Paint Your Pet (and drink wine!)

As much as I’d love to be, I am really not an artist. I wish I could paint or draw, but I’ve never really excelled at either. Because of this, I was a little nervous to take part in a Paint Your Pet event with Wine & Design. But since it was a fundraiser for the group I foster with, Central Ohio Pomeranian Rescue, I couldn’t really say no.

I’ve only done one other wine and painting event and the combination of my poor artistic skills and a couple glasses of wine resulted in a less than stellar painting. This time I decided to focus more on the painting and less on the wine and the result was pretty good! I also had a great instructor, Natalie (who also fosters with COPR), who helped guide me through the process.

Tada, Roscoe in his full glory!



In the interest of full disclosure, you do send them a photo and they print out a black and white version that you paint, which makes it much easier than painting it all from scratch. The instructor also provides a lot of tips and tricks to ensure the painting turns out well. All of the paintings turned out really well in our group and would definitely be worthy of hanging on the wall! It was such a fun event, I am looking forward to going back and painting Hunter next. Anytime you can get a group together and drink wine and look at cute pet photos is a good night in my book!

Paint Your Pet is regular occurrence at Wine & Design and other painting places throughout Cleveland. And, if you work with a rescue group or non profit you can organize a Paint Your Pet night to raise funds for your group.

Here are some places around Cleveland that host the events:

Wine & Design Cleveland, Rocky River – The group hosts regular paint your pet nights, check out their calendar for more info:

We contacted them about hosting a fundraiser Paint Your Pet night for Central Ohio Pomeranian Rescue and they were very accommodating, even fitting us into just a regularly scheduled Paint Your Pet when we couldn’t get enough people to host our own event. Typically you need at least 12 people to host a fundraiser, but they can accommodate up to 30.

Artists Uncorked Lakewood – Next event is July 5   They also host fundraisers, email them for more information.

Painting with a Twist, Avon – The next one on June 25 is sold out, but you can get on their waiting list to find out about upcoming Paint Your Pet events here:

Wine & Canvas in Strongsville also has “Paint Whatever You Want” nights and opportunities to host fundraisers at their facility. You can find out more here:

Now I just have to decide where to hang this Roscoe painting….


5 Ways to Give Back to Local Animals on #GivingTuesday

Today is Giving Tuesday – a day to take a break from all of your holiday shopping to give back to the local community. Since animals are a cause near and dear to my heart, as I am sure they are for most of you, I think giving back to the local animal community is great way to celebrate Giving Tuesday.

Here are five ways to help pets this Giving Tuesday and the rest of the holiday season:

1. Donate to a rescue group’s wishlist

All rescue groups need donations in order to take care of the animals they take in. Most groups will list what they need on their website, but some make it even easier by setting up Amazon wish lists so you can order online exactly what they need and have it shipped right to them. Here are the APL, Cleveland Animal Control and Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter’s Amazon wish lists:

Cleveland APL:

Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter:

Cleveland Animal Control:

These are just a couple of the wishlists out there from rescue groups. Most rescue groups have their own list, so please check with your favorite and help them out!

2. Organize a dog food/supplies drive

One local group that always needs donations is My Best Friend’s Bowl in Lakewood. My Best Friend’s Bowl provides pet food to families in need so they can keep their pets during hard economic times. Organize a pet food donation at your work to keep the cupboards stocked for Cleveland-area pets in need. Find out more here:

Also, this Saturday the Lorain Pet Pantry of Lorain County will be accepting donations for their pantry at the Pet Supplies Plus in Elyria. They are in need of dog & cat food (dry & wet) and cat litter for their monthly distributions. IHeart Radio will also be there doing Santa Pictures. Find out more here:

Donation drives are a great idea for any rescue group. Print out a wish list from your local shelter and post it at your work or school to gather donations.

3. Attend a Fundraiser

There will be no shortage of fundraising events this holiday season. In addition the many Santa Paws events going on this holiday season where you can get your dog’s photo taken with Santa, there are also a few fundraisers you can attend to raise funds for local groups. This is one of the easiest and most fun ways to show your support for homeless animals. Here are a few upcoming ones to check out:

Holiday Hops for the Heart

Organized by City Dogs Cleveland this fundraiser at Platform Brewery on Nov. 29 raises funds for the Plankton Fund to help treat the heartworm positive dogs they take in. The $25 admission at the door includes three craft beers (Speed Merchant or New Cleveland)  plus food. There will be also 50/50 and basket raffles. Visit for more info.



