CLE Adoptable Canine of the Week

Meet Jackie!



From Secondhand Mutts: Jackie was found as a stray one evening in mid-September on Tillman Avenue in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood. Jackie is estimated to be around 2 years old and is a Jack Russel/Miniature Pinscher/Beagle mix. Jackie gets along incredibly well the 11 cats and one dog, Buddy, in his foster home.  He is sweet, loving and eager to please.   Jackie is energetic and loves to run and play and be chased with his toys by Buddy or cats.  He fetches and greatly enjoys his trips to the beach with Buddy.  Jackie is a joy to be around.  He does need a bit of training, but he learns very quickly.  He is also a good sleeper and sleeps through the night.



For more info on Jackie, call 216-664-9660 or email to set up a time to meet him.

Have a dog you’d like featured here, contact me at

Adopt a Shelter Dog Month Stories

October is a Adopt a Shelter Dog month, so to celebrate this month and an issue I feel passionately about, I asked you all to share stories about your shelter/rescue dogs. I love each and every one of these stories. They truly show how special the bond is with a rescued dog. Although a rescue dog may come to you with some issues, whether it’s fleas, heartworm or some behavioral issues, once the dog becomes part of a loving family, the transformation is remarkable. And the love you get back from them is worth every minute of work you have to put into it.

Here are the rescue dog stories I received, I hope you enjoy as much as I did. And spread the word – there are still a lot of people who don’t know how much love a rescue dog can bring!


I adopted Stanley from the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter nearly 6 years ago. I immediately fell in love. His hair was so long that I actually thought he was a girl until the day I picked him up! A last minute name change and a trip to Target to exchange all the girl items I bought solved that. He’s been a wonderful dog and is still as energetic and excited at age 10 as he was the day I got him.


Whiskers (now Guinness) was in an overcrowded shelter in rural Kentucky when Canine Lifeline found him and brought him up to Ohio. My husband and I had been searching for “the perfect dog” and breed to fit our lifestyle and I was exhausted. When we came across his picture, we decided to set up a meet and greet. I knew he was the dog for us when he jumped up and licked my husbands beard! He is the most perfect, loving and wonderful companion and he never stops smiling!!!! We will never shop again!
sonnyWe adopted Sonny last December from the Parma No Kill Animal Shelter. He is now the proud owner of his own boy (my 11 year old son) they are best friends!
Stanley “Scrappy” Heidelman, was originally from the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter, and later was transferred over to the Cleveland Animal Protective League and then the Parma Petsmart everyday adoption center, which is where my boyfriend and I adopted him from. His shelter records indicate that he had a pretty rough past. He had a number of missing teeth, was severely underweight, and had a horrible flea infestation and other skin and internal ailments. Regardless of his past, it was the night of September 20, 2013, that his new life began with my boyfriend and I. He is now a happy healthy 20 pound boy that is loved beyond words! I like to call him my blessing in fur! We may have saved his life, but honestly, I think he saved our lives in tune.
Scout Louise. Love this baby to death. Adopted her as a baby, she was horrible. Best dog I ever had now.
I couldn’t adopt, but I did and I am fostering this little dude. He’s a senior Chihuahua and his name is Joey.
lady tramp
Fiona and Jack aka Lady and The Tramp. Both Cuyahoga County Kennel rescues. They are our loves. We adopted Jack as heartworm positive.
Here is Knox! I was not in the market for a dog but a coworker had me on petfinder just for fun! I saw his picture and it was love at first sight. He’s a deaf bull terrier mix and my heart was sad at the thought that no one would give a ‘special needs’ dog a home. He’s a perfect gentleman and couldn’t be happier with my rescue from Fidos Companion!
This is Lacey, adopted from the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter in September 2007. I always loved dogs and knew as soon as we got a house that adopting a dog was first priority. But I had no idea how much this fuzzy bucket would change my life. She was a handful at first and still may not be the best behaved dog but she is perfect to me! Adopting her opened my eyes to the plight of homeless pets. She’s the reason I spend my weekends volunteering at the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter. I don’t know what I would do without this goofball!
We adopted our Daisy May from the Cuyahoga County shelter. She was our everything. She was such a lover and snuggler. She ended up with Cancer at age 6. We miss her. But she is in a much better place pain free.
We foster for Dachshund Rescue of North America and Lilly was our foster. She spent 2 years in an outside kennel to be a breeding dog. She has scars all over her face from trying to get out of the kennel. Then she spent almost a year with a family that loved her but didn’t see eye to eye with the husband so she was surrendered to us. She was with us for 2 months and adopted out to a family we thought was a great fit. She was returned to us 3 weeks later and after a couple weeks of having her back we couldn’t let her leave us. So we adopted her a few weeks ago.
My spoiled baby Andy. Adopted May 29, 2013 from Cleveland APL. I saw his goofy photo on their website. We went and he was so calm in his kennel. Surprise! He’s an active beagle mix that is probably 3 years old. (The crate is rarely used unless we have a food delivery coming–he’s a runner.) He sleeps on the sofa, stretched out like a little kid.

