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DOGS UNLEASHED is a bimonthly magazine especially for dog lovers. At this time, it is available free of charge at more than 350 locations in Kent, Ottawa, and Muskegon counties.

To advertise or become a distribution location for DOGS UNLEASHED, contact Brad Uhl at

DOGS UNLEASHED is published by 2U Ventures LLC, PO Box 836, Grandville, MI, 49468-0836.

All material published in DOGS UNLEASHED is copyrighted © 2012 by 2U Ventures LLC. 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 judgement of the publisher or advertisers.

Printed in the U.S.A.


the 31-year-old photographer’s online images went viral back in February, Seth Casteel was out traveling the world, helping many shelters through his non-profit organization. In this issue, Casteel takes time from his busy schedule to talk about his amazing work.

10 11 12 21 22 24 28 30 32

Chef Tommy FitzGerald Ask Dr. Swift Working Like a Dog Good Grief Pet Health Insurance Doggie Destinations Animal Attraction Kids’ Fun Readers’ Photos

Photo: Kendra Stanley-Mills

people and money in. But I think showing While working for Sony Pictures, the negative only scares people away. Casteel happened to snap photographs of We’ve seen the campaigns on television… kittens born to the feral cats hanging it’s deceptive marketing for people around the Los Angeles studio lot, he told making donations, and it’s dangerous for the Decatur Herald-Review in 2010. His improving the image of shelters. If you’re playful photos helped the turning the channel because you don’t kittens—destined to become feral as want to see it, are you wanting to go into well—find homes. the animal shelter then? Probably not.” That led to volunteer work at the West Casteel has worked to change the image Los Angeles Animal Care Center, where he photographed by photographing shelter pets in a more natural environment than the confines of dogs and cats in their kennels. professional, “Second Chance is about improving the positive settings image of rescue and adoption,” he said. to help get “It’s important to be positive, and it them adopted. makes such a difference. We’re about His Little Friends Lifestyle Pet Photography business soon expanded to include his non-profit organization, Second Chance Photos. Casteel continues to photograph shelter pets and volunteers to teach shelter pet photography workshops around the world. Each workshop is a 90minute professional course on how to successfully photograph homeless pets in an effort to increase adoption rates. His workshops are free and open to the public. For those who can’t make it to a workshop, he offers a PDF Photos courtesy of Seth Casteel. of photo tips on the Typical kennel photo (top). Adoption photo after Casteel’s workshop (bottom). “workshops” creating awareness and increasing page of his Second Chance Photos adoption rates, improving the image of website ( shelter animals and saving lives. “I share what I learned,” Casteel said. “Some people just can’t go into the “I tell them to make it positive. You don’t animal shelter knowing there are need to be a professional, but if you can hundreds of homeless pets and they can’t spend a little time on the photos and show the pets in a more positive light, you take them all home. But ultimately, it’s a positive thing and a win-win. You’re can show that going to the shelter is a saving a pet, and you’re getting a best positive experience. friend.” “Some would say negative-type photos —Mary Ullmer, Editor create a sense of urgency and would bring

From the Editor When publisher Brad Uhl and I decided we actually were going to make a go of Dogs Unleashed, we realized our debut issue needed a cover photograph and story so compelling that West Michigan dog lovers simply had to pick our publication up. We “settled” on images that hundreds of thousands had viewed online and were making their way into magazines and newspapers around the country, Seth Casteel’s Underwater Dogs. It took some doing to contact Casteel (or, rather, the licensing agent for his photos, Jon-Paul Harrison of Tandem Stills + Motion, Inc.) to purchase the rights to a few photos. Next came pinning Casteel down for an interview. After making initial contact in March, I finally interviewed Casteel in July. The result of our 45-minute phone call is “SPLASH!” on page 16. Even before speaking with Casteel, I was intrigued not only with his underwater work, but with his animal advocacy. Casteel grew up in Decatur, Illinois, about a three-hour trip south of Chicago down Interstate 57. After graduating from Eisenhower High School, where in 1999 he helped secure a $15,000 grant from the school district to produce a “video yearbook,” he studied film production at Chapman University in Orange, Calif.. He also took two beginner courses in still photography there. Just as his Underwater Dogs images came about by chance, so did his career as a pet photographer.

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CONTRIBUTORS (Big thanks to these fine dog-lovin’ people!)

Ginny Mikita (Good Grief, p. 21) is a certified candidate

for ordination in the United Methodist Church and for the past two years has served as Night Chaplain at Spectrum HealthButterworth. Ginny is a 1991 graduate of Notre Dame Law School and was honored to be named by Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly as one of Michigan’s Top Ten Lawyers in 1998 for her work in the animal protection field. Ginny and her husband, Bob Kruse, have their own law practice, the Mikita Kruse Law Center. They have two school-aged children and one black lab/beagle rescue named Kadie.

Matt Nemecek (The Tail End, p. 34) is an art student at

Grand Valley State University who creates whimsical pet portraits in his spare time. His digital creations can be found on his Facebook page, PetPortraitsGR. Contact Matt or schedule an artistic rendition of your pet at

Paul Neumeyer (Doggy Destination, p. 24) is a lifelong

dog lover and a journalist with 34 years of professional experience. He currently is a sports and news copy editor for Gannett Corp. at the Design Studio in Louisville, Ky. He is the proud owner of two hot dogs: Koney Dog is a 1 1/2-yearold dachshund/puggle mix and Chili Dog is a 1-year-old miniature dachshund. Contact Paul, Koney and Chili at


Jacqueline Prins (Doggy Destination, p. 24) studied fine art and graphic design at Aquinas College. She worked for MLive Media Group in Grand Rapids before moving to Louisville, Ky., where she is a freelance photographer and designer for Gannett Corp. Kendra Stanley-Mills (Fetch!, p. 8) is owner of Kendra

Stanley-Mills Photography in Muskegon. She's a former newspaper photographer and award-winning photojournalist. Her work has appeared in Newsweek, People, Farm & Ranch Living and Taste of Home magazines. Contact her at

Wendy Swift, DVM, (Ask Dr. Swift, p. 11) is Associate

Veterinarian at Ottawa Animal Hospital and Surgeon at West Michigan Spay Neuter Clinic. Contact Dr. Swift at

Shane Thellman, DVM, (Pet health insurance, p. 22)

recently opened Modern Health Veterinary Hospital in Grand Rapids with his wife, Nikki, who also is a veterinarian. The Thellmans have a son, Clayton, as well five cats, two dogs, a tortoise and an iguana. Contact Dr. Thellman at


If you have an idea for a story, an interesting doggy destination, comments or a new product, don’t make us beg–tell us about it! Contact us at

Editor Mary Ullmer is a former manager, editor, reporter and blogger who previously worked for the Grand Rapids Press, Chicago Tribune, South Florida SunSentinel, Springfield News-Leader and Muskegon Chronicle. Email her at

from the Puppy Fun pages 30, 31






Linda Odette (Working Like a Dog, p. 12) is a freelance writer and fan of Johnny Cash and the Detroit Tigers. She is a former newspaper features editor and writer based in Grand Rapids. Linda and her husband, photographer Dave Odette, are proud owners of a rat terrier, Otis. Contact Linda at

Publisher Brad Uhl has decades of experience in a variety of specialty publications, including management, sales, marketing, printing and distribution. He most recently was a manager in the Grand Rapids Press advertising department. Email him at

Art Director Tom Dodson is a former art director from Dallas, Texas. He is an experienced graphic artist, accomplished commercial photographer and lecturer, and owned a successful ad agency in Fort Worth. His work has been appreciated world-wide. Email him at

DOGSunleashed • 5







































Answers to Riddles: 1. They both have lots of bark. 2. They use the paws button. 3. A watch dog. 4. When it’s a greyhound. 5. He was seeing spots.

Get out of the house and enjoy some of these fun, dog-related events.

Through Oct. 31 ASPCA/Rachael Ray $100K Challenge, a contest to help save shelter animals. Kent County Animal Shelter has qualified for the Challenge and is offering $5 cat adoptions and $50 dog adoptions (plus license fee) from Aug. 1 to Oct. 31. Go to for information.

