The Wagazine Spring 2020 issue

Page 1

SE Minnesota’s Premier Animal Magazine


wags, whiskers, hooves, fins


Young English Setters are already show champions



CBD FOR PETS HUMPING at the dog park PET-FRIENDLY PATIOS Cancer, a cat and a 2nd chance

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CONTENTS Spring 2020


Pets on Parade

Reader-submitted photos


Bark At Me

Pet Q&A on Simple Joys: Walking and dogs and children. BY DONNA CHICONE

8 Patios for Pets These restaurants welcome paws in outdoor seating. BY HOLLY GALBUS

14 CBD and Pets What science, vets, FDA and owners say about this centuries-old product. BY KONNIE LEMAY 22 Furry Freeloaders My roommates are bleeding me dry, but they sure are soft. BY NICOLE RUSCH

SE Minnesota’s

Premier Animal Magazine

RESCUE 10 Top Dog Foundation

Giving senior dogs a second chance. BY ALISON RENTSCHLER

TRAINING 12 Ask the Trainer Advice for the dog park humpers. BY SARA REUSCHE


wag s, whis kers , hoo ves, fins


ng English Setters are already show champions


AWARDS 16 Golden Paws Award Winners Readers choose their favorte pet services.


HAPPY TAILS 28 Cancer, a Cat and a Second Chance Sometimes it takes a village.

18 Two for the Show Local English Setters are already


Barks from Starks Rescue Directory Get the Scoop Index to Advertisers


5 24 29 29

Snoopy from Top Dog Rescue. See article page 10.

show champions, one eyeing Westminster. BY BRYAN LUND PHOTOGRAPHY BY KELVIN ANDOW | 3

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1901 Roscoe Avenue, Zumbrota, MN



SE Minnesota’s Premier Animal Magazine

wags, whiskers, hooves and fins

SPRING 2020 Volume 8 Issue 1

PUBLISHERS Kelvin Andow Kate Brue Ellington Starks


In our house, we’ve entered the

Ellington Starks

realm of senior supplements, doggie diapers and ramps. There’s more sleeping than playing on any given day. Sometimes we go outside every 10 minutes during an hour, and I’m not sure if it’s because the dogs forgot that they just went out, or if they really have to pee again so soon.




WRITERS Donna Chicone Holly Galbus Kevin Krein Konnie LeMay Bryan Lund Alison Rentschler Sara Reusche Nicole Rusch the wagazine is published quarterly by the wagazine L.L.C. P.O. Box 9073 Rochester, MN 55903 Yearly subscriptions $20 © the wagazine L.L.C. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Printed in the USA.

For advertising information:

Ann Indykiewicz 507-398-4870 Article information, ideas and comments:

Ellington Starks 507-271-8107

Ellie and her dog, Budder. Together, they’re enjoying Budder’s senior years.

This is what we signed up for, though. We accepted all the life stages when we got puppies. But the senior stage, though it indicates the inevitable, is a special time. Routines are predictable. Cuddling is inevitable. Walking is leisurely. They’re a little more fragile, a little more sensitive, and experts in canine love; they return affection twofold. In addition, some of the behaviors of the younger years have faded: those older joints prohibit counter surfing. The mailman doesn’t get an earful of barking because the dogs sleep through delivery. Our homecoming doesn’t produce a choir of dogs at the door—they didn’t catch the sound of the garage door, and they’re sound asleep in a dog bed. I am especially sensitive to senior pets in need of rescue, and also in favor of second chances. We’re proud to showcase the Top Dog Foundation, a New Germany-based rescue committed to finding homes for older dogs—ElderPups, as they say—who would be unnecessarily euthanized due to their age and health. “If you’ve ever had the pleasure of being loved by an old dog, then you’re truly blessed,” says founder Jean Stelten-Beuning. I know exactly what she means. Turn to p. 10 for this sweet feature. Speaking of second chances, my friend Nicole told me the story about the cat whose photo she keeps on her fridge at home. Nicole, who got her own second chance after a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, said the cat isn’t hers; she’s never even met “Bridget.” Bridget was a humane society cat who Nicole’s friends sponsored to honor her cancer journey and final treatment. Bridget had been at the shelter the longest. Nicole’s friends wanted to give Bridget a second chance too. Enjoy this heartwarmer on p. 28. Spring is the season of new beginnings. If you have a pet in your home who has had a new beginning of any kind, we’d love to hear about it.

Find us on Facebook: the wagazine | 5



Want to see your pet in print? Send photos to


Angel the Fish won Our niece Hailey Barry this fish at a carnival but l or did not have a fish bow not aquarium so she could Uncle her ed ask She it. p kee e of Bob if he would take car kit for her. He said yes, thin die ly bab pro ing it would w, 12 within a week or so. No ing car still is Bob r, years late for Angel! The fish started out about 2 inches in size . and is now about 9 inches ~ Ann Anderson

Jesse. ~ Dan S.

Ivy, 3, is a German Shepherd / Great Pyrenees. She loves playing in the snow! ~ Julia. R

Wesley, 5, is a black Silver Fox/ Mini Rex and his bonded pal, Bandit, 1, is a female LionHead. ~ Julia. R

Katie, 6, is a stray calico. She loves to purr and sit in the sunshine! ~ Julia. R

Lucky, 1, is a male cat that we adopted in 2018. He is a very quiet cat but warms up to people pretty quick ~ Julia. R

Rio, 6 mo, is a male tuxedo kitten. He’s an extremely cuddly kitten who is always purring no matter what ~ Julia. R

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B y Donna C hic one


Include your dog in exercise routines. Everyone can walk year round, even in four-season climates. I always say, “If your dog is overweight, you are not getting enough exercise.”

Pet Parent Question “My dog is overweight. Do daily walks really make a difference?”

Answer: Obesity is the number one health concern for humans and for canines. We all need to get up and move more. Dogs love to be with their pet parent, and walking is a great way to build stamina, muscle tone and general well being as well as shed pounds. Research shows people with dogs get more exercise. Be mindful of weather; if you are comfortable outside, your dog will be too. I recommend a walking harness. It gives the dog more opportunity to sniff and explore, with you in control of their body. You also eliminate any damage to the neck and trachea, which happens with a leash attached to a neck collar. Walking with your dog also gives you time together to enjoy fresh air and nature. It can be a calming experience for both of you and a time to develop your bond and relationship. Woofs & Smiles!


Dogs and children are amazing, especially together. Both live in the moment. When a dog and a child connect, it is inspiring to watch. Their innocence touches our hearts. However, both need supervision, especially when they are together. A child who gets excited and runs toward a dog with arms flying and a shrill scream can startle a dog. A young child can pull a dog’s fur or ears and cause pain. A child sitting or standing on a dog is never acceptable or good for a dog, especially older dogs. Children need to be taught how to interact with a dog so both can safely enjoy being together. Dogs also need to be introduced to children. A child or a dog who does not enjoy being around the other should not be forced to be together.