The Real Dawg Pound

To be honest with you, I’ve never been a Browns fan. Sorry, guys. I didn’t grow up here so I was never surrounded by the Browns mania that occurs every Sunday. Plus, they lose a lot, which makes to hard to be a fan even when you love Cleveland.

I saw some news earlier this week though that made me give the Browns a second look:

The Browns have adoptable dogs at their training camp! How awesome is that? The Browns caught some flack last year for not choosing a rescue dog for their real life Swagger, but I think this goes a long way in making up for that. And 25 dogs have been adopted! That is just great news all around.


The Northeast Ohio SPCA teamed up with the Browns to bring the dogs to the training camp. Their mobile adoption unit will be at training camp through next week.  Check out the Northeast Ohio SPCA’s Facebook page for pictures of the dogs at training camp.

This great idea gives me hope that someone is finally making good decisions for the Browns!

Photos courtesy of Northeast Ohio SPCA’s Facebook page.



Ohio Breeders on Horrible 100 List

Puppy mills are an issue that I care deeply about, so when I saw Sidewalk Dog‘s post about The Horrible 100 list of the worst puppy mills in the U.S., I had to check it to see if any Ohio breeders made the list. Unfortunately (but not to my surprise) Ohio did make the list with three different breeders.  According to the ASPCA, Ohio has one of the largest number of puppy mills in the country, after Pennsylvania, Missouri and New York.

Only 16 states had breeders on this list, so it’s definitely not a good list to be on. The breeders on this list are the worst of the worst. The report found conditions at these breeders such as  puppies on the verge of dying, dogs with gaping wounds or infections, dogs living in freezing conditions with only solid ice to drink, and many other horrible, inhumane conditions no animal should have to endure.

Here are the Ohio breeders on the list:

Marvin Burkholder, Berlin Kennel, Millersburg, OH  – An inspector found that Burkholder had sold at least two litters of underage puppies, one litter of dogs was only 46 days old. Puppies are required to be at least 8 weeks before being sold, as taking them away from their mother at this young age can lead to problems with their immune system as well as behavioral issues. The conditions at his kennel were also found to be unsanitary and several dogs had health issues.dog2

Alvin Hershberger, A&E Kennels, Sugarcreek, OH – Dogs with this breeder were found left outside in 19 degree weather with only a plastic barrel for shelter, which some of the dogs couldn’t even fit into. Dogs were also found severely underweight and sick. His USDA license was revoked in February so he couldn’t sell to pet stores or online, but he was still able to sell to the public through his state license.

Andy Yoder, Yoder Backroad Kennel, Millersburg, OH – Several dead puppies were found spread out on the grounds, with no explanation as to how they died. Other dogs were in severe need of veterinary care, including one dog who had a severely embedded collar that could not be removed.

It’s hard for me to read, let alone, write about this stuff, so I spared you some of the gorier details. I think we all by now know that you should NEVER buy from a pet store, as this is where those dogs come from, but I know that people still do buy from breeders so it’s important to be educated. Some of these horrible breeders do attempt to sell these dogs online, so you really need to know what you’re getting into and do your research before getting your dog from a breeder online.

