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Sept./Oct. 2014 | $3.00


NFL lineman Todd Herremans is a rare breed

ER dogs and docs

Keeping calm and carrying on

Setting sail

Dog joins adventure of a lifetime Vol.3, No.1

Dog park.

Dog tested. Dog approved.™

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2 Dogs Unleashed September/October 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

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3 for the show

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

Pooch Patrol

Wyoming K9s protect and serve

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from Pet Supplies Plus Vol.2, No.2

Also available at your local


5 Canine Calendar 6 Fetch! 8 Good Grief 9 Paws-Ability 10 The Groom Room 12 A Day in the Life 14 From Pet Supplies Plus 15 Working Dogs 18 Feature: ER Pets 21 Profile: Todd Herremans 26 Safety Tips: Halloween 28 Destination: Portland, Ore. 32 Around Town 34 The Tail End

on the cover

photo by jennifer waters

Todd Herremans, a veteran offensive lineman with the Philadelphia Eagles, was kind enough to spend some time with Dogs Unleashed at his summer retreat on Torch Lake in northern Michigan. Herremans is the proud owner of two bulldogs, Hades (left) and Zeus.

September/October 2014 Dogs Unleashed 3

contributors Writers: Alexis Croswell (Day In The Life/KCAS), Cindy Fairfield (Todd Herremans profile), Susan HarrisonWolfiss (Working Dogs, The Tail End), Candilynn and Michael Lockhart (Doggy Destination: Portland), Ginny Mikita (Good Grief), Linda Odette (Fetch, Halloween Safety), Ron Rop (From PSP), Kristie Swan (Paws-ability), Melissa VerPlank (The Groom Room), Tricia Woolfenden (ER Vets). Photographers: Cheryl Baase (Halloween Hounds), Katy Batdorff (ER Vets), Candilynn and Michael Lockhart (Doggy Destination: Portland), Kendra Stanley-Mills (Working Dogs). Cartoonist: Jonny Hawkins

West Michigan Spay & Neuter Clinic

6130 Airline Road Fruitport, MI 49415

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. Simply go to getdogsunleashed. com and complete the payment

information using our secure credit card form. Questions? Write to 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 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 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

Octobe r 11, 2 014 7 pm Join us for this glow-in-the-dark 5K run/walk to benefit the animals at Humane Society of West Michigan!

To register, visit Dogs are encouraged to attend! They must be well-behaved (able to handle being around other dogs and people), up-to-date on vaccines and leashed.

Come “glow” with us! 3077 Wilson Dr NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49534

4 Dogs Unleashed September/October 2014





Paws 2 Remember, 6 p.m., Hospice of North Ottawa, 1061 S. Beacon, Suite 100, Grand Haven. A pet loss grief support group presented by Clock Timeless Pets. Free. For information, call (231) 7223721 or (616) 844-4200. Also Oct. 7.


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 jaulgur@hswestmi. org. Also Oct. 14.


Pooches & People Picnic, 10 a.m., Scolnik Healing Center, 888 Terrace St., Muskegon. Fundraiser to help rehome pets of aging seniors that can no longer care for their animals. Registration for the walk to local businesses for “treats” begins at 10 a.m. Event features area vendors, games, prizes, drawings and a picnic for both pooches and people. Cost for the walk is $10 and each participant receives a Pooches & People T-shirt.


5K Dash for Dogs, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Holiday Inn Spring Lake, 940 W. Savidge, Spring Lake. 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 muskegonhumanesociety. org. 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


National Pet Memorial Day Balloon Release, 1 p.m., Clock Funeral Home, 1469 Peck St., Muskegon, and 4 p.m., Spring Lake Township Cemetery, 17181 N. Fruitport Road, Spring Lake.


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. Also Oct. 20.


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@


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, dog-friendly apartment communities, demonstrations of various types, dog carting, canine first aid and CPR, microchipping, 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


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



C-SNIP Classic Golf Outing, 1 p.m. shotgun start (noon registration) at The Highlands, 2715 Leonard NW, Grand Rapids. Cost is $85 per person and includes 18 holes with cart, dinner and prizes. Event includes silent auction, game holes, Mulligans, 50/50 raffle, door prizes and more. Sponsorships start at $25. Register at



Blessing of the Pets, 11 a.m., Clock Funeral Home, 16777 Lincoln, Grand Haven. Father Bill Langlois will bless your pet in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. Free.


Spring Lake Dog Park Fundraiser, 2:30 p.m., Old Boys Brewhouse, 971 West Savidge, Spring Lake. Diane Ross of Timeless Pets and Deb Rewitzer of Fur Crazy Pet Salon are guest bartenders. Buy a drink from them and proceeds go to the Spring Lake Dog Park.


Blessing of the Pets, 11 a.m., Muskegon Dog Beach, on the beach below Norm Kruse Park. Pets will be blessed in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. Free.


Bark in the Dark, 7 p.m., Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson Drive NW, Grand Rapids. Second annual glow-in-the-dark 5K walk/run. Guests are encouraged to form a team and bring their dogs. For information, go to or call (616) 7918089.


Dogtoberfest, all day, Must Love Dogs, 211 Washington, Grand Haven. Celebrate fall and October with a variety of activities for families and dogs, including costume contest and prizes. For information, check with Must Love Dogs’ Facebook page.

September/October 2014 Dogs Unleashed 5



Butter up What it is: Dogsbutter, a tasty little peanut butter snack just for dogs, includes varieties that help the skin and coat and aid with immunity and digestion. But wait, there’s more: DogforDog, the manufacturer, operates by the motto “You buy one, we give one.” For every item you buy, it donates the same or a similar item to a dog in need. It also makes dry dog food and has a great blog (blog. Fetch it: You can find it in many pet and grocery stores for about $10 or at the web site.

A boutique for barkers What it is: P.E.T. (Pet Emporium and Textiles) is a very cool store in Vicksburg, Mich., that sells crocheted pet clothing and blankets, books and toys, as well as food made in Michigan from its “Barkery.” But wait, there’s more: If the handmade creations inspire you, pick up a copy of “Pawsome Knits For Your Dog” at the store. The boutique is a perfect stop for fun gifts for the pet lover in your life. Fetch it: The store is located at 103 W. Prairie St., Vicksburg, and online at

6 Dogs Unleashed September/October 2014

Chew on this What it is: A 6-inch long Dogwood stick that combines real wood with synthetic strength. But wait, there’s more: It’s safer than real sticks, has a natural wood smell dogs love, is non-toxic, difficult to destroy, floats and was a winner of a Pet Product News Editor’s Choice Award. Fetch it: Petstages makes the chew. You can get it online at or pick it up for $8.49 at Target and various pet stores.

Save dough on your dog What it is: Barkonomics: Tips for Frugal Fidos! is a book by Paris Permentor and her husband, John Bigley, that features more than 300 tips from vets to groomers on ways to save money on your pet’s care. But wait, there’s more: Permenter is known as “America’s Pet Economist” and has a background in economics. You’ll find some great reading at the couple’s website, Fetch it: Order the book from for $7.95 with $2 shipping and 20 percent of proceeds go to animal welfare organizations.

Look good with good-looking lint brushes What it is: Pulling out a huge lint roller at a restaurant is tacky in more ways than one. These mini lint rollers make getting off that dog hair you missed much more discreet. But wait, there’s more: It comes in a cool design, not that ugly dull white of traditional lint brushes. Fetch it: Scotch Brite makes the rollers. You can get them for about $4 at pet and grocery stores.



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

(231) 777-5200



TO 74700

VISIT: 1903 Marquette Ave., Muskegon, MI 49442




SUMOTEXT Promotional Alerts (8msg/mo). T/Cs & Privacy Policy at Reply STOP to opt out or HELP for help. Msg & Data rates may apply. An Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action Institution. Baker College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association / 30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602-2504 / 800-621-7440 / Baker Center for Graduate Studies’ MBA program is also accredited by the International Assembly of Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).





