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Archive for the ‘Community Involvement’ Category

Dear ICACS Volunteers and Staff: Thank You.

Friday, March 28th, 2014

icacs ha 4 Recently, the Ingham County Animal Control and Shelter (ICACS) bestowed an amazing honor on AnnaBelle’s Pet Station: Corporate Humanitarian of the Year for 2013. We are honored, proud, and humbled. There are many amazing people, businesses, and organizations who contribute so much to animal welfare in our community in countless ways.

icacs trisha dylanWe support events, promote the animals available for adoption, help raise money for the shelter, and offer free and discounted training services. But, each and every day, there are dozens of people at the shelter walking dogs, caring for puppies, kittens, bunnies and more, cleaning up after the animals, and giving their love to all the animals in the shelter and foster care. Every day, they are on the roller coaster of amazing success stories and heartbreaking cases of abuse and neglect. These are the people who give not just their time; they give their blood, sweat, tears, hearts and so much more to animals in need in our community.

icacs HAYes, we have made contributions to ICACS in many ways and love to do so. But, the honor of this award was even being included in the same room with all of those who are working in the trenches, saving lives, and making our community safer every day. We want the shelter staff and volunteers know how much we honor and respect their work. And without them, our small contributions would be meaningless.

Thank you shelter friends, for all you do. Much love, from the Team at AnnaBelle’s.


A Day in the Life of a Therapy Dog: My Beloved Therapy Dog Team Partner, Arrow

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Author: Dawn Archer Pizzoferrato, ABCDT

It’s Thursday morning and it starts off the same as any other morning. I feel my 58 lb fur-kid, Arrow, jump up on the end of the bed and wedge himself between my hubby, David and me. I don’t move as I relish these last moments of blissful sleep. But it doesn’t last long. I then hear a long, mournful sigh from Arrow indicating he’s waited long enough and it’s time to get up.  I reach over to my nightstand; grab my iPhone to check the time. Sure enough, It’s 6:30 sharp … as usual!

Thursday morning starts off the same as any other morning, except on this morning Arrow and I will visit a senior assisted living facility in our hometown just like we have almost every Thursday morning for the past year.

After potty time, morning walk and breakfast we begin our Therapy Dog routine. It starts with a nail trim. This is not Arrow’s favorite activity, but just like with most things, he tolerates it with a resolute calm. Then teeth brushing, which he likes even less, followed by his favorite thing: I get out the brush. I gently mist him all over (except his face) with a homemade concoction of water, lavender oil, and peppermint oil and then I brush him. I brush him forward and back, topside and underneath. He moves and sways in an attempt to get the brush to his favorite, itchy spot at the base of his tail. Once there, his right leg comes up and air-scratches with delight. Then the special “I am a Therapy Dog” tags are placed on the collar. And I put the “Therapy Dog International” I.D. with my name, Arrow’s name, picture of his beautiful face and #114583 around my neck and out the door we go!

The facility is only about a mile away, so if it’s nice outside, we walk there. As we approach the building, I let Arrow sniff around and relieve himself…now we are ready to begin!

As we enter the building, I make Arrow “sit” and  “wait” at each of the two doors we have to go through to get to the lobby.  This helps him get “calm” and focused.  You see, Arrow hasn’t always been the best-behaved dog in public. Some might say he was absolutely naughty. When I first got him, he was VERY leash reactive and would bark loudly and lunge at any new person or dog he saw. He was never aggressive, just very excited. But I never gave up on him. And I continued to take him out to public places, even though I knew he would embarrass me. I worked on his reactivity everywhere we went and eventually he learned if he could be quiet and calm, he would get both treats and the opportunity to greet the person or dog that was making him so excited.

When we enter the lobby, I wash Arrow’s feet with a wipe (this is to help keep him from tracking any “nasties” into the building) give him a drink of water (senior citizen facilities tend to be very warm, so I keep Arrow very hydrated while we are there), have him lie down and stay while I ready myself for the job ahead. I put a bottle of hand sanitizer in my pocket, silence my phone, put Arrow’s brush in my back pocket, release him from his stay and off we go.

Our first stop is usually to the program director’s office. We check in, let her know we’re here, and have her sign our “Record of Visitation” to document our visit that day. It can sometimes take us quite a while to reach our destination:  if any staff or visitors are in the lobby, they immediately acknowledge Arrow and want to great him. And he happily complies. He stands there while they pet his head, his face, and his back.  He often will whip his hind end around to them hoping beyond hope to get a scratch in his favorite spot (yep, the base of his tail) and funny thing is, it usually works.

Once we have checked in, we are free to go through the facility and see our regular favorite residents. We always stop along the way to greet staff or any wanting visitors. We occasionally come across someone not really interested in greeting Arrow. That’s why I ALWAYS ask if someone wants to meet my “therapy dog” and only approach those people who want to pet Arrow.

At each resident’s apartment, I knock on the door and slowly enter, introducing Arrow and myself. Everyone is always happy to see us. Each resident must sanitize their hands before and after petting Arrow so I pull out the hand sanitizer, they reach their hands out and I give them a little squirt. This is done to not only protect the residents, but also to protect Arrow and keep him from bringing any staph infections home with him.

