fifth Third Riverbank Run.


A pair of Shar Pei dogs proudly show off their wrinkles and their Fifth Third Riverbank Run bandanas.


The grounds of Old Boys Brewhouse hosted vendors and guests — of the people and canine variety — after the Spring Lake Heritage Festival Dog Walk.


This little dog sported a tie and a fresh groom for the annual Spring Lake Heritage Festival Dog Walk.


The Spring Lake Heritage Festival Dog Walk came to a screeching halt for these dogs, who stopped to check out the lady with the camera.

Photos by jennifer waters


After a nice little stroll, these two hit the pool at the Spring Lake Heritage Festival Dog Walk.

July/August 2014 Dogs Unleashed 37

the tail end


Soldiers — human and canine — reunited in civilian life For five years, wherever Jason Bos went, so did Cila. The two were inseparable, best friends, battle buddies, a soldier and his dog. But not just any soldier. And certainly not just any dog. U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jason Bos of Kentwood, Mich., and MWD Cila M389 — a keen-nosed chocolate Lab trained to sniff out bombs and other explosives — were a team on the battlefields of Iraq saving an untold number of lives. “She protected me,” Bos said, “and I protected her.” Together, they protected their fellow soldiers. During a 12-month deployment near Mosul in northern Iraq, Cila detected numerous caches, or stockpiles, of bombs and explosives designed to kill American soldiers on contact. Working off-leash, directed only by Bos’ hand and voice signals, Cila — whose rank was Military Working Dog, thus, the MWD attached to her name — sniffed out and identified the danger the soldiers could only suspect. “She’s quite a dog,” said Bos. “She’s driven to work.” Theirs was a bond of complete trust and mutual reliance. One wrong move by either of them could have spelled disaster or death. “They tell us not to get attached to our dog, but how can you help it?” Bos said. She had his back for every minute of the day. He relied on her; her on him. “She was my partner,” said Bos. “My best friend.” Stateside, their job was no less impressive. They worked with the Secret Service, clearing sites for the president and vice president whenever

38 Dogs Unleashed July/August 2014

they traveled. Bos, who turns 34 the end of July, considered making the Army his career, in part because “I didn’t want to leave my dog,” he said. But in 2012, he injured his back during a training exercise and could no longer physically do the work. He had to retire from a job he loved. Worse, he had to leave the dog he helped train. When Bos and Cila first laid eyes on each other, “she didn’t know obedience, and she didn’t know explosives.” He’d just finished a three-year hitch as a military police officer. He re-upped for another four years because he was drawn to the working dogs he’d seen. Cila was young and a little headstrong in a training class at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas, and had a little trouble listening to authority figures until she met Bos. “Our bond was immediate,” he remembered. He offered to adopt Cila, whom he nicknamed “CiCi,” when he retired. She was only 5 years old and too young to retire. So Bos had to turn her over to another handler. He re-entered civilian life, moved in with his brother and took business classes at Davenport University in Grand Rapids. Well-intentioned friends suggested he adopt another dog. But he held out. He wanted Cila. One year passed, then another, and then a miracle. His former kennel master — whom he’d followed on

Photo courtesy of jason bos

Facebook — contacted Bos and told him Cila was about to retire from military duty. Did Bos still want to adopt her? He couldn’t say “yes” fast enough. “Typically, this doesn’t happen,” Bos says. “[Handlers] don’t get to adopt their dogs.” On April 30, an admittedly nervous Bos waited at O’Hare International Airport for Cila, who was on a ninehour flight from Germany. “I wondered if she’d even remember me,” he said. Reporters and photographers lined the airport hallway, waiting with him. Eventually the dog came down the ramp — and when Bos cried out, calling her by nickname in the voice he once used to get her attention, CiCi fell all over him, a 63-pound dog jumping into his arms as if she were a lap dog. There was barely a dry eye. Then Bos took his dog home. No more concrete kennel floors for her. CiCi sleeps next to him. No more bomb-sniffing missions. She hangs out on the couch when he’s in class, goes for walks in the park and plays in the backyard when he’s home. Not surprisingly, man and dog became a national sensation, reported on TV and in the newspapers and social media. A YouTube clip of the reunion reached 1.1 million views. “It’s a great story,” Bos said. So what’s it like now that they’re back together? Bos — a bear of a man, a veteran of war and danger — gets a little choked up. He takes a second to clear his throat, then speaks straight from the heart. “It’s complete joy,” he says. “I’m back with my best friend.” Susan Harrison-Wolffis is an award-winning journalist, retired from newspaper work after more than 40 years. Contact her at

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Dogs Unleashed - July-August 2014  

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