Pet Parent Question: “I want my child to learn responsibility by taking care of our dog. How much responsibility can I give him?”

Answer: Giving a child total responsibility for a dog is not appropriate.

A child can handle responsibility aligned with their age. A 5-year-old can assist with feeding and go on walks with the pet-parent and the dog. They are too young to have any level of responsibility alone. An older child can feed and walk the dog and pick up dog poop. The pet-parent is the role model and teaches the child how to care for a dog. The pet-parent buys the food and takes the dog to the vet. A child can share in these experiences. If you allow a dog to sleep with family members, the dog will select whom he wants to sleep with. For many of us, sleeping with our dog is pawsome.

Woofs & Smiles!

Donna Chicone is an award-winning author, TEDx speaker and advocate for dogs. She is a former nurse, family and addictions counselor, 23-year corporate America professional, and host of Jazz and Jive’s TV Show. She was a devoted pet parent to her two Portuguese water dogs, Jazz and Jive. The three of them spent years as a team doing pet assisted therapy and K9 Nose work. Donna continues her mission as a committed advocate for the humane treatment of animals. She lives in Minnesota with her husband. Recently Donna said good-bye to both Jazz and Jive. Learning to live life after a loss like this is part of the journey with our beloved dogs. | 7


FOR PETS These restaurants welcome paws in outdoor seating By Holly Galbus Photography by Kelvin Andow


Minnesotans crave after a long winter of being cooped up indoors.

What better way to celebrate a lovely spring or summer day than with a meal at one of the many restaurant patios in the area? And of course, we want to bring our best friend to share in the fun! It can also be fun for the other restaurant patrons, as they often join in on and even initiate conversations when we bring our pets along. Here’s a list of the restaurants in our area that welcome pets to their patio or sidewalk dining spaces. Many even provide water bowls and treats for four-legged friends. Keep this list handy (in your glove compartment or purse) as you travel during the summer months. As you know, it’s not safe to leave pets in a car on warm days, so you’ll want to know which eateries allow your pet to accompany you for lunch or dinner on the patio. Holly Galbus is a Rochester freelance writer who loves to write about the bonds between pets and their people.

8 | wagazine | SPRING 2020


Broadway Bar & Pizza • Canadian Honker Restaurant • Caribou Coffee • Chester’s Kitchen & Bar • Chipotle Mexican Grille • Culver’s • Dairy Queen • Dooley’s Pub • Dunkin’ Donuts • Dunn Brothers Coffee • Famous Dave’s Barbeque • Fiesta Café Bar • Five Guys • Five West Kitchen and Bar • Forager Brewery and Kutzky Market • Grand Rounds Brewing Company “We all love dogs here. To see the pets with their owners on the patio makes people happy,” says Tessa Leung, owner. Dog treats made from spent grain at the brewery are also available at Grand Rounds. • Hefe Rojo

• Jersey Jo’s • Leeann Chin • Martini’s at the Kahler Grand • Noodles & Company • Panera Bread • Pasquale’s Neighborhood Pizzeria • Pi Wood-Fired Pizza • Porch • Potbelly Sandwich Shop • Salute Wine Bar & More • Taco JED Owner Steve Dunn says customers often bike or walk with their pets and then enjoy a bite to eat at the restaurant, as it is conveniently located next to biking/walking path.

• The Loop • The Half Barrel • The Tap House (decks excluded) • The Thirsty Belgian • Valentino’s • Whistle Binkies Olde World Pub BYRON Bear’s Den Sports Bar & Eatery KASSON 504 Tavern


High Court Pub Downtown restaurant that serves flatbreads, wings, beer. Music perfor-

mances. Two outdoor decks where pets are allowed. Bird feeders. “Pets and their owners love it here,” says Dave Hamann, manager. • Pedal Pushers Café There are a few benches outside this café, and pets are welcome.

NORTHFIELD HideAway Coffeehouse and Wine Bar Four tables out front of this restaurant are welcoming to owners and their pets. “In the summertime, we keep a dog dish full of water out there,” says Assistant Manager Chandra Crawford. “Stay as long as you like.” • Imminent Brewing This brewery/taproom (which also serves coffee and sodas) has been described as one of the most pet friendly places in the area. A “Brewery Dog of the Month” is featured on the brewery’s website (, and includes photos and a short description of the pet as well as likes and dislikes. The website’s FAQs page includes information about dog etiquette. Dogs must be well-behaved, leashed and have license on collar. • Quarterback Club Family Restaurant “We do have a lot of dogs—big dogs, little dogs—with their owners come enjoy the patio in the summer,” says Liz Alyea, manager. “Dogs need to be okay around other dogs and people to be on the patio.”


Rack’s Bar & Grill

ST. CHARLES Cabin Coffee Co. Much more than coffee; serves sandwiches, soups, pastries, and other desserts. “We often get dog-walkers or those traveling through the area, or campers from Whitewater State Park here to have a cup of coffee and we welcome people with pets to sit on our front porch,” says Tanya Lejeune, manager.


Striker’s Corner • El Patron Mexican Grill location only)

WINONA Acoustic Café • Rocco’s Pizza (477 West 5th Street

Shawn Buryska ABR, CRS, GRI 507-254-7425 mobile 507-288-1234 office 507-252-6745 direct


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BY THE NUMBERS: 29 dogs adopted in 2019.

Giving senior dogs a second chance By Alison Rentschler

ESTABLISHED: 2004 LOCATION: New Germany, Minn. MISSION: “We rescue, rehabilitate, and provide a loving and permanent home for dogs who are deemed unadoptable because of age and health and who would otherwise be unnecessarily euthanized.”

10 | wagazine | SPRING 2020

WHO THEY ARE: A 501c3 foundation that’s primarily volunteer-based. It’s associated with the Top Dog Country Club, a boarding facility described as a “club med” for dogs. Mary Gustafson, development director, says they help senior dogs, or “ElderPups,” because they’re vulnerable, and it can be hard for people to realize they have a lot of life and love left to give. “If you’ve ever had the privilege of being loved by an old dog, then you’re truly blessed,” says Jean Stelten-Beuning, founder. “They just want food, a warm place to rest, love and companionship. But what they give back is so much more.” MORE INFORMATION: Adoption information and photos of adoptable dogs are on the website. There are no adoption fees. “A great home for a senior dog is pay back enough,” says Gustafson.

