September – Puppy Mill Awareness Month

I’m sad that we have to talk about this as it is still a problem. I wish people would understand the problems of puppy mills and backyard breeders and the huge trauma they cause for these animals. When you “purchase” a puppy or kitten from a pet store (and it is not from a rescue)…. it is likely a puppy mill or backyard breeder where these animals are coming from.

Ralphie- formerly sold as a Jack Russell Terrier to a family out of state, was relinquished to a kill-shelter and was saved by rescue. He is not a JRT. He was from a puppy mill.

I want to clarify, I am not against breeders that are responsible about breeding and do their research. I do believe there are so many responsible people that breed dogs for agility, showing and for working dogs, and it is not fair to lump them into this group. I have photographed so many pure bred animals and the owners and handlers of these dogs do their research and make sure these pets are healthy and well and have the right temperament to carry on through generations. This is so very different from puppy mill breeding.

Puppy Mills are usually on large properties in secluded areas where not many people are able to view the operations. With that said, it is also possible they are right in the middle of a city as well, in the basements of homes. It is scary to think about the kind of life these animals endure in their first few months and the trauma they go through before being sold off.

Here are some stats to think about……. (estimations from Puppy Mill Project)

There are an estimated 10K puppy mills in operation throughout the United States

Over 2 Millions puppies are bred in puppy mills every year

Every year 1.2 Million dogs are euthanized in shelters.

Approximately 500+ pet stores are selling dogs from puppy mills.

PLEASE PLEASE! Do NOT buy a puppy from a pet store. Rescue a dog from a non-profit instead! If you want a pure bred dog, please do your research and ask for references! Make sure you’ve found a dog that was cared for and is happy & healthy!

There is a group called Bailing out Benji that is working to expose known puppy mills. They have a wealth of information on their website and have done the research. They have a map listing states and the number of puppy mills per state. If you click on your home state, you can see per county how many puppy mills are active as well. They also have a database of known puppy mills and list yearly the largest in operation. Before getting a dog/puppy, I urge you to check out their work and understand the information they are presenting. It could save so many lives.

A huge shout out to our friend Ralphie and his Human, Erica. They are both doing their part to educate on puppy mills and the importance of not purchasing a dog from a pet store. Ralphie has his own FB and Instagram…. Ralphie on Facebook Ralphie on Instagram Follow him to learn about puppy mills and also see his very cute photos!

Yay to Pooper Scoopers!

We are only about five months late…. but we wanted to get this post out anyway.

In April we were hoping to write about the amazing pooper scoopers we have out there that are taking the brunt of the task of taking care of our doggos poop…… but before we could get this out…. we had uh, what? Covid -19? Well, sh***

The first week of April is an Ode to Pooper Scoopers and is officially International Pooper Scoopers Week. We dropped the ball, or, er bag of poop on this one. So, we are here now…. showing some appreciation.

I will say, I know it has been a very crappy year likely for all of us, not just for our scoopers…. but I’m an optimist and always believe in making the best of everything. It will get better. I believe it will….

Well, Cristina does too. Cristina McKay is the owner/operator of Puppy Poo Patrol. Her business truly does its best at taking the Sh** out of your life. Literally.

If anyone can make scooping poop look hot, it is her. She is seriously legit. Before the Michigan Executive Order 2020-21 took place, I was able to follow Puppy Poo Patrol for a day on the job and see how they operate.

I’ve always known there are services and businesses that assist in picking up pet waste in residential yards, but I had no idea the detail that goes into the various aspects of the job. So much to think about.

When I showed up to shadow Cristina for a day on her job, I was prepared for the bucket and the poop and the picking up… but I had no idea how important it was to clean equipment between jobs and the idea to consider how you have to dispose of this waste as well.