Sept. 8 Bark for Life of Grand Haven, a canine event to raise pledges for the American Cancer Society, 10 a.m. Registration/check-in for the one-mile walk, followed by various activities, is 9 a.m. in the Harbor Front Condominiums (formerly the Piano Factory) parking lot. Dogs participating must be on leash at all times. To register and for information on participating, contact Deanna Johnson (616) 842-9062, email to: or Lauren LaTarte (616) 551-4062, email to:

Sept. 8 Runners’ Dog Bite Prevention Class, 11 a.m.- noon, Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Learn how to stay safe from dogs while out on a run or walk. A $10 donation at the door is suggested. Contact Jen Self-Aulgur (616) 791-8066, email to:

Sept. 13 An Antique Roadshow at Blue Door, 946 Fulton, Grand Rapids. The fund raiser to benefit C-SNIP (Community Spay/Neuter Initiative Partnership) features professional appraisals, drinks and heavy hors d’oeuvres. Doors open at 6 p.m., appraisals begin at 6:30. Cost is $50 plus $25 for appraisals. To purchase tickets, visit

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Sept. 14 C-SNIP golf outing, 18-hole scramble at Saskatoon Golf Club, 9038 92nd SE, Alto. Shotgun start at 1 p.m.. Entry fee is $125 per golfer and includes golf with cart, dinner and door prizes. Dinner only is $25. Outing features a “Bid It or Buy It” silent auction with proceeds benefiting Community Spay Neuter Initiative Partnership. Register at or call (616) 455-8220.

Sept. 15 Dog Day in the Park hosted by the Grand Rapids Kennel Club, Riverside Park, 2907 Monroe Ave., Grand Rapids. “A Festival for Dogs” free event. Friendly, vaccinated dogs on leashes welcome. Registration 8 a.m., opening ceremony 9:30 a.m. Last event, “Blessing of the Dogs,” at 2:30 p.m. Event includes vendor and rescue group booths, canine good citizen testing, carnival games, contests, demonstrations, agility and more. For a full list and times of events, go to

Sept. 18 Companion Animal Grief Support, 6-7 p.m., Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Group sessions. Please pre-register by noon on the day of the meetings with facilitator Ginny Mikita (616) 4600373 or Jen Self-Aulgur (616) 791-8066 or email to:

Sept. 21-23 All-American Pet Expo, Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River Avenue, Novi. One of three shows nationwide, the pet expo features entertainment, pet products, pet vendors and pet adoptions. Show hours are

11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $11 for adults, $9 for seniors over 60, $7 for children 5-12, free for children 4-under. For information, go to

Sept. 21 Furry Friday Films, 5:30-9:30 p.m., Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Kids grades K-5 are invited to enjoy a night of animal time, games, crafts and an animal-themed movie. Pizza, pop and popcorn provided. $25 per child with a $10 sibling discount. To register, contact Jen Self-Aulgur (616) 791-8066, email to:

Oct. 13 Tails on Trails Dog Walk, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Kirk Park, 9791 Lakeshore Drive, West Olive. Event features games, food, blessing of the dogs, auction, vendor booths, prizes and more. Proceeds benefit Harbor Humane Society. Contact Harbor Humane Society (616) 399-2119,

Oct. 16 Companion Animal Grief Support, 6-7 p.m., Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Group sessions. Please pre-register by noon on the day of the meetings with facilitator Ginny Mikita (616) 4600373 or Jen Self-Aulgur (616) 791-8066 or email to:

Oct. 19 Furry Friday Films, 5:30-9:30 p.m., Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Kids grades K-5 are invited to enjoy a night of animal time, games, crafts and an animal-themed movie. Pizza, pop and popcorn provided. $25 per child with a $10 sibling discount. To register, contact Jen Self-Aulgur (616) 791-8066, email to:

Oct. 20 Frankenweenie and mini Howl ‘n Boo, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Celebration! Cinema North, 2121 Celebration Drive NE, Grand Rapids. Attend a private screening of Disney’s “Frankenweenie” movie and get a free pop and popcorn. Participants also can access the Humane Society of West Michigan’s Howl ‘n Boo event, featuring treats, carnival games, crafts and more. Tickets are $15 per person or $50 for family (4 tickets). For more information, contact Nicole Cook of HSWM (616) 791-8089, email to:

To have your event listed, email information to:


from Good Grief, page 21

Some of the many resources available to those grieving over a companion animal.” American Veterinary Medical Association: The AVMA’s “Guidelines for Veterinary Hospice Care” assists with decisions regarding palliative care and pain control for terminally ill companion animals. ( ASPCA pet loss hotline: Assists with the decision to euthanize a companion animal. ( Michigan State University: The College of Veterinary Medicine offers a pet loss support group and pet loss hotline staffed by volunteers. ( Tufts University: Its School of Veterinary Medicine provides hotline support staffed by veterinary students trained by counselors from the Tufts Counseling Center. ( Virtual Pet Cemetery: This Canadian-based virtual pet cemetery allows a user, at no charge, to create a memorial page for a companion animal through words and photographs. ( Books: For those for whom reading provides solace, there are a number of published books. Goodbye, friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet by Gary Kowalski is a beautiful and uplifting work for adults. And for children or the child in each of us, I’ll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm, The Tenth Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst and The Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia are classics.

ne w l i f e s t y le e nh a i t i ng nci n c x E g pro

o! e, to i h c o du c t s f o r yo u a n d p o

GO GREEN Green Dog Pet Accessories leash What it is: A 5-foot custom leash constructed of 100 percent hemp and vintage material. Leash is lined for walking comfort and style. Available in cow pattern, green, fire hose or polka dot. All Green Dog products (and packaging) are constructed using 100 percent natural and recycled materials and are handmade and custom designed by owner Kelly Boos. But wait, there’s more: Green Dog Pet Accessories include organic treats, Pup Cuffs that fit over your dog’s standard collar for a fashionable look, wool toys, dog beds, custom leashes and human clothing. Fetch it: Online at

TREAT ‘EM RIGHT Toula Gear Treat Bag What it is: Durable, washable and convenient, the Toula treat bag is the first step to positive reinforcement dog training. It’s the same bag used by Christine Mahaney, trainer of Toula, named winner of PETCO’s America’s Most Talented Pet in 2007. The lined bag holds plenty of high reward treats and includes a hidden drawstring inside to prevent spillage and provide for easy access. The treat bag clips onto any waistline or belt. But wait, there’s more: Toula Gear offers collars, leashes, charms and a variety of treat bags in fashionable patterns. Mahaney’s training company, What A Dog, includes a boutique offering T-shirts, water bottles, hats, coffee mugs and more. Fetch it: Online at What A Dog products available at

A FRESH APPROACH Fresh Wave Natural Odor Eliminator Pearl Packs What it is: Packets of tiny fragrance-free pearls help eliminate odors, a clear distinction from covering them up. The small unscented and non-toxic packets contain natural extracts of lime, pine needle, aniseed, clove and cedarwood to absorb nasty odors. They can be tossed into any confined space where there are unwanted odors. But wait, there’s more: Fresh Wave Carpet Shake to remove pet odors from carpeting and upholstered furniture, Crystal Gel air deodorizer and Spray to target specific areas such as pillows, furniture and litter boxes. Fetch it: Available at Meijer stores or online at 8 • DOGSunleashed

THE NOSE KNOWS Pee-Eww Urine Eliminator System What it is: A uniquely designed product from the BISSELL Pawsitively Clean line designed to help pet owners locate and eliminate dried pet urine in the home. While dried pet urine can be difficult to find with the eyes, the system’s “Pee Detector Blacklight” locates the source. An injector cap allows for injecting the formula to the base of the stain, while the advanced enzyme-action formula removes the toughest urine stains and odors. But wait, there’s more: To check out the entire Pawsitively Clean line of BISSELL products, including carpet deep cleaners, hair tools, cleaning formulas and vacuums, go to Fetch it: Available at West Michigan retailers Pet Supplies Plus, Chow Hound Pet Supplies and PetSmart.