HOW TO HELP: Donate, volunteer and foster. “We always need committed volunteers to transport, foster and adopt,” Stelten-Beuning says. “We are 1/4 of the way toward digging the hole for the sanctuary and have a lead donor who has provided the land. That facility is key to our ability to make a huge impact for senior dogs and the people that love them.” VISION: “My dream,” Stelten-Beuning says, “is a world where senior people, moved to assisted living, don’t have to permanently say goodbye to their beloved companions and best friends—with a Top Dog Foundation-operated sanctuary embedded within senior living communities nationwide.” Alison Rentschler is a writer and editor living in Rochester, Minn. who loved her own two senior dogs, and now lives with a young dog and cat.

Photos courtesy of Top Dog Foundation.


FUTURE PLANS: The Top Dog Foundation plans to build and run the sanctuary “Bentley’s Place,” a facility for 100 to 120 senior dogs. “It will be a hip retirement facility for dogs. The dogs will have a great place and quality of life,” says Gustafson. Bentley’s Place will include suites, a veterinary clinic, hydrotherapy and training services, parks and a crematory. Stelten-Beuning explains its name: “Bentley is the little Sheltie that inspired our mission. His life was forever changed with Top Dog Foundation. He was found wandering the streets in 2001. After several weeks without a call or claim, he was scheduled to be euthanized due to his age (guessed to be 11) and health issues.” She says the kennel’s owner called and told her about this “little old dog.” She took him in, and he lived another 6 ½ years. “Bentley very quickly learned about love and trust in our home. It is Bentley’s story that inspires us each day.”




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MY DOG HUMPS OTHER DOGS AT THE DOG PARK. He’s neutered but he does it anyway. How do I make him stop?


Nobody wants their dog to hump! Experts agree that the first step in resolving this issue has to do with figuring out why it’s happening. Lindsay Kinney CPDT-KA of Paws Abilities Dog Training says “Dogs hump for a variety of reasons. Before trying to stop the behavior, I’d want to know the cause. What is the dog trying to communicate? By addressing the underlying cause, it’s likely the behavior may resolve itself.” INAPPROPRIATE COME-ONS So why might your dog hump? Kinney points to several reasons. “Dogs may hump when overexcited, anxious, or in play.” Sue Smith of Paws Abilities agrees. “I find most dogs who hump other dogs who aren’t in heat are overstimulated.” “Humping is normal but I like to interrupt it. It can be overexcitement or stress,” advises Carrie Davis, CPDT-KA and Certified Family Dog Mediator of Paws Abilities. Contrary to popular myth, humping is rarely or never about dominance. Instead, most dogs who hump are worked up, worried, or really, really awkward (the doggy equivalent of the guy at the bar who sends an inappropriate picture as a come-on).

12 | wagazine | SPRING 2020

Since most dogs appreciate being humped just as much as you appreciate receiving said photos, it’s important to intervene anytime your dog mounts another. “I’M SO EXCITED!” If your dog goes over-the-top on a regular basis, set him up for success. Davis recommends that you avoid stationary play. “We move at dog parks and don’t just ‘hang out’ in one area.” If that’s not enough to do the trick, be ready to intervene right away. Kinney says to “call your dog for a short time-out to have them cool their heels. Interrupt the humping with a recall, or remove [your] dog calmly.” The best tools for overexcited humpers are a good recall, “leave it” command, and impulse control. Consider signing up for a training class to polish up your excited guy’s manners. Smith has a couple of favorites, depending on your dog’s needs. “If your dog has other over-the-top responses in normal settings [like freaking out on leash when he sees other dogs], a Beginning Reactive class will give you tools to address this and the other issues. If it’s just this one habit, then a Focus and Control class will help you get the impulse control your dog needs [at] the dog park.” Davis advises a clear progression of consequences. “Good recalls and attention

are needed to be able to verbally move your dog … our rule is: I say ‘No Humping,’ and if he doesn’t stop, I gently remove him.” Remember that practice makes perfect. Kinney says “It may take a while, but with practice they … learn that humping causes a short time-out, while other forms of play lead to continuous freedom.” FRAT PARTIES AND DND CAMPAIGNS But what if your dog isn’t over-excited? If you notice that he has anxious body language, it could be that he’s not having a good time at all. The dog park can be a bit of a frat party environment, and some dogs would much prefer a quiet Dungeons & Dragons session in the basement with their besties. For Nervous Nellies or dogs with bigger personal bubbles, Kinney recommends thinking outside the dog park box. “If your dog is humping because of stress or anxiety, try to find another outlet for your dog’s energy. They might prefer a hike in the woods or a game of fetch instead. Many dogs love the company of just one or two other playmates, but get overwhelmed by large crowds at dog parks. Invite a friend over for coffee and a doggy playdate.” Sara Reusche, CBCC-KA CPDT-KSA CVT, is owner of Paws Abilities Dog Training.

What questions do you have for the trainer? Email and we’ll put the experts to work.

Photo courtesy of Jake Gilbertson.


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CBD AND PETS What science, vets, FDA and owners say about this centuries-old product By Konnie LeMay


o O’Brien doesn’t need scientific research to tell her how CBD products can aid dogs. All she has to do is miss a week’s treatment with her little Miss Molly. “Miss Molly is 4 and has been on the CBD oil for a little over a year,” O’Brien tells The Wagazine. “She is a Corgi with some arthritis in hip joints. Occasionally she has had to go a week without her oil, and it shows when she is off it. I try hard not to run out without having more on hand.” A small wave of Wagazine Facebook followers, when asked about CBD products, added other stories of anecdotal support. Sue Rutkowski posted: “Dakota was rescued in a seizure and had little human contact for the first 10 months of her life. She was extremely anxious, afraid of everything and everyone. We worked with a veterinary behaviorist and anxiety drugs made a bit of a difference. We started her on CBD oil and after about 4 months, she is so much better. She now goes outside by herself, more of her personality is coming out. Is not terrified by strangers, and for the first time in over five years, our pet sitter can pet her. Amazing!” LEGAL UNCERTAINTY Veterinarians, however, are reserving judgment, waiting for more research and more clarity on even the legality of sales around the country. Several local vets contacted declined to comment on CBD products. 14 | wagazine | SPRING 2020