Marilyn’s Voice, a local rescue group that takes in many puppy mill dogs, has a great article about finding a reputable breeder:

Some key takeaways from that article:

  • Search the Internet for breed clubs near you – NOT breeders near you
  • Attend a dog show
  • Ask local dog groomers, boarding facilities or other pet service providers
  • Know that a reputable breeder will never sell dogs through a pet store or in any other way that doesn’t allow interaction with buyers to ensure that the puppies are a good match for the families
  • Don’t ever buy a dog without personally visiting where he or she was born and raised.

If you don’t need a specific breed for the pedigree or whatever the case, my advice would be to ADOPT. And even if you are looking for a specific breed, there is probably a rescue group that specializes in that breed. Just to name a few in Ohio: Central Ohio Pomeranian Rescue, Ohio Valley Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club, Ohio Fuzzy Paws Shi Tzu Rescue, Adopt a Husky Ohio, Greyhound Adoption of Ohio. Many times you can get puppies from these rescue groups as well, so it’s not just older dogs available for adoption.

Let’s hope soon this won’t even be an issue. Last year, the state of Ohio passed stricter laws regarding puppy mills, requiring high volume breeders to get a license and abide by certain standards of care. And, Goddard’s Law, a bill named after Dick Goddard that will make animal cruelty a felony, overwhelming passed the House and should hopefully get approved by the Senate sometime soon.

Also, visit: or for more information on what you can do.

What I’ve Learned from Becoming a Dog Foster

This past week marked one year since I began fostering for Central Ohio Pomeranian Rescue. One year ago my first foster, a little white fluff ball named Vinnie, barked his way into my home and changed how I felt about being a dog mom, dog rescue, and, pretty much, my life.

I am proud of myself for being able to give up Vinnie. This face!


Getting involved, no matter how small your role is, in rescue changes you. Once you open your heart to dogs that have been abandoned, neglected, discarded, whatever the case, it changes how you feel about dogs. If I thought I loved dogs before, it’s on a whole other level now.

The main thing that I’ve learned, which I pretty much knew but is now reinforced 100%, is that there is pretty much no reason to buy a dog. I do understand that some people want or need certain breeds based on their lifestyle, but in general every type of dog can be rescued. And that getting an older dog is probably a better fit for many people who want dogs. They are lower energy and generally potty trained (or were at some point and may just need a refresher). I loved fostering Vinnie, who was probably around 8-10 years old, because he was so mellow and laid back.

Being a foster also taught me a lot about being a better dog mom. I have always been an overprotective dog mom, always worried Hunter is going to get hurt or get sick and it can lead me to protecting him more than I probably should. When you love something as much as I do my dogs, it can be hard to imagine something happening to them. After becoming a foster and seeing what other dogs have been through, I have lightened up a little. To see Vinnie, being dumped at a shelter overweight and old, now playing with toys happily at his new home and Brady (my second foster) bouncing back from losing his mom and being left with strangers, you realize how truly amazing and resilient dogs are. I try to give Hunter a little more space now and realize that he is ok.

Picking up Brady, my foster
Picking up Brady, my foster



Of course the biggest impact of becoming a foster and what has taught me the most, is adopting my second dog, Roscoe – my foster fail. Since I wanted a second dog I had a feeling I would foster fail at some point; the surprising part was the dog that I ended up adopting. Although I don’t dislike Chihuahuas, they weren’t on my list of favorite dogs. I always figured my second dog would be a Corgi or another Pom. It’s a funny thing though, how the right dog just seems to finds you. Early on, even when Roscoe was especially fearful and didn’t seem to be warming up much at all, I just knew in my heart I couldn’t give him up. Although I loved my first two fosters, I didn’t have that same feeling with them. They had easy personalities and I could see any family loving either of them. Roscoe was so sensitive and so scarred that I just wanted to protect him and give him the time and love he needed to feel safe. Once he started opening up more I knew he was here for good, that he had chosen us.

Another big part of adopting Roscoe was his relationship with Hunter. Hunter, although he can be a little bit of a bully, was so sweet with Roscoe, and Roscoe really seemed to take comfort in him. I’ve noticed since introducing Roscoe to more dogs that he is not really a fan of most dogs when he meets them. He will growl and show his teeth, but he never did this with Hunter. It’s like they had an understanding from the beginning. For me it didn’t matter what type of dog Roscoe was, it just mattered that I loved him, Hunter loved him and he needed a home. Ultimately, the type of dog doesn’t matter as long as he fits into your life and you love him. Adopting Roscoe has taught me that.