BAKER.EDU September/October 2014 Dogs Unleashed 7

good grief

ginny mikita

Instead of anticipatory grief, bring yourself back to the present Perhaps one of the greatest challenges of sharing our lives with pets is that unless our companions are giant tortoises, our life expectancies far exceed theirs. We are almost guaranteed to outlive them. Absent accidental or sudden death, we will most likely witness our pets dying. For many of us, anticipatory grief will cloud the days when our companions are still underfoot. As Lambert Zuidervaart, author of DogKissed Tears, writes, “I am beginning to prepare myself for Rosa’s departure. She’ll be 15 in February. Her eyesight and hearing are not so sharp anymore. Putting her down will be one of the hardest decisions we’ll ever make, and one of the hardest to live with later.” Anticipatory grief is generally defined as the grief reaction an individual feels when anticipating an impending loss. Anticipatory grief includes many of the same symptoms of grief experienced after a loss: depression, heightened concern for, and intensified attachment to the dying animal, rehearsal of the death and attempts to pre-adjust to the consequences of the death. According to the authors of Death and Dying, Life and Living, there are several misconceptions about anticipatory grief. Many believe anticipatory grief is merely conventional (post-death) grief begun earlier. Others believe the grief experience is bounded by depth and time, implying the amount of grief experienced in anticipation of the loss will decrease grief following the death. Anticipatory grief provides us with time to gradually absorb the perceived reality of the impending loss and complete unfinished business, such as saying goodbye. The trouble is, we don’t

know what the future holds and, in most cases, cannot accurately predict our own reactions -- emotionally or physically. For several years, I served as a volunteer night chaplain at a local hospital. During my tenure, I had the opportunity to walk alongside many people whose loved ones died after lengthy illnesses. Most people’s expectations of how they would respond differed from their actual experience. Many expressed disbelief and surprise at their own resilience, previously untapped, and natural responses, like laughter in the midst of tears. One of the most effective ways to prepare for life on life’s terms is by cultivating mindfulness. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, defines mindfulness as paying attention on purpose, in the present and without judgment, to the unfolding of experience moment-to-moment. We make situations worse when we replay the past or anticipate future outcomes. In the present moment, things are OK. The key is being mindful of when our mind is wandering back into the past or speculating about the future, and gently returning to the present as much as we can. Mindfulness allows us to cultivate gratitude and acceptance for the reality we have, not the ideal we wish

we had; the reality has its own beauty. To practice mindfulness, begin with a simple mindfulness meditation: Sit still, eyes closed if that’s comfortable, and focus on your breathing. If you have never tried this, start with 10 breaths or 10 minutes each day. If your mind wanders (and it will), gently bring it back to your breath. The next time you find yourself anticipating the future without your pet, use this powerful tool to return to the present moment, grateful for the blessing of your pet in your life today. Carol Hendershot, co-founder of the Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness, has two canine companions, Zach (12) and Zoey (10), both of whom are nearing the end of their life journeys. Speaking from her own heart’s depth and experience, she shared, “Anticipating the loss of a beloved pet is heart-wrenching. Mindfulness can give us a steady, compassionate place to rest our hearts, a place where we can open to all the love and joy we’ve shared, and soothe the pain that separation will bring.” Ginny Mikita is a certified candidate for ordination in the United Methodist Church and owner of Mikita Kruse Law Center, specializing in animal protection law. Contact her at

photo by jennifer waters

8 Dogs Unleashed September/October 2014



Solutions to your dog’s resource guarding A new mother prepares breakfast for her twin sons, Mikey and Timmy. As they wait in their high chairs, she fills their cereal bowls and places them on the tray. She waits a few seconds, then sticks her hand in each of their bowls, swishing the cereal around. She stops, they begin to eat, then she plunges her hand in again. Mikey is a bit puzzled by the behavior, but waits patiently. Timmy, on the other hand, is very hungry and becomes angered by the behavior. He begins to protest. His mother gets angry at his response, says “no,” then takes the bowl away. Since this is not a parenting magazine, you may have already recognized a humanized version of advice sometimes given to puppy owners. When you think about the scenario from the perspective of a child (easy to relate to) it helps illustrate the limitations and potential negativity created by such actions. When a dog protects valued objects, spaces or their food bowl, it is known as “resource guarding” (RG). This is not a bad or unnatural behavior, but the consequences of handling it incorrectly can be dangerous to dog and human. Why some dogs have no inclination to guard and others do is not fully clear. Many veterinary behaviorists believe there may be a genetic component involved. It is not meant as a rebuff or insult to humans, and it is not a show of dominance. Some signs of RG include body freezing, stiffening, showing the whites of the eyes, a growl (either low or loud), lunging and sometimes even gulping the item down the throat. If your dog shows some if these signs, it is best to contact a professional for help. Handling the situation properly is important for everyone’s safety. So, what would work best in the earlier scenario? How do you teach your puppy or adopted dog you are not a threat to the valued food bowl? Hold the bowl, sit on a low stool or the floor and put some food in the bowl, continuing to hold it while your pup eats. When pup finishes, add more. If your pup eagerly awaits the next installment, set the bowl on the floor and add more. Repeat this until your pup’s meal is done. Pick up the bowl until next time. If this is all going well, you can predetermine a high-value treat, and while your pup is eating a standard meal, drop that high-value treat into the bowl. If your pup easily handles and

When a dog protects valued objects, spaces or their food bowl, it is known as “resource guarding.” happily anticipates this game, you may add distance to the mix. Step away, then return to drop a treat in the bowl. You are conditioning a positive response to your approach. Timing is important if a dog is prone to resource guarding. If at any time your pup displays any warning signs, stop until you can get help with the issue. While resource guarding is simple in concept, it can be complex to treat. Seek advice if you are seeing issues or are concerned about handling this on your own. 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

September/October 2014 Dogs Unleashed 9

the groom room

melissa verplank

With long nails, there’s more than meets the eye If you’re hearing a clicking sound as your dog walks across the floor, it may be time to trim those long nails. Just like people who experience foot or back pain from illfitting shoes, dogs can experience back and foot discomfort, too. If your pet is exhibiting these traits and his nails are too long, there is a simple solution: Trim his nails. It takes only a few minutes. Long nails are more than unsightly, they present a potential health problem. Unattended nails may grow long enough to cause the entire tendon and bone

structure of the foot and pastern to weaken. Over time, the continued striking of long nails on the ground places excessive pressure on bones and tendons, causing discomfort to the pet. This pressure, coupled with the pet’s weight, will weaken the natural foot structure. As an active dog plays, these longer nails can break off. Once a toenail breaks, it exposes the soft, sensitive underlying flesh, or quick, which is quite painful. On smaller pets, the nail tends to grow in a circle and, if left unattended, back into the foot pad. Unattended dew claws also will curve back into the pad, causing a puncture wound that is painful and prone to infection. How often should toenails be trimmed? That depends on the dog and its lifestyle, but most pets benefit from having their nails trimmed every four to six weeks. A dog that constantly walks on hard surfaces will naturally wear down his nails. On many dogs, the rear nails are shorter than the front because the rear foot is the point of power and drive — they push off with their rear legs, digging into the ground and naturally wear down the rear nails. Canine nails have a blood vessel that grows inside of the outer hard nail shell. It is called the

10 Dogs Unleashed September/October 2014

Here is a list of items you will need to trim toenails: • Pet nail trimmer to remove the length • Coarse nail file to remove sharp edges • Styptic powder to stop bleeding if the nails are trimmed too short • A second set of hands if your pet is reluctant with the nail trimming process