After every yard, she wraps up every bag of waste and secures it then proceeds to hose down all her equipment with a bleach solution. This is so important for so many reasons. Did you know that worms can spread from yard to yard on soil or pet waste? In the off chance one of her client’s dogs had some kind of parasite or worm….. she has the potential to transfer that from one yard to another if she didn’t clean her equipment. She makes sure this doesn’t happen. Aside from parasites, there are other fecal spread diseases like giardia, parvovirus, campylobacter, salmonella, cryptosporidium. This stuff is nasty business. If she weren’t thoroughly cleaning her equipment like she does, contaminants could be spread around very quickly where other dogs can pick it up! I trust her process to keep it clean though.

You all know your dogs eat anything and everything in the yard?!?! If something was carried to a yard…. there is the potential for spread. Cristina is doing her best to make sure she isn’t aiding in the transfer of parasites. This is so much work! I am so impressed with her process and her professionalism. She even follows OSHA/MIOSHA guidelines on labeling for her bleach container. She has all her bases covered.

She even makes sure she secures the yards and takes photos of the latch on the fences to keep her clients at ease that she secured the area for safety for their pooch.

So, obviously I can’t say enough good things about her…. but don’t take my word for it. Puppy Poo Patrol was recently nominated in the “other” category for Click on Detroit, Vote for the Best PETS. WDIV Channel 4 does a great job at highlighting local business and does an especially great job at focusing on pet businesses.

Puppy Poo Patrol won 5th place. I think this is a little misleading though. She was actually 1st place in pooper scoopers as she was up against dog rescues, crematory services and photographers (yes, me) as well. If Puppy Poo Patrol has enough people standing by her to vote her that high in the polls, well…. she must be good.

So, my fellow pet loving friends…. tip your hat to this woman. She is amazing and does an incredibly professional job. If you would like more information about her services… visit the Puppy Poo Patrol website.

February – National Cat Health Month

Happy National Cat Health Month!

This is hugely important for so many reasons. Even though this month is designated as Cat Health Awareness….. any cat owner would argue that EVERYDAY is important and a priority for any cat parent to take care of the kittums health.

Let’s start with food…. While all cats are different, feeding cats and getting the right amount of food daily is extremely important. Cat obesity will not only lead to sluggishness in your cat, it could lead to diabetes and a whole gamut of diseases. It is important to regulate their food and keep them active and healthy. If you are concerned about your cat’s weight, it is always good policy to consult a veterinarian to find what an ideal weight would be for your kitty.

Keep your kitty active. To keep your cat at their ideal weight, you also want to keep them active. Cats love to play and it’s a great way to bond. You can invest in cat toys or make your own if you have the time. Uh, laser pointer or feather wands?!?! YES PLEASE!! Some cats love to chase a balled up piece of paper too— quick, easy and likely something you have already around the house. Get those kittums moving!

Cuddle your kitties. I think it’s a myth that cats are solitary creatures…. and don’t crave interaction with their humans? Right? Cats love a good cuddle (maybe not with strangers, uh, that would not be cool). Your cats want quality time with you! Spend time on the couch with them, snuggling up. Pet them. Rub their bellies. Stroke them between the ears. Enjoy their purring. Let them get comfy and watch all the FRIENDS reruns you can fit in… they’ll love it. I promise.

Keep their teeth healthy. This is where you will want to consult your veterinarian ….. ask them what you can feed to keep your cat’s teeth shiny and white. Your veterinarian may also recommend teeth cleaning as they get older. If teeth aren’t properly cared for, your cat will potentially lose his teeth, will have trouble eating and an infected tooth/teeth can lead to other health issues. I know you don’t want them. Keep an eye on your cats teeth and keep them well.

Get your cat vaccinated or have titer tests to see if vaccinations are necessary. Even indoor cats need to be vaccinated against disease. I’ve met folks that believe their cats do not need regular vet visits because their cats are indoors only…. this is NOT true. They need vaccinations and care just as much as cats that make it outdoors.

Keep your kitty safe from indoor toxins. There are so many plants that are harmful to your cat’s health. Research them and make certain you don’t have any toxic plants where your cat can come in contact with them. This can be life or death. I found this link of plants that are harmful for dogs and cats…. check it out!