In Minnesota, sale of such products for pets and humans became legal as of January 2020, with very strict labeling guidelines, according to Cody Wiberg, executive director of the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy. CBD products became widely available in this state and others after the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill allowed states to “create industrial hemp research programs,” he said. “Clearly it was supposed to be a research program, and it was supposed to be a pilot project.” There also was a “market research” element to the bill, which many took to be green lighting sales of the hemp-generated CBD products. “Nothing in the 2014 act actually allowed for the actual sale of any product,” Wiberg said, but added “the proverbial genie was out of the bottle. There are so many brick-and-mortar (stores) and so many websites; nobody has the resources to go after all of these products.” The political will also is swinging, he notes. With the 2018 Farm Bill, he said, “Congress made it really clear that hemp was not a controlled substance.” While still not legalizing CBD products, he said, it did spur development and sale of them. HEMP HISTORY Cannabidiol, more popularly called “CBD,” is derived from the hemp plant, the same family of plant that produces marijuana. But while

marijuana contains a high percentage of THC, the psychoactive compound that makes you high, hemp has less than 0.3 percent THC and its products cannot make you high. “Hemp has been used by humans for thousands of years for various things,” noted Wiberg, “from clothing to ropes to burlap sacks.” CBD oil derived from hemp also has become popular, with fans touting its curative properties for both people and pets. In a story posted on the American Kennel Club website, the club’s lead veterinarian, Dr. Jerry Klein, is quoted as saying CBD has been used to combat pain, seizures, anxiety, appetite loss, inflammation and nausea, among other conditions. Currently the only Food and Drug Administration-approved medical use for CBD is for treating epilepsy in humans. Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is undertaking a study of CDB in treatment of epilepsy in dogs. Research is what CBD products lack, according to many experts, and is what causes so many in the veterinary field to approach them with caution. OSTEOARTHRITIS STUDY One Cornell University study published in 2018, however, may give hope to pet owners who believe in CBD’s curative properties, at least for pain management.

You can find the published study at “Frontiers in Veterinary Science.” It was funded by ElleVet Sciences, a Portland, Maine, company that makes pet hemp chews and oils. The university’s College of Veterinary Medicine did a double-blind test study using CBD oil or placebos for 16 dogs with osteoarthritis. The dogs received doses of either the oil or placebo twice daily. Their pain was assessed by attending vets and owners, who did not know which product was given. The dogs showed “a significant decrease in pain and increase in activity with CBD oil,” the study concluded, with, as importantly, “no observable side effects.” The side effects are important because currently osteoarthritis is often treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that can induce anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea and other urinary problems. The Cornell researchers note that such a small sampling is not definitive, but that the study results certainly make further research warranted. CUSTOMERS SPEAK Pet owners, meanwhile, continue to turn to CBD oils and products with a large degree of hope.

“We’ve had great customer experience,” said Laura Sagen, sales associate at Rochester Pet and Country Store. “I haven’t had anybody come back to say it hasn’t worked for their dog.” Sagen said one of the store’s main CBD product suppliers is Super Snouts Hemp Company out of Reno, Nevada, but it also carries products from Hempy Paws in Colorado, Earth Animal in Connecticut and Blossom in California. The products are guaranteed TCH free, which is recommended for pets. CBD products are available for dogs and cats and suggested for a variety of ailments or conditions, but Sagen said that products for anxiety management seem to be the most popular, like Chill+Out from Super Snouts. The CBD products seem to help, she said, “even during fireworks, loud noises. We have a couple of dogs who don’t like the snowplow.” A good sign of its benefits, Sagen added, is that customers are returning for more and with praise. ‘Oh, this is great,’” she quotes customers. “That’s awesome to hear. It’s been a good seller. It’s helped a lot of dogs. I wish more people would know.”

For her arthritic Corgi, O’Brien uses products from Hempworx, sold by a friend. The company has products for humans and pets. O’Brien keeps her veterinarian updated on use of the CBD products. “Originally my vet did not suggest using the CBD oil on Molly,” O’Brien said. “Currently (the vet) does know Molly is on it and is all for it. I actually started using CBD oil for myself for a nerve injury. “As Molly developed arthritis in her hips, common in Corgis, I started researching doggy CBD oil usage for arthritis. … I decided to try it on Molly, researching again the correct dosage. Within about 10 days I notice an improvement in her gait; we walk daily. I use an eyedropper to administer her oil orally daily. If I run out, and she goes a couple days before I get a new bottle, her limp is more noticeable,” she said, adding “Molly noticed the difference, also. She willingly sits every morning waiting for her ‘medicine.’” Konnie LeMay is a freelance writer and dog mom in Duluth, Minn.

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Local English Setters are already show champions, one eyeing Westminster By Bryan Lund | Photography by Kelvin Andow


t just 21 months of age, English Setter Belle is already leading a double life. At home, she spends her days lounging on owner Lee Afdahl’s lap while her canine brother Douglas, 3 ½, sits on Van Jacobsen’s. Either that or she’s racing around on the acres they live on, collecting straw and sticks in her beautiful undercoat. In her other life, Belle collects points and awards at dog shows across the nation as GCH CH Ciara N’ Honeygait Belle of the Ball, normally accompanied by her male counterpart, GCHB CH Aerden’s James Paul Douglas CD BN RE CGC. Those combinations of capital letters before and after their names denote their status as show dogs. In Belle’s case, it’s how she’ll be introduced to the Westminster show community a year from now.

18 | wagazine | SPRING 2020










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Jacobsen and Afdahl’s adventures in dog showing started in 2016, when they bought Douglas as a pet after losing a beloved pair of dogs 10 days apart. For fun, they entered him in a show, not expecting anything but a good time. Well-bred as Douglas is, though (his mother had won best of breed at Westminster), he exceeded expectations and gained interest from professional handlers. That was enough for Jacobsen. “I’ve always had a little competitive edge in me. I’ve shown horses for 40 years and judged horse shows all over the world, so I have that in me.” In 2017, Belle’s mother was being shown by handler and breeder Amanda Ciaravino. That dog went on to be the number one English Setter in the country by points that year. Not wanting Douglas to be an only dog, Afdahl and Jacobsen asked for a puppy from her litter.

At Belle’s first show, she was Winners Bitch, then won Best of Winners. She was the best non-champion dog there, but had begun accruing points toward becoming one. After a strategic break from shows, Belle went to the national specialty, or single-breed, show in St. Charles, Illinois in September, handled by Ciaravino. There, she won Winners Bitch, over about 90 dogs. She competed in Best of Breed, and won Best of Winners. She beat 140 dogs at that show, earning enough points (which are partially based on the number of dogs defeated) to become a “champion.” She was then moved up, as it’s called, to compete against other champion dogs. At the first two shows in which she could be shown as a champion, she was awarded Best Opposite Sex, besting over 100 dogs, all champions themselves. The dog that beat her is currently the number one dog in the country.

Photos courtesy of Lee Aftdahl/Van Jacobson.

Opposite page, bottom: At the Winter Garden Specialities in Rye Brook, NY, Belle was Best in Sweepstakes at 9 months. "This show is where Belle really made her presence known," says owner Van Jacobsen.