HOME SWEET HOME Molly Mutt Dog Bed Duvet What it is: A duvet made of 100 percent cotton canvas and fully zippered, designed to hold pet owners’ old “stuff,” such as worn out sheets, pillows, blankets and clothing. Your dog will be comforted by your scent inside the duvet, and you’ll keep your unwanted clothing or bedding items out of landfills. It also can be used to house the stuffing from pets’ old beat-up dog bed and is preshrunk and machine washable. Available in small, medium and huge. But wait, there’s more: Molly Mutt Stuff Sack, designed to organize the items inside the duvet. Stuff Sack is 100 percent nylon, fully zippered and expandable. Fetch it: Must Love Dogs Boutique & Spa (, 211 Washington Ave., Grand Haven, Mich., 49417. Also available online at

OLD DOG, NEW TRICK Bamboo Charcoal Multi-Use Mat What it is: Designed for older dogs through Quaker Pet Group’s Silver Tails line, the bamboo charcoal holistic material reacts with your pet’s body heat and helps relieve aches and pains, reduce stress and speed recovery. Other benefits may include joint relief and improved circulation, energy and flexibility. Padded throw mats come in two sizes for use on floors, furniture and car interiors, have a non-skid bottom for added traction and help absorb moisture and eliminate odors. They include sturdy integrated handles for lifting and moving older pets. The removable bamboo charcoal insert can be hand-washed and recharged in the sun. But wait, there’s more: The Silver Tails line includes a bamboo charcoal bed cover, dental cleaning system, infrared massager, hand-held massager, Senior Wellness chew treats, a “Bottoms Up” harness, magnetic therapy collars and many more items to help you and your dog find comfort in their senior years. Fetch it: Online at

TO HAVE YOUR PRODUCT FEATURED IN Send us a professional product shot of your featured item along with a description to be written in our FETCH! format to the email address below. Photo should be at least 300 ppi when the smallest full-size dimension is 2 inches and saved in JPEG format. Send to:

DOGSunleashed • 9

Your veterinarian is recommending the best protection for your canine companion. With the unseasonably warm weather, we are planning to see more mosquitoes than ever. Mosquitoes spread heartworm disease by biting a dog with heartworm disease and then biting your dog. In previous years, veterinarians could assume we would have a 4- to 6-month break from exposure due to the cold weather associated with winter, but that no longer is the case. Your dog risks being bitten by a mosquito all year. If you skip giving heartworm prevention for even one month, your dog could contract heartworm disease. It is easier, safer for you and your pet, and less expensive to give heartworm prevention all year long. The average cost for treating a 50-pound dog for heartworm disease can range from $500 to $1,000. Depending on which heartworm prevention your veterinarian recommends, you could spend less than $20 per month to protect your dog. And, heartworm preventatives typically contain intestinal parasite prevention (roundworms, hookworms, etc.) and some even protect your dog against flea infestation. The additional benefits this type of protection gives to your family and your pet is invaluable. Your pet will not spread any zoonotic disease (disease that can spread from an animal to people) to family members or friends.

Your dogs count on you to give them the protection they need to remain healthy and happy, so follow your veterinarian’s recommendation and provide them with heartworm prevention all year. If you are an owner of a feline friend, please ask your veterinarian which prevention is right for you. Cats need heartworm prevention, too, so work with your veterinarian to determine what type of heartworm and intestinal parasite protection your kitty needs, depending on their risk of exposure. Remember, you are your pet’s voice, so communicate any questions or concerns to your veterinarian.

“Protect Today for a Safe Tomorrow”

• Pet Stop Underground Pet Fence System • Repair/Installation ANY Brand • American Made • Plexidoor Dog Doors • Training • Batteries for any Brand

Wendy Swift, DVM, is an Associate Veterinarian at Ottawa Animal Hospital and surgeon at West Michigan Spay Neuter Clinic.

Submit questions to Ask Dr. Swift at: Photo by Dan Terpstra

www.hiddenbo un m DOGSunleashed • 11

Toula was just 5 weeks old when she was adopted from a rescue organization in Kalamazoo. Today, with movie and television credits, her own clothing line plus a home on a lake, the border collie is living the life of a celebrity. story by Linda Odette photos by Dave Odette

PLAINWELL, Mich. – Toula never control, and a pillow and blanket. She leaves her Allegan County home without even fetches a Kleenex when Mahaney her fur, even in the heat of summer. sneezes. She jet-sets like a celebrity, can stop She has acted alongside Johnny Depp, production on a movie set in a heartbeat among others, all the while maintaining a and loves a good filet mignon. “normal” life at her home just north of Her manager, Christine Mahaney, freely Kalamazoo. admits Toula may be a diva. She also Mahaney adopted Toula as 5 1/2-weekadmits that when it comes to looks, well, old puppy from the Pet Resource Toula is a dog. Network in Kalamazoo. But bringing Oh, wait. Toula is a dog. Toula home wasn’t easy. Mahaney had seen And what a dog she is. three of her dogs pass away Toula’s talents have in the previous year. landed her roles in more “I was in the car crying than 20 movies as well as with her on my lap,” several television Mahaney recalled. appearances and Mahaney and her husband, commercials and a music Bob, quickly realized Toula video. In 2007, the border was a diamond in the rough collie was named Petco’s when they saw how fast she “Most Talented Dog in was able to potty train and America,” which sent her learn tricks. Little did they on a path to stardom. know their puppy would end In the video submitted up on the silver screen. for the Petco contest, Toula amazed YouTube AT THE MOVIES viewers by bringing Christine Mahaney and Toula various items to Mahaney, The biggest Hollywood who also happens to be her owner and an star Toula can bark about is Depp, whom animal trainer. The items include slippers, she appeared with in the film Public a beverage from a cooler, the TV remote Enemies in 2009.

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Toula played the dog belonging to the owner of the Little Bohemia Lodge and got about 30 seconds of screen time in the movie. She’s in the scene where her onscreen owner comes out of the lodge to greet Depp, who stars as notorious bank robber John Dillinger, and his gangster buddies. The scene takes place at the real Little Bohemia Lodge in Manitowish Waters, Wis., the actual location of a 1934 gun fight between Dillinger and the FBI. “They ended up using a very wide frame take, but if you look carefully, you will see her,” Mahaney says. “The white tip of her wagging tail can’t be missed.” Toula’s latest film, Quad, is expected to be released this fall. It’s based on a true story about a man who becomes a quadriplegic because of a tragic accident. The star of the movie, Aaron Paul, is an Emmy-winning actor on TV’s Breaking Bad. Lena Olin, Tom Berenger and Jeff Daniels also are in the film. Toula shot about 30 scenes for Quad, but Mahaney says there’s no guarantee how many will end up on the cutting room floor or how much screen time Toula actually will get. Meticulous planning takes place before any scene is shot, Mahaney says. It took 35 to 40 hours of prep time for the scene in

Toula on the set of Quad.

Quad where Toula follows Adam, the main character, down to a lake, onto a lawn and to the dock. Part of that time is

spent scripting details so every move and command by Mahaney is absolutely identical. “What side of the actor will she walk on? She needs to learn both, depending on where the camera is,” Mahaney says of the things she needs to consider as a trainer. “Is it a walkway or grass where the dog will follow that actor? How far can I be from Toula to get her to work away from me? All of this takes hours that lead into days and sometimes weeks.” Something as simple as using her left hand instead of her right for a motion will confuse Toula. “If she doesn’t do something, it’s me who doesn’t do it

right,” Mahaney says. Another scene in Quad required Toula to go into a closet, not exactly an everyday event for a dog. Mahaney said she prepped for the scene daily for at least a month by throwing tennis balls into a closet with Toula. “I had to make her tennis ball the greatest reward,” Mahaney said. “It took the fear out of the scene and actually made it fun for her. I worked with her day in and day out, not a constant eight hours, because I personally don’t believe in prepping a dog in that fashion, but out of those eight hours she learned to ‘find’ her tennis ball, ‘focus’ on her tennis ball and stay very still for that ball. It takes a lot of patience.” Mahaney said the closet scene was pretty intense for Toula, but she had the opportunity to prep her for it. “I had to get her in the environment where we were filming days before the shoot of that scene,” Mahaney said. “Fortunately, we had the opportunity to work there a week before shooting.”