Rescue Dog Sherman & the Torture of Heartworm+

Sherman is the sweetest Belgian Malinois I have ever met. He is currently in the care of American Belgian Malinois Rescue (ABMR) and will likely spend his remaining years in their care as well. The rescue found him in a shelter in Florida where he was likely found as a stray before he made his way to the pound. 

Before they could pull him from the shelter, they needed to secure a foster to take him in. Little did Sherman know, that would send him on a trip across several states and into a completely different climate. The foster available to take him was in Grand Ledge, MI….. but before he could make the trip, he needed to get well enough to travel. You see, Sherman is heartworm positive, he has a grade 4 heart murmur, an enlarged spleen and when he was pulled from the shelter he was ~20 pounds underweight. His initial Florida foster was able to put some weight on him and get him well enough to travel to his permanent foster in Michigan, but unfortunately they were unable to do any treatment for the heartworm. Sherman’s compounded health issues make him ineligible for heartworm treatment which also lowers his life expectancy.

Let’s talk about that for a minute…..There’s heartworm PREVENTATIVE and heartworm TREATMENT for those who don’t know. The heartworm preventative is something you give your dog monthly to prevent them from contracting heartworm. The actual treatment once they have heartworm is a different medicine and much more complicated.

The heartworm, once contracted, live primarily in the right side of the heart, and in the nearby large blood vessels. The female worms produce large numbers of immature heartworms which circulate in the blood.

The microfilaria (baby heartworms) are ingested by a mosquito biting an infected dog. After living in the mosquito, the microfilaria is injected into another dog when the mosquito feeds. It takes about six months for the heartworm to reach adulthood after infecting the dog. If you have your dog on heartworm preventative, it is very unlikely the microfilaria will survive and therefore preventing the disease.

If heartworm is not prevented, a great deal of damage can occur before any obvious signs of heartworm are even noticed. Delayed treatment may result in heart failure and/or permanent damage to the liver, lungs, and kidneys with eventual death.

Treatment for heartworm disease consists of a series of injections, based on the dogs weight, that will kill off the adult worms. The dog may be required to stay in a hospital for several days after the injections as reactions to the medication are extremely common and range in severity. Dogs receiving treatment also need to be kept on crate rest to prevent the dead worms from breaking off and causing heart attacks, strokes and could also float to the lungs and cause damage.

Back to Sherman, he is not able to receive the treatment for heartworm because he is already in bad shape and the actual treatment may be too much for him where he may not survive the injection. ABMR is taking the approach  to “prevent” new microfilaria by giving him monthly heartworm preventative in hopes it will prolong his life and stop the progression of heartworm disease.

Because of his severe health issues, Sherman will not be able to be adopted out and is considered a hospice foster dog in the care of the rescue. He will live out his senior life in the care of ABMR and his foster mom, Robin.

Since arriving in Michigan, Sherman’s foster noticed his fur was thin and equipped him with a couple of jackets and boots to keep him warm in the harsh Michigan winter climate. He’s gained another 10 pounds in Robin’s care and has gained considerable energy. She says he is sweet as sugar and perfectly content to just sleep most of the time on one of the five big dog beds that litter her floor. He is totally unassuming and doesn’t ask for much.

Along with his laundry list of ailments, his ears have a bunch of little hematomas in them and don’t stand up anymore so he doesn’t always look like a normal Malinois, but he doesn’t seem to care. Sherman also has arthritis.

Now that he is also on medications for arthritis, he is feeling so much better and is reported to even “trot” around the yard. The medications and a happy home have absolutely improved his quality of life.

