Senior dogs hold a special place in our hearts

RIP, Buddy

RIP, Buddy

When we decided to dedicate the March/April issue of Dogs Unleashed magazine to senior dogs, we knew it wouldn’t be easy. We sent out a call to senior dog owners to have portraits of their elderly canines shot for this special issue, and ended up with 27 dogs for our “Senior Portraits” gallery.

The owners braved the bitter January cold here in Michigan to attend two photo sessions, and we met some pretty special dogs, ranging in age from 6 to 16. As you’ll read in this issue, age is relative when it comes to labeling a dog “senior,” depending on the breed and size of the dog.

March April final cover
One of our favorites was Buddy, a 15-year-old mixed breed. Buddy had been rescued a few years ago from an abandoned home, where he survived for two weeks with no food or water. Nicole Notario-Risk, who adopted Buddy, is featured in a story about people who go out of their way to adopt senior dogs, giving them a loving home in their last years of life.

Sadly, Buddy passed away just a couple days ago. We’re so thankful to have met him and grateful to people like Nicole who find a way to open their hearts to make sure these special dogs have a few great years before the inevitable happens.

Be sure to pick up a copy of our special senior issue at Pet Supplies Plus stores in West Michigan, Dallas/Fort Worth, Birmingham, Ala., area and Appleton, Wis. It will be available in West Michigan later today and in our out-of-state stores early next week.

If you’d like the magazine delivered to your home, go to to subscribe.

When you glance through the pages and see the wonderful photography by Jennifer Waters, be sure to remember Buddy and know that he got what every dog deserves — although for him it came later in life — a home filled with love.

Zeus shows why he’s king of the dog world

Zeus posed for several pictures with the children at HSWM’s mini Kids Camp.

There’s a reason we labeled the dog featured on the cover of the latest edition of Dogs Unleashed magazine “The Greatest Dane.”

Not only is Zeus, the Great Dane from Otsego, Mich., the current Guinness Book of Records world’s tallest dog, he also is a GREAT dog. He showed just how great he is at the Humane Society of West Michigan‘s winter camp, Kids & Paws, on Thursday.

Zeus and his owner, Kevin Doorlag, spent a couple of hours at the camp, running around HSWM’s training room and entertaining the 34 children in attendance. He was so impressive that several adults, staff and volunteers at HSWM, made it a point to join in and get a look at the colossal dog. Jennifer Self-Aulgur, HSWM’s humane education coordinator who puts on the camp, was kind enough to invite me to meet Zeus as well.

Zeus, the world’s tallest dog, is featured in the latest issue of Dogs Unleashed magazine.

It truly was a treat to see the 163-pound dog make his way around the room and pose for pictures with the children and adults. Doorlag and his daughter, Miranda, answered questions from the kids and had Zeus “perform” by standing on his hind legs to show off his 7-foot-4 height in that position. They also riled him up so he’d bark, something the gentle giant thankfully doesn’t do on a regular basis.

If you’d like to read more about Zeus, be sure to pick up the latest edition of Dogs Unleashed, currently being distributed to several locations (including HSWM, the Kent County Animal Shelter and Grand Rapids area Pet Supplies Plus stores) in Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon counties.

You can also check out the online version by clicking here and you can see outtakes from the magazine’s photo shoot by Grumpy Pups Pet Photography owner Jennifer Waters on her blog by clicking here.

Beginning with the March/April edition, Dogs Unleashed will be available via subscription, so you can have it mailed directly to your home for a very affordable rate. Stay tuned in the next couple of months for information and details on subscribing.

Meanwhile, enjoy this video feature of Zeus from the folks at Guinness!



Muskegon-based company acquires six area Pet Supplies Plus stores

A West Michigan group announced Tuesday it has purchased five Pet Supplies Plus stores in Grand Rapids and one in Holland.

U.S. Retail, Inc., an ownership group led by West Michigan businessmen Steve Adams, Chad Bush and Aaron Young, finalized the deal Monday night, according to a news release. U.S. Retail is based in Muskegon.

The Grand Rapids-area Pet Supplies Plus stores purchased by the group are located at 3593 Alpine NW, 6159 Kalamazoo SE, 3110 28th SE, 2033 28th SW (Wyoming) and 4920 Wilson SW (Grandville). In addition, the Holland store at 12579 Felch Road now is owned by Adams’ company.

“We are excited to add to our company the West Michigan Pet Supplies Plus stores,” Adams, CEO of U.S. Retail, said in the news release. “We believe that we will be able to successfully grow these stores as we invest in expertise and customer engagement training that has defined our culture in our other stores around the country.”

U.S. Retail now operates 20 Pet Supplies Plus stores nationwide and plans to open two new stores in the Dallas/Fort Worth area next year, the release said. The group began operations with its Pet Supplies Plus store in Appleton, Wis., in 1996.

The latest acquisition makes U.S. Retail the largest franchisee in the Livonia-based Pet Supplies Plus company, with approximately 400 employees. Pet Supplies Plus has 260 stores across the U.S.

Now’s the purrfect time for your pet’s photo with Santa

I love getting Christmas cards from friends that include photos of the family, especially if the family members have four legs and wear fur.

Now’s the time to get your pet’s photo taken with Santa in time to send out your holiday cards. A few West Michigan events are being held and will benefit local animal welfare organizations.

If you’re planning to use your family pets as models for your Christmas cards this year, the time is now to get those photos taken. West Michigan businesses are hosting pet photos with Santa events in the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, the Future Voices Kids Club is putting on a pet photos with Santa event at Must Love Dogs Boutique & Spa at 211 Washington in downtown Grand Haven. Future Voices Kids Club was started by Jodi Jarvis-Therrian (of Memory Stones by Jodi) and meets monthly in Muskegon.

The club educates kids on all things pets, including animal welfare and responsible pet ownership, brings in guest speakers and also conducts fund-raisers to help pets in West Michigan.

Wednesday’s photos with “the real” Santa takes place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Photos are just $5 for a picture to be emailed or $10 for an emailed photo and a 5×7 to be delivered to Must Love Dogs for pickup. If you bring a bag of pet food to donate, emailed photos are free, and an emailed photo and 5×7 will cost just $5. Jarvis-Therrian promises photos will arrive in plenty of time to use for Christmas cards.

Proceeds for the event benefit Pay It Forward Outreach‘s low-income pet clinic, Black Cat low income pet food pantry and Best Pal Animal rescue center.

Both dogs and cats are welcome to the event. Cats should be in carriers and brought to Must Love Dogs’ back door to avoid the stress of hanging out with the dogs!

If you can’t make Wednesday’s photo opportunity in Grand Haven, Shampoochie Pet Grooming and Boutique in Kentwood (4445-B Breton Road SE) is hosting pet photos with Santa on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

There is no cost for Saturday’s event, but donations are appreciated and will benefit Crash’s Landing and Big Sid’s Sanctuary. Aside from monetary donations, people may donate supplies in need, including: paper towels, 9 Lives or Friskies canned food, Temptations treats, baby wipes, tall kitchen garbage bags, laundry soap and bleach.

Crash’s Landing and Big Sid’s Sanctuary also has pet photos with Santa events scheduled at a couple Pet Supplies Plus locations on Dec. 8 (at 4920 Wilson Ave. store) and 3110 28th Street (near Woodland Mall) on Dec. 9 from noon to 3 p.m. A $5 donation is suggested for each of those.

So get your dog or cat (or maybe even your iguana) spruced up in their reindeer antlers and send your family and friends a holiday card sure to make them howl with laughter. In the process, you’ll be supporting local animal welfare organizations.