Thursday, January 6, 2011

Help Cozmo Find A Home

A friend of mine really needs your help! She is in an awful situation. The neighborhood she lives in will not allow certain breeds of dogs, including her family dog, Cozmo. Cozmo is a 3 1/2 year old, American Staffordshire Terrier. Even though there has not been a negative incident reported to the city, my friend has to find him a new home. He weighs between 70 and 75 pounds and has already been neutered.  He has never shown any signs of aggression towards people and does great with children! In fact, the home he has lived in for the past 3 years has a child under the age of 12. Cozmo is very playful and has a lot of energy.

Please be sure to research the dog ordinances/regulations within your city and make sure this type of breed is welcome.

American Staffordshire Terriers have the following characteristics: (information taken from

Very, Very Strong
Love to Play Outdoors
High Energy & Need Regular Exercise
Must have Obedience Training
Need an Owner that will Establish Leadership
Love Children and are gentle, patient, and tolerant

Before adopting any pet, be sure to conduct your own research online and take your family to meet the dog in person to make sure it's the right fit.

If you know someone looking to add a new family member, please have them leave a comment with e-mail below so that we can contact them!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Casa de Bella

In less than one week, my husband and I are leaving for vacation. We are pumped to spend eight glorious days swimming in the ocean, laying on the beach with my SPF 80 (of course), hiking, eating, and spending time with family. It’s going to be fabulous. That is of course, except for one thing, leaving our dog (affectionately known as Bella Dog, Boo-bers, Bubba, the list goes on) at home. I know…I know, I sound like one of those crazy people who carry their dogs around in their oversize purses and take them wherever they wish to go. And perhaps I would if I could AND if my dog wasn’t 45 pounds. I love her, but I’m not gonna break my back carrying her around and I don’t think she would last five seconds in one of those things anyways.

I realized that since adopting her in July 2009, we haven’t been anywhere for an extended period of time without her. She’s accompanied us on many road trips and camping excursions. So for me, it’s going to be like I’m leaving my baby behind. After all, she is the closest thing to a daughter to me; we sometimes treat her like one (if this is wrong in some doggy bible, oopsie, I do apologize).

So naturally, I did what any good parent would do. I started making a list for one of my best friends in the whole world who has graciously offered to keep an eye on her for us. I know Bella will be in good hands, but I wanted to make sure all of the bases were covered. I started typing. And typing. And typing. Before I knew it, the list was four pages long. Really? Really. I have detailed every ounce of information I could think of, from feeding rituals, to walking tips, favorite toys, and everything in between. Maybe I'm crazy, but then, I think I already knew that.

The whole list got me thinking for a second (just one second), what if Bella wrote a list, what would it include? What key points of her daily routine mean the most? I’m guessing it would look a lot like this:

1)      Bella is allowed to stretch herself across the bed, taking up the majority of space. This is completely encouraged as it allows for freedom of expression and the full stretching of the muscles to eliminate soreness and future fatigue.
2)      When it is time to give her nightly medication, please refer to it as “cheesers.” In no way does it resemble cheese, but she loves it when you call it that nonetheless.
3)      Allow her to have full control during her morning/evening walks. The harness is fine, granted it’s not too tight. Don’t worry about predetermining the route, Bella will show you exactly where to go and when. Failure to comply may result in severe physical pain and dirty looks from the Bella dog.
4)      Add a “sies” to the end of each word to make them more exciting. Some examples include: funsies, treatsies, and bedsies. And yes, you will sound like a dork and inside Bella will be laughing at you.
5)      Take her for car rides about once daily and 2-3 times on the weekends. This is important information. Make sure at least one window in the back has been rolled down for her sniffing pleasure. This must happen at all times, even during subzero temperatures and blizzard-like conditions.
6)      Regardless of what you have heard or read, it is ABSOLUTELY, without a doubt, OK to feed her scraps from the dinner table. It is strongly recommended that you feed her whilst you are still eating, maybe even before you take your first bite, to ensure consumption at the proper food temperature as required by the Health Dept.

Thank you for staying at Casa de Bella, we hope you find your stay as pleasant as possible.

Yours Truly,

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Warm Welcome

Just a few of the best reasons to own a dog: 

Unconditional love.

Incomparable faithfulness & devout loyalty. 


The way they greet you when you walk through the door.

'Nuf said. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Teacher’s Pet: At-Risk Youth + Shelter Dogs = A Winning Recipe For Hope

What do shelter dogs and at-risk youth have in common?  A whole lot more than you think, especially if you’re talking about Teacher’s Pet, a non-profit organization based in Rochester Hills, MI.