Safe Harbor Animal Rescue MilkBone Mania

On Dec. 4, Safe Harbor Animal Rescue will hold their final fundraiser of the year. The $10 admission at the door gets you two paddles, each additional paddle is $1.00/ea for the auctin. There will also be a 50/50 raffle and auction baskets. Visit for more info.
Home for the Pawlidays

Join HealthSource of Avon on Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. as they help raise funds for the Cleveland Animal Protective League. Individuals looking to get their backs adjusted, get a massage, have X-Rays taken, learn new exercises or try out a new service can do so by cash donation. At the end of your visit, you can give as little or as much as you like for the services and all proceeds go to the APL. You can also bring in your dog for photos with Santa Paws. Visit for more info.

4. Volunteer Your Time

Rescue groups always need dog walkers, as well as drivers to transport dogs to vet appointments, cage cleaners, people to perform host duties at shelters and volunteers for fundraisers. Here’s a listing of Lake Humane Society’s volunteer needs: Contact your local shelter to see what their volunteer needs are.

5. Share a Homeless Pet

It’s not always easy to come up with the money or time needed to help rescue groups, especially around the holidays. One easy, free way to help rescue groups is by sharing adoptable pets. Cleveland Animal Control Volunteers need all the help they can get spreading the word to find homes for Cleveland animals. Follow them on Facebook ( to see their available pets. You never know who among your friends might be looking for a dog or cat!

And if you’re looking for a cause to donate to, the rescue group I work with, Central Ohio Pomeranian Rescue, just took in a very sick Pomeranian named Faith that was surrendered to them from a puppy mill. Faith’s lungs have been compromised from untreated pneumonia when she was younger and the vet isn’t sure how much improvement to expect. Right now she only has about 50-60% of her lungs functioning and is on antibiotics and steroids. It’s day by day for her, but we are all pulling for her! She is receiving the best vet care possible now and the rescue group is raising funds for her care. If you can donate, you can send money via PayPal to Check out their FB page for more info on Faith as well as info on several different fundraisers they have going to help raise funds for Faith:


And of course this is your reminder to never buy a puppy from a pet store or online.

Happy Holidays everyone!

The Dog Fashion Show Event of the Year

It’s the biggest dog fashion show event of the year! On Saturday from 11-3, the Cuyahoga Animal Shelter will host Pawject Runway at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. At the event, dogs will strut their stuff on the runway for a chance to be featured in a calendar.

Dogs will be dressed in all the latest fashions, from evening wear to bikinis. Yes, you heard that correctly. There is also is a dog bikini runway show and it’s just as entertaining as it sounds.




You can still register your dog to be in the show at The fee for entry is $25 includes one dog/one handler.

The dogs will have their photos professionally taken at the event and the photos will be posted on the Cuyahoga Animal Shelter’s website for people to vote on. The top thirteen dogs will be in their 2017 calendar and will get tickets to the calendar release party at Quaker Steak & Lube in November.

If the bikini show hasn’t convinced you to go, there will also be over thirty vendors ranging from local artisans, craftsman and area rescues, a DJ, River Dog Food Truck. The event is free to spectators and dog friendly!

Find out more here:


Repeat Offenders on the 100 Worst Puppy Mills in The U.S. list – What Can We Do?

Another year, another 100 Worst Puppy Mills In The U.S. list. I wish I didn’t have to share this list again, but until everyone out there knows what goes on in the puppy mill industry, we unfortunately will have to keep hearing these stories.

I’ve written about puppy mills here and here and here. As you can see, this is an issue I feel strongly about. I think anyone who loves dogs should feel strongly about this too. We have a responsibility to protect these animals, and so far we are not doing a great job.

I think that it’s important to keep sharing the stories of these puppy mill dogs and exposing the horrible breeders. One such story is a dog named Coal that Central Ohio Pomeranian Rescue, recently took in. Coal is a 2 lb Pomeranian, only 14 weeks old. Coal is a lucky one, surrendered to COPR by one of the mills on this list (it’s located in Missouri, but the rescue group didn’t want to name them for fear they wouldn’t release other dogs to them in the future). Like many dogs from puppy mills, Coal is not healthy. He has a defective heart, a valve leading out of the heart should have collapsed and closed upon him taking his first breath, but luckily it didn’t. He recently went through heart surgery and is doing well now. (COPR is collecting donations to cover the cost of his surgery:



Stories like Coal’s are not uncommon at puppy mills. Many puppies die at birth or are sold to stores even though they have serious health conditions. As you will see from the offenses on this list, the health and safety of these animals is of little concern to these breeders.

