BISSELL turns your love of pets and Pinterest into donations for shelter animals

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and leave it to the BISSELL Pet Foundation to find a way to give to shelter pets in the United States.

BISSELL Homecare Inc. announced this week it has launched an online fundraising campaign through BPF to raise $50,000 for shelter animals in need.

The campaign is called “Pinning for Pets” and will run through Nov. 30. It combines people’s love of Pinterest with raising funds. If you’re already using Pinterest, it’s pretty simple to contribute: Create a virtual pinboard showing support for homeless pets and submit it through BISSELL’s Facebook page.

I had not participated/signed up for Pinterest, but I have many friends who love it. And when I saw I could help shelter animals through this campaign by BISSELL, well, I signed up! I haven’t yet created my pinboard (I’m just learning about this, after all), but you bet I’ll be participating.

For every pinboard posted, BISSELL Homecare Inc. will contribute to BPF, which will then donate $10 to the Petfinder Foundation. Grants to Petfinder Foundation will go to Rescue U, the group that rehabilitates animal shelters around the country.

Rescue U spent a week at Humane Society of West Michigan this summer to help spiff up the place.  Aside from cosmetic and some structural improvements, Rescue U created a play/training area for dogs and installed turf in the outdoor dog runs, replacing the crushed stone pebbles that often became too hot and painful for dogs’ feet in the summer.

“As longtime advocates for pet adoption, we know animal shelters and rescue groups play a vital role in creating a second chance for homeless pets, and they often have extremely limited resources to provide the necessary care needed until these pets are adopted,” Cathy Bissell, founder of BPF and director of corporate affairs for BISSELL, said in a press release announcing the campaign.

“By simply creating a Pinning for Pets board, everyone has the opportunity to support shelters and better the welfare of homeless animals. However, the goal of this program is not just to raise funds — it’s also to raise awareness about the vast number of adoptable pets living in shelters across the country. Ultimately, we want to see more homeless pets welcomed into their forever homes, but we believe they deserve a comfortable place until that home finds them.”

BISSELL also is giving back through the purchase of its products. For every new BISSELL pet product purchased and activated online at bissell.com/savepets, BISSELL will donate $1, $5 or $10 to the BISSELL Pet Foundation. And pet product purchases on bissell.com  through the end of the year will net between $2 and $20 — double its normal donation — for the BISSELL Pet Foundation.

For information on the complete line of BISSELL pet products, cleaning tips and more, visit the online Pet Lovers Community at bissell.com/pets. If you want more information about the BISSELL Pet Foundation, check out their site at bissellpetfoundation.org.

Those who participate in the Pinning for Pets event will be entered into weekly prize drawings for a chance to win various pet clean-up products, as well as a $250 donation to their local Petfinder.com shelter. Visit pinningforpets.com to join the campaign!

BISSELL Blocktail sets records for fundraising, attendance

BISSELL’s Blocktail Party crushed its previous attendance record … for people and dogs. (Mary Ullmer photo)

Talk about going to the dogs! This year’s BISSELL Blocktail Party, held Wednesday night at Mangiamo! in Grand Rapids, easily was the biggest in its 7-year history. Continue reading

BISSELL Blocktail 2012 sure to be a howling good time

Dogs of all shapes and sizes can be found at the annual BISSELL Blocktail Party. (All photos courtesy of TerpstraPhoto.com)

The Bissell Blocktail Party bills itself as the “best dog-gone party in town.” It’s hard to argue with that statement.

The annual event, held at Mangiamo! in Grand Rapids, raised more than $150,000 last year via ticket sales, sponsors and a silent auction. And this year’s party promises to be even bigger and better.

Tickets for this year’s event, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on June 13, are $50 if purchased online in advance (highly encouraged) or $60 at the door.

Blocktail 2012 has welcomed 10 “party partners,” organizations in the Grand Rapids area whose mission is to reduce the number of homeless pets and put a stop to pet overpopulation. The non-profits each received a $1,000 donation for their efforts and each of them, along with any other area non-profit organization with the same mission, can apply for grants to receive a share of the proceeds of this year’s event.

Applications for the grants, courtesy of the BISSELL Pet Foundation, are due June 1 and a packet and application can be found on the Blocktail website or by clicking here. Given the success of last year’s event, held in less-than ideal weather conditions, those approved for grants stand to receive some much-needed funding for their causes.

Yes, dogs often get wiped out from the excitement and fun at Blocktail. This Basset hound is proof.

Carly Luttmann, program supervisor at the Kent County Animal Shelter, will be attending her first Blocktail. Luttmann is making strides to promote the adoption of animals through KCAS, one of this year’s party partners.