“quick.” If the nails are not trimmed on a regular basis, this quick grows longer along with the nail itself. If nails are trimmed too short, the quick will bleed. The nails should be trimmed back as far as possible without causing bleeding. If the nails are only “tipped,” the quick will continue to grow farther and farther out into the nail, eventually making it impossible to obtain a healthy, short nail. Trimming a white nail is fairly straight-forward, as the pink of the quick is easily visible. Place your nail trimmer at a 45-degree angle, keeping your hand lower than the paw itself. Look for the point just beyond where the pink stops. Commit to the spot and quickly make the cut. Black nails or nails that you cannot see through are a bit more challenging. You can’t see the blood vessel. Start by taking the hook off the nail. Now look at the end of the nail. There will be a darker black circle in the middle of the nail bed. This is the blood vessel, but not the part that bleeds. Once a length is established for one nail, use that as a guide for trimming the remaining nails. But remember, on some dogs, the rear nails can be shorter than the front nails, so use caution. Go slow. Remember, less is better

the groom room

if you are new to trimming toenails on your pet. If you do get too close, you can stop the bleeding. Apply a pinch of styptic powder to the end of the trimmed nail. Hold it there firmly for 30 seconds. You can buy styptic powder for pets at any big box pet store, or you can use human styptic powder. Some dogs are indifferent to having their nails trimmed, other dogs dislike it with a passion, others will fall somewhere in between. If your pet does not hold still or struggles, enlist a second pair of hands to hold your pet steady as you trim the nails. Don’t want to trim you pet’s nails yourself ? No problem. Veterinarians and pet groomers routinely trim nails for a very reasonable fee. Many groomers even offer it as a walk-in service with no appointment needed. They can trim those nails for you, getting them as short as possible. Many will even file

them, getting them smooth and round so they don’t scratch your sensitive skin or furniture. Remember, trimming your dog’s nails is not simply a cosmetic issue, but also a health issue. You and you pooch may not enjoy the nail trimming process, but it is one of the most basic things you can do to make your pet comfortable and healthy.

With light-colored nails, the “quick” is visible and should be avoided in trimming.

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 Learn2GroomDogs. com, 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.

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For dark nails, use the black dot (the blood vessel) as a guide for when to stop.

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616-538-6050 Trusted For Over 40 Years 2755 64th Street SW Byron Center, MI 49315 September/October 2014 Dogs Unleashed 11

day in the life

animal control

story BY ALEXIS CROSWELL Photos by jennifer waters

A new appreciation for

Animal Control Officers


handful of animal control officers have become hometown celebrities thanks to Animal Planet’s Animal Cops. I grew up watching Animal Cops Houston and Animal Cops Detroit and was amazed at the tasks these officers undertook daily. Last summer, I rode along with an animal control officer from the Kent County (Mich.) Animal Shelter. Rachel Jensen, a Grand Valley State University grad, has worked at KCAS for two years. In her short time as an ACO, she has seen disheartening moments and uplifting ones. Beyond her job, Jensen attends conferences and lectures to further her animal-advocacy skills and speaks at local events to share her firsthand knowledge. Here is a rundown of the day I spent with Jensen. Jensen gives me a tour of the KCAS facility. On 10am our way to the offices, we see a dog in the operating room. This stray reportedly attacked a farmer’s chickens. The farmer went to scare him away and said the dog growled at him and tried to bite him, so he shot the dog in the head. Jensen’s supervisor says the medical notes were from a third party — the deputy — making it hard to know the true story. The dog received emergency medicine and stabilization. If no owner came forward, he would likely be humanely euthanized at the end of the day. Jensen and I leave the office to transfer 11am a kitten and a dog to Kelley’s Animal

Clinic in Walker. The dog has a heart murmur, and the kitten was hit by a car

Rachel Jensen has worked as an Animal Control Officer in Kent County for two years.

and has a lame front leg. The clinic will provide further medical attention and find foster homes. I carried the kitten on my lap during the drive, and he purred while playfully batting my hand with his good paw.


After we dropped off the animals, Jensen calls a woman she encountered a month ago to check on the status of her case. The woman’s unlicensed dogs had gotten out. Jensen issued her a citation and wanted to see if she had followed through. Jensen said

12 Dogs Unleashed September/October 2014

she likes to work with people to get the best outcome. We receive a call from 11:19am dispatch that an aggressive dog is chasing a mail carrier. It is a police assist call.

We arrive on the scene and 11:36am I’m immediately taken aback by the

presence of a police officer holding a shotgun. Jensen’s partner is already trying to wrangle the dog with a catch pole. Jensen gets out of the van with her

catch pole and bite stick, in case the dog is truly aggressive. Jensen catches the dog, who 11:40am seems more frightened than aggressive. Her partner then posts a notice on the door of the house where the dog had been running around, as it seems the dog may live there. On the drive back to the 11:52am shelter to unload the dog (and a cat

we received from her partner), Jensen tells me about the medical shots and vaccinations she received before starting her job. “You just don’t know what you will come into contact with,” she said. Thankfully, she has not been bitten yet.

The dog is yowling in the 12:03pm back of the van. Jensen tries to return to the shelter unload as often as she can. Like all intakes, the dog is weighed and scanned for a microchip. He has a microchip, but it’s unregistered. Back on the road, we receive a call about a stray 1pm dog. Arriving at the house, we find it

playing with the family who made the call. It has a collar, but no tags. Jensen thanks the family and puts them at ease by giving them her card and explaining the information the owner would need to claim the dog. The family takes a picture of the dog in case the owner comes looking for her.

Part of Rachel Jensen’s job is to pick up stray dogs and bring them back to the shelter, where they await word from their owners.

Our next call takes us to a location 1:31pm where it was reported a neighbor’s dog tried to charge someone. There is no answer at the door. Jensen writes a citation and tapes it to the door for the owners to respond to later.

A call comes in about a fear1:33pm aggressive dog (a dog who exhibits signs of aggression brought on by fear) a woman found in her yard and confined in her garage. She had to leave the house and was worried the dog would come at her, or get loose and run out onto the busy road. She agrees to wait for us to arrive and remove the dog.

owner says he will look into training to help the dog stay within the boundaries of the fence. He receives a citation and thanks Jensen for her handling of the situation.

forms. I look at the new intakes from the day. One is a 3-week-old boxer found by children earlier in the day. The staff gives him fluids and feeds him formula through a syringe.

Chihuahua. Another officer responds.

Rachel Jensen uses the shelter’s van to patrol the streets and transport animals.

We return the dog to its happy owner. 2:37pm The dog is equally as excited. The

We head back to the shelter with 3:30pm the stray. Jensen fills out his intake

En route, we hear a call about 1:57pm a dog escaping its yard and killing a


is also wearing an electric collar, so we surmise he ran through the electronic fence. Jensen contacts the owner, who lives only a few blocks away.

We rescue the fear-aggressive dog. We thank the woman for confining the dog and delaying her day to make sure he was safe. He has a collar and tags with a Kent County license. He

My day has come to an end and, as I am leaving, the ups and downs run through my mind. I am left with greater respect for the ACOs and their work and hope the people they encounter learn about responsible pet ownership and caring for their animals.