The organization founded by Amy Johnson is no less than brilliant. Johnson, who has a love for counseling and dogs, found a way to turn her two passions and use them for the greater good. The concept is pretty simple, take area shelter dogs (with a strong emphasis on those that are harder to adopt due to breed, behavioral issues, lack of socialization, and previous abuse and neglect), pair them up with local students who also have their own behavioral challenges, and use them to help one another. The students are given the responsibility  and tools necessary to train these shelter dogs using positive reinforcement, and the dogs, which are in desperate need of exercise, attention, and training in order to be adopted are taught the basic dog obedience commands. At the end of the training program, both parties are changed for the better. The students learn responsibility, are challenged, grow in confidence, and have a strong sense of pride knowing that they can contribute to something great. In some cases, they see first-hand at what their skills can accomplish because many dogs are adopted during and after the training program. The program also emphasizes on the youth learning patience, impulse control, and increasing their empathy and perspective taking skills. One student trainer stated, “I always thought I was this horrible, worthless kid, but after training my dog, I realize that I am not.”

The training program is 10-12 weeks in length and is divided up into two segments and students are assigned one dog per segment.  Dogs are selected from the Oakland Pet Adoption Center, Macomb County Animal Shelter, and K-9 Stray Rescue League. Students come from Kingsley Montgomery School in Waterford, Crossroads for Youth in Oxford, Children’s Village in Waterford, and the Macomb County Juvenile Justice Center in Mount Clemens, and in order to be considered for participation in the program, students must fill out a detailed application, they even have to answer some essay questions.  During the training sessions, students not only learn how to teach the dogs basic obedience commands, but they also learn general information about dog ownership, dog behavior, and different types of dog breeds. At the end of each segment, a doggie graduation event is held. This signals the end of the training for each dog in the program. Parents of the students and people interested in adopting one of the dogs attend these graduation nights. The students get to showcase their dog and show off their dog’s talents.

Teacher’s Pet is truly making a difference in the community by making shelter dogs more adoptable AND even more importantly, by making a difference in the lives of local youth.

You can help make a difference by supporting Teacher’s Pet. They currently need:
·         Monetary donations
·         A van to transport dogs to various locations
·         Dog treats
·         Dog food
·         Blankets and towels
·         Dog toys
·         Leashes and Flat Collars
·         Harnesses
·         Notebooks
·         Smalls gifts for students’ graduation
·         Crates (all sizes)
·         Travel carriers (all sizes)
·         Grooming services
·         Veterinary services

For more information on Teacher’s Pet, view available dogs ready to be adopted, and to read some of their success stories, please visit their website:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Black Dog Syndrome

This topic seems strange doesn’t it? I’ve heard about it a few times from several people I know and thought, “Black dog discrimination?” Just doesn’t make any sense at all. But after further research, it is in fact a common problem in animal shelters.

While no one knows the exact reason, there are several theories including that dogs of a darker color may appear to be more aggressive. Various breeds known for their black coats are simultaneously known for their reputation of attacking people, such as rottweilers, Doberman pinschers, and pit bulls. Also, darker color dogs seem to go overlooked in poorly lit shelters.  On top of it all, they don’t photograph as well either, so in the age of, these dogs will continue to be missed during online searches. Black dogs are usually the last ones to get adopted and therefore, the ones most likely to be euthanized.

Black dogs are among the most beautiful dogs in the world. I know because I have one. She’s sweet, cute, and I couldn’t have asked for a better dog. But she’s one of the lucky ones.

Many black dogs are overlooked during the adoption process because of their coat color. Most of the time, the discrimination is done unconsciously.

If you are looking to adopt a dog, please look at all of your options and consider adopting a black dog.

If you are a local animal shelter and need help adopting the black dogs you currently have, consider the tips featured in this article:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Shelter Spotlight #1-Almost Home, Southfield, MI