Snuggling with Hunter
Snuggling with Hunter


Roscoe has not been the easiest and it’s still a challenge every day. He still doesn’t like when anyone (even me) walks towards him or picks him up, but I have to remind myself how far he has come from the little guy shaking in the corner he was. And from time to time he’ll slowly back himself up to me for snuggles or nudge me with his paw for pets and I know all of the work is worth it. Although I know I’ve made mistakes along the way  (especially with Roscoe), I have also learned a lot and had so much fun. And I have becoming a foster to thank for that.

Now I always have this face staring at me and I love it!


Two other things I’ve learned: One, fostering can be done at your own pace and any help you can give is appreciated. Since I adopted Roscoe I haven’t been able to foster more dogs (mainly because I don’t have a yard so three dogs would be hard to manage, and I want to give Roscoe more time to be comfortable), but that has not been an issue at all with the rescue group. There are so many other ways to help. You can also take breaks between fosters, request certain types of dogs you’re most comfortable with and really decide what works best for you.

And two – avoiding becoming a foster failure is really, really, really hard. Pretty much everyone does it. It’s important to know what you can handle though and make the best decision not only for the dog, but also for yourself and your lifestyle. With most rescue groups, you can play a role in choosing the family your foster dog goes to, and ideally keep in touch with them once you’ve given the dog up.

I hope to get back to fostering again soon, but I have remained as a volunteer for COPR, doing home visits and hopefully attending some adoption events when they have them in the NE Ohio area. If you have any interest in fostering, I highly recommend it, but there are so many ways to help out local rescue groups.

City Dogs will be holding a Volunteer Orientation this Saturday if you’re interested in finding out more info on ways to get involved in the local rescue community. More info can be found here:

And, of course, most other rescue groups are also in need for fosters/volunteers so you can always reach out to whatever group you’re interested in! Of course, I’m happy to answer any questions you have as well – I love talking about fostering!

CLE Adoptable Canine of the Week!

Meet Rhianna!


Rhianna is a rescue from the group I volunteer with, Central Ohio Pom Rescue. She is being fostered by Catherine Krzywicki, the animal rescuer who recently had a house fire. Rhianna was not impacted by the fire and is doing great. But she is still, amazingly, looking for a home!

Here’s more info on this adorable little pom from COPR:

Rhianna is about 8 years old and around 19 pounds. She has never met a toy or a person she doesn’t love (although shy at first meeting, she warms up sooner than soon). Like most Pomeranians, Rhianna thrives on attention and proves it by being the most loving of lap dogs, with very little need for exercise or play — although she’s leash trained and walks well on a leash. Good with older, considerate children and with other dogs, she’s fed separately from the ones in her foster home, since she tends to protect her food.

A diabetic, Rhianna receives 4 units of insulin twice a day to keep her safely maintained. (A box of needles and a bottle of insulin cost a mere $37 at Walmart and lasts approximately 6 weeks). For more info on Rhianna, visit:

Also – there is a fundraiser this Sunday for Catherine at West Park Station. For $20 you will get unlimited beer, wine, pizza and wings! There will also be raffle for baskets and services donated by generous local businesses.


Find out more here:

Help Needed for Dedicated Animal Rescuer

Yesterday my day was consumed with following the news about a rescue friend of mine, Catherine Krzywicki, who lived through every dog owner’s greatest fear – a house fire with her dogs alone inside.

Thankfully a thoughtful teen, an aspiring firefighter amazingly, noticed the fire and contacted the fire department. If he hadn’t discovered it when he did, it would’ve been a much worse tragedy. One dog and one cat perished in the fire, and another cat went missing. Reports say around 17 animals were rescued, which I know is a shocking number of pets to some. No one who knows Catherine though, worries about how many pets she has (some are fosters and one she was pet sitting as she often does, by the way. Not all are her permanent dogs). We are just glad that these lost, unwanted animals have found a home with someone who will love them. I just want to emphasize here that these are animals no one wanted. She is not irresponsibly breeding animals and letting things get out of control. She is taking in animals that have no home, and likely won’t be adopted because they are sick and/or old. It’s a sad fact in the rescue world that there are far too many animals who need homes and far too few people caring for them.