September/October 2014 Dogs Unleashed 13

from pet supplies plus

It’s Roscoe to the rescue for West Michigan teen BY RON ROP

It was the middle of the night in 2013. Roscoe knew something was wrong when a distressed family member came up the stairs and staggered to the kitchen sink. Roscoe, a 3-year-old Bichon Frise/ Shih Tzu mix, sprang into action. He jumped up and crawled on the chest of Mandy Paquin, sound asleep on the couch. He pulled her robe to wake her up. “Roscoe jumps on me and starts pawing and yipping,” said Paquin, of Muskegon, Mich. “I’m like, ‘Roscoe, knock it off.’ ” When the aggressive behavior persisted, Paquin got up to see what the fuss could be. What she found when she entered the kitchen and clicked on the light will forever be embedded in her memory. There was her 13-yearold daughter, Vega Goorman, bleeding profusely in the kitchen sink, a result of complications from recent tonsil surgery. The blood was everywhere: on the steps leading up from Vega’s basement bedroom, on the walls, the floor, in her blonde hair and, of course, in the sink. As Paquin approached her daughter, Goorman turned toward her and passed out, falling into her mother’s arms. Roscoe was there, standing guard. When the paramedics, firefighters and police officers arrived, Roscoe went into protective mode. “He wanted to be there because he was worried about her,” Paquin said. “We had to get him out of there. I think he knew that they were trying to help her. I do remember them telling me to get him out of there. He was yipping and barking at them because they were touching her.” Paquin took Roscoe upstairs to her daughter Melody’s room and locked him in his dog crate. “They told me to get him out of there,” Paquin said. “I put him in his crate and he got real agitated. He kicked the panel off and he came back

down and he stayed just by the stairs watching.” Goorman had lost four to five pints of blood, and her pulse was faint. It wasn’t supposed to be like this after surgery. “They tell you when your child is having this surgery that there is a very small chance that it could hemorrhage,” Paquin said. “But, they make it sound so rare that it goes in one ear and out the other. She was in that small percentile and, of course, it happens at 2 o’clock in the morning.” Vega spent several days in the hospital. Then it happened again, on the other side of her throat, and landed her in the hospital for several more days. She missed an entire month of school. This story could have had a much

worse ending, had it not been for Roscoe’s heroics. “He’s the first dog we ever had,” Paquin said. “We begged for 10 years and one day, we got Roscoe. He loves people and he loves to cuddle. He likes other dogs, too.” For his heroics, Roscoe was rewarded with some pampering at Sitting Pretty Pet Spa and Boutique in Muskegon’s Lakeside neighborhood. “He had a spa day,” Paquin said. “He had a grooming, got a hairdo and came home with a little necktie.” Ron Rop is the communications director for U.S. Retail, the franchiser of 20 Pet Supplies Plus stores in Michigan, Alabama, Texas and Wisconsin. Contact Ron at

“He wanted to be there because he was worried about her.”

photos by ron rop

When Vega Goorman was hemorrhaging after surgery to have her tonsils removed, her dog Roscoe saved the day.

14 Dogs Unleashed September/October 2014

working dogs:

E.R. therapy

Even in the hectic ER, therapy dog is a

calming presence Cathy Powers’ therapy dog, Brutus, spends a moment with Don Warner of Pentwater. Warner was at Mercy Health’s Emergency Department after being treated in the Critical Care Unit with a dissected aorta. BY SUSAN HARRISON-WOLFFIS Photos by kendra stanley-mills

Don Warner hasn’t seen his dog in weeks. He’s been in and out of the hospital most of the summer, doctoring for a painful aortic dissection — and one day, almost on a whim, he asks the nurses if his wife can bring his dog, Buddy, a dachshund-Chihuahua mix, up to his room in the intensive care unit. “Just to say hello,” he says. The nurses sympathize. They know there is no medicine, no therapy, no prescription quite like a visit from a four-legged pal. So they have a surprise for Warner. Brutus is in the house. A certified therapy dog, Brutus — a magnificent Goldendoodle with soft brown eyes and a tail that waves every blessed minute — is on duty that very afternoon at Mercy Health Partners’ Mercy Campus in Muskegon, Mich. Brutus and his owner, Cathy

Powers, come once a week, volunteering their time — and dispensing more than a few kisses and handshakes — to those in need of a dog’s presence in time of crisis and distress. Warner catches his breath at the sight. Brutus is big — 110 pounds — and strikingly calm, and intuitive. He ignores everyone else in the room — medical personnel, Warner’s wife, Joan, who’s made the trip from Pentwater; even a photographer — and goes straight to Warner. On his own, no nudging needed from Powers, Brutus lifts his nose for a kiss from Warner, then puts his paw in his lap. For a minute, there are no tubes, no pain, no hospital bed and gown, no machines beeping; just man and dog. “Thank you for coming to see me,” Warner finally says, burying his face in Brutus’ soft fur. “I appreciate it.” “So do we,” Powers says for the two of them. For almost a decade, Powers has

seen the power of pet therapy firsthand. Brutus, who is 4, is her second certified therapy dog. Once a week, Powers and Brutus visit the hospital’s emergency department, there for patients, their families — and staff. Every visit, Powers sees the tangible effects of time spent with a therapy dog: lowered blood pressure, raised endorphins, reduced anxiety, lifted spirits. Just petting a dog calms people in tense situations.

Brutus is at ease with Laura Burke, director of the critcial care, emergency and trauma department at Mercy Health.

September/October 2014 Dogs Unleashed 15

working dogs:

E.R. therapy

Take Laura Burke, director of the critical care, emergency and trauma department at Mercy. She’s had a tough morning. There’s been one crisis after another, nothing but emergencies and matters of life and death — literally. Just as Brutus and Powers arrive at the hospital, a man collapses on the sidewalk outside the emergency department, unable to make it from his car to the door. Burke and other personnel race to his rescue, feverishly working to save him. Finally, the crisis is stabilized. Burke and the others rush him inside. Family and friends head into the waiting room, which is filled with people, some clearly in shock, fear written all over their faces. Without hesitation, Brutus makes his rounds, a therapist at heart. “He’s really sensitive,” Powers says. Brutus goes first to Linda Hittle of Muskegon, whose daughter came into the hospital earlier with heart problems. She is awaiting word on what comes next, whiling away the hours with her granddaughter and friend. Hittle touches Brutus’ ears, then puts both hands on his back and holds on. “I bet you treasure him,” Hittle

Cathy Powers, left, and Brutus visit with Mercy Health’s Laura Burke in the lobby of the emergency department.

Cathy Powers and her therapy dog, Brutus, offer a calming presence for Linda Hittle, who was awaiting word of her daughter’s condition. Hittle’s daughter had come to the Mercy Health’s emergency department with heart problems.

tells Powers. “He is so beautiful.” Brutus leans against Hittle, tail going every minute. Otherwise, he is still, until he sees Burke. She has just emerged from the “authorized personnel only” section, a little out of breath, to talk about the benefits of having a therapy dog on the premises. But first things first. “Well, that will get your heart rate going,” Burke says, well aware how many people witnessed the lifesaving efforts minutes earlier. Without ceremony, Brutus moves to her side and pushes his head up into her hand. Burke stands there for a minute, quiet, re-gathering the calm needed for her work. She is there to talk about others, but it is clear Brutus is there for everyone: the rescued and the rescuers. “He’s very perceptive,” Powers says. “He knows who needs him.” It’s not unusual these days to find therapy dogs in pediatric units in hospitals, nursing homes or assisted living residences, even in hospice care. But in an emergency room, so fastpaced and intense? That’s a rarity. There’s a great story how and why Powers and Brutus ended up there.

16 Dogs Unleashed September/October 2014

Powers’ first therapy dog — a 219-pound Newfoundland named Screech — was afraid to climb stairs or get on an elevator to reach the more traditional spots in the hospital where a therapy dog might serve. But the emergency department was on the first floor, easy access, so they stayed. “It just seemed a great place to go, plus not a lot of people volunteer here, so it works,” Powers says. She and her husband, Tom, have had Brutus since he was five weeks old, and small enough to fit in her husband’s hand. Unlike a lot of Goldendoodles, he isn’t curly haired. His nose is long like a poodle’s, and his tail is pure retriever, soft and feathery. As for his name, Brutus, it couldn’t be more off mark to describe his personality. It has to do with Tom Powers, a graduate of Ohio State University. The OSU mascot, a Buckeye nut, is named Brutus. “Really, he should have been named Smiley or Happy,” Cathy Powers says. “He’s not a Brutus.” She started him in obedience classes when he was only six weeks old, and it was obvious that one day, with a little training, he’d be a great therapy dog. “You could just sense it,” she says. “He had this air about him.”