When the litter arrived, Afdahl and Jacobsen got periodic photo updates of the puppies until Jacobsen went to Chicago for a “puppy grading party” and selected Belle. The rambunctious puppy and Douglas got on instantly, which makes sense; their mothers are littermates. They started showing Belle at six months old, the youngest allowable age. The American Kennel Club shows have classes for dogs, bitches, and a best of breed competition. There are also different levels of competition. To compete in big shows like Westminster, a dog is required to win a certain amount of points at the lower levels first. For English Setters, who mature slower than other breeds, this process can take years.

20 | wagazine | SPRING 2020

Photos courtesy of Lee Aftdahl/Van Jacobson.

Below, far left: At the National English Setter Association of America specialty in St. Charles, Ill., Belle won Winners Bitch, Best of Winners and Best Bred By Exhibitor awards. She was 16 months.

In the meantime, she’s become used to being pampered. She and Douglas get, at a minimum, one bath and blowdry a week. Her undercoat is regularly trimmed up. And on the days when someone drapes towels over their freshly cleaned coats to keep them flat for a show, the pair add even more pep to their stride. “They can see all our preparations to go to a show. And they are ready to go. They’re like, going wild, because they know they’re going to a show. It’s in their blood,” says Afdahl. “Let’s be honest, what dog doesn’t like to go in a car?” asks Jacobsen. “But if you start packing dog show paraphernalia, they are like at that back door, like ‘we’re ready, we’re ready, we’re ready.’”


Photos courtesy of Lee Aftdahl/Van Jacobson.

Aside from one universal rule, that dogs must be “in tact” (not neutered or spayed), every breed is judged on factors specific to the breed. The process for judging each breed is the same at shows, however. First, dogs and their handlers enter the ring in a trot, then line up. When the judge asks them to “go around,” the dogs and handlers crack around the ring again, then back to a standstill. The ideal pose at this phase for an English Setter is as follows: both legs under the shoulders, back leg out a bit so the back can slope, and a picked up tail. The judge usually examines the dog’s eyes, ears, and bite, then goes over the dog with their hands to feel their rib cage, depth of chest and plane. An English Setter’s ideal plane, as explained by Jacobsen, is the both the top of the head and bridge of the nose to be level as a brick. “I think she has an absolutely beautiful, stunning head. And that’s kind of a hallmark part of the English Setters. They want a low set ear and a dark eye, and she just has a very feminine pretty head headpiece. I think that’s one of her best traits,” says Jacobsen. Next, the judge asks the handler to show the dog in motion again, then do a stance that’s a more natural look. After that, the dog is dismissed, and trots back to the end of the line, while still being judged.

Movement is a big part of the criteria. English Setters are bred to be bird dogs, so judges look for a stride that can cover ground without undue energy. “When you see her in the show, there’s always a lot of energy and a lot of happiness, and their tails wagging constantly because she is happy to do it,” says Afdahl. Belle and Douglas enjoy home time with owner Lee Afdahl.

Photo by Kelvin Andow.

In January, she won eight Best of Breed awards, including shows in Chicago, St. Paul, and Florida. “We know she’s kind of special,” says Jacobsen. He isn’t alone in that opinion. Ciaravino’s husband, Vito, grooms Belle for shows, and says he’s reminded of her mother every time she’s on the table.

WESTMINSTER DREAM The dogs aren’t the only ones happy to find themselves in a show environment. “It’s a diversion from what we do at home,” says Jacobsen. “You go to the dog show, and you’re kind of in a different little world.” Part of that world is built by the camaraderie between other owners and handlers. Jacobsen describes it as a sort of regular reunion. In Belle’s case, it’s a family one. Some of her siblings are still being shown, and, according to Afdahl, the siblings remember each other. Westminster has always been a dream to Jacobsen, a lifelong dog owner. With Belle and Douglas, the chance to represent English Setters on a big stage is prize enough. Not that he doesn’t think Belle’s got a chance, though. Westminster is a specialty show, and judges are allowed to give out awards of merit. “She’s beaten a lot of those dogs already, you know,” says Jacobsen. “But once Westminster is over, then she’ll be coming home again because she really is our pet.” Bryan Lund is a writer, ghostwriter, and skier. He lives in Rochester with his cats, Bad and Boujee.

Does your dog have what it takes? Think your dog might enjoy a trot around the show floor? The Rochester Kennel Club ( holds its annual show early September at the Olmsted County fairgrounds, and as long as your dog is registered with American Kennel Club (, you can enter in the conformation classes. | 21



My roommates are bleeding me dry, but they sure are soft


By Nicole Rusch

y first mistake was thinking a roommate would help make living in the city more affordable. If one roommate can bring in some cash, just think what three or five could do. I seriously needed someone to split expenses with, but I don’t care much for people, so I had a real conflict on my hands. If you too are thinking of getting a roommate for financial reasons, learn from my experience. Here are some considerations.



Despite my constant nagging, none of my roommates are employed. Not a single one. When I ask why, all I’m told is that they can’t. Well, that is a fixed mindset and a big part of the problem. Based on my observations, it’s more like won’t. Last week, one roommate gave me a sob story about how his English isn’t very good so nobody will hire him. Whine, whine. I was like, “Buddy, your lack of a solid grasp on the rules of grammar should be the least of your worries. Before we tackle that issue, let’s get you to stop sleeping for 19 hours a day and peeing in strange places.” I’ve tried my best to teach them soft skills, like shaking hands, to increase employability. So far, it isn’t doing any good. I also took it upon myself to sign them up for special classes, which not only 22 | wagazine | SPRING 2020

costs me money, but hasn’t resulted in a single job lead for any of them.





My roommates are always bumming rides from me because none of them have a driver’s license. And they refuse to use public transportation because it’s scary and people are always touching them without asking permission. At least once a year, I have to haul them to their doctor’s appointments. And every single time, they forget their wallets, so I have to pay the bill. They owe me so much money at this point. None of my roommates have health insurance. Of course they don’t. A short while after moving in, one of my roommates was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease. Basically, it means that unless he dines exclusively on raw meats, he’ll have explosive diarrhea all over the house. Plus frequent vomiting. I’m the one who cleans the bathrooms (as well as the rest of the house), and there’s no way I’m cleaning up that mess. So now we have a chest freezer filled to the brim with turkey legs and rabbit carcasses.

Despite implementing an easy to follow, color-coded chore chart, none of my roommates do their assigned chores. My roommates are very, very messy. I keep a rug inside the door for



For some reason, my roommates demand that I serve them meals. If I’m not moving quickly enough during meal prep, they yell at me. When I got home from work the other day, my roommate raced to the top of the stairs and started hollering in my face, making very loud barky noises. His tone was super rude. Sometimes, if meal prep is taking too long, my other roommate grabs a pillow from the couch and shakes it real hard. Now we can’t have nice things. As if we could afford them anyway.