Despite some regulations on the industry, there are still many bad breeders out there, especially in the Amish community, that are only in it to make money. Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for good breeders. These are not them. Good breeders do not sell puppies to stores or online sites. And as long as stores sell dogs for profit, we will keep seeing horrible offenders like these.

Marvin Burkholder, Berlin Kennel, Millersburg, OH. (Repeat Offender)
Continued repeat violations; excessive feces.

Susan Fitzgerald, Canton, OH.
Admitted to neutering puppies without a vet and without anesthesia per news reports; unlicensed dealer sells online at and

Abe Miller, Quail Creek Kennel, LLC, Charm, OH.
Bought more than 100 puppies from unlicensed breeders; supplies puppies to Petland stores.

James A. Miller, Millersburg, OH.
“Extremely lethargic, weak” spaniel found; dogs repeatedly found without solid flooring or adequate space in violation of state requirements.

Credit: The Humane Society of the United States - Puppy Mills Campaign
Credit: The Humane Society of the United States – Puppy Mills Campaign

Merle Miller, Holmesville, OH.
Unsanitary conditions; severely matted dogs found repeatedly; many needed vet care.

John J. Nisley, Loudonville, OH.
Dogs found lethargic and in pain during state inspection had not been treated by a vet.

Atlee Shetler, Millersburg, OH.
Dogs had red, inflamed lesions.

Andy Yoder, Yoder Backroad Kennel, Millersburg, OH. (Repeat Offender)
Puppy found with severe head wound had not been treated by a vet; continued to fail to give access to USDA inspectors even after $7,714 penalty.

Owen R. Yoder, Millersburg, OH.
Failed to get veterinary care for 33 dogs with advanced dental disease, more than 6 months after being directed to have them treated.

You can read more about puppy mills here:

How can you help?

Adopt don’t shop! And spread the word. As I’ve said time and again, a lot of people still don’t know or don’t believe it’s that bad.

Also, please sign this petition to urge the USDA to improve the standard of care for dogs at commercial breeding facilities.

And if you want to adopt sweet little puppy mill rescue Coal, he will soon be neutered and up for adoption. Keep an eye on the COPR Facebook site for news about him:

The Ones Who Seem to Have Given Up

I came across this photo recently on Instagram from a rescue group I follow and it really struck a cord with me.

photoMy dog Roscoe is one of these dogs. Sadly, had I not been lucky enough to foster him, I probably would’ve never considered adopting a dog like him. When I first took Roscoe in, he was extremely shy, fearful of being touched and cowered in the corner for the first few days. It took a long time for him to build up enough trust to let me pet him or put a leash on him. He still has issues to this day and will never be the type of dog that runs to greet me at the door (well, he does, but he also runs away as soon as I get too close) but I’ve learned that none of that really matters. Seeing the capacity a dog has to love, even after being through a traumatic event, is a remarkable thing that bonds you together like no other experience. Roscoe is such a special soul, I can’t imagine not having him in my life.

What would I do without this face in my life everyday?


As I learned with Roscoe, you don’t really know what a dog is like until they receive the love they deserve. Most dogs in shelters, or when they first get into foster homes, are shut down and stressed out. How they are acting is just a reflection of their environment, not who they truly are. Of course, you should know what you can handle in your own life before taking on a challenging dog, but if you have the time and love in your heart to take on a dog that needs a little extra patience, it will be worth it. For me, I think it helped that I had one dog already that was very much the opposite of Roscoe, so when Roscoe would run away from me or show his teeth when I tried to pet him, I could walk away and give attention to my other dog.

Roscoe, the first day. So scared.
Roscoe, the first day. So scared.


Happy Roscoe at the beach in Charleston!
Happy Roscoe at the beach in Charleston!

This is also why fostering is so crucial. Like I said, most dogs do not put forth their best selves when they are stuck in a shelter environment. Getting a dog out of that environment and into a home where they can receive love is key to unlocking their true personality. I was so glad to see that the Cleveland Kennel began a fostering program earlier this year. If you’ve ever considered fostering, my advice to you is to do it! You learn so much and play such an important role in saving the lives of so many dogs. And, maybe, you’ll be lucky enough to meet a dog like Roscoe and fall in love.

If you want to read more about my adoption story with Roscoe, check out Lucky Puppy Magazine: Roscoe was the Lucky Puppy of the Week!