Brutus was trained, tested and certified through Therapy Dogs Inc., starting in Charleston, S.C., where the Powers spend their winters. As it turns out, he was a natural. “He’s just a sweetheart,” says Julie Juntunen, a registered nurse in the emergency department. “I’ve seen him go into rooms ... ” And even the most frightened patients smile, even those in pain look up at the dog, she says. “Oh, the stories I could tell you about therapy dogs, what they do for people,” says Barb Geno of White Cloud, president of West Michigan Therapy Dogs Inc., based in Grand Rapids. Geno — who has therapy dogs of her own — trains, tests and evaluates therapy dogs for the local organization. Training takes eight weeks, with lots of evaluations and follow-ups. How do you know if your dog would make a good therapy dog? Geno looks for three very important qualities: • Obedience. Therapy dogs have to be “highly reliable,” she says. “We have to have confidence in them.”

Brutus gives — and receives — a little love from Mercy Health staff members Jody Case, center, and Michelle Beirman, right.

• Socialization. Therapy dogs have to be comfortable in all settings with all sorts of smells and sounds. • Temperament. Therapy dogs have to enjoy working with people. Therapy dogs come in all sizes, ages and breeds, she says. One of her dogs, a black Lab mix named Black Jack, is blind. The message he preaches just with his presence — overcoming adversity, not letting physical challenges stop him — goes a long way. “It’s like he says, ‘I’m here no matter what,’ ” Geno says.

Brutus, too. Whenever he’s at the hospital, Brutus wears a vest that identifies him as a therapy dog — touching, talking and hugging are encouraged, unlike with most service dogs. Just walk down a hallway or stand in a lobby with Brutus for a minute, and you see that he’s a magnet for people. Nurses come out from behind their stations. Office personnel leave their desks. Doctors get down on their hands and knees to get a better look at him, and play. Patients delay checking out to check out the dog. Children scared of needles stop crying. Critically ill men, who just want to see their dogs, wipe tears from their eyes. Mothers, frightened at what their daughter’s diagnosis might be, cling to him. It’s all in a day’s work for Brutus. “I know the staff appreciates him,” Burke says, “and he makes our patients happy. He’s a wonderful dog, a good boy, and that’s a great thing.” n For more information about West Michigan Therapy Dogs Inc., visit

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ER for pets

Veterinary technician Jessica Kamp and veterinary assistant Justin Wingert prepare to euthanize a gravely ill stray cat at BluePearl Veterinary Partners. story BY TRICIA WOOLFENDEN photos by katy batdorff

The initial plan for a “day in the life” snapshot of emergency vet medicine at BluePearl Veterinary Partners included time for an on-site interview with the clinic’s boardcertified criticalist, Rosalind Chow. That didn’t happen. More accurately, it couldn’t happen. “Schedules” and emergency medicine make uneasy bedfellows. This was readily apparent during a Sunday afternoon visit to the Grand Rapids, Mich., clinic. Weekends are, understandably, among the busiest times for an emergency-care clinic, with holidays and weekday evenings in close competition. Summer is especially fast paced as pets encounter new — at times creative — ways to suffer injury and illness indoors and out. On this particular July Sunday, Dr. Chow, VMD, Diplomate ACVECC, was unable to break away from her duties, which included assessing a gravely ill stray cat, treating a sick (and potentially contagious) pug and consulting with the family of an older dog facing serious illness. The interview, which was

Expecting the Unexpected The ins and outs of emergency veterinary medicine rescheduled for Chow’s next available day off, could wait. Her patients could not. Big-Hearted, but Not Faint of Heart

The nature of emergency veterinary medicine makes for an unpredictable, high-stress work environment. A typical day at BluePearl may involve everything from treating a new puppy for kennel cough and diarrhea, to performing life-saving surgery on an otherwise healthy adult cat, to dispensing cancer treatments and overseeing multiple euthanasias. The work requires a special skillset, as echoed by each member of the staff at BluePearl. “Veterinarians who work with

18 Dogs Unleashed September/October 2014

emergencies need to be calm under pressure, good at multitasking, friendly, knowledgeable and have a desire to help,” Chow said of her role. “They need to be compassionate, but they also need to be able to put their emotions to the side when necessary. This is a job where you may counsel pet owners on end-of-life decisions one minute, then need to turn around and walk into the next exam room with a smile.” Chow, who completed a threeyear residency program in Emergency and Intensive Care at the University of California-Davis to earn her board certification, frequently encounters patients who test her skills and

Dunkel the cat sports the “cone of shame” while recovering from an injury at BluePearl Veterinary Partners.

stamina. She and the other veterinary professionals at BluePearl are accustomed to taking on challenging, high-pressure cases. “Two months ago, I worked with a Chihuahua that had been bitten on the head by a much larger dog,” Chow said. “With head trauma of that severity, the skull fractures are the last problem to be addressed. In the first 24 hours, we treated hemorrhage, brain swelling, shock, severe neurological symptoms and seizures.” That laundry list of symptoms can send shivers down the spine of any animal lover. But this particular story, at least, has a happy ending. “This courageous dog was discharged from the hospital after a week, received rehabilitation therapy and has shown significant progress in a short period of time,” Chow said. Healing pets is the top priority, but Chow and the clinic staff also value the impact their work has on their patients’ owners. “Having a sick pet is stressful. Under normal circumstances, it can be a challenge for pet owners to comprehend

complicated medical conditions, much less understand their options and make important life-changing decisions,” Chow said. “I’m in this job because I want to help animals become well, but I also enjoy working with their families. I feel rewarded when I am able to make difficult information more understandable, which allows pet owners to have the knowledge to make informed choices for their loved ones.” Making the Call

Kristin Herrick, veterinary relations coordinator for BluePearl, said some of the most common reasons for pet owners to call the clinic include ingestion of toxins, such as raisins, chocolate, household cleaning products, rat poison, medications or foreign objects like socks, plastic and towels. Pets may also be experiencing symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, limping, seizures, lethargy, have been struck by a car or demonstrate signs of the life-threatening illness known as “bloat.” The staff at BluePearl — including

Veterinary assistant Mary Winfrey, left, and veterinary technician Kourtney Bennett work together to trim Clara the dog’s nails.

Chow and Herrick — said it can be difficult for a pet owner to gauge whether they are, in fact, facing a critical situation. “Most pet owners know to take their pet to a veterinarian when they are worried their pet could die or suffer permanent harm,” Chow said. “However, there are many other situations where it can be difficult for people to know if their pet needs emergency attention or whether it can

September/October 2014 Dogs Unleashed 19

wait for the next available appointment with their primary-care vet.” Chow said it is always best to err on the side of caution, especially when it comes to protecting the life of a valued family member. “Pet owners that are unsure should call or take their pet in to be evaluated by a veterinarian,” Chow said. “Ultimately, if pet owners have a gut feeling that something is wrong, it is best not to take chances.” Animal lovers who do seek emergency medical attention for their pets have access to cutting-edge technology and a higher level of care than ever afforded in history. For instance, Herrick said criticalist care, such as that provided by Chow, is an emerging service in veterinary medicine. “Having an experienced criticalist in charge of a patient’s care may allow problems to be anticipated and corrected before they worsen, which reduces complications and can save lives,” Chow said. The distinction comes with highly specialized training in the treatment of serious conditions such as trauma, shock, severe infection,

breathing difficulty and more. “There have been many advancements in medical technology and services that used to be rare or only offered through universitybased veterinary medical teaching hospitals, and are now widely available,” Chow said. “These include advanced procedures requiring specialized skills and equipment such as ultrasonography, laparoscopic surgery, mechanical ventilation and cataract surgery, as well as diagnostic tools such as MRI and CT scans that allow three-dimensional imaging of diseased areas of the body.” Even routine, preventative veterinary care has grown leaps and bounds, experts said. “Simpler, but no less impressive, are highly effective topical and oral medicines that allow people to protect their pets from disease-carrying pests such as fleas, ticks and mosquitoes,” Chow said. On the topic of preventative care, Chow stressed the value of routine vet visits in reducing the need for those costly, high-anxiety, off-hours calls. “Annual physical examinations are



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BluePearl’s Mary Winfrey, left, and Kourtney Bennett get acquainted with Clara in an effort to take her vitals.

important because they allow primary care veterinarians the opportunity to get to know their patients and hopefully, detect small problems before they become more serious,” Chow said. “Early diagnosis and treatment of problems may decrease the likelihood of more serious complications arising later, and reduce the need for visits to the emergency room in the middle of the night or on a weekend.”