ON SECOND THOUGHT I must admit, the situation I’ve gotten myself into is my own fault. All of my roommates were infants when they first moved in. I was under the impression that they age more rapidly than humans. By the time they hit their first or second birthday, they’re supposed to be the equivalent of teenagers, and most teens have jobs. Why should these teens be any different? Lots of dogs have super important jobs, like as police officers, TSA agents, and models for pet store flyers. I’ve been in countless bookstores and libraries where cats have found employment. I wasn’t so far off in thinking my own dogs and cats could find jobs too. Except they haven’t and now I’m severely outnumbered and drowning in debt. But on the bright side, their fur is soft (when they allow me to pet them, on their own terms, of course). And come to think of it, every time I hang out with them, play games with them, or even just look at them, I feel super happy. That’s probably not a coincidence. Now that I think about it, they’re pretty amazing roommates after all. Nicole Rusch is mostly a high school teacher, but also sometimes writes things. She lives in Rochester, where she enjoys conversing with her many cat and dog friends and eating candy.

Photos courtesy of Nicole Rusch.


wiping mud and debris from extremities, but I am the only one who seems to understand. Just the other day, I was sweeping the kitchen floor. My roommate casually strolled over and stood right in the middle of the dirt pile. I couldn’t believe it. Don’t even get me started on their personal hygiene habits. If you’ve never met someone with breath that smells like French fries rotting in a back alley dumpster, then you’ve never had the pleasure of meeting my roommate.

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CHICKEN RUN RESCUE Provides abandoned chickens with love, shelter and vet care, and adopts the birds, as companion animals only, within 90 miles of the Twin Cities. COCO’S HEART DOG RESCUE Foster-based rescue that has saved dogs and cats from unfortunate circumstances, rescuing more than 800 dogs and cats in 2.5 years. COTTONWOOD COUNTY ANIMAL RESCUE (Windom) 507-831-4110 Dedicated to re-homing and preventing unwanted and abandoned animals. DOBERMAN RESCUE MINNESOTA

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GREAT DANE RESCUE OF MN & WI / 715-222-4848 All-volunteer rescue for Great Danes in Minnesota and Wisconsin. GREAT PLAINS POINTER RESCUE Rescue and adoption in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota.

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MINNESOTA COMPANION RABBIT SOCIETY 651-768-9755 Volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of companion rabbits.

HIAWATHA ANIMAL HUMANE SOCIETY (Lake City, Wabasha, Kellogg, surrounding) 651-448-0396 Takes in local stray and unwanted animals, places them in foster homes, and adopts them out into loving, forever homes. 501c3, volunteer organization. ITALIAN GREYHOUND RESCUE OF MN/ND Kristin (MN): Michelle (ND): Foster-based rescue and rehoming service, and an IGCA affiliate. LUCKY’S PLACE / 320-241-1829 No-kill, non-profit cat rescue.

FUR-EVER HOME RESCUE Nonprofit advocates for and rescues local animals with urgent medical needs or behavior issues - animals that needed a little more effort. 507-641-4428 Rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming Japanese Chins in need.

GEMINI ROTTWEILER AND PITBULL RESCUE 320-598-3087 We are dedicated to saving the lives of these misunderstood breeds, and offering them a second chance at a forever home.

MARTIN COUNTY HUMANE SOCIETY (Fairmont) 507-238-1885 Cares for the homeless animals of Martin County at the Carl Nettifee Animal Shelter, finding placement for them in new homes.

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507-272-3467 Dedicated to finding responsible homes for Greyhounds who are no longer used by the racing industry. MINNESOTA HOOVED ANIMAL RESCUE FOUNDATION 763-856-3119 Non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating, retraining and re-homing horses and other hooved animals in need. MINNESOTA POCKET PET RESCUE Non-profit dedicated to rescuing and rehoming small animals. MINNESOTA SHELTIE RESCUE 612-616-7477 Finding the best and last home for Shelties in need. MINNESOTA WISCONSIN COLLIE RESCUE 612-869-0480 Dedicated to finding new hope and new homes for Collies in need of homes.

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MOWER COUNTY HUMANE SOCIETY (Austin) 507-437-9262 No-kill shelter staffed entirely by volunteers. MORRISON COUNTY ANIMAL HUMANE SOCIETY (Little Falls) or 320-632-0703 We take in unloved and unwanted animals to place in forever homes. NATIONAL BRITTANY RESCUE AND ADOPTION NETWORK 605-224-2964 Rescues, rehabilitates and re-homes Brittanys in need. NORTHERN LIGHTS GREYHOUND ADOPTION 763-754-9754 Dedicated to finding responsible homes for retired racing Greyhounds and educating the public about Greyhounds as pets.

PAWS AND CLAWS HUMANE SOCIETY (Rochester) 507-288-7226 To promote and provide humane protection and shelter for abandoned or lost companion animals, seek adoptive homes, provide public education regarding animal overpopulation, promote responsible animal care, and advocate spaying and neutering. PAWS=PRECIOUS ANIMALS WORTH SAVING 507-841-1834 Working together to save as many animals as possible in the Jackson County area. PET HAVEN INC. OF MN 952-831-3825 Created in 1952 to rescue, rehome and advocate for companion animals. PRAIRIE’S EDGE HUMANE SOCIETY (Northfield) 507-664-1035 Rehoming dogs and cats.

NORTHSTAR GREAT PYRENEES RESCUE OF MN 612-379-0010 Dedicated to providing rescue/rehoming, breed education and fun activities for Great Pyrenees and their owners.

RESCUED PETS ARE WONDERFUL • 763-757-8204 To rescue companion animals and find them loving forever homes.

NORTHSTAR SHIH TZU RESCUE 612-209-4502 We rescue Shih Tzu and Shih Tzu blend dogs, evaluate them in foster homes and then match them to their perfect family.

RETRIEVE A GOLDEN OF THE MIDWEST (RAGOM) • 952-946-8070 Rescuing and re-homing Golden Retrievers and Golden mixes in MN, IA, ND, SD and western WI.


RIVER BLUFF HUMANE SOCIETY (Red Wing) / 651-388-5286 Nonprofit, limited-admission, low-kill shelter taking in all strays from Goodhue County and other areas as well as owner surrenders when space is available.

NORTHWOODS HUMANE SOCIETY (Wyoming) 651-982-0240 Serving Chisago County and surrounding communities by caring for animals in need and helping them find a home.