Do you have a story about a “challenging” dog you adopted? I want to hear it! I’d love to start sharing local adoption stories, so drop me an email ( or comment below.




The Champions

“The Champions” should be required viewing for anyone who works, loves, or comes in contact with dogs in any way. So basically, everyone. I saw it last night at a special screening hosted by City Dogs Cleveland and Best Friends Animal Society and was once again blown away by the story of the aftermath of the dogs rescued from Michael Vick’s dog fighting ring.


Although the movie focuses on the Vicktory dogs, it’s really the story of how wrong the misconceptions about pit bulls are. The movie shares the stories of the dogs who were adopted and how they recovered from the horrible abuse they endured. Many were severely scarred, physically and emotionally, but for most of them the damage made them fearful, not dangerous. As one of the women who adopted a Vicktory dog said, “They didn’t need to be rehabilitated, they needed to recover.” If you needed any more proof that most dogs do not want to fight or hurt others, the story of these dogs should be all the proof you need. Enduring dog fighting made them fear people in some cases, but it did not make them want to inflict pain on others. Many of the dogs moved on to become therapy dogs and lead normal lives as family pets with other dogs and kids.

The story of these dogs is remarkable in so many ways, but especially because it was the first time that rescuers were able to show that dogs from this type of situation could be rehabilitated and become family dogs. Since then, dogs rescued from fighting rings are looked at differently and not just immediately killed (no thanks to awful organizations like PETA, who wanted to immediately put all of the dogs down).

I highly recommend this movie. Best Friends Animal Society has made it available for download on their website:

If you’re interested in the story of the Vicktory dogs, you should also check out the book, “The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption” by Jim Gorant, as it goes into a little more detail on many of the dog’s stories.

Handsome Dan, one of my favorite Vicktory Dogs
Handsome Dan, one of my favorite Vicktory Dogs

I really wish we could sit the Lakewood, Garfield Heights, Parma and Warrensville Heights City Councils down and show them this movie. Breed Specific Legislation is a fantasy and all it is doing is killing pit bulls. It breaks my heart that innocent dogs are dying because of this law. It’s time for people to wake up and realize that each dog is an individual and they should all have a fair shot.


Photos courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society

Puppy Delivery for Valentine’s Day!

It’s back…. tomorrow you can get a puppy delivered to your workplace to snuggle and play with! It’s basically a dream come true.

The #UberPuppy event was so successful last year, I’ve been keeping my eye out to see if the Cleveland APL would do it again. And what more perfect day to do it than the Friday before Valentine’s Day! There is no better Valentine than a new snuggly puppy!

Puppies will only be delivered to workplaces, so get your boardroom ready for a puppy party. The cost is $30 for 15 minutes with the puppies and all proceeds go to the Cleveland APL. (Columbus friends – this is going on for you as well, benefiting the Capital Area Humane Society).

Here is how to request your puppy delivery:

  • Open your Uber app Feb. 12 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and request the “PUPPIES” option
  • Uber will let you know if they can get it your area, and then you’ll have 15 minutes to spend with the puppies.

Last year the event was very popular, so expect that you may have to wait or try your request a few times.

Here are some photos from last year’s #UberPuppyBowl that the APL did around the Super Bowl. These are from old coworkers of mine whose office had puppies delivered. (Sadly, my office did not participate, but I am trying to persuade them this year.)

uber uber1

All of the puppies from the APL are up for adoption, so make sure to spread the word!

More details here:

Can’t wait to see the photos!

Meet Cleveland’s Most Famous Pit Bull!

Have you heard the story of Walter, the abandoned Pit Bull who was abused so severely that he lost control of his back legs?

Photo courtesy of the Barkley Pet Hotel.
Photo courtesy of the Barkley Pet Hotel.

His story is making the rounds on social media lately, and for good reason. After being abandoned at a local vet clinic, Walker was taken in by the Cleveland Dog Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, where they are working to turn his life around. Walter is currently staying at The Barkley Pet Hotel in Chagrin Falls, where they say he is getting walks and exercise and swimming in their indoor pool.

The Barkley Pet Hotel posted this video to give an update on Walter’s progress:

Although his trainer and the Barkley Pet Hotel are taking great care of him, Walter is looking for a forever home! Anyone interested should contact the Cleveland Dog Rescue and Rehabilitation Center at

If you’re interested in adopting Walter, or just want to meet this special guy, Walter will be hosting a meet and greet this Sunday at the Barkley Pet Hotel, 27349 Miles Rd., from 12-4 p.m. There will be a $5 donation required for admission, which includes a photo with Walter.

