Allegan Co. dogs among those available for adoption at Humane Society WM’s ‘Spring Fling’

The Humane Society of West Michigan is hosting a “Meijer Spring Fling” adoption and family fun event Saturday, and some of the small-breed dogs rescued from a recent Allegan County puppy mill raid will be among several animals up for adoption.

Layla is a 1-year-old retriever mix available for adoption at the Humane Society of West Michigan. She is a sweet dog who loves to be around people and who enjoys going on long walks. She would do best in a home with elementary-school age kids (or older). She had puppies but they have all been adopted -- now it is her turn to find a loving, forever home! (HSWM photo)

The open house is free to the public and runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at HSWM (3077 Wilson NW). In addition to the pet adoption drive, the event will feature seminars on dog bite prevention and obedience as well as demonstrations with Frisbee dogs and an appearance by Toula, an adopted dog from Plainwell who has appeared in movies and commercials.  Kids’ activities, like a balloon animal artist, face painting and crafts, also will be available.

Nicole Cook, marketing and events coordinator at HSWM, said at least five of the dogs rescued from Allegan County, and possibly more, will be eligible for adoption at Saturday’s event. The number of Shih Tzu mixes available on Saturday will depend on their progress in the evaluation process, Cook said.

HSWM took in 20 of the 350-plus dogs rescued by the Allegan County Animal Shelter. Many of the dogs required medical attention, vaccination and socialization, a process for which there is no set timetable.

“We’re figuring at least five will be ready, and we have the potential for a few more, but it will depend on how things go the next couple of days,” Cook said. “We’re excited because there will be a lot going on here Saturday and we hope a lot of people will be here not only to adopt the Shih Tzus, but the other dogs and cats we have who are waiting for new homes.”

Cook said the goal is to have 75 animals adopted at the event. She added that HSWM has held similar events in the past.

“But we really want a family focused festival,” she said. “We want to get more animals in homes, but we also want to educate. If people aren’t looking for a dog or cat, they can still come and enjoy the activities and learn from the different seminars we’re offering.”

Steve Mozer, owner of Ears and Tail K9 Solutions for Working Dogs, and his standard poodles, Suki and Syler, will be giving a Frisbee dog demonstration.

Also on hand for a demonstration will be Toula, a border collie adopted by Christine Mahaney who won PETCO’s “America’s Most Talented Pet”national contest in 2007 and appeared in the movie “Public Enemies,” starring Johnny Depp. Toula also appeared on “Live! with Regis and Kelly” during Top Dog Week in 2009 and currently has a spot alongside another of Mahaney’s dogs, Cole, in a Chevy Volt commercial, “Morning in Hamtramck.”

There will be two bite prevention seminars given by HSWM  education assistant Carlita Gonzalez.

“She’ll show examples of what you should and shouldn’t do it a dog approaches and other basic tips,” Cook said. “People are out and about with the warmer weather, and that means there are more dogs out and about, too.”

The schedule of events for Saturday:

  • 11 a.m.: Dog Bite Prevention Seminar by Carlita Gonzalez (HSWM Education Assistant)
  • 11:30 a.m.: Demonstration by Toula (celebrity dog from movies and TV)
  • 1 p.m.: Frisbee demonstration with Steve Mozer and his dogs Suki and Syler
  • 2 p.m.: Dog Bite Prevention Seminar by Carlita Gonzalez (HSWM Education Assistant)
  • 3 p.m.: Dog Obedience Seminar by Namiko Ota-Noveskey (HSWM Behavior Specialist)

For more information on the Spring Fling, including important details on how the adoption process works, click here.