Tuesday, December 4, 2012


“He passed! Judy, he passed”. Those were the words that were ringing down the hallway when I returned to pick Benjamin up on exam day. His 16 year old trainer, Caprise, was beside herself with joy. My Planned Pethood foster dog, Benny, participated in the “Teacher’s Pet Program” which is run by the Toledo PET Bull Project. Ben and Caprise worked together for many weeks to make him eligible to take a test to become a “Canine Good Citizen” (CGC). Benny was the ideal candidate for this program and proved more than one casual observer wrong that he did not have the right stuff. If any dog needed to add good citizen behind his name, it was this whirlwind of energy.

Before we describe the program, let’s take a brief journey through my custody of Benjamin.  Ben is a schnoodle, a poodle and schnauzer mix, now a big boy at nearly 2 years old and 18 lbs. and he is nothing short of adorable. He was a death row dog (DRD) at the pound nearly a year ago. How hard could it be to foster a small terrier who had already been returned once to the dog warden? Besides, he was so little and charming, no way would he be around for long. Somebody should have told me to fasten my seatbelt. I should have known something was up when the first thing he did was gather up every toy and bone in the house and put them in HIS crate. With love in my heart, when asked his breed, I would respond without hesitation “poodle/terrorist”.

Benny’s antics could fill a decent sized children’s book but here are a few stand outs. He went to bunk up with PPI volunteer Lynn while we went on vacation. I was concerned about him being intimidated by their two giant male labs. I was not home from the drop for more than a minute when the phone rang. Ben had jumped into the bath tub with teenager Katelynn, grabbed her scrubby, and proceeded to bound throughout the house full speed ahead. On our return, he was playing tug of war with one of the big guys with Lynn’s sock. On another occasion, as I was rushing out of the house for a meeting, Benny knew he would be heading for his crate. So he jumped up on the back of the couch, looked me in the eyes, lifted his leg and peed on the curtain. And, speaking of peeing, as he was meeting a wonderful potential forever family at an adoption event, he once again lifted his leg but this time peed all over MY leg. I saw the exchange of glances between the couple and I knew we would never hear from them again.

This was the formidable challenge young Caprise stepped into at the Teacher’s Pet Program. She has wonderful energy and the patience of a saint. The program pairs at-risk youth with hard to adopt dogs (Planned Pethood fosters) for a workshop in dog training for the benefit of both youth and dog. “Students learn the basics of canine communication, dog body language, animal handling, identifying stress in dogs, dog breeds, owner responsibility, dog aggression, greetings, spay and neuter, and dog fighting”. It seemed like a match made in heaven. Benny loved Caprise and Caprise loved Benny. She could get him to do things I thought were impossible.

And in the end, Caprise and Benny prevailed. Although not valedictorian, he now has a diploma as a “Canine Good Citizen”. I have to chuckle to myself as I write this, who would have ever thought? There are 10 behaviors tested including: “Sit, down, and stay”, “Coming when called (from 10 ft. away!)”, “Reaction to another dog (handlers shake hands, then move on and the dogs must leave each other alone)”, and many more. Caprise said her ally toward success was lots of practice and lots of patience. When I asked her what she liked best about the program, she gave me a one word answer, “Benny”.  Jay Barman from “Bingo Dog Training” did the heavy lifting as the kids’ and dogs’ instructor but he said he found it very rewarding.

A final note (I hope) about Benjamin. One of the things I have to be thankful for this holiday season is that he has been adopted for the third time by an amazing couple, Pat and Jim and their terrier, Jonny. You know they say the third time is a charm. They were duly impressed when they found out that he had a diploma. And boy, it sure is quiet around here without him.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


It was completely and totally an accident. My first dog as an adult was the perfect dog for me, or really, for anyone. Adding a new dog or cat, puppy or kitten, is a major step for any family. Finding exactly the right new feline or canine companion for you can take some work. A million questions begin to run through your mind: breed, age, gender, activity level, personality, background, and more and more. Many people don’t even consider rescue, they just immediately seek out a breeder. It is too bad that people don’t realize that rescues like Planned Pethood can provide the ideal partner for almost everyone. I always tell people, if you don’t see the right dog on the website today, wait a couple of weeks and your lifelong mate will show up.

