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 will donate $1, $5 or $10 to the BISSELL Pet Foundation. And pet product purchases on  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 If you want more information about the BISSELL Pet Foundation, check out their site at

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 shelter. Visit to join the campaign!

Thanks to Rescue U, humane society animals get new digs

Ruby Ender, daughter of HSWM Executive Director Trudy Ender, shows off one of the tunnels on the new agility course at the facility. (Photos by Mary Ullmer)

We tend to joke that there are two seasons in Michigan, winter and construction. It’s clearly construction season, and not just on the roads.

The Humane Society of West Michigan announced recently it had received a $20,000 grant from Petfinder Foundation’s Rescue U for renovations. HSWM has had student volunteers from Grand Valley State University, Central Michigan University, Michigan State University, Grand Rapids Community College and Kettering University (in Flint) at its facility all week to perform the renovations.

A ramp and stairs with a platform (background) also are part of the agility course.

Among the upgrades and new additions to HSWM through the project: installation of recycled turf for the outdoor dog kennels (replacing pea gravel), an agility course for dogs in the fenced-in area behind the kennels and sound baffling in the kennel area that will significantly decrease the noise and create a better environment for the pets and visitors looking to adopt an animal.

Rescue U, started  by Bryna Donnelly in Pennsylvania, teamed with Groupon to raise funds for the dog agility course, which will give the dogs in HSWM’s a fun and stimulating exercise alternative.

The course includes donated tires, painted bright blue and used for agility tunnels, as well as a ramp treated with sand to reduce slippage, stairs with a platform, and weave poles.

Donnelly explained that many shelter dogs, like the three she adopted, aren’t accustomed to stairs and often are frightened of them when they get to their new home. Having shelter dogs work on going up and down stairs on the agility course will help relieve that fear. Likewise, volunteers walking the dogs through the weave poles will get them used to walking on a leash at a comfortable pace while also teaching them to heel.

These dogs will have new activities and more comfortable dog runs while they’re in the care of the humane society and awaiting their new forever home.

The gravel previously used in the dog runs, Donnelly said, was getting too hot for dogs’ pads during the summer months. The turf runs get warm, but not too hot, she said, and it’s more comfortable on the pads as well as the joints as dogs run through the area.

Rescue U completes the project today, which means HSWM animals can soon take advantage of their new digs.

If you’d like to learn more about Rescue U or make a donation to the organization, be sure to check out its website.

Cash for Crash’s

Meanwhile, Crash’s Landing will do a bit of construction of its own. While it didn’t win the $45,000 grand prize in the Erhardt Construction Building Our Community Project — that went to San Juan Diego Academy for structural repairs to its building — Crash’s was third runner-up and will receive a cash donation of $1,500.

Crash’s Landing, a cat rescue group that assists discarded, abused and neglected cats, had hoped to win the top prize to remodel a room at the shelter and turn it into a medical treatment room. Most of the cats (an estimated 85 percent) that Crash’s takes in are sick or injured, and the facility is in need of an on-site treatment room.

While the $1,500 it receives from Erhardt won’t cover the cost of a treatment room, Crash’s Landing no doubt appreciates the donation.


Details on adoption process released for seized puppy mill dogs in Allegan County

The Allegan Shelter Facebook page posted a message Friday afternoon with a link to a list  of additional shelters that have taken in dogs from a puppy mill/hoarding situation this week.

One of the small mixed breed dogs from the Allegan County seizure this week who soon will be available for adoption. (Allegan Shelter photo)

The link takes readers to an Allegan County Animal Shelter home page, which now is different from the shelter’s Petfinder page. Those seeking information on adopting one of the small breed dogs, or any other dog, from the Allegan shelter can fill out an online application and learn more about the process from the home page.

Allegan County’s page also refers potential adopters to the many shelters and rescue groups that took in dogs because of the limited capacity at Allegan. It also provides links to those groups. Nearly 320 dogs of mixed breeds, Shih Tzus mixed with Pomeranian, Papillon, Maltese and Yorkies, were transported to other temporary facilities.

The folks at Allegan County also cautioned people to be patient with the process:

Due to the limited capacity of the Allegan Animal Shelter, we have moved approximately 320 Shih Tzus to other shelters and private rescue groups both locally and through out Michigan. The following is a partial list of those organizations. At this time, you must contact them directly for information about adopting a Shih Tzu that was taken from our shelter. Please be patient. It is very likely that the majority of these organizations will impose a 10-day quarantine before adopting out these dogs to insure their health.

I’d love to hear from any Press Unleashed readers who happen to bring one of these dogs into a loving forever home. Feel free to check out my contact information and e-mail me.

It’s only the beginning for Allegan County dogs rescued from deplorable conditions

The first thing that came to my mind when I heard a blurb on television saying that more than 350 dogs had been seized from a property in Allegan County was, “They’re going to need a lot of help.”

Many of the small dogs seized and brought to the Allegan County Animal Shelter were covered in feces and filth, and cleanup began immediately. (WOOD TV8 photo)

Judging from the photos and video on WOOD-TV’s website, I was right. Fortunately, many West Michigan area veterinarians and volunteers lined up to aid in the initial intake of the dogs, most of which were Pomeranians and Shih Tzus. The dogs, some of which were pregnant, were covered in filth and feces. The task to clean them up began immediately, and they were given the proper medication. Understandably, they weren’t in the best of health upon arrival.

Now comes the hard part. The shelter has a capacity of 36 dogs and will need these rescued dogs to find homes, whether it be a temporary foster home or a “forever” home.

If you’re interested in fostering or adopting, check out the Allegan County Animal Shelter Facebook page or see the available animals at its Petfinder site.

The shelter also is seeking donations to help care for the dogs, from monetary donations to items such as blankets, bleach and canned dog food.

Anyone who can help is urged to call the shelter at 269.686.5112 and leave a voicemail. Keep in mind they’re overwhelmed with calls and might take a day or two to return the call.

If you wish to send a check to help out, the address is: Allegan County Animal Shelter, 2283 33rd Street, Allegan, MI, 49010. You also may donate online via Wishbone Pet Rescue, or through this PayItSquare link organized by the Allegan County Animal Shelter.