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STEELE COUNTY HUMANE SOCIETY (Owatonna) 507-451-4512 Foster home based rescue helping stray and abandoned animals in greater Steele County. THE RESCUE CREW Rescue the Mistreated. Save the Injured. Love the Abandoned. TRI-COUNTY HUMANE SOCIETY 320-252-0896 We believe in the human/animal bond and exist to support Central Minn. by practicing and promoting quality adoption services and education programs. UPPER MIDWEST GREAT DANE RESCUE 763-210-1978 All volunteer foster-based rescue. So much to gain when you save a Dane. WAGS & WHISKERS ANIMAL RESCUE OF MN Volunteer 501(c)(3), non-profit animal rescue organization dedicated to saving the lives of homeless animals and educating the community on responsible pet ownership. WASECA COUNTY ANIMAL HUMANE SOCIETY 507-201-7287 501c3, no-kill organization that helps homeless animals of all types in numerous counties in S. Central Minn. WINONA AREA HUMANE SOCIETY 507-452-3135

LOST AND FOUND PETS Report lost and found pets of Southeast Minnesota: Report lost and found dogs of Minnesota:


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ANY CHOCOLATE PURCHASE! JOHN ADAMS ADVISORY CLASS COLLECTS DONATIONS FOR PAWS & CLAWS The students in Mrs. Beatty's advisory class at John Adams Middle School campaigned for a cause this winter. Students wanted to keep their efforts local to be able to impact their community. As they debated which group to support, they learned that many of the other kids were animal lovers. They chose to support Paws & Claws Humane Society. To raise money, the students wrote to area businesses asking for donations. Petco donated over 100 items to the students in food, leashes, collars and toys. Students then took to social media and created a video clip to put on the John Adams media sites. They spoke to the student body in the JAG news TV. And they asked their own families to help. The students raised over 250 items that a pet would need – paper towels, toys, food, treats, leashes, collars, beds, trash bags, bleach, and more. In December, they had the chance to deliver it all to the shelter. They toured the place and learned about volunteer positions, career opportunities and services for the animals. Then they had time to play with the puppies and kitties. They were in seventh heaven. “An animal has quite the effect on a middle schooler,” said Mrs. Beatty. “My students who could be rowdy, loud and mischievous were suddenly calm and sweet as they snuggled a kitten. So neat. I don’t think they’ll forget this field trip anytime soon.”

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PET LOSS SUPPORT GROUP The Center of Grief Education and Support at Seasons Hospice offers a Pet Loss group. This grief group meets once per month on the second Wednesday of the month from 5-6 p.m. A therapy dog often joins them in front of the fireplace. Children and families are welcome.

Information at or 507-285-1930.


Ann and her “staff” are ready to help you create a beautiful and effective ad. Professional photography and design are always included.

Ann Indykiewicz 507-398-4870 | 27


Second Chance CANCER, A CAT AND A Sometimes it takes a village By Kevin Krein | Photography by Kelvin Andow

friends—amazing people who supported me,” she said. “There can always be a second chance… for people and for pets.”

attacked by someone, or something, and left with a head wound; she had also given birth to kittens that had all died. At the shelter, Bridget was aggressive toward other cats and shelter staff who tried to get near her; at the time, she was the cat who had been at the shelter the longest, continually looked over by potential adopters. “Animals who are in the shelter can be difficult, but can turn around and be wonderful in the home,” said Tanya Johnson, the manager of Paws and Claws Humane Society. “The shelter can be stressful; but give them time to blossom. Give the ones who have been here a little longer a chance.” There can always be a second chance—for people and for pets.



Nicole Czarnomski's cancer treatment journey inspired her friends to sponsor a shelter cat. She keeps the photo of the cat on her fridge at home.

“YOU KNOW, IT SOUNDS CLICHÉ,” NICOLE CZARNOMSKI SAID. “BUT I FEEL LIKE EVERYBODY CAN GET A SECOND CHANCE—I HAVE BEEN GIVEN A SECOND CHANCE.” Czarnomski was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2017, and, following a double mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, five months of chemotherapy and 25 radiation treatments, she has been cancer free since the summer of 2018. “I have doctors to thank, and support from family and

Her name is now Juniper, but she was originally known as Bridget, and for a little less than a year, she was a traumatized stray cat living at Paws and Claws Humane Society in Rochester. Found outside in a field, she had been

Czarnomski calls them her “fitness friends.” “When I first moved (to the area) I started taking fitness classes, and there was a pack of other women that I would see in all

of the classes, and I coined them the ‘fitness friends,’” she recalled. “They ended up being the tribe to support me through this.” The friends were her at every milestone in her recovery from breast cancer. “They were doing something special to celebrate and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got your back.’” The de facto leader of this group of friends is Sarah Ferrington. She coordinated the final “something special” after Czarnomski’s final treatment: The Friends paid the adoption fee to sponsor the “most broken cat” at Paws and Claws, in honor of Czarnomski’s treatment journey. Ferrington said this wasn’t the first time she had sponsored an animal at the shelter and paid the adoption fee on behalf of a milestone. As an employee at Mayo Clinic, she had done the same to celebrate the retirement of a colleague. “When Nicole’s treatment was ending, we were trying to think of what to do. I suggested this to her group of friends,” Ferrington recalled. “Not all of them have the same pet passion she and I do, but enough of them wanted to support it, so we went to Paws and Claws, we heard Bridget’s story, and we fell in love with her. We took it as a challenge to find her a home.” Czarnomski called Bridget “one tough cookie.” “We all went out to dinner after my final treatment and Sarah Juniper, the cat.

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April 3&4 Bull riding challenge at Graham Arena, Rochester Pet & Country Store,

March 2 Humane Lobby Day, St. Paul.

April 18 Greyhound adoption, Rochester Pet & Country Store,

March 2 Dog classes start with Alice & Teri, Rochester Pet & Country Store, March 5 Dog classes start with Jeannie Hendrickson, Rochester Pet & Country Store, March 7 Trick dog classes start with Janet Melton, Rochester Pet & Country Store, March 7 Coco’s Heart adoption event, Angel’s Pet World, Hudson Wi., 11am–2pm, March 11 Flock Talk! All the experts will be here to talk chicken, Rochester Pet & Country Store, March 13 Paws and Claws 13th Annual Wine Taster. New location! Empire Event Center at Apache Mall. Tickets $30 (advance only) at Paws and Claws. March 14 Irish Pawsicles. Bring your pup in for a free pawsicle, Rochester Pet & Country Store,

April 18 Bring your pup in for a free carrot pupcake, Rochester Pet & Country Store, April 23-25 Dansko event days. Unwrap your candy bar for savings, Rochester Pet & Country Store, April 25 10th Annual Spring Dinner and Silent Auction to benefit Prairie’s Edge Humane Society, 4 pm, Northfield Ballroom, April 25 Fitger’s Canine Carnival, 11am–3pm, Duluth, April 26 Pocket pet nail trim clinic, Blaine Chuck & Don's, 12–3pm, April 26 Puppy Yoga with Coco's Heart Dog Rescue, 9:30am, hosted by Power of She Woodbury Lakes and Coco's Heart Dog Rescue,

March 14 Coco’s Heart adoption event, Pet Evolution, Woodbury, 11am–2pm,


March 21 Greyhound adoption, Rochester Pet & Country Store,

May 1 May Day. Bring your pup or cat in for their own May basket. Rochester Pet & Country Store,


May 2 Camp Companion adoption, Rochester Pet & Country Store,

April 4 Camp Companion adoption, Rochester Pet & Country Store, April 4 Guinea Pig Palooza, sponsored by members of pet partners, Edina Chuck & Don's, 2–4 pm. Free.

