BISSELL Pet Foundation, Humane Society of West Michigan team up to expand cattery

This cat and all the cats and kittens at HSWM are about to get a huge upgrade in their temporary living conditions.

This cat and all the cats and kittens at HSWM are about to get a huge upgrade in their temporary living conditions.

The cats and kittens in the care of Humane Society of West Michigan are about to get a huge upgrade on their digs.

If you’ve been to HSWM, you know the cattery there is filled with felines awaiting adoption into their forever home. Unfortunately, the cat population there has outgrown the current space (spay and neuter, people!) and cats are being housed in areas of the facility, not an ideal situation for the cats or the staff at HSWM.

Cathy Bissell, founder of the BISSELL Pet Foundation, scoops up the first shovel of dirt at HSWM where the cattery expansion will take place.

Cathy Bissell, founder of the BISSELL Pet Foundation, scoops up the first shovel of dirt at HSWM where the cattery expansion will take place.

Tuesday, HSWM held a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the BISSELL Cattery Expansion Project. Cathy Bissell, director of corporate affairs at BISSELL Inc. and founder of the BISSELL Pet Foundation, was on hand to celebrate the event.

She even dug out the first shovel of dirt where the expansion will take place, heels and all.

“If I can vacuum in these, I can dig dirt in these,” Bissell said, laughing, as she dug in her heels to break ground on the cattery.

Mark and Cathy Bissell created a matching gift challenge for the cattery expansion, calling for $25,000 to be raised by HSWM donations. So far, HSWM has raised $20,500, less than $5,000 away from the goal set by the Bissells.

When complete in the fall of 2014, the cattery expansion will create spacious and low-stress environments for the kittens and cats in HSWM’s care.

In addition to the BISSELL Cattery Expansion, funds raised through the campaign will:

  • Create a window in the cat holding area to provide natural light
  • Construct cat meet and greet rooms (currently, these rooms are right next to the dog kennels, where barking dogs can put stress on the cats meeting their potential adopters)
  • ·Purchase Crijo climbing structures for cat enrichment
  • Expand cat housing in the medical room
(left to right) HSWM's Andrew Aulgur, HSWM executive director Trudy Ender, BISSELL Pet Foundation's Cathy Bissell, Vander Kodde Construction's Jack Jolman and Walker Mayor Mark Huizenga were on hand for the cattery ground-breaking ceremony Tuesday.

(left to right) Architect Andrew Aulgur, HSWM executive director Trudy Ender, BISSELL Pet Foundation’s Cathy Bissell, Vander Kodde Construction’s Jack Jolman and Walker Mayor Mark Huizenga were on hand for the cattery ground-breaking ceremony Tuesday.

The campaign’s completion will provide cats and kittens with more space, which reduces stress and enriches their lives until they are adopted, HSWM said in a press release. The expansion also allows adopters to better interact with the cats and kittens in a more natural state as they will have room to climb, jump and play.

Also on hand for Tuesday’s groundbreaking were representatives from Vander Kodde Construction, which is providing the work on the expansion, Walker Mayor Mark Huizenga and board members, volunteers and staff from HSWM.

Several naming and donations opportunities are still available if you’d like to contribute to the fund and help match the Bissell’s generous offer. If you’re interested in helping out, get in touch with Tammy Hagedorn, HSWM Director of Development, at (616) 791-8138 or thagedorn@hswestmi.org.

Congratulations to HSWM Executive Director Trudy Ender and her staff on this wonderful news, and a big thank you, once again, to Cathy Bissell and the BISSELL Pet Foundation.

 

West Michigan happenings: Humane society up for ‘Grand’ prize via ArtPrize

ArtPrize isn’t the only thing going on in West Michigan these days, but there’s no question it’s the biggest event in town. Aside from the animal-related art (there are some cool exhibits for animal lovers to check out), one area animal advocacy group, the Humane Society of West Michigan, has its paws in the prize as well.

HSWM was selected as one of three non-profit organizations (Kids’ Food Basket and Friends of Grand Rapids Parks are the others) competing for proceeds netted from a $25,000 necklace, “The Grand,” entered as an ArtPrize exhibit.

The non-profit receiving the most online votes will receive 80 percent of the proceeds from the eBay auction of the necklace. The other two organizations will split the other 20 percent.

So far, HSWM is off to a spectacular start with 57 percent of the vote! To vote for HSWM or one of the other non-profits, go to grandrapidsgem.com and click … yes, it’s that easy! You can vote once per day until Oct. 8, so tell your friends.

For those who want to see the necklace in person, it’s on display at ArtPrize venue Craft Revival. Photos of the necklace, which include icons of the city of Grand Rapids, also accompany a story on MLive.com.

There are a few other events happening around west Michigan, so be sure to check them out, too.

SATURDAY

Harborfront Dog Wash: From 1 to 4 p.m. at the Harborfront Hospital for Animals parking lot, 807 W. Savidge, Spring Lake. In the event of inclement weather, the dog wash will move indoors! Also includes a bake sale. A suggested $10 donation will benefit Love Inc. and HHFA friends Jim and Pam Koop and Brenda Blahnik. All dogs get a bandana and a treat once they ‘re spiffed up!

SEPTEMBER 28

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

ONGOING

ASPCA/Rachael Ray $100K Challenge: Kent County Animal Shelter director Carly Luttmann reported a problem with their drive to “save” 300 more animals during the three-month Challenge than last year: KCAS keeps running out of adoptable kittens! It’s a great problem to have. Luttmann’s organization has adopted out 181 dogs and cats so far in the Challenge, which began Aug. 1 and runs through Oct. 31. That’s a 235 percent increase over the same period last year. They’ve “saved” a total of 377, including animals from KCAS transported to other facilities and adopted out as well as found animals returned to their owners via animal control officers. 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.

ArtPrize: There are a few exhibits that feature animals, including one I recently wrote about, Kent Ambler’s Running Dogs. Another exhibit worth checking out is Aimee Brumleve’s “Steps Toward Independence.” Brumleve used puppies from Paws with a Cause, the national organization headquartered here in Michigan that trains assistance dogs nationally for people with disabilities, to create the painting. Brumleve is the national breeding coordinator for PAWS, which encourages independence for people with disabilities by providing a lifetime of support with PAWS dogs.