Catherine takes in the elderly and sick dogs that no one wants and loves them more than most people love their family pets. She is one of my favorite friends on Facebook because of the photos she posts of her dogs -dressing them up for holidays, summer pool parties, whatever the occasion is. She was in my nosework class with her dog Spencer and I have seen her spend her whole day taking her dogs, on shifts, to the park for long walks. Her dogs, foster and permanent, are her whole life. I hate to see her being judged in the media merely for having a big heart. [Also, just to address media reports – her dogs have not gone to animal control nor are they going to rescue groups. Most have been at the vet and were taken in by friends yesterday to help her out until she can get back on her feet.]

Some of her beloved dogs.
Many of her beloved dogs.

At times like these, you have to look for the positive. The fortune of that teen walking by at that moment and the amazing support of the community who have now raised over $11,000 for her- really struck me. It shows that although terrible things happen to good people, when you’ve touched as many lives as Catherine has, you are never alone in times of tragedy.

I am in awe of the Cleveland dog community and so glad to live in this city with such passionate dog lovers. Although the outpouring of support has been immense, help is still needed. Several dogs are back at the vet and bills will likely be high.  Fosters may be needed as well to help Catherine out until she can get back on feet. If you can help, there is a You Caring page set up for her:

A big thank you as well to the Euclid Fire Department for showing such care for these animals. Thankfully the department had gas masks for the dogs, something I am not sure that every department has.


I am hopeful one more positive thing will come out of this. I hope that others will be inspired by Catherine’s dedication to the animals in this community and look into fostering, donating their time or money to a rescue group, or adopting. Caring for homeless and forgotten dogs should be a community effort.

CLE Adoptable Canine of the Week!

Meet Guinness!


From Secondhand Mutts: Guinness, a Doberman Pinscher mix, was a stray in the city of Cleveland taken to the City of Cleveland Kennel. Guinness has lots of energy and love to give to whomever will accept it. He would do best with a family that is willing to train him and get him through some basic obedience.


Secondhand Mutts is seeking a foster home for him and hope his temporary “parents” can commit to taking him to weekly training sessions at HDP K9. Guinness is good with kids, he is crate trained and house trained. Guinness does have some prey drive with little animals and would do best in a home without cats or little dogs. He will require a yard with privacy style fencing. If you are interested in fostering Guinness please email them at

Read more about Guinness here:

Have a dog you’d like featured here? Email me at

7 Reasons to Adopt an Older Dog (as told through photos of Roscoe)

Before I adopted Roscoe, I didn’t think I could adopt an older dog. As attached as I am to Hunter, I didn’t think I could adopt a dog that I might not have for as long. But that all changed when tiny Roscoe walked through my door. Adopting Roscoe after fostering him just felt so natural to me that none of my preconceived ideas about my ideal dog seemed to matter.

I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on my decision to adopt Roscoe and how it’s changed me, especially regarding my love for older and senior dogs. Although I understand the desire to have a young dog, there are so many great reasons to adopt an older one. Here are 7 reasons (7 because Roscoe is estimated to be between 5-7 years old) why adopting an older dog is so great.

1. They are probably at least partially trained and much less likely to destroy your house than a puppy. Here’s what Roscoe does most of the time at home:


2. They probably love to snuggle. Since they are generally lower energy, a lot of older dogs like to just chill and hang out with you. Although it took about six months for Roscoe to scoot his way over to snuggle with me, he has pretty much not left my side since. It’s always my favorite part of the day.


3. They still like a good adventure. Older dogs aren’t totally boring. Roscoe is still up for a good time and likes to take walks or hop in the car for a ride. It’s just great that he’s also equally happy chilling at home.


4. They make great companions for younger, more hyper dogs. I was initially worried about bringing timid Roscoe into an environment with a hyper dog like my other dog Hunter. Although he’s not the play mate Hunter would like, I am so glad to have Roscoe’s calm, snuggly personality to balance out Hunter’s hyper activity. I see Roscoe roll his eyes at Hunter sometimes, but I know they love each other.