INDEX TO ADVERTISERS Barking Dozen....................................................25 Birchwood Resort...............................................23 BluePearl Referral + Emergency Hospital............25 The Bluffs Pet Clinic of Red Wing..........................9 Camp Companion...............................................29 Carriage House Animal Hospital..........................23 Chocolate Shoppe...............................................27 Coldwell Banker Burnet, Alissa Adamson..............4 Coldwell Banker Burnet, Shawn Buryska...............9 Edina Realty.......................................................IBC First Alliance Credit Union...................................11 Heritage Pet Hospital..........................................15 Invisible Fence....................................................BC K-M Regional Veterinary Hospital........................25 Meadow View Veterinary Clinic, LLC....................19 Med City Animal Hospital....................................11 Northern Valley Animal Clinic..............................11 Paws and Claws Humane Society.......................30 PawsAbilities Dog Training..................................13 Quarry Hill Park Animal Hospital .........................19 Reaction Retrievers Training Facility......................6 Rochester Pet and Country Store....................... IFC Safe Haven Pet Rescue.......................................29 Spring Valley Veterinary Clinic.............................13 Torque's Remodeling LLC.....................................4 Trupanion...........................................................23 VCA Cascade Animal Medical Center & Inn..........13 Zumbrota Veterinary Clinic....................................4

Heights. For bird sleuths, ages 8-12 years. Limited to 10 participants. rochesterfranciscan. org/events May 17 Meet & Greet with MN Boxer Rescue, 1–3pm, Wag N’ Wash in Eagan, mnboxerrescue. May 30 Donate Good Stuff - Cookie 5K, Como Park, race start 8:30am, donation drop off 7:30–9:30 am, May 30, 31 Paws and Claws Annual Rummage Sale,

JUNE June 7 Pocket pet nail trim clinic, Minnetonka Chuck & Don's, 12–3pm,

May 2 Paws and Claws Annual Pet Walk, Cook Park, 9 am registration, 10 am walk. Prizes, free food, vendors. Collect pledges and walk with your furry family member, May 2 Walk for Animals, 10 a.m. Animal Humane Society’s Golden Valley location, May 11 RABOM bake sale, Rochester Pet & Country Store, May 18 Greyhound adoption, Rochester Pet & Country Store, May 16 Beginner’s Bird Sleuth Explorer Class and Contest, 10:30am-12:30pm, Canticle Park Gazebo, Assisi | 29

| HAPPY TAILS Sarah Farrington meets Juniper, the cat she sponsored on behalf of her friend, and Juniper's owner Brittany Rotz.

Johnson, with Paws and Claws, added sponsorships do not happen at the shelter all that often. “This story is touching.”


came up to me and gave me a card,” she remembered. “I figured it was a card that said ‘Yay You!,’ but it had a printout of Bridget the cat. They went to Paws and Claws to find the most broken cat—and this

30 | wagazine | SPRING 2020

Bridget happened to be really broken.” When animals at Paws and Claws are sponsored in this way, it is not mentioned at all until a potential adopter is ready to commit to caring for the animal.

Brittany Rotz said she has always been interested in cats that are deemed unadoptable. Rotz had adopted older or more challenging cats before from Paws and Claws. She had lost a cat to kidney failure, and eventually, was interested in adopting again. “Bridget was the longest-term cat there,” Rotz said. “She kept getting overlooked, and after some time went by, and I kept seeing her—I decided I was going to adopt her.” Rotz was patient with Bridget in the time leading up to the official adoption, visiting the shelter to spend time with her every day for a week, and even going so far as to drop off a blanket so that Bridget could become familiar with her smell. “I didn’t judge a cat by how they are at the shelter,” she said. “I don’t go for the cuddly kittens— older cats deserve a home too. I’ve been doing this for a long time and it’s always paid off in the end. They never act how they are at the shelter.” It’s been two years. Bridget is now Juniper. Rotz describes her as talkative and as a “super love bug,” adding that the cat opened up after about 10 minutes in her home. The paid adoption fee came as a surprise for Rotz. “I didn’t know anything about her being sponsored or why she was sponsored,” she recalled. ‘They just said her fee had been covered.”


There is a place in a story like this where things—people, a once temperamental cat, and acts of generosity—converge. Shortly after Bridget left the shelter, Ferrington was told the “most broken cat” she sponsored had been adopted, and she said she was humbled by the adopter. “She took the time, and knew what she had to do to gain her trust,” she said. “She was patient with her, and treated her with respect. Animals need respect and love.” Rotz, in turn, only recently learned (in part, because of the writing of this piece) why the adoption fee had been covered. “I’m super happy to learn that was why,” she said. “It’s nice a group of friends honored cat for their friend.” Rotz added that her mother also had cancer, so the generosity of sponsorship gave her pause to think of her mom. Czarnomski can look back on her journey and the cat’s journey with satisfaction. “My friends wanted to give hope to a cat, and they knew it’d be special to me,” she said. “I am over the moon that the cat found a home.” There can always be a second chance. For people and for pets. Kevin Krein is formerly a cool rabbit dad and currently a cool cat dad, living and writing in Northfield. He runs the ‘award winning’ music website Anhedonic Headphones and hosts the site’s companion podcast. Follow Kevin and very photogenic cat Ted on Instagram (@kev_e_fly), or just Kevin on Twitter (@KevEFly.)

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Trina Solano, REALTORÂŽ, CNHS, GRI, SRES with Black Lab, Tar 507-261-4030


Natalia Baker, Realtor

James Miller, Realtor

with Chocolate Lab, Stella


Sylvia Rogers, REALTORÂŽ CRS, GRI, ABR, CNHS, ASP, SRS with Collie mix, Sophie and Australian Cattle Dog, Willie 507-254-1247



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with German Shorthair Pointer, Deuce 507-259-6633

(Matt Narveson not pictured) with Black Lab, 507-398-2300

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