“I’m really excited,” Luttmann said. “We’ll have lots of people there and we’re looking forward to the opportunity. It think it’s a big step forward for our organization. The grant opportunities are great because they don’t exclude anyone as long as the organization goes to reducing pet overpopulation, promoting awareness and promoting adoptions.”

Other party partners this year are Carol’s Ferals, Crash’s Landing & Big Sid’s Sanctuary, C-SNIP, Focus on Ferals, Humane Society of West Michigan, Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary, Reuben’s Room, Safe Haven Humane Society and Vicky’s Pet Connection.

Not only does Blocktail 2012 feature new partners and new way to distribute proceeds (previously, proceeds benefited only the HSWM), it also will deliver new features to the event itself. The Gillmore Collection, which provides food for Blocktail, this year will offer vegetarian and vegan cuisine in addition to its usual fare.

Also new to Blocktail this year will be a photo booth from Dan Terpstra of Terpstra Photography, featuring props and fun backdrops so the many attendees who bring their dogs can bring home a keepsake. Those who have attended Blocktail in the past know that many guests choose to bring their furry family members, providing party-goers with a glimpse of a wide variety of dogs, from rare breeds to mixed breeds.

“People are encouraged to bring their dogs,” said Laurel Pruski, co-chair of this year’s event along with Cathy Bissell. “Dogs should be friendly with other dogs and with strangers. We’ll have plenty of treats and water on hand for the dogs, and the event is outdoors on the grass.”

There are plenty of treats available for the furry Blocktail attendees.

Pruski added that dogs should be on non-flexible leashes (if you’ve ever seen the crowd at Blocktail, you’d understand why) and that any dog adopted from a shelter will receive an orange bandana at the event to let everyone know they’re a rescue. Dogs available for adoption at the event will be featuring pink bandanas.

A fabulous new auction item this year, Pruski said, is a one-week stay in a condominium in Jaco, Costa Rica. Also among the auction items is the ever-popular dinner in your home prepared by Grand Rapids chef Tommy Fitzgerald, a wakeboard and wakeboard lessons, Schwinn bicycles, spa packages and, of course, incredible artwork.

An item sure to fetch big bucks is the chance for a guest’s dog to be next year’s “Blockstar.” The winning bidder will have their dog featured on all Blocktail promotional material, including the website and billboards in the Grand Rapids area.

For more information on Blocktail 2012, check out the event’s website or Facebook page.

BISSELL Pet Foundation responds to Allegan dogs’ needs with $10,000 donation

The response to the dog hoarding/puppy mill case this week in Allegan County has been overwhelming, bringing hundreds of volunteers, supplies and monetary donations.

Count the BISSELL Pet Foundation among the emergency responders to come to the aid of the 352 seized dogs currently being cared for by the Allegan County Animal Shelter.

The foundation, created by animal advocate and BISSELL Inc. director of corporate affairs Cathy Bissell, on Wednesday afternoon delivered a $10,000 donation check to help pay for the medical treatment of the Shih Tzus, Pomeranians and other small breed dogs. A BISSELL representative presented the donation to Susan Smith, president of the Wishbone Pet Rescue Alliance, which runs the Allegan Shelter.

“We obviously saw it unfolding in the media, and our Amanda Parrish (a BISSELL Inc. employee) volunteered down there, so we made some connections with them,” said Veronica Dainelis, administrative assistant in the executive office at BISSELL Inc. “Cathy wanted to immediately respond.

“Three hundred and fifty dogs is a huge financial responsibility, and we felt the best way we could help was through a monetary donation. They need food and other in-kind donations that are easier for the public to purchase, but most people can’t fund heartworm tests, vaccines, dental work and the routine care these dogs are going to need. We thought it best to send monetary support so they could get the medical care they need.”

Dainelis was told it’s doubtful many of the dogs rescued have ever seen a veterinarian.

“They have a lot of issues typical of small breed dogs who don’t get veterinary care, including poor dental health, abscess teeth and skin conditions because of a lack of grooming,” Dainelis said. “Those all cost a significant amount of money, so we wanted to do what we could to help provide them care.”

The BISSELL Pet Foundation, which was founded in late 2011, had come to the aid of an animal cruelty case in Kentucky, where 96 dogs were saved by Animal Rescue Corps. In that case, BPF gave a $7,500 grant to help pay for medical expenses from the “Operation Sweethearts” placement partners.

When it came time to help out a shelter in the Grand Rapids-based company’s own back yard, there was no hesitation.

“Cathy immediately wanted to get money to them,” Dainelis said. “She recognized the urgency and need of these animals and wanted to support this effort in a big. way.”