NFL player todd herremans

A bulldog at heart NFL lineman Todd Herremans is a rare breed Todd Herremans has spent the past 10 years pushing around 300-pound plus men on the football field. But off the field, the 6-foot-6, 321-pound NFL lineman has a soft side.

Story by Cindy Fairfield | Photos by Jennifer Waters

September/October 2014 Dogs Unleashed 21


NFL player todd herremans

Zeus, left, and Hades hang out on the deck of their Torch Lake vacation home with owner Todd Herremans.


odd Herremans enjoys nothing better than romping around with his two bulldogs, rubbing their bellies, going for long walks, and just hanging out with his canine companions. “Todd has always had a soft spot for dogs and kids,” his dad, Paul Herremans, said of the versatile Philadelphia Eagles guard/tackle who grew up in the small farming community of Ravenna, Mich. And though he now lives in a downtown condo in Philadelphia, Todd can’t imagine not having a dog in his life. “I always wanted a big dog like a Great Dane or something, but I had a friend who had a bulldog and I really liked his dog’s temperament,” said Todd, 31. “They are awesome dogs. You pet them and they love the attention.” Though he lives in one of the largest cities in the country, Herremans loves to get away to his “cottage” on Torch Lake near Traverse City, Mich., where miles of spring-fed

water interconnected with a myriad of waterways provides the perfect respite for rest and relaxation. His friend and teammate Brent Celek, a Cincinnati native, also has a place on Torch Lake just a quarter of a mile from Herremans. It was Celek, whose family has long owned property at Torch Lake, who introduced Herremans to the area. Now, the teammates spend plenty of time in the offseason enjoying their dogs and the outdoors.

but dogs are easy keepers, he said. “I think a dog was something he could be with that loved him unconditionally,” said Paul, laughing. “He’s had a few relationships over the


Paul Herremans wasn’t surprised when his son got a bulldog just after his rookie season in Philadelphia, in which the 2005 fourth-round draft pick was thrust into starting duty after an injury to a key lineman. Life in the NFL is a pressure cooker, where you perform or you walk. Expectations and criticism from staff, teammates and fans can be daunting,

22 Dogs Unleashed September/October 2014

Todd Herremans, an offensive lineman, was drafted in the fourth round by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2005.

years, but they always seemed to be a distraction for him once the season started. With dogs, they’re always happy to see you, and you pet and feed them, and they’re pretty much happy.” Todd currently is engaged to Elizabeth Dee, a New Jersey native he met through mutual friends at a Philadelphia Phillies opening day game. And Todd said, smiling, Elizabeth loves his dogs, too. “I remember Todd was dating a Playboy bunny at one time who had a little dog that would just go into the corner of the room and go to the bathroom,” Paul said. “You could just see Todd gritting his teeth when that would happen. That relationship didn’t last long.” Todd Herremans can be a patient man, but enough is enough, after all. When he got his first bulldog, Zeus, he allowed the dog to sleep in his bed. Not too long after, he had to invoke the “three strike” rule. While he could tolerate the constant snoring typical of English bulldogs, Zeus was kicked out of the bed after his third infraction. “The first time, he peed the bed,” Todd said. “The next time, he did number 2 and I kept him out of the bedroom for a while. The final time I came home from a game and looked around the bed and said, ‘Good, he made it through the night,’ but then I went to the bathroom and stepped in a pile of puke. I said, ‘Ok, that’s enough.’ ” Herremans got another bulldog, Hades, five years ago to keep Zeus company. Hades, an Olde English bulldog, likes to run. Zeus likes to lie around. Herremans said he gets the best of both worlds. Zeus and Hades get plenty of attention and exercise even when Herremans is in season with the Eagles. There are plenty of parks near his condo in Philadelphia and Herremans uses a dog-walking service to care for his dogs when he’s not around. His parents also spend a lot of time watching his dogs. His dad recalled visiting Todd in Philadelphia with a friend, Mike Dunnuck, and taking Zeus and Hades on an outing. “It was a hot day and the more

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or takes a two-hour flight in a private plane. “They love to fly,” said Todd. “They just fall asleep with the engine humming.” PHILLY IRON MAN

While Zeus is the less active of Todd Herremans’ two dogs, he does enjoy his football.

we walked, the harder Zeus started breathing,” Paul Herremans said. “Then he just stopped walking and laid down. I looked at Mike and said, ‘You might have to carry him for a while,’ which would be like carrying a 50-pound bag of cement. “We just waited him out. But that’s the thing with the dogs. When they want to stop, you stop too. You are definitely on their agenda.” The dogs especially enjoy traveling by airplane, Todd Herremans said. When Todd goes to Torch Lake, he either drives his Jeep with them in tow

Herremans is well-liked in the Philadelphia community, where he has been active for a number of years in various charities. “He had about 20 charities he was involved with and it became too much, so he decided to start his own foundation,” said his mother, Marilee, president of the 2-year-old Herremans Foundation. “There were so many things he cared about, like veterans’ issues, cancer, Alzheimer’s and autism, that we kept the foundation as a general need charity.” People can make requests for help online at With a slogan “help where help is needed,” the organization has a major fundraiser in March called “Hoops for

Help” and has doled out grants for everything from veterans who need help paying bills to those staying at a women’s shelter in Muskegon, Mich. On his own, Herremans funded 3,000 cups of hot chocolate and coffee to first responders during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. He also has given a generous donation to Saginaw Valley State University, where he played football. The weight room there bears his name. “He’s been blessed, but he’s done a lot of good with what he has,” said Marilee, a retired school teacher. “It’s a whole different lifestyle. When he comes home, I try to get him to take out the garbage or something just to keep his head normal.” LIFE BEYOND FOOTBALL

On the football field, Herremans is known for his consistency and adaptability. He has played both guard and tackle, depending on the needs of the team. Currently, he is penciled into the starting guard position and wears

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NFL player todd herremans

Hades and Todd Herremans have a little fun on the dock at their Torch Lake home in northern Michigan.

his trademark “79” jersey. One of Herremans’ favorite football memories is last year’s “Snow Bowl” against the Detroit Lions. He said it reminded him of some of his high school games, when he donned a Ravenna Bulldogs jersey. “We had a quarterback sneak and it was like 15 people just crashing into each other. It was so snowy, you couldn’t see any of the crowd and it was just like pure football,” he said. Herremans said he also cherishes the two touchdown catches he has made in the NFL — one against Dallas and one against Seattle. As an offensive lineman, one of Herremans’ duties is to protect the quarterback. From 2009 to 2013, that quarterback was Michael Vick. Vick joined the Eagles after serving 21 months in a federal prison for his role in a dog fighting ring at his own Bad Newz Kennels in Virginia. Herremans said he doesn’t judge Vick, now a member of the New York Jets, as distasteful as the revelations about the dog fighting operation were. “Obviously, it was a terrible thing,” Herremans said. “But I think people need to understand that was the culture he was raised in. When you are used to doing something in your culture, you

sometimes do those things. “But I think he came out of it a better person. He has been a great person and teammate and football player since that time, and he paid the price. I know he does a lot of work for the Humane Society (of the United States) now, and I think he even has a dog for his kids.” When Herremans retires — his three-year $18 million contract expires in 2016 — he plans to live full-time in Philadelphia.