Donations are also being made for a new wheelchair for Walter. It’s being custom made for him and should ship from Australia in the next week or so. You can donate on the Cleveland Dog Rescue site by clicking on “Donate.”

Thanks to the Barkley Pet Hotel and Dan at Cleveland Dog Rescue and Rehab Center for stepping up to care for Walter!

Christmas Gift Guide: Shelter Pets

Now that you’ve shopped for your dog and the dog lovers in your life, it’s time to focus on some other pets that need presents this Christmas – the homeless pets of Cleveland. Local shelters have wish lists running year-round for things they need for the animals in their care. Wouldn’t it be great to send a present to one of them this Christmas?

I’ve posted links to wish lists below for many of the biggest shelters/rescue groups in the area. Several of them have wish lists on Amazon to make it super easy to buy things and have them shipped directly to the shelter/organization. Some of the Amazon lists haven’t been updated in a while, so it may be a good idea to check their website, or contact them directly, to see what else might be on their wish list. It’s a safe bet though that most shelters can always do with donations of treats, blankets, toys and crates though. And, of course, you can always just donate money to whatever local shelter you want to support!

And don’t forget Amazon Smile when you’re doing your holiday shopping this year on Amazon. When you shop through you can choose an organization of your choice and Amazon will donate a small percentage to that organization.

Cleveland APL

Some of the dogs you’ll be helping:



Lake Humane Society

Some of the dogs you’ll be helping:


Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter

Some of the dogs you’ll be helping:

Berea Animal Rescue Fund

Some of the dogs you’ll be helping:

Muttley Crue

Some of the dogs you’ll be helping:



Geauga Humane Society’s Rescue Village!shelter-wishlist/co7y

Some of the dogs you’ll be helping:

Northeast Ohio SPCA

City Dogs Cleveland

Let’s help all pets have a great Christmas this year!

5 Fun Holiday Events to Support Local Dogs

Even if you don’t have the time to foster or volunteer with a shelter, there are so many other ways to help local dogs in need. This holiday season there will be several fun events, from a comedy show to a tailgate, you can attend to give your support to local rescue groups.

So if you’re looking for a way to give back this holiday (and pre-holiday) season, check out these fun events organized by Cleveland rescue groups:

Laughter Unleashed Comedy Show with Mike Polk

This Friday, Nov. 20, Vosh Nightclub in Lakewood will be the location for an evening of stand-up comedy featuring Mike Polk Jr. to benefit Citizens Committee for the Lakewood Animal Shelter. Doors open at 9:00, show starts at 9:30 p.m. If you go for dinner at Vosh or Georgetown next door before the show, 15% of your food bill will be donated to CCLAS. Advance tickets can be purchased online for $12 At the door price is $15.

Rovemberfest Beer-n-Brats Party

The third annual Rovemberfest Beer-n-Brats Party to benefit Badges for Bullies will be held at CPPA Memorial Hall on Nov. 21. There will be grilled brats (vegan and pork free options will be available) as well as beer and soda. Admission is $20/person all you can eat and drink! Purchase your Tickets via PayPal here:


Holiday Hops for Hearts

Stop by the Flying Monkey in Tremont on Dec. 1 for a fun event to benefit heartworm positive City Dogs at Cleveland Animal Care & Control. $25 admission includes all you can drink beer courtesy of the Flying Monkey Pub as well as food. Ticket sales at the door, cash only please. There will also be raffle baskets and a 50/50 raffle.

If you can’t attend, you can still help support the Plankton Fund, a fund that supports adopters and rescues who take in heartworm positive dogs, by donating here:



Santa Paws is Coming to Town

Have a fun night celebrating the holiday season all while supporting the homeless pups of Muttley Crue on Dec. 12. The event will be held at Grindstone TapHouse and will include casino games, wine pull, a decitant menu prepared by Chef Chad, Bad Santa and his elves, live music as well as a raffle and auction. $25 tickets for all you can eat, 100 casino chips, 2 drink tickets. Find out more at:

Tailgate Party at the Barley House

92.3 The Fan will be hosting a Tailgate Party at the Barley House before the Browns game on Sunday, Dec. 13 from 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. There will be a raffle for a chance to win an autographed Joe Haden jersey. The event is free, but all proceeds from the raffle will benefit the Cleveland APL. Find out more here:

And stay tuned for my Santa Paws, another fun way to give back to local rescues, round up later this month!