We visit with all our regulars for about 10-15 minutes each. Mostly they pet him on the head as they sit in their lounge chairs. Some like to brush him and some want him to come into bed with them. In those cases, we put a clean sheet down on top of the bed and invite him to “come on up.” He jumps up and snuggles in beside them and lets them pet his head. They really like it when he does his little moan thing as he lies beside them. Sometimes he will lie on the carpeted floors and take a little snooze while we visit, but he is always at the ready to come over for a scratch if he hears his name called. We travel from room to room bringing joy with us and then leaving a little bit of happiness behind. After a little more than an hour we are back in the lobby where I offer Arrow another drink of water as I wipe off his feet one more time before we leave.

We are done and Arrow is tired, but content. We leave knowing that today was NOT like every other day. Today, this Thursday, we are leaving behind us many smiles and warm hearts.

Learn More About Dawn & How to Get Your Dog On Target!

Dawn is an Animal Behavior College Certified Dog Trainer, an experienced Nose Work Instructor, an AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator, and the owner of Arrow Dog Training.  Dawn is AnnaBelle’s resident clicker training specialist and she can help you Get Your Dog on Target!

Dawn uses scientifically proven “clicker training” and “free shaping” to teach your dog all the basics plus other fun, useful behaviors. She uses operant conditioning and positive reinforcement, without correction, to help you and your dog build a bond of trust and respect.

In addition to presenting Doggie Do Good clicker classes, Dawn also offers Nose Work and TDI® classes. Dawn’s group classes are taught at AnnaBelle’s on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Click here to see her complete class schedule!

What Happens To Animals When You Die?

Thursday, November 17th, 2011


Working in animal rescue, you come across more than your fair share of heart-wrenching stories and animals who have survived terrible conditions and yet still want nothing more than to be loved by everyone. When Voiceless-MI pulled Turner and his partner in crime Hooch from the animal shelter, the volunteers discovered that Turner had some health concerns and had to undergo surgery. Even with all the changes, this little guy’s spirit just could not be shaken.

It turns out that Turner and Hooch were brought into the shelter because their owners had passed away. I had a hard time imagining that the extended family of Turner and Hooch’s owners could decline the sweet faces of those dogs who had just lost their owners. But sometimes people simply do not have the ability to take in two dogs unexpectedly. So, without any other plans in place they were forced to take Turner and Hooch to the local animal shelter. Turner, with his adorable “smile” and spunky attitude, then became the Fido’s Future spokes-dog–a project started as a way to educate pet owners about actions they can take to plan for their pet’s future when faced with unfortunate events like unexpected owner hospitalization or even death.  Turner may have lost his family, been in a shelter and gone through surgery, but he has a second chance and he couldn’t be happier.

Willoughby When He Was Found

Shortly after we started Fido’s Future, we heard another story from a Good Samaritan about a dog found wandering alongside the road. The dog, named Willoughby, was placed in the same foster home where Turner and Hooch were living. Willoughby was dirty and his fur was matted and it was very clear that he had been wandering for quite a while on his own. Voiceless-MI took Willoughby to the veterinarian to be examined and they found that he had a micro-chip implanted. Everyone was excited to find Willoughby’s owners and return him to his home.

Willoughby After Some Pampering

Even though Willoughby’s owner had originally lived only a few towns over, he had died EIGHT months before the dog was found wandering in the road. The Voiceless-MI volunteers attempted to find out where Willoughby had been for those eight months, but their best guess was that he had been wandering around on his own during that time. Willoughby’s constant desire for attention, or even to just be touching a human, reinforced their fear that he had been alone for that entire eight months. Willoughby got a bath, his hair trimmed and eventually found a new forever home, as did Turner.

But not all pets get that lucky.

An estimated 400,000 pets per year must be re-homed because their owners pass away. Around 150,000 of those animals end up in local shelters after their owners pass away. For older pets, ending up in a shelter can be traumatic and they are often passed over for adoption by people seeking kittens and puppies. And the sad truth is that for many older pets, being brought to an animal shelter is likely a death sentence.

Most people would realize that an injured person has children at home that needs care, but not everyone thinks about whether the injured person has pets that are alone. We want to help pet owners think about these scenarios and put plans in place to protect their pets. We want to help keep dogs like Turner from ending up in an animal shelter when it can be avoided with a little planning.

Just In!

Hooch is mentioned as Turner’s partner in crime. They had the same owner and were pulled from the shelter together. When Hooch was brought into the rescue some x-rays showed a large mass in his abdomen and we were told that he would not survive much longer. His foster mom was amazing enough to offer him a place to live out his days. After a few months, Turner was adopted and Hooch did not seem to be getting any worse so they took him back to the vet. They did new x-rays and the mass was gone. The vet said it may have been a shadow or gas, but that he was healthy. But now he is looking for a home without Turner, and he is having a problem finding a forever home because he is a bit older. If you know someone who can adopt Hooch, please contact us.

About the Author

Guest writer Becki is a recent law school graduate who rescues animals in her free time. She is heading up Fido’s Future and hopes that if you are an animal lover you will show support by following the project on Facebook.