BOW-WOW BIOGRAPHY Name: Toula Age: 8 Weight: 50 pounds Breed: Border Collie Likes: Filet mignon, prime rib, tennis balls and more tennis balls, kissing people, going to places like the pediatric ward at Bronson Hospital and Bickford Cottage (a seniors living facility, in Kalamazoo) Dislikes: Sweets, rumble strips on the highway and fireworks (she thinks they’re overrated) Diet: Dry kibble, Xango Mangosteen, fish oil and Glyco-flex 3 Tricks/tasks she can perform: More than 40 About her name: The song “Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ra,” an Irish lullaby, is the inspiration behind “Toula.” (Yes, it’s also the catchy phrase in the 1982 No. 1 hit “Come On Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners, but that’s not why she got the name.)

Nationality: U.S. citizen – she even has a passport. Movies, TV shows, music videos: “Public Enemies,” “Red Dawn,” “Flipped,” “Live! with Regis & Kelly,” 26 episodes of the children’s show “Noodles & Doodles,” Animal Planet’s “The Haunted,” an Insane Clown Posse music video, a Chevy Volt commercial, and the soon-to-be-released movies “Highland Park” with Danny Glover and “Quad” with Aaron Paul. Website:, where you can see the video that won her Petco’s “Most Talented Pet in America” contest and the Chevy Volt commercial. Accessories line: Find Toula inspired products at

DOGSunleashed • 13

Like other movie stars, Toula flies celebrity status (she prefers a window seat and once bumped a passenger from their seat, according to Mahaney), eats with the cast, drinks bottled water (primarily because she doesn’t want to get sick from local water) and has her own line of accessories. It’s key that Toula doesn’t get stressed while filming, because if she needs a break, “the whole thing stops,” Mahaney says. Repetition is key to training Toula for movie scenes. How much training it takes for a dog to learn to do a scene depends on the dog and the behavior it needs to learn, Mahaney says. She figures Toula takes half the time to train as most dogs because of her “work ethic, our bond and the many behaviors she already knows.” Just how much income her canine has earned with her acting career Mahaney wouldn’t say, but she did admit, “Toula has bought me some nice pieces of jewelry.” AT HOME

Toula’s day starts between 8 and 9 a.m. “She gets up when I get up,” Mahaney says. “We have a great understanding of the importance of sleep.” Toula lounges around a bit before breakfast, then heads down to the beach of Pine Lake #4, where Mahaney lives with her entourage, Cole (another border collie), Keegan (a Yorkie-poodle mix), and Annie (a beagle-terrier mix). All are rescued dogs, which are Mahaney’s passion and part of the reason she does what she does. “I want to show everybody a rescue dog can become a movie star,” Mahaney says. Around noon is training time, and it usually takes place in the bright yellow bungalow a few feet away from Mahaney’s house. “I do a lot of sit/stay, lay/stay,”

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Mahaney with Cole, Keegan and Toula.

Mahaney says of the daily training “Every single day, I do focus work with Toula. I believe that eye contact is the best method of staying bonded to your dog. “I never do behaviors in the exact order. I want to see Toula’s personality come through, not a mechanical dog.” In the afternoons, Toula and her best friend Cole go with Mahaney to her client’s homes. Mahaney, who developed and owns “WhatADog” in-home dog training, loves to see people’s faces when their dogs learn a command or accomplish a trick.

“I’ve seen many mouths drop open when they see their own dog performing a certain behavior,” Mahaney says. “They

frequently say ‘I never thought my dog could ever do that.’ ” Supper comes around 6 p.m. and “they all eat together as a family,” Mahaney says of the dogs. Next, it’s more fun with the tennis ball, lounging around and maybe a little TV. “Toula does like to keep up on what’s going on in Hollywood,” Mahaney says. Toula even has seen herself on TV’s “Animal Planet” channel. “I say ‘Toula on TV,’ and she does a double take,” Mahaney says. Their dream is a Golden Collar Award, the equivalent of an Oscar for dogs. It was given out for the first time this year and went to Uggy, the Jack Russell terrier star of the Best Picture winner, The Artist. While there’s plenty of evidence suggesting Toula is a true diva, it should be noted she does help a bit with chores around the house, like laundry. She can hand Mahaney clothes and shut the dryer door. Plus, she visits schools, hospitals and does several charity events, where she shows off her 40-plus “tricks.” “One day to the next is always something different,” Mahaney says. “I’m sure we’d make for a great reality show. Yesterday, we spent two hours up

at Bronson Hospital at the children’s unit. Those are moments I truly treasure with Toula.” THE OWNER Mahaney, a dark-haired, charismatic, 44-year-old with a sense of humor (she wanted to give her own age in dog years), grew up in Grayling and remembers as a child that Benji was her favorite movie– star dog. “What I loved about Benji was he was just a mutt,” she says. Mahaney quit her job as a paralegal to become an animal trainer. She has clients around Michigan and as far away as Los Angeles. For distant ones, she sometimes uses the video computer program Skype to do the training. Her job as a trainer has included working with cows, snakes, goats, cats, rats, a skunk and a bass. “When you train animals for a movie, you need to understand the animal’s behavior and what type of things they’re capable of,” Mahaney explains. So, how does one understand a bass? It starts with spending hours talking to experts about bass, learning about local regulations for fish and game and being aware of the American Humane Society’s rules for fish in a movie.

“Sometimes when I work with certain animals, it’s not necessarily ‘training’ that needs to occur, it is understanding that specific animal and their behavior – what motivates them, what scares them, what is their diet and what is their diet if they are in an unfamiliar environment,” Mahaney says. “I timed the fish down to the second so I knew the safe perimeter of having them out of the water and into the boat and back into the water.” The fish scene will be in Highland Park with Danny Glover, which will be out later this year. For it, Mahaney had to get a fish to jump into a boat with Glover. Making the boat a safe environment for the fish required lining it with padding so the fish landed safely when it “jumped” into the boat. Mahaney actually was gently moving it from a water holder into the boat. “When you see the movie, you will have no idea what went into this scene,” Mahaney says. Among the fish accommodations: Two holding tanks with a specific type of water at a specific water temperature, oxygen for the two huge coolers in which they traveled, gloves for handling the fish (since using bare hands could kill them) and a total of 12 bass. The dozen bass were needed because American Humane Society rules state

that a fish can do no more than four takes each. Humane society representatives are on every movie set that uses animals to make sure they are kept safe and rules are followed. THE GOOD NIGHT Around 10:30 p.m., Toula calls it a day and heads to Mahaney’s bedroom. The routine is the same every night. Toula waits until Mahaney tells her “OK,” then jumps on the bed. Mahaney sighs. Toula sighs. Then Toula jumps down from the bed and goes to sleep wherever she wants. She has several places around the house from which to choose. Her favorite is a black leather chair from the set of Quad. There’s also the Crate & Barrel leather couch in the living room. Or the leopard print dog bed that really is a dog bed. Yup, she’s a diva.

About the author... Linda Odette is the owner of Otis, a rat terrier. She’s also a Johnny Cash fan and a former newspaper editor and writer. DOGSunleashed • 15

A ‘happy accident’ in a California pool created surreal images of dogs under water and helped photographer Seth Casteel make a …

by Mary Ullmer

SETH CASTEEL Born: Nov. 10, 1980 in Decatur, Ill. Resides: Casteel lives in the Los Angeles area

and has two dogs, a mini-Labradoodle named Nala and a Norwich terrier named Fritz.

Education: Studied film production at Chapman University, Orange, Calif.

Career: Owner of Little Friends Photo Lifestyle Pet

Photography (, based in Los Angeles and Chicago. He shoots portraits of pets on location and in their natural environment.

Advocacy Work: Started Second Chance Photos

( to photograph shelter animals in a more positive light and environment. In addition to photographing the animals himself, Casteel teaches workshops around the world to educate shelter workers on how to best photograph adoptable animals in order to increase their chances for adoption.

