New HSWM executive director Trudy Ender is all in when it comes to serving

A  bright red male cardinal perched himself on the sill outside Trudy Ender’s office window at Humane Society of West Michigan. He tapped his beak on the glass to get her attention.

“Sue Ann had a window feeder and the birds don’t realize the restaurant is closed right now,” Ender said. “I have to get one. I just have not had time to do anything here with my office. Other things are more important.”

New Executive Director Trudy Ender with Gravy Train, a kitten with respiratory problems she's fostering. (Mary Ullmer photo)

“Sue Ann” is Sue Ann Culp, the former occupant of the Executive Director’s office at HSWM. Culp resigned in early May, and Ender was promoted to the position after having served as Director of Operations at HSWM since February 2011.

Ender’s experience as Director of Operations has made for a smooth transition into the Executive Director role, bringing a bit of consistency to an organization that now has had five people, including an interim director,  in the top job since 2010. Continue reading

GR Police Department K-9 Unit to be honored at K-9 Cabaret

When the staff at the Humane Society of West Michigan was brainstorming to develop a new fundraiser, the conversation turned to dogs in the community who have helped make a difference.

The result is Thursday’s K-9 Cabaret, a first-time event at Centennial Country Club that will honor the Grand Rapids Police Department‘s K-9 Unit. K-9 Cabaret is from 6-9 p.m. and features food, a cash bar, a silent auction and a Chinese auction (raffle tickets are drawn for the various prizes). Auction items include autographed sports memorabilia, a Coach purse, a Brinkman 4-burner grill, U-M football tickets and “Be a Reporter for a Day” at Fox 17.

Grand Rapids Police Department K-9 handlers, and an on-duty dog from the K-9 unit, will be on hand at Thursday's K-9 Cabaret event. (Courtesy photo)

In addition, Daredevil Circus Co. will perform on the venue’s back patio overlooking the golf course. Adoptable dogs from HSWM also will be in attendance for those looking to add a furry family member.

Tickets for the event can be purchased for $40 in advance or $50 at the door. Those purchasing tickets online can enter the code “HSWM” and receive an additional $10 off. For more information, contact Nicole Cook, marketing and events coordinator at HSWM, at 616-791-8089 or by email at As of Tuesday, 270 tickets had been sold. The venue holds 400, Cook said.

The GRPD K-9 Unit will be on hand for the event and will receive an award from HSWM as well as a proclamation from Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell for its service to the community. An on-duty officer and dog also will attend.

GRPD currently has six K-9 teams, with duties ranging from explosives and drug detection to missing persons to suspect apprehension.

“The definitely will be present and, depending on the time — because they are on duty — they may give a demonstration,” said Cook. “I was with one of the teams yesterday and they were pretty busy throughout the day.”

Cook said HSWM plans to honor a different dog from West Michigan each year, whether it’s from a K-9 unit, the military or a therapy dog.

“It might even be just a regular dog in the community that did a great thing,” she said. “It’s great that our dogs are pets, but they’re also doing some amazing things and we want to honor that.”