I was a clueless rookie when I rescued my first dog, Lucy, a stunningly beautiful five year old yellow lab. The only factor I considered was getting her out of the hellhole she was calling home. She belonged to a very troubled family who lived next door to my sister. She was kept in a confined area with absolutely no shelter in the snow or blistering heat. She was given water only sporadically. It is very cruel to isolate any dog but Lu was the most social dog I have ever met and this was tantamount to torture. My sister, Janet, used to go to the vet to get meds and treat her nasty ear infections over the fence. Thankfully for Lucy, the whole neighborhood took her under their wing. After way too long of an awful existence, we finally convinced the owners to surrender her to us. The man actually had the nerve to ask me to pay him $500 because that was what he paid the breeder. If I spent $500 on anything, even an inanimate object, I would at least take care of it.

So overnight I was a proud dog owner. Luckily for me, Lucy trained me. Our first order of business was to introduce the new dog to the cats and life in a house. I needn’t have worried. The first time Lucy entered the house and spied the cats, she dropped down and did a belly crawl over to meet them on their level. It was the damnedest thing I had ever seen. Her previous landlord told me she did not like to be in the house. He couldn’t have been more wrong. From day one, she slept in bed with me and made herself at home. She was a true ambassadog. She loved every living creature she ever met. Too bad they don’t hire dogs as greeters at Meijer, she would have fit the bill.

Rescue is in my blood so it wasn’t long before a tiny kitten arrived. Lucille was never spayed until she came to me but she, by some miracle, never had pups. But she became a mom to little Joan. She snuggled, cleaned, and nurtured her. They were inseparable until the day Lu died. Lucy greeted me every day at the door with a toy in her mouth and a tail wagging so hard it could clear a table in one sweep. When she became ill, and we had to let Lucy Lu go, it ripped my heart out. No one could ever replace this perfect dog.

Now let’s examine the other side of the coin, adopting the exact wrong dog. A dear friend and colleague went the shelter route to find her new companion. Ruth is a school librarian who was on the verge of retirement. We affectionately call her Ruthless, all 4’8” of her. She was searching for a small dog who would fit into her condo lifestyle in which fences are forbidden. She ended up adopting a puppy who is a hunting breed, probably a pointer. Ruth was going to name her “Friend” but cooler heads prevailed and the puppy became Rosie. I told Ruth her neighbors would think she had become a Quaker hearing her hollering, "Friend, Friend" out her back door. This baby whirlwind of terror was THE most hyperactive youngster I have ever seen.

There are a million Ruth and Rosie stories. One day Ruth came to work and looked like she was a victim of severe domestic abuse. Her eyes were blackened and she had scrapes and scratches all over. Rosie had pulled her over while on a walk. To Ruth’s credit, she never gave up on her unruly pup. As a matter of fact, the wild child had to repeat her obedience classes (to raise her GPA according to Ruthless). The two R’s are still a happy couple. After discovering Doggie Daycare and a loving dog walker, Miss Rosalita is a happy, healthy 60 pounder hanging out on the condo scene with the senior citizens and their miniature pets.

If you are searching for your perfect pet, Planned Pethood does a super job supplying all the pertinent information a prospective adopter needs. The beauty of the program allows the foster families to get to know the dog or cat in a home setting including the good, the bad, and the ugly. You will know in advance if they are housebroken, good with other dogs and cats and kids, their activity level, and so many other factors. Plus they are all spayed and neutered, vaccinated and in proper good health.

A few people complain about the process being too cumbersome including a lengthy application, a vet check, and a home visit. The organization tries to do everything possible to make your match perfect. Even with all of this, pets do get returned for a variety of reasons. However, not to fear for their safety, any dog or cat goes back into foster care until they can be adopted again. Finally, if Ruth decides she wants to find a companion for Rosie, she has promised me that she will begin her search with Planned Pethood and will use me as her guide.