“I’ve spent a decade there,” he said. “I like the people and I love the city. The people are so hard-working, that’s what I love about it.” But he also plans to keep his “home away from home” on Torch Lake. He plans to marry Elizabeth on April 14 in Italy and “we want to have four or five kids,” he said. And, of course, those kids will need a dog or two. Maybe bulldogs, or maybe another breed. Herremans just can’t imagine his life without dogs.

The spacious deck on their Torch Lake home is the perfect hangout for Hades, front, and Zeus.

September/October 2014 Dogs Unleashed 25

safety tips


Halloween Hounds How to keep your dog from getting spooked

By LINDA ODETTE | photos by cheryl baase


ogs can freak out when it comes to Halloween. All those strangers dressed in weird clothes, candy and crazy noises can cause dogs to do things that are unsafe. Here are some tips to help Fido through the frightening night. Train your dog on trick-or-treating: Keep pet treats handy

and reach for one before you open the door for trick-ortreaters. If your dog sits calmly while the door is open, give him a treat. You might consider “practicing” well ahead of Halloween by having friends approach your home in costume and ringing the doorbell or hollering “trick or treat.” See how your dog reacts and determine your course of action on the big night.

Take your dog away: If you know your pooch is not going to be into Halloween activities, put him in a quiet room to reduce stress and chance of escape. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with up-to-date ID and rabies tags in case he escapes. If you haven’t already, considering getting a microchip for your dog.

26 Dogs Unleashed September/October 2014

Keep decorations pet friendly: A dog can tip over a lighted candle or pumpkin in a second with a wag of the tail, and that can lead to fire. If your decorations include things like crepepaper streamers, make sure your dog doesn’t eat them. They could discolor your pet’s mouth and cause an upset stomach. No chocolate and candy: Everybody knows chocolate is

dangerous — even fatal — for dogs, so keep it out of reach of your pets and have healthy dog treats on hand. Make sure your dog doesn’t eat anything off the ground or get into your kids’ Halloween stash.



Consider the people: Keep your dog away from large groups of people. He can get spooked by the loud noises and strange costumes. When you open the door for trick-or-treaters, be careful your dog does not dart outside. Use a short leash if you take your dog outside. Consider the costume: Sure, Fido looks cute dressed as Darth Vader, but is it

stressing him out? Don’t put your pet in a costume unless you know he loves it (yes, some dogs do love to play dress-up). Be sure the costume doesn’t choke your pet, obstruct his view or cover his nose or whiskers.

Dress rehearsal: If you want to dress up your dog for Halloween, don’t wait until the last minute to try on the costume. Instead, put it on your dog several times well before the big day to get him used to it. Consider a Halloweenthemed collar or bandana instead of a constricting costume. Sources: American Humane Society,

For more tips on dog costumes and safety, go to

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Jodi M. Clock, owner/president 1469 Peck Street • Muskegon, MI 49441 (231) 722-3721 September/October 2014 Dogs Unleashed 27

28 Dogs Unleashed September/October 2014

doggy destination:


portland, ORE

Keeping it


The television series Portlandia illustrates the eclectic vibe of the popular city in northwest Oregon. What the series doesn’t show is just how dog friendly Portland is. Portland is so dog friendly, in fact, it was ranked No. 1 in the U.S. by, and NBC News and was featured as a “Pet Lovers Paradise” by Forbes Magazine. The hip, trendy city has an impressive 5 1/2 off-leash parks for every 100,000 residents, not including the

in dog-loving Portland

33 standard on-leash dog parks. That’s more than 4,000 acres of furry fun across a single city. It’s not just the dog parks that make Portland a cool place for pet lovers. It’s a city rich with art, culture and innovations filled with dog-friendly eateries, activities and special places for overnight stays with dogs in mind. Portland’s walking tours, and especially the “Best of Portland” walking tour, show why the city is recognized as one of the best places to live for pet lovers. The tour takes you and your dog on a 2- to 2 1/2-hour morning walk, exploring historic and

This Basset hound doesn’t look too thrilled to be getting a bath at Dogtoberfest, an annual fundraising event at The Lucky Labrador Brewery Company.

Portland, Ore., prides itself on being weird.

modern Portland. Your tour guide will escort you through the city, which is rich with artwork, bridges, parks, fountains, downtown trains and 30-plus brewpubs. The tour winds through downtown Portland’s cultural district, the Yamhill Historic District and along the vast riverfront. Grab your walking shoes, a leash and enjoy what USA Today calls “one of the top-five walking tours in the nation.” If you’ve worked up a thirst from the walking tour, pay a visit to The Lucky Labrador Brewery Company. Famous in canine social circles, The Lucky Lab Brewery is a must for beer enthusiasts. It offers a laid-back setting and some great pub grub. The dog friendly covered patio is an open, spacious, casual place. Inside, the walls are lined with photographs of the many Labs and other breeds who have

September/October 2014 Dogs Unleashed 29

doggy destination:

portland, ORE

stopped in for a visit. There are four Lucky Lab locations in the city, but the flagship location is on Hawthorne Street. The Lucky Lab Brewery annually hosts one of Portland’s largest dog fundraising events, Dogtoberfest. Since its start in 1995, the dog wash fundraiser has bathed 8,165 dogs and raised about $110,000 for area pet rescues. The annual dog wash has become a “look forward to” event for locals and visitors alike. This year’s Dogtoberfest is Sept. 20, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. If dinner is on your mind, check out the Tin Shed Garden Café, located in the heart of the Alberta Arts neighborhood. The café offers several options for pet parents: free-range meats, organic, vegan and vegetarian entrees. It even has its own special doggy menu, which includes The Barker (pork with rice or sweet potato), Paw Lickin’ Good (chicken with rice or sweet potato) or Kibbles-n-Bits (ground beef with rice or sweet potato), all freshly made-to-order. The Tin Shed also sells commemorative doggy bandanas, so you and your pup can be reminded of your tasty trip to Portland. Purchase a bandana and save 50 percent on your dog’s meal, with proceeds going to help the animals at the Oregon Humane Society. Another must-visit is the Portland Saturday Market in Old Town. The market, open from March to December, allows people and pets to experience more than 400 open-air shops and attracts an estimated 750,000 visitors annually. When it’s finally time to lie down, roll over and get a good night’s rest, the Hotel Monaco is ready for you and your dog. The five-star pet friendly hotel is located in the heart of downtown Portland, just steps away from shopping, dining and entertainment in the city’s

30 Dogs Unleashed September/October 2014

IF YOU GO n Portland Walking Tours Phone: (503) 774-4522 Website: Cost: $20 per person, free for dogs

n The Lucky Labrador Brewery Company Main location: 915 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Phone: (503) 236-3555 Website: Cost: Sides start at $1 and up; sandwiches are $5.25 to $6.95

n Tin Shed Garden Cafe Location: 1438 NE Alberta Street Phone: (503) 288-6966 Website: Cost: Breakfast $9 to $14, lunch $3.75 for soup to $12.50 for entrees $3 for small plates to $15 for entrees

n Portland Saturday Market Location: 2 SW Naito Parkway Phone: (503) 222-6072 Website:

n Hotel Monaco Location: 506 SW Washington Street Phone: (503) 222-0001 Website: Cost: Rates start at $149 (no pet fee)

doggy destination:

financial district. The Hotel Monaco showcases early 20th century architecture and original Pacific Northwest art. Upon arrival, you’ll know you’re in dogfriendly confines. The staff includes your dog’s name and a personalized message on the bone-shaped “welcome” board. The hotel even has a “director of pet relations.” Timmy, the hotel’s spokesdog, hangs out at the hotel most days, greeting all guests, whether they arrive on two legs or four. There is no fee for pets (no matter the size or breed), and Hotel Monaco also includes delightful amenities: food and water bowls, a comfy, luxury dog bed in the room, unlimited bottles of spring water for thirsty pups, plenty of treats and complimentary eco-friendly Dispoz-A-Scoop cleanup bags. Additional services include private pet-sitters, grooming services, dog walkers and even a pet psychic. The

portland, ORE

Hotel Monaco’s wine hour from 5 to 6 p.m. daily offers a tasting from local wineries and non-alcoholic “Bowser Beer” for dogs. From hotels to restaurants, parks, markets and a little bit of everything in between, there’s no denying Portland loves its pooches. The city is known as the place where “hipsters go to retire,” but Portland also is the perfect place for canines to live life to the fullest. 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.”