Deep in the heart of the Southfield business district, tucked away near the interchange of expressways just off of M-10 lies a no-kill animal rescue and haven called Almost Home. This shelter is located right by my office and throughout the day, when I’m racing to appointments or to pick up a quick bite to eat, I’ve noticed various volunteers walking adorable dogs with furiously waging tails just off of a path near a stretch of cookie cutter office buildings including ours.
With all of the offices nearby, I wonder how many dog lovers working nearby don’t even know about this place, so I’ve decided to highlight this great organization.
Almost Home Animal Rescue League was formed in 2001 by Gail Montgomery and her daughter Lauren. The very foundation of their shelter was built on providing a safe place for all animals from young to old, sick to healthy, maimed or beautiful.  Almost Home continues to thrive because the generous donations of people throughout Metro Detroit and various volunteers, and continues to proudly carry the name “no kill.” In fact, before Gail and Lauren took over the shelter, all sick animals found in Southfield were taken to another shelter in the Metro Detroit area to be euthanized. Now all animals found in Southfield, sick and healthy are brought to the shelter to be loved and treated. They receive no funds from the City and have recently spent more than $20,000 to treat sick dogs and cats recently dropped off there.  Because of this, they are in desperate need of donations! If you can help in anyway, please contact them. Every single dollar helps them.
Adoptable dogs and cats from Almost Home can be found at the link below. There are plenty of adoptable pets to choose from. Given the fact that they are a no-kill shelter, there are almost always filled to capacity. If you are looking for a new family member, it might be just a short drive away at their Southfield shelter.
The unique thing about Almost Home is that potential adopters are given the opportunity to foster an animal for two weeks, for the sole purpose of compatibility. Adoption donations range from $200-$300 and go towards covering the expenses incurred in rescuing the pet.  
Search their Adoptable Pets:
How You Can Help.
1)      Consider supporting Almost Home by making a tax-deductible monetary donation.
2)      Volunteer your time.  It doesn’t cost you a thing and you’ll feel good about it! Almost Home’s volunteer needs can be found here:
3)      Donate food and treats. Right now, Almost Home is in desperate need of dog food. They use Diamond Natural Chicken and Rice which can be purchased at most pet supply stores.
4)      Adopt a Dog or Cat Today from Almost Home.  
Adoption Events take place at Almost Home on Wednesdays from 3:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 1:30 until 5:30 p.m. at the Southfield location. 
They also take place at Premier Pet Supply every other Saturday from 1:30 until 5:30 p.m.
Upcoming Adoption Event Dates:
            November 6th
November 20th
December 4th
December 18th
            Premier Pet Supply
            31215 Southfield Road
            Beverly Hills, MI 48025

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dog Adoption 101

Before you make the decision to add a lovable canine into your family, it is important to consider not only your lifestyle & needs but the needs of your future pet. Be sure to review and think about the following:
1)      Your Family. Do you live alone? Do you have small children? Be sure to think about each person living in your home and their current needs. For example, if your children or other family members have severe allergies or may be allergic to dogs, go for breeds that are known to be hypoallergenic like a poodle.  For homes with children, research breeds that do well with young children---not all breeds are the same! Do your homework.  If you live alone and work long hours outside of your home, a puppy is probably not right for you, so adopt an older dog which is already house-trained and has less energy.  Also consider the type of personality you and your family want in a dog.
2)      Your Home. Do you live in an apartment with little or no fenced yard? Choose a smaller dog like a chihuahua or a puggle, these breeds may tire easily, so a walk around the block daily may be all of the exercise they need. If you have a spacious yard with lots of room to run around, your home is perfect for dogs with more energy, however a daily walk is still highly recommended.
3)      Disposable Income. Sure the benefits of owning a dog truly outweigh the costs, but you have to be honest about what you can afford. Remember that adopting a dog is adding another member to your family. There is an initial cost of pet adoption charged by shelters and other organizations, which can range greatly from $50-$500 (the money helps keep shelters in business and goes towards their mission of saving other local animals) and purchasing all of their one-time only supplies like a crate, food and water bowls, a leash, and a collar. If your pet is not spayed or neutered, it is important to get this procedure done. There are bi-monthly or monthly costs to consider as such as food, treats, toys, heartworm medication, and flea/tick preventative medication. Vet bills can be costly, but it is important that your pet follow an annual vaccination schedule for shots such as bordetella and rabies. It is also extremely important that you register your pet with your local city office and obtain a dog license. It is usually a nominal fee ranging anywhere from $10-$30 depending on where you live.  If dog parks interest you, there typically is a cost involved, some charge a per visit amount or you can purchase an annual pass.
4)      Time. Taking care of a pet is a lot like taking care of a child. Consider the time you have to commit to training your dog on a continual basis. It’s a good idea to schedule time each day for appropriate amounts of exercise, play time, and training. If you’re always on the go, it might not be the best time in your life to adopt a dog.
Remember, adopting a dog is a big decision. You need to be committed to taking care of your four-legged friend for the rest of his/her life.  Think it through, do your research, and then decide.