Contact: He is accepting limited appointments

for lifestyle photo shoots. Email him at

eth Casteel’s name might not resonate with many people, but his work certainly does. His identity these days as the “Underwater Dogs” guy immediately conjures up his now famous images of dogs, eyes and mouths agape, fur flowing, surrounded by bubbles from the impact of submersing itself into water. The photographs appeared online this winter and, thanks the power of Facebook, went viral on Feb. 10. Since that day, Casteel’s LittleFriendsPhoto Facebook page has more than 100,000 “likes,” and his photographs have appeared everywhere, including Good Morning America, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Bark magazine, the Huffington Post, EXTRA, WIRED and Jeopardy!. Most recently, he hit what’s equivalent to a photographer’s jackpot, making it into National Geographic. Oddly enough, Casteel’s fame came about quite by accident. He happened to be photographing a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel at the dog owner’s home in Orange, Calif., for his pet portrait business, Little Friends Photo. Casteel’s photo sessions take place in the dogs’ natural environment, usually at their homes. Buster, the dog, was obsessed with “throwing” a ball and retrieving it – from the pool. Over and over, as Casteel watched, Buster nosed his ball into the water and leaped in after it. “He was knocking the ball in on his own,” Casteel said. “He would drop it in, jump in after it, go under water and then swim to the side. I thought, ‘This is a dog who loves to do this and doesn’t need me or anyone else to play with.’ He was going under water on his own.” A lightbulb went off in Casteel’s head. “I told the owner that I think the real shots were to showcase Buster under water,” Casteel recalled. “This is his deal and represents who he is as a dog. I took pictures of him jumping in the pool and thought, 'What is going on down there?' I left and bought a little Sony point-and-shoot underwater

DOGSunleashed • 17

camera and brought it back. I took a few snapshots. One of those was really good, considering it was just a little point-andshoot. “I didn’t know what to expect, but I wanted to know what it looked like under water. When I saw them, I thought, ‘Oh, my god, these are exciting shots!’ It was a happy accident.” Casteel said he became “almost obsessed” with the idea of photographing dogs under water. The problem was, underwater camera gear wasn’t exactly in his budget. He did manage to purchase a little underwater camera bag, scuba diving housing and some strobes. “I was kind of limited in terms of exploring this genre of photography,” Casteel said. “I didn’t know if I could afford a $10,000 rig, and I was busy doing other things.” He headed to Australia, Fiji and Indonesia for scheduled workshops with his non-profit organization, Second Chance Photos. But he couldn’t get the underwater images of Buster out of his mind. Once he returned to the States, Casteel emersed himself in his new method of photographing dogs. “I said, ‘I have to do this.’ I found a rig, more cost-effective housing, and had to find a way to spend more time with this,” he said. “The learning curve went way up when I spent more time with dogs and the gear, from the technical side and the strategic side. “It was such a foreign idea. I was familiar with dock dogs jumping in the water, but I never thought about them under the water. With dock dogs and air dogs, a lot of them will jump far into the pool, grab a toy and keep their head above water. Buster was the first I’d seen putting his head under the water.”

IN THE POOL Casteel’s challenge was to find more dogs that enjoyed water. He found his dream model in a border collie named Nevada. “I have to give her a big shout out,” Casteel said. “She set the bar and helped me figure out a lot of things about the

underwater world. She’s such a smart dog and has a fantastic work ethic. She was already diving, and she helped me learn more about it. She taught me a lot.” His camera is a Canon 7D, and he uses a fisheye lens and a variety of underwater housings, along with natural light and fill flash. His “studio” is comprised of swimming pools, either privately owned or practice pools used by dock dog competitors, all over the country, including California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Chicago and Florida. He also has done a photo shoot in Puget Sound in Seattle. If Casteel has to shoot from under water, he does it by free diving. He said he can hold his breath for 90 seconds “on the long end,” but mostly shoots from above water, holding the camera below the surface. Thus, he shoots his photos “blind.” “I don’t look through the viewfinder,” Casteel said. “It’s for the safety of the dogs and for me. I have to be paying attention to what I’m doing and what the dogs are doing. The moment I take my eye off the dogs, we could be in danger. I have to watch the dogs very closely.” He’ll shoot anywhere from 200 to 2,000 frames in a single session. The photo shoots last anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours, with “many breaks”

in between, Casteel said. The number of shots and length of the session depend mainly on the dog. To get dogs into the water, he makes a game of it. “Think of it as underwater fetch,” he said. He has coaxed Labrador retrievers, English bulldogs, terriers, dachshunds and many other breeds and mixed breeds into the pool. Nevada, the border collie, was his favorite dog to shoot because of her natural love of diving into the water. Grayson, a wolf hybrid, took a little more effort on Casteel’s part. “Although he loves to swim, he had never been in an actual pool before, so at first he was extremely nervous about the situation,” Casteel said. “The challenge was twofold: one, building up the confidence level in Grayson and two, since wolves don’t typically retrieve a toy, I had to coax the dog element to Grayson, hoping this would kick in.” Coincidentally, Casteel’s own adopted dogs—Nala, a mini Labradoodle, and Fritz, a Norwich terrier—aren’t fond of water. “Neither of my dogs like the water,” he said. “The Labradoodle likes to swim, but she gets ear infections. The terrier? Fritz? Forget it. He won’t even put his paws in the water.”

Shooting dogs under water has not been without its mishaps. While working in Orlando, Fla., a dog named Cowboy accidentally smashed the port on the underwater camera housing. “It was a total accident, and Cowboy was not even phased a bit,” Casteel said. “My camera housing immediately flooded. Fortunately, I recognized the problem within a fraction of a second and yanked the gear from the water. Miraculously, both my camera and lens were not destroyed! Still, a costly mishap, but could have been far worse. “I should probably get camera insurance.”

BUSINESS IS BOOMING It’s likely Casteel can now afford insurance, or even multiple cameras and underwater housings. Since his photos captivated hundreds of thousands online, he has produced a 2013 calendar and has a

coffee-table book “Underwater Dogs” coming out Oct. 23. “After the shots went viral, inquiries started coming in and I did a bunch of media stuff,” Casteel said. “I was approached by many literary agents about doing a book. I already had a calendar deal done … I didn’t know if I’d make any money on it but thought maybe it would pay for part of the camera housing. I thought it would be great to do a book, but it was up in the air. “There was a lot of chatter among publishing companies about a book. Almost all the top publishers, like Random House, Simon & Schuster, bid on the rights to sell the book. It was a crash course in publishing for me. I narrowed it down and figured out the one I’m really happy with. Little, Brown and Company, with Michelle Tessler in New York, represents the book.” Casteel said five months before its release, pre-orders had the book ranked among the top sellers on It

had even gone to No. 1 in the nature and wildlife photography category. “It looks like a $40 book,” Casteel said. “It’s 144 pages and a hardcover. It’s only 8 by 10, but it’s a high-end book that would look nice on the coffee table. And, it has some never-before seen shots. I’m really proud of it. Little Brown did a terrific job with the design.”

HITTING HOME ABROAD At last count, Casteel’s Little Friends Photo Facebook page, where the Underwater Dogs photos first popped up, had 114,000 “likes.” And while fans worldwide might not recognize him if they met him, they certainly are aware of his work. While doing interviews in England in mid-July, Casteel found himself in a shop searching for a vintage T-shirt featuring dogs to wear on a television show he was working on. The young woman working

DOGSunleashed • 19

no window because I’m in the water so much. I need to get 10 days out of the water for a tattoo to heal properly.” The young woman working in the shop inquired about Casteel’s tattoos. He explained he was a dog lover and photographer of dogs.

“It’s like I hit the lottery.” in the shop noticed dog tattoos on Casteel’s arm. He has one tattoo of his dog Nala and another of an Afghan hound he met on the streets of New York. “I was waiting for another dog for a photo shoot, and this really striking Afghan hound came along,” Casteel

explained. “I asked the owner if I could photograph it and took about 10 to 15 pictures. It turned out to be one of my favorite pictures because it represents the emotion of dogs. That’s why I had it tattooed on my arm. “I’d like to get another one but there’s

When the woman learned about Casteel’s photography, she exclaimed, “You’re the Underwater Dogs guy! I can’t believe you’re in my shop.” That’s when his sudden fame hit him. “Some random girl in a little shop in England knows who I am,” he said. “It’s a crazy situation, and I’m really, really grateful. It’s like I hit the lottery.”