5. They still surprise you. Just when I think I’ve figured him out, Roscoe will do something to surprise me. Having an older dog can be just as fun as a puppy, because dogs have no idea how old they are. One of my favorite moments with Roscoe happened before I adopted and I took him to an adoption event. Normally shy, scared Roscoe took a liking to a certain three-legged pom named Cleo and wasn’t too scared to show it. I’d never seen him show such an interest in another dog before or since, so it was very unexpected.


6. They’re really into selfies. Ok, that one might be specific to Roscoe, but look how cute a Roscoe selfie is?


6. Their smile will make your day everyday. It might take them a little longer to trust you, but there’s no better feeling than when you’ve earned their trust. Once they’ve become part of your family, they will love you like no other. It may have taken Roscoe a while to come out of his shell and trust me, but witnessing his transformation has been one of the greatest experiences. Just the other day, I looked over at him in the car and saw this face:

imageHis first smile. Earning the love of an older dog will change you for the better.

Freedom Rides!

This post is written by Susie Iacobucci-Alexander, a volunteer with Muttley Crue and Cleveland Animal Control. Susie is a friend of mine and one of the most dedicated dog lovers I know. She not only fosters dogs, but also volunteers, frequently helping groups out with “freedom rides” to transport dogs from a shelter to a rescue organization. For this blog, I asked if she would share her experiences as a transportation volunteer for local rescue groups. I can’t think of a better feeling than being there for that moment when a dog is released from the shelter to begin his or her journey to a new life! Read on to learn more about freedom rides and how you can get involved.

Have you seen any cars driving around town lately, emblazoned with the words “FREEDOM RIDE!” and wondered what the heck those people are doing? Well here to fill you in, a Freedom Ride expert!

In the animal rescue community, this phrase is a very happy sign that some fortunate critter (or critters) is on their first trip to FREEDOM – most likely from a high-kill Animal Control facility or city/county pound, such as the Cleveland Animal Control facility, which is right in our backyard.

Giving Freedom Rides is one of my absolute most FAVORITE parts of volunteering for animal advocacy groups. There is such a feeling of unbridled happiness and joy when you get to help a dog break out of a pound! Dogs may be scared at first, or they may literally jump out of their cages with joy (or perhaps they are just trying to escape because they are stuck in a tiny cement cell all day!), but when they get to go outside and into a car, something tends to click and they realize don’t have to go back to that awful place – and seeing this makes my heart sing!

Personally, I do freedom rides for 2 main groups – Cleveland Animal Control and Muttley Crue – but there are groups all over Cleveland and in every other city in need of transport volunteers. You can even track your mileage and deduct them on your taxes, too!

Cleveland Animal Control (AKA CAC and their new re-branding of City Dogs Cleveland) has a group of dedicated Transportation Volunteers, amongst other groups of volunteers. Muttley Crue doesn’t have a specific group of drivers, but my schedule allows me to get dogs from pounds in the mornings and get them to their vet appointments, foster homes, adopters, etc. Rescue groups also often need volunteers to drive their adoptables to follow up vet appointments, adoption events, meet and greets, training sessions, boarding stints, and many other places – so it’s not just a job for people with free mornings.

Most rescue organizations have no paid staff, and rely solely on the time and effort of volunteers to get their animals to and from wherever they need to be – so there’s always a dog somewhere that needs a lift. If you have some free time and a reliable car, rescue groups would love to have you on their team!

When I am getting a dog (or any other animal – CAC has had cats and even chickens!) from a pound, I like to make a big deal out of the fact that they are escaping the needle of death, and I decorate my car in an attempt to help spread the word about Freedom Rides and pet adoption. It may not have a big impact, but if I can spark the curiosity of even one other driver on the road, and get them to go look up “Shelter Freedom Ride, “ then I am happy with that – it’s a start!

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If you want to become a Freedom Ride Volunteer, or general transport volunteer, check out your local rescue groups and city/county pound. A few helpful links and tips:

And in case you need some additional inspiration – the shelter freedom ride movement is sweeping the nation!

Contact your local rescue group to find out what help they need transporting dogs. This is a fun, easy, relatively inexpensive way to make a big impact on a dog’s life!