This leads me to another side commentary…. Senior dogs. Whether they are dropped off at the shelter, left with rescues or just released into the world, there are some individuals, that instead of seeking better care for their senior dogs, they let them go- into the responsibilities of others. These dogs are most of the time perfectly wonderful dogs with nothing wrong other than their joints hurting them a little and their bodies moving a little slower. While these senior dogs could have more health issues than this, regardless of their health status, these animals need to find care within rescues and for these rescues it is usually allowing them to live out their lives in foster care.

For these rescues, this means sometimes extensive medical treatment and costs that they will not recoup without donations. These senior dogs are able to live their golden years in amazing care and the rescues foot the entire bill.

For those in Michigan, I want to highlight a couple rescues I know of that take in senior dogs with the anticipation they will not leave their care….

Silver Muzzle Cottage – rescue and hospice for homeless senior dogs.

3785 Rice Rd NW, Rapid City, MI 49676 (231) 264-8408


Joanie’s Place- Senior Dog Sanctuary Linden, MI (248) 982-8602

Donate: (Joanie’s place is supported through Stepping Stones)

Canine Companions Rescue Center

PO Box 1017, Clarkston, MI 48347 (248) 834-9419


As stated above, American Belgian Malinois Rescue will take senior Belgian Malinois dogs on long term hold as do many breed specific rescues. Please consider their group as well for donations.

American Belgian Malinois Rescue

PO Box 847 Stevens Point, WI 54481


January – National Walk your Dog Month

You Tell your kids or your spouse I’m going to take the dog for a “Trip around the block”, or an ”adventure in the neighborhood”. And then you spell out the word W-A-L-K versus saying it, but then you grab the leash and your dog knows. The tail wags, they’re automatically jumping up and down and they get excited. They love going for their stroll, especially with you. This is the highlight of their day! 

There is a lot more to walking your dog then getting them exercise too. A lot of people argue their dog can get enough exercise by just running around the backyard.  Well, as they get exercise on a walk around the block they also get a lot of stimulation. Dogs can get bored smelling the same things over and over again. They need enrichment, they need something different, and they need the new scenery to stimulate their brains. 

Let’s start with all of the physical benefits to walking your dog…… By taking them on a daily stroll, you are keeping them exercised and it helps keep their weight in control and their body conditioned. Walking them also keeps their joints moving and in better health and also benefits urinary track and digestive movement. By keeping them moving, you keep them moving longer in their lives. Dogs that are overweight and get less exercise tend to have more health issues and earlier in life as well. They get compounded the less and less they move. By walking them daily or at least 3-4 times per week, you are keeping their circulation moving more vigorously and it improves their heart health as well.

Along with all the physical benefit, there is so much more mental benefit to your pets as well. Dogs don’t like to be bored and if you give them something constructive to do, like take a stroll, they are much less likely to do something destructive (like chew the your $400 jimmy choo heels…. yes, that did happen). Walking exercises their mind as much as their body. Seeing neighborhood wildlife, other pets out with their owners, exploring new walking paths and finding that new spot to pee that you know is actually not new but seems new to them is all great mental stimulation. Walking the same space over and over in a fenced in area may leave your dogs to be bored or even cause anxiety them anxiety. Waking in new areas also releases excess energy and helps dogs sleep better at night. 

Okay, I know for some of you, you just don’t have time. You want to get your dog walked every day, but work, children, events ALL get in the way. I understand this completely. There are numerous dog walking services out there though that can help with this. There’s also a huge benefit to utilizing dog walkers during the day while you’re at work. A lot of times dog walking services will pick up your dog along with several others and walk them all together. This is a great advantage in socializing your dog especially if they normally stay home by themselves a lot. Socializing is also great in stimulating your dogs brain and keeping them less bored and less likely to chew your couch. 

For a listing of pet walkers/sitters in Michigan, visit the Michigan Canine Resource Guide©. You are able to access their online version at: 
Michigan Canine Resource Guide © Electronic Version/PDF

Pet sitters and walkers are listed on page 30-32. The Michigan Canine Resource Guide© is an excellent tool to find pet vendors in the state of Michigan, not just limited to pet sitting and walking.