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by Ginny Mikita

“And can it be that in a world so full and busy, the loss of one creature makes a void in any heart, so wide and deep that nothing but the width and depth of eternity can fill it up!” – Charles Dickens

or anyone who has loved and lost a companion animal, Charles Dickens’ sentiment requires no explanation. The gradual or sudden death of a furry or feathered companion can leave one feeling completely unmoored. What do I do? To whom and where can I turn? Some years ago, author Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote a now quite familiar book, “On Death and Dying,” detailing five common stages of grief: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The stages are familiar to anyone who has lost a loved one, whether human or animal. Every person’s experience of grief is unique. Some experience all stages; others experience only some. Some experience a linear transition from one stage to the next. More commonly, many experience the first four in no particular order, and more than once, before arriving at acceptance. Grief stages manifest differently depending on circumstances. For example, denial is quite common when a

death is unexpected. Denial is characterized by the conscious or unconscious refusal to accept facts, information or the reality of the situation. For those who have had no opportunity to prepare for or even contemplate life without a beloved companion animal, denial is a healthy and temporary lifeline. Many feel, quite literally, as if they’re drowning and unable to breathe. Similarly, guilt often manifests early in the process, particularly for those who have made the emotionally wrenching decision to humanely euthanize a companion animal. Guilt also has a tendency to linger and rear its head, especially when defenses are low. Recently, a friend shared the overwhelming grief she still felt after two years. She had left her Lhasa Apso with friends while on vacation. After dropping him off, she realized she hadn’t performed her ritual goodbye. Turning around was not an option, given her flight’s imminent departure. When her friend called several days later to let her know her dog had died unexpectedly, she was wrought with guilt. Significantly, the grief journey has no time line. Getting through, but never over, the loss of a companion animal can take months or years. In a society in which instant pain relief is a multi-million dollar industry, this may be daunting news. Replacing unrealistic expectations with unbounded patience is critical.

Managing Grief

The goal in managing grief is not to fix it, but to be present with it. Just as grief stages manifest differently for everyone, so too are the ways in which people find comfort and healing in the early stages of the journey. Many find comfort in confiding with a close friend, family member or pastor. Journaling is another excellent therapeutic tool. Online and hotline resources abound. Finally, grief groups provide a safe, confidential, structured place where those bound by the experience of the loss or death of a companion animal can come together on a regular basis to share stories, receive validation of concerns and feelings, learn about grief and the mourning process and reflect upon the meaning of it all. I lead one such group at the Humane Society of West Michigan every third Tuesday of the month. We’ve seen our group grow from three people to eight in just two months. Grief is an organic expression of what it means to be human and to have fully loved another. Extending yourself the grace to move through your grief journey as your body and soul direct for as long as your heart needs is essential to healing and creating the space to love again. See page 7 for a list of helpful resources. –ed

DOGSunleashed • 21

Pet health insurance has been gaining popularity for the past decade as a way to alleviate the financial burden of pet health care. But while pet insurance may help you and your best friend when you need it most, like human insurance, it can be difficult to determine which agency is best and what coverage is the most appropriate for you.


SHANE THELLMAN, DVM As a practicing veterinarian, I have witnessed many pet owners express the same concerns over pet insurance as seen with human insurance: cost, pre-existing coverage questions and hassles with paperwork, to name a few. Fortunately, there are many differences between pet insurance and human insurance. For starters, pet insurance companies reimburse the pet owner, not the veterinarian. This benefits the veterinarian, a small business owner with a low profit margin, since veterinarians receive payment from the pet owner at the time of service. More importantly, it means insurance companies cannot dictate the medical aspects of a treatment plan, ultimately ensuring proper individualized care for your pet. Reimbursement is based on the specificity of your coverage plan, which is not only unique to each company, but often unique to the individual breed. In addition, pet insurance companies are not restricted to a network like human insurance companies are, so the pet owner can see whichever veterinarian they prefer. Of course, there are some similarities between pet and human insurance, including set deductibles, premiums and maximum payouts.

22 • DOGSunleashed


diseases. Make sure you understand the insurance company’s definitions of these specific conditions. Most companies will The first question to explore is whether provide you with a list of covered pet insurance is needed at all. Pet conditions upon request. Consulting with insurance is most useful in emergency your veterinarian on breed specific situations, unexpected illnesses and ailments will help you identify any risks chronic medical conditions. that may be excluded from coverage. Often, a discussion with your Chronic disease coverage is something veterinarian can help identify any hidden you want to investigate, as not “In addition to understanding all pet insurance the limits of your plan, consider policies have coverage. Once the overall payout of your plan diagnosed, a chronic and whether it is financially disease is an ailment your pet will have beneficial for you.” for life. Typically, chronic diseases end up requiring risk factors, including potential hazardous behaviors that you as a pet owner may not continual testing and treatments to maintain optimal health; the financial have considered. For example, sporting burden of chronic disease such as dogs tend to be more adventurous and diabetes, allergies or heart disease can add may unexpectedly injure themselves up over time. chasing a favorite ball. Or, consider your lap dog’s curious counter-surfing habits READ THE FINE PRINT and the risk for ingestion of say, chicken bones. Fortunately, coverage for cancer If you decide to purchase pet insurance, diagnosis and treatment often is included how do you choose the right company and by most pet insurance policies. However, policy? To start, you want a policy that you will need to pay close attention to best fits both you and your pet’s lifestyle. Consider breed specific aliments carefully; what your insurance company considers hereditary with respect to your pet’s many pet health insurance companies breed. Certain breeds are genetically have limitations when it comes to predisposed to specific types of cancers, coverage for hereditary and congenital

boxers and mast cell tumors, for example. Your pet may be excluded from coverage based on this predisposition alone. In addition to understanding the limits of your plan, consider the overall payout of your plan and whether it is financially beneficial for you. Truly, it is the emergency and urgent care situation from which you will benefit most from pet health insurance. Nothing

reassurance in knowing your pet will get the care it needs is priceless. Remember, pet health insurance may only cover a percentage of the care given, but more often than not, this is a significant portion and can greatly influence your care decisions.

THE COST OF WELLNESS Dr. Shane Thellman and Kessler

Less critical is routine wellness “...some individuals find it care coverage. While veterinary costs of routine wellness easier to invest monthly (vaccination, heartworm testing, in an insurance policy parasite prevention, etc.) is a significant part of pet care, it as a way to save for the often is a predictable expense and often biannual needs for can be budgeted. However, some individuals find wellness care.” it easier to invest monthly in an is more stressful and daunting than being insurance policy as a way to save for the faced with an emergency surgery or often biannual needs for wellness care. critical illness that you are unable to Consult with your veterinarian for the afford. average yearly cost of wellness care before Not only is emergency/accidental you decide if coverage is right for you. coverage the most cost beneficial perk of Consider comparing your average monthly pet health insurance, the emotional expense from veterinary care to that of

your monthly premium: Is it worth it? Getting the most from your pet insurance plan is entirely up to you and your pet’s lifestyle. Consider that your dog ages up to seven times faster than you do, making yearly or biannual visits to your veterinarian a critical aspect in providing optimal health care. Having pet insurance for those unexpected emergencies or chronic illnesses may not only elevate emotional stress, but can ease the financial burden, allowing you to continue quality wellness care and extend the overall lifespan of your best friend.

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If you’re stopping for a meal and a cold one while visiting Derby City, there’s no reason to leave Fido behind. by Paul Neumeyer photos by Jacqueline Prins


Even though the brewery/restaurant in the St. Matthews area of Louisville had survived just fine for 18 years, Williams thought a unique twist might add a little spice to the BBC experience.

12 • DOGSunleashed

An avid dog lover and owner of Wilma, a 2-year-old flat coated retriever mix, Williams started searching the Internet for options that might bring together people’s love of dogs and their love for beer and good food. He stumbled upon Rogue Brewery in Ashland, Ohio, a place that not only brewed and sold its own beer and served food, but one that took it a paw further and invited patrons to bring their dogs with them and enjoy a day on the patio. And Rogue wasn’t offering for dogs to simply accompany their owners, but to

actually dine with them. Rogue offered a selection of entrees on both its human menu and on a special dog menu. Last September, Williams decided to do the same by coming up with “Fido’s Favorite Menu” which features items like Turkey Mac-Cheese, Peanut Butter Sliders and a Pork, Pasta and Potato dish. He also came up with dog friendly extravaganzas at BBC. In October, BBC hosted its first “Dogtoberfest.” A large canopy tent was set up in the parking lot and vendors including pet rescue organizations, dog supply merchandisers,

DESTINATION LOUISVILLE Population: 1.3 million (Louisville metro area) Location: In northern Kentucky on the Ohio River, about 120 miles south of Indianapolis and 371 miles south of Grand Rapids. Attractions: Kentucky Derby Museum, Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, Churchill Downs, Muhammad Ali Center, Cave Hill Cemetery, Old Louisville, Louisville Mega Cavern, Fourth Street Live!

