‘Underwater Dogs’ a bargain and a must-have book for dog lovers

Our hardcover copy of “Underwater Dogs” arrived Thursday, and even our corgi, Truman, enjoyed the fantastic photos.

If you enjoyed the small sampling of photos in the first issue of our free bi-monthly magazine, Dogs Unleashed, you’ll really dig the hardcover book “Underwater Dogs” by photographer Seth Casteel.

I had pre-ordered mine a couple of months ago, and it arrived yesterday. I’m here to tell you, it is fantastic. And for only $11.62, you’d be wise to order a few as Christmas gifts for your dog-loving friends and family.

The book is page after page — 132 pages! — of spectacular photos of dogs diving under water and even lists the name, breed and age of each dog in the photo. Many of the photos are new to those of us who have viewed Casteel’s work on his Little Friends Photo website. At the end of the book are “mug shots” of each dog as they appear on land.

Congratulations to Casteel on a fabulous book that belongs on every dog lover’s coffee table!

To order your copy, or purchase an “Underwater Dogs” calendar, head to Little Friends Photo site.


Celebrate your furry family members this weekend!

Celebrate your pets and help out others this weekend by attending one or more of the various events happening in West Michigan.

One event in particular, the Pet Celebration Day on  Saturday, is happening practically in my back yard. The celebration at the Tractor Supply Company in Coopersville runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It includes an in-store photo contest, informational classes, fecal testing and goat polio testing. In addition, there will be items for sale, including homemade hand soap made from goat milk, homemade Jane Lees popcorn and hot dogs. There will be live animals on site, some available for adoption!

In addition, yours truly will be on hand for part of the day to talk about West Michigan’s free magazine, Dogs Unleashed. I’ll have copies of the magazine (also available inside the store) and hope to see you there!


The Dushanes benefit concert: The popular local alternative country band is putting on a show to benefit the Bellwether Harbor animal shelter and training facility’s 10-year anniversary. The event is from 5:30 to 10 p.m. at Bellwether, 7645 West 48th St. in Fremont and also features an open house. Tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the gate. Food provided by Smokin’ Good Time BBQ. For tickets, call 231-924-9230.


Open house, run: As part of its 10-year anniversary celebration, Bellwether Harbor in Fremont will have an open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the 8th annual Run Forrest Run from noon to 2 p.m. There also is a kids fun run. Other events include microchipping, tours, dunk tank, petting zoo, crazy pet trick contest, bounce house, agility for dogs, games, demonstrations and food! Call 231-924-9230 or visit bellwetherharbor.org.


ASPCA/Rachael Ray $100K Challenge: Kent County Animal Shelter has a challenge to “save” 300 more animals during the three-month Challenge than last year. To check their progress and see pictures of all of the pets who found forever homes through the event, go to the official site, ICPawz.com or visit the IC Pawz Facebook page. Please note that IC Pawz is the official site of KCAS on Facebook. A Kent County Animal Shelter page has been created but is not part of the organization. During the challenge, dogs can be adopted for just $50 and cats for $5. Visit KCAS to find your new family member!

Hot off the press, and on the web: ‘Dogs Unleashed’ debuts

You may have noticed the image in the upper left corner of the Press Unleashed home page. Click it!

We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the first issue of Dogs Unleashed, a new bi-monthly publication that will be distributed around West Michigan. Hard copies of the publication — did I mention it’s FREE? — will be making their way through Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon counties beginning today.

You’ll find Dogs Unleashed at various places, from veterinarians’ offices to coffee shops to stores that feature pet products. A list of specific locations will be featured soon on this website and will grow as more magazines hit more distribution points. We plan to distribute 11,000 copies.

The publication came about through a lot of hard work from several people, including publisher/advertising rep Brad Uhl and art director Tom Dodson, whose design skills brought the magazine to life.

Emily Arents  Anderson, my technical guru with Press Unleashed, made it possible for the magazine to be seen by anyone on the web by painstakingly adding hyperlinks and posting the pages, all while in the middle of a move to a new home!

Several friends, many of whom are former co-workers in the newspaper business who suddenly found themselves out of work, contributed stories and photos to Dogs Unleashed. Other contributors are new friends/acquaintances who share a passion for dogs and wanted to be a part of the “lifestyle magazine for dog lovers.”

We’re able to bring you Dogs Unleashed free because it is advertiser supported. We are fortunate to have loyal businesses in our first edition and hope to build our advertising clientele. Please help support the advertisers in this issue by clicking on their ads, which will direct you to that company’s website.

And please help support Dogs Unleashed by picking up a print version and telling your friends and family about it.

We’d love to hear your comments, good or bad, and would love to print them in our next issue in November. Feel free to send your thoughts to mail@pressunleashed.com.

Enjoy the first issue!


Time to Unleash the news on a new and fun adventure

Update: Click here to find the podcast!

I chose to announce our latest venture, a new magazine called Dogs Unleashed, on Wednesday’s WGVU Morning Show with Shelley Irwin for a couple of reasons. I love public radio and am an NPR nerd, and what better place to share community news than on a community news show?

If you like The Morning Show with Shelley Irwin’s Facebook page, you know she always snaps a shot of her guests and posts! Yours truly today. (Photo/Shelley Irwin)

And what better person to talk to about a dog publication than Shelley Irwin, who has three Jack Russell terriers? I will admit, I’m partly responsible for one of them, Petey, ending up in her home. I sent Shelley his cute photo and bio from the Kent County Animal Shelter because I knew she was beginning to search for a new sibling for Ralphie, her JRT.

I didn’t know at the time she was headed to Indiana (that same weekend) to rescue yet another one, Leah. She fell in love with both Petey and Leah and opted for a full house with three Jacks.

So I thought it was fitting that I my friends, former co-workers at the Grand Rapids Press and the rest of West Michigan find out about Dogs Unleashed via WGVU. For those who missed the show, here’s a link to the podcast.

Now, about that magazine:

Dogs Unleashed is a free bimonthly publication. It will be distributed via hundreds of locations in Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon counties, and I’ll personally drive some copies to shelters and humane societies in neighboring counties.

Yes, I bribed Shelley Irwin with “swag,” then turned the camera on her.

We are billing it “A lifestyle magazine for dog lovers” because that’s what it is. It includes  advice, feature stories, columns, great photography, reader submitted photos, kids’ activities, marketplace items and more.

Tom Dodson did some amazing design work that I think readers will find appealing and entertaining. We wanted to have fun with this magazine, and I think it shows in both the design and the writing. Contributors include fellow journalists and photographers no longer with their newspapers who wanted to be a part of a new adventure and help out a friend and former colleague in the process.

You’ll start to see the publication popping up in several locations, from pet boutiques to coffee shops, the week of Aug. 27. Please take one, and grab one for your friends, too.

If you dig this website but don’t live in West Michigan (or if you’re my family from out of town), don’t worry. The publication will be available on Press Unleashed in an e-format.