The Hotel Monaco makes it clear to guests that dogs are welcome, placing a greeting board and dog bowls in the lobby.

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September/October 2014 Dogs Unleashed 31


dog wash/dog Day at Fifth Third Ballpark | dog beach at kirk park



The outfield scoreboard welcomes dogs to the West Michigan Whitecaps game at Fifth Third Ballpark near Grand Rapids.

Meeka sports her Detroit Tigers apparel for a day at the ballpark. This 2-year-old Pomeranian is owned by Karen and Scott Meyer of Wyoming.


Zoe, a 7-year-old Mi-Ki belonging to Jordan and Jill Berens of Hudsonville, normally hates baths but played the good sport for the World’s Largest Dog Wash at Fifth Third Ballpark.


Barkis, a 6-year-old “American Kennel Dog” mixed breed, could fetch a ball in water for hours, according to owner Huck Parks.


Traci and Chase Judy came from Portage to take Aria, their 4-monthold Puggle, to her first baseball game.

32 Dogs Unleashed September/October 2014


Michelle and Jared Bechtel brought their 9-month-old Great Dane, Sarge, to Kirk Park Dog Beach for his first-ever lake experience. It looks like this big puppy is a born water lover.


Rocco, a 4-year-old Schnoodle owned by Rachel Campbell of Grand Rapids, sends water and volunteers flying during the World’s Largest Dog Wash.


It takes a team to wash Aslan, a 2-year-old Cane Corso. Aslan and owner Sandy Hines of Byron Center came out for the World’s Largest Dog Wash, a Gilda’s Club fundraiser.


Truman, an 8-year-old dog with “a little bit of everything in him,” enjoys the day at Kirk Park with his adoptive parents, Jim and Becky Hofer of Grand Rapids. Clearly he’s found his forever home — check out Becky’s tattoo!


”Back to work!” said Zoe’s owners, Greg and Christine Henry of Hudsonville. This 6-year-old Labrador retriever meticulously scans the water at Kirk Park for sticks, seaweed and other objects she can grab.

Photos by jennifer waters


Hera and Hercules came from Kansas to see the Whitecaps game! Ingrid and Bob Potter of Hudsonville are dogsitting the Basset hound mixes for their son and thought they would enjoy a day at the ballpark.

September/October 2014 Dogs Unleashed 33

the tail end


Dog on board: Adventure of a lifetime In most magazines, this story would be about the boat, the two women sailing it and the wanderlust that has kept them at sea for the past two years. But in Dogs Unleashed, it’s about the dog. Reggie. Reggie is a good-looking chow mix somewhere in the vicinity of 9 years old; a dog who loves nothing more than to be constantly at the side of his owner, Katie Smith, who grew up in Grand Haven, Mich. “He wants to be where I am and where his bed is,” she said. “That’s all he wants, really.” So on Sept. 4, 2012, when Katie and her best friend, Jessie Zevalkink of Grand Rapids, set out on a 5,600-mile adventure, traveling the “Great Loop” waterways in North America on a 27-foot sailboat — who went with them? Reggie. Of course. “Basically, he doesn’t want to be left behind,” Smith said. “We go absolutely everywhere together. He is incredibly adaptable.” This is a dog who had to find his sea legs, all four of them, and fast … not to mention a home in every new port. He’s ridden out storms, lived the good life on some of North America’s most beautiful beaches and everything in between. Reggie has even learned to climb aboard a one-person kayak so Smith can row him to shore twice a day to do his business — and you know what that means — because he refuses to foul his living quarters. “He will not go to the bathroom on the boat,” Zevalkink wrote on her blog at “We have tried, literally everything.” So it’s off to shore they go. That’s where Smith and Reggie were when I caught up with them this summer: on land. At the time, Smith and Zevalkink were navigating the Hudson River in New York City, deftly moving their boat, which they named Louise, toward Lake Ontario. As it turns out, they were on the last leg of their trip. The plan is to be back in Michigan in September, a full two years after setting sail from Northport, Mich. Smith and Zevalkink grew up sailing under the direction of their dads. They’d never anchored, sailed in strong winds, been through a lock, dealt with currents and tides — or docked more than a half-dozen times. Learning as they go has made this the adventure of a lifetime, something Smith and Zevalkink, both 25, always wanted to do. Their inspiration was Jessie’s dad, Jim Zevalkink, who traveled the “Great Loop” himself in the 1970s. They talked and dreamed about going themselves and finally decided: now or never. Once decided, there was no thought of leaving Reggie behind. “Oh, no,” Smith said. For the record, Zevalkink’s cat came along for the ride in the beginning, but didn’t do too well. 34 Dogs Unleashed September/October 2014

Reggie, on a dinghy.

Photo courtesy of katie smith

“She peed on everything,” Smith said. So, the cat went home to Grand Rapids, and Louise became a one-dog boat. It hasn’t been all play, though. There have been plenty of months when Smith and Zevalkink had to “park” the boat so they could “work our buns off as waitresses ... then travel as far as we can with what we save.” Nor has it always been smooth sailing. Reggie — who weighs 50 pounds — retreats to the lowest point on the boat during bad weather. Otherwise, he sleeps anywhere he wants during the day; at night, he’s with Smith in the V-berth. In the middle of the night, more often than not, Smith finds Reggie “rolled over on his back with all four limbs in the air, dreaming he is running.” The two have been together for six years, since she was a student at Muskegon Community College. Smith was fostering dogs for a rescue group in Grand Rapids, and well, Reggie found his home the minute she took him in. “We’ve made numerous cross-country trips together,” Smith said. “He’s been in planes, on trains and all sorts of boats ... even the Staten Island Ferry.” So what’s next? Where do they go, what do they do, once they’re back on land? This trip was supposed to help Smith figure out what she’s going to do, if not for the rest of her life, at least in the immediate future. “But that plan backfired,” she said. “I’m really undecided. What this (trip) has done is show me just how many more options there are in life.” One thing’s for sure. Whatever she does, wherever she goes, Reggie will be with her, on land or at sea. “I couldn’t imagine doing anything without him,” Smith said. “He amazes me every day, absolutely amazes me. He always does the right thing.” Susan Harrison-Wolffis is an award-winning journalist, retired from newspaper work after more than 40 years. Contact her at

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Riverchase & Pelham 1928 Hwy. 31 South 205-978-9788

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Richardson at 200 N Coit Rd 214-276-5496

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Wyoming 2033 28th Street SW 616-532-5171

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Garland 1031 Northwest Hwy. 469-277-8606

Appleton 702 W. Northland Ave. 920-832-3858

Arlington 3801 S Cooper St 817-583-8502

September/October 2014 Dogs Unleashed 35

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Press Unleashed - Sept-Oct 2014  

A lifestyle magazine for dog lovers

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