Marvin, a Bernese Mountain dog, and owner Tom Lewis enjoy a meal at BBC.

dog health food stores, doggy daycare providers and more filled the area. Patrons and their dogs came, too – by the hundreds. Williams estimates as many as 600 dogs took part in Dogtoberfest. There were contests such as “Ugliest Dog” (a hairless dog won) and a “Dog-owner Look-alike,” where creative costumes came into play. A search-and-rescue company also set up a dog agility course for guests, Williams said. Ten dogs brought by pet rescue organizations were adopted during Dogtoberfest, Williams said. Williams also had kiddie swimming pools for dogs to play in and loads of doggy bags for canine fecal deposits. Even so, there were a few “surprises.” “Whenever we do these events, we always find presents hidden in odd areas or corners,” Williams said. “The whole thing … seeing these dogs at one place, hanging out and having a good time with any breed you can imagine there ... it just was a lot of fun and a great family atmosphere.” The Second Annual Dogtoberfest is scheduled for Oct. 28. The first helped breed another event, “Barking at the Brew Pub,” this past spring. It was similar to Dogtoberfest, but was more fund-raising based. A silent auction was held to raise money to support the non-profit “Saving Sunny,” which was started by Louisville resident Kelsey Westbrook after she

rescued a pit bull that was thrown into the Ohio River from off the Kennedy Bridge downtown. Her mission now is to help rescue and save pit bulls and other abused dogs, with her website serving as an impetus to accomplish that goal. BBC is one of many establishments in the Louisville area to adopt a pet friendly policy. BBC has three locations in the Louisville area, two downtown and the one in St. Matthews. Only the St.

Chris Williams with Wilma

Fun facts: Louisville was founded in 1778 by George Rogers Clark and is named after King Louis XVI of France. • The Official Seal of the City of Louisville reflects its history and heritage – the Fleur-de-lis represents French aid given during the Revolutionary War, and the 13 stars signify the original colonies. • Zachary Taylor (1784-1850), 12th President of the U.S., grew up in Louisville and is buried in Zachary Taylor National Cemetery on Brownsboro Road. • The University of Louisville, founded in 1798, is the oldest citysupported college in the United States. • Since 1875, Churchill Downs has been the home of the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the Triple Crown of thoroughbred horse racing. • The Louisville Slugger baseball bat was made by Andrew “Bud” Hillerich in his father’s woodworking shop in Louisville in 1884. The brand name “Louisville Slugger” was first used in 1893. • Louisville’s nationally acclaimed parks system includes parks and parkways designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park in New York City. • Louisville has the nation’s largest urban municipal forest, the 6,000 acre Jefferson Memorial Forest in south Louisville. • “Happy Birthday to You” was written by sisters Mildred and Patty Hill in their Louisville kindergarten class. Originally called “Good Morning to You,” it was later changed to this traditional birthday anthem. • Louisville’s Main Street has the second largest collection of cast-iron storefronts facades; only New York City has more. • The Old Louisville neighborhood near downtown is the largest Victorian neighborhood in America. Source:

DOGSunleashed • 25

BLUEGRASS BREWING COMPANY EAST What: Louisville’s oldest microbrewery, features several awardwinning brews, a full menu and a dog-friendly patio area.. Location: 3929 Shelbyville Road in Louisville, Ky. BBC has two downtown Louisville locations, but BBC East in St. Matthews is the only one welcoming dogs. Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Contact: Call (502) 899-7070 or visit the website,

Matthews location, home of the original Bluegrass Brewing Company, currently has an area dedicated exclusively for dogs and their owners. Marvin, a 5-year-old Burnese Mountain dog, is a BBC regular. In addition to attending the BBC St. Matthew’s Dogtoberfest and Barking at the Brew Pub, Marvin also has also become a wellknown regular at BBC’s two downtown Louisville locations in Theater Square and the tap bar on Fourth Street, hanging around outside the establishment. “He’s way more popular than me,” said Marvin’s owner, Tom Lewis, a landscape architect and planner in Louisville. “People say, ‘who’s Tom Lewis?’ But everyone knows who Marvin is. He’s a girl magnet.” During Marvin’s first few years, Lewis would take his dog to the downtown BBC locations for a birthday party with pizza and beer. One year, Marvin got so many dog toys and other gifts that Lewis had to ask friends to stop bringing presents. Marvin’s popularity doesn’t stop there. He also has is own page on “Dogbook,” the canine equivalent to Facebook, and also attends the twice-a-year “Dog Day at the Park” promotional days offered at Slugger Field downtown, home of the

26 • DOGSunleashed

Louisville Bats’ Triple-A baseball team. Those events usually attract as many as 200 dogs. Williams said the new dog friendly policy at BBC has been widely accepted, including by his boss, owner Pat Hagan. “He (Hagan) was receptive, maybe apprehensive, at first, but once he saw that it could be done without disruption of other people he was all for it,” Williams said of Hagan, who resides in Indiana. “If some patrons don’t have their dogs with them, they’re somewhat surprised when they come and see we allow them. Some have gone back home and gotten their own dog, or they bring them along the next time.”

Paul Neumeyer with his dachshunds Koney Dog and Chili Dog

Heading to Louisville with Spike and want more ideas for pooch-friendly places to visit?

Check out these Louisville hot spots for when Spot’s hot!





Location: 969 Charles Street Contact: (502) 637-4377 The treat: NachBar is located in scenic Germantown and you can get your wiener schnitzel while your dog enjoys it with you.

Location: On Morton Street downtown, just southwest of Baxter Avenue The treat: The park is free, fenced in and open to dogs of all sizes.


Location: 3151 Pee Wee Reese Road Contact: (502) 456-8100 The treat: Large area for dogs to roam and people to run, walk, bike or just enjoy the outdoors.


Location: 933 Baxter Avenue Contact: (502) 473-1222 Website: The treat: Molly Malone’s is pet friendly! Great Irish pub in the highlands of Louisville. The staff will bring your dog water and you a beer.

LOUISVILLE DOG RUN ASSOCIATION Location: Four permit-only fenced-in dog parks are located in the Louisville area. The parks are Champions, Cochran Hill, Sawyer and Vettiner. Contact: or call (502) 424-7181 and leave your name and number for a call back. Website: The treat: Despite the annual permit-only entrance to the park, out-of-town visitors can contact the LDRA ahead of time to gain the access codes during their stay in Louisville.

DERBY CITY DOGS Location: 960 Baxter Avenue Contact: (502) 561-2880 The treat: Features a walk-up window offering delicious hot dogs that you can enjoy with your pooch at your side.

BRUSTER’S REAL ICE CREAM Location: 700 Lyndon Lane Contact: (502) 425-9436 Website: The treat: Treat yourself AND your pup to a sundae at Bruster’s! They make a free sundae with dog bones crumbled on top for their furry customers.

DOGGIE DAY CARE THE PAW ZONE Location: 1501 Mellwood Avenue Contact: (502) 690-9663 Website:




Location: 1201 Goss Avenue Contact: (502) 414-1738 Website:

Location: 1760 Frankfort Avenue Contact: (502) 409-5141 Website: The treat: Browse their selection of wines, beer, coffee, and bourbons—some of which are extremely rare! For your fourlegged friends, they carry products from premier brands, such as Tasman’s Natural Pet, J.P. Pet Shampoo and Little Eatz. If you are looking for a gift for your dog-loving friend, they have Black Dog Candles and a large selection of mugs and glassware.

ACCOMMODATIONS INN AT WOODHAVEN BED & BREAKFAST Location: 401 South Hubbards Lane, Louisville, 40207 Contact: (888) 895-1011 Website: The treat: The Derby Room and Rose Cottage are available for a $20 per day pet fee. Dogs may be left alone in the room but must be crated.


THREE-DOG BAKERY Location: 3929 Chenoweth Square Contact: (502) 897-3364 Website: The treat: Premium dog food and treats made with naturally wholesome, top quality ingredients.


Location: 1207 South 6th Street Website: The treat: A little bit sweet and a whole lot crunchy, Little Eatz is an all-natural gourmet cookie. Their cookies are made with ingredients that are safe and healthy for both you and your dog. Cookies are on sale at various Louisville pet stores, including Feeders Supply.

Location: Rudy Green Inc. was started in Louisville; its products are available in Kroger stores throughout the Louisville area and neighboring states or online. Website: The treat: Five varieties of human-grade dog food made from 100 percent real meat and vegetables, Rudy Green’s contains no “meat meal,” by-products, dyes, preservatives or fillers. It comes frozen in microwave-safe resealable containers.

DOGSunleashed • 27

Photos by Dave Odette

A few years ago, I realized I was not into the team sports in the middle school that my friends were taking part in. But I was into animals. My love of animals drew me to the Humane Society of West Michigan. I figured out through their website that I could, in fact, volunteer there. I also figured out you needed a parent or guardian if you were younger than 16. So I convinced my mom to start out volunteering with the small animals (rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds and those sorts of critters). I liked it OK … it was good I was helping the animals, but I was really drawn to the dogs. Every Saturday after volunteering, I’d make my mom walk through the dog kennels. I noticed there were a lot of pit bulls, but the dogs the people were fawning over were the Labradors, the Chihuahuas, the beagles and other small dogs. They’d walk past breeds like pit bulls, barely notice them, and say nothing. I was among the ones who didn’t. My own shelter dog, Lexi, is a pit bull mix and she is the best dog I could ever

28 • DOGSunleashed

hope for. We adopted her from HSWM in 2005. I take time to look at all the dogs, the puppies through their glass wall, the big dogs, the little dogs, the pit bulls, and the Labs – every one of them. I always stop at Bunny, a pit bull mix. She’s one of the long-term residents at HSWM. She’s deaf and has obsessive compulsive disorder. Sometimes she’s curled up in a tight ball on her blue cot identical to the one in every other cage. Sometimes she’s sitting against the wall, looking at the few passersby who look at her sad, lonely eyes. Bunny never barks, never runs at the people with a wagging tail. A sign on her cage states her disabilities. Some people read it and coo to her. Can’t they see she’s deaf ? She won’t hear those words. She won’t hear anything. It makes me sad that she has been sitting in that same cage for so long. As volunteers, we aren’t allowed to walk her. However, HSWM staff work with her every day to teach her new tricks, and they have developed a very unique program for her that gives her the routine she needs. Once or twice I kneel in front of her, a tear slipping down my cheek. I look into her

eyes. I never say anything to Bunny. I know she can’t hear me. So I think as hard as I can, hoping by some nonexistent magic that she might hear my thoughts. There are always new dogs. Every week new ones come in and old ones go to homes. Some dogs go home and then come back. They come back to the concrete walls and the barking dogs and the blue cots. Back to trying their best to get the humans’ attention. Trying their best to look desirable, to use their best manners. Trying their best to go home with a new family.

Emma at HSWM with Bunny

I decided to put my time into the dogs, instead of the small animals. Every week, I climb into my mom’s car and we make the drive out to the shelter. In a room, I sit on the ground while a

dog curls up on a blanket beside me. I give the skinny ones extra treats. No dog should be skinny. One dog, Sam, a pointer, would not eat. Out of boredom, I broke the treats up into small pieces and offered him one. To my surprise, he snatched it up and swallowed it. I gave him a lot of those tiny treats. It took me half an hour to get near Kelsi, the pointer/terrier mix who was a little shy. When a loud family with young children swarmed the room, looking to adopt her, she hid behind my legs, cowering, making small noises and shaking. My heart went out to her. When I opened the door to go out, she went out with me, dodging under my legs. I quickly caught her, and, with tears welling up in my eyes, delivered her back to that family. I started crying in the car ride home. No surprise, they didn’t adopt her that day. But the perfect family for her did come along, and Kelsi is enjoying a very happy life with them! Despite some difficult dogs, I love it. When I say “difficult dogs,” I mean Sparky, who barked in my mom’s face. And Bella, who was a fence jumper, and a table jumper who had no manners. And

Abby, who licked my hands for 15 minutes straight because I held a treat. By the time I opened my hand, the treat was soggy. I’d highly recommend volunteering at the Humane Society, especially with the dogs. I’m sure my mom and I aren’t the only ones to experience “difficult dogs.” In fact, I’m sure everyone has been around at least one. I don’t say “bad dogs” because none of these dogs are bad. In fact, one of my favorite quotes is: “There’s no such thing as a bad dog. Only a bad owner.” Every dog depends on its owner. Most dogs taken to the Humane Society are surrendered because their owners say they are too energetic, they grew too big, their family could not afford them or they didn’t have enough time for the dog anymore. These dogs just need some TLC and need an owner who is willing to work with them. HSWM has two staff members dedicated to behavior. They offer obedience and evaluate each dog so that they can best match a dog with its future family. They also rely on volunteers to socialize and help work with each dog to

prepare it for its next home environment. HSWM does everything it can for all of the animals in its care. No animal will be put down at HSWM because of the lack of space. There is no time limit on how long a healthy, adoptable animal can stay up for adoption. Overall, volunteering at the Humane Society has been a wonderful experience and I would recommend it to dog lovers who have some experience or have owned a dog before. I do the “Reading with Fido” program, which helps dogs learn to calm down and get a feel for doing nothing as will often times happen in their forever homes. They need to be able to be relaxed and get used to not having all of the attention on them. There are also volunteering opportunities with the cats and small critters, and there is dog walking, where you spend all of your time outside getting those doggies some much-needed exercise. In addition, there are opportunities to volunteer without direct animal interaction, including office assistant, laundry attendant, adoption follow-up volunteer and more! Check out for more information about volunteering and how you can get involved.

ABOUT: Emma Fox is 12 years old. She is a dog lover and had two adopted shelter dogs that she adored in her home state of Oregon. Emma moved to Michigan in 2003 and adopted her dog Lexi in 2005. They have grown up together. Emma also is interested in art and horseback riding.

DOGSunleashed • 29

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Rupert and Jemma Deb Reid of Toronto visited West Michigan recently and experienced Muskegon Dog Beach for the first time. Her Pembroke Welsh corgis, Rupert (left) and Jemma, had so much fun that Reid brought them back the next two days as well.

Daisy Daisy, a pit bull/Boston terrier mix, will celebrate her second birthday in September with her forever family, owners Andrea and John Boverhof and two Boston terrier siblings. Daisy and a litter mate, Ginger, were tossed from a car on the southeast side of Grand Rapids in March 2011. They were rescued, treated for worms and demodectic mange at the Humane Society of West Michigan, fostered and finally, adopted! Thrive Consulting LLC owner Laurel Pruski fostered Daisy and snapped this photo. 32 • DOGSunleashed

Kodak Kodak isn't the first big dog, or first Kodak, Jon M. Brouwer has owned. The freelance photographer from Grand Rapids previously had a Great Dane named Kodak. He liked the name so much, he used it again on his current dog, this adorable Great Dane/Labrador retriever puppy.

Send us YOUR dog! Photos should be hi-resolution (300ppi at full size). Short story should be approx. 50 words or less. Send to:

Truman Truman, a spunky 2-year-old Pembroke Welsh corgi, found a cool spot to relax among the ornamental grasses, using his family’s back deck as a chin rest. Truman is owned by Yvonne Reames of Coopersville.

Louie Louie the beagle wrestled with a rope bigger than he was as a puppy. Louie, now 1 year old, is owned by Ben Korte and lives in East Grand Rapids.

Toby Toby, a springer spaniel, has “boundless energy,” according to his owner, freelance photographer T.J. Hamilton of Grand Rapids. Toby’s love of water retrieval recently came to light at West Lake near Whitehall, where the 2-year-old springer retrieved a softball that T.J. wrapped in duct tape “because he keeps ripping off the hide.”

DOGSunleashed • 33

Dogs Unleashed Sept/Oct 2012  

Dogs Unleashed - a lifestyle magazine for dog lovers

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