--Judy S

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Hyperactive/Noisy/Annoying. I suppose you are thinking that must be the characteristics of my new foster dog or kitten. Even though it may fit the bill for some dogs and kitties too, it is an apt description of MOST teenage boys. And even though I probably realized there was more to male adolescents, a recent rescue brought it home with a bang. This story is about a new high schooler with compassion and a heart of gold.  People in the rescue business need not fear for the future because these kids are stepping up in a big way already.

It was the last few days of freedom before his freshman year of high school began. It was one of those jungle-like 95 degree days and Chase Henderman was hanging out with his buddies in the neighborhood. Then he spotted something white at the base of a telephone pole near  one of the busiest intersections in the city. When he investigated further, he discovered it was a kitten and it appeared to be dead. But Chase noticed the poor creature was still breathing but it was very shallow. He called his mom, Lynn, a cat foster for Planned Pethood, AS HE WAS RIDING HIS BIKE TRANSPORTING THE KITTEN IN HIS ARMS TO THE VET!!!
In the meantime, Lynn called the vet alerting them to the incoming kitten. Her best friend in rescue, Nancy, happened to be there when they took the call. She heard, “kitten” “hit by a car” and thought "I have to get the heck out of here", not knowing it was Chase and Lynn rushing to save a life. Fate and the gods were on the side of little Ringer that day. Chase named him from the dire circumstances under which the little guy was discovered. Maybe somebody who works for a phone company should adopt him as a mascot?
Well, you would think that was the end of Ringer’s near death experiences and he lived happily ever after. Not yet, he had only used up one of his nine lives. Ringer went into the Henderman home as a foster and seemed happy and healthy and playful. But after a couple of weeks, he became lethargic and refused to eat or drink. Lynn rushed him to the emergency vet (on a holiday weekend of course). He was diagnosed with hemobartonellosis, a virus  spread by infected fleas affecting the red blood cells. A normal count is 30 but Ringer’s was at 8. Once again the little dude was on the brink of death and once again his grit and zest for life pulled him through. Ringer is recuperating before he goes back up for adoption and finds his forever family once and for all.
And Chase is not the only kid involved in rescue. I am proud to say my own family includes an almost teenage kitty savior. We figure it must be in the DNA (my sister in law volunteered at the ASPCA in San Francisco and brought home the most unadoptable dog, Crystal, who became their new baby’s nanny). My niece Samantha found a 4 week old kitten abandoned in her neighborhood. When she took him home, my brother Jimmy, not being a cat person, explained they would have to find a rescue organization to take the tiny black ball of fur. Samantha was having none of it. The kid is a miracle worker. Not only did they keep the kitty, she converted my brother into a cat fan. They now have four cats, all rescued, and all spayed and neutered. But what a cat Chance turned out to be! He was remarkable in many ways but my favorite was that he used the toilet instead of a litter box. My sister in law Pam awoke one night and heard someone using the bathroom. Jimmy and Sam were sleeping so she got up to investigate and the tinkling in the toilet she heard came from Chance!  Samantha paid me the highest of compliments when asked by her dad what she wanted to do when she grew up. She said I want to rescue animals like Aunt Judy.
In a perfect world, there will be no need for animal rescues like Planned Pethood  in future generations. But being realistic and perhaps a bit cynical, it appears the need will persist for quite a long time to come. The good news is we have reinforcements who are, even now, stepping up to do the right thing. Having taught high school kids for 30 years, I recognize the importance animals play in their lives. There have been students over the years who shut out any adult, period. But they would magically open up if you began to engage them in a conversation about their pets. Before you know it, I would have a half dozen of the shyest kids in the class, gathered around my desk, all talking at once, all sharing stories of their family pets. Every kid should have the opportunity to enjoy the love and companionship of a dog or a cat. And, thumbs up to all of our junior partners in rescue out there especially Chase and Samantha. 

Want to Help?  Send us an email at pets@plannedpethood.org.  Long-term, short-term, whatever suits your calendar.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Book Fair and Bake Sale
Save your books, magazines, sturdy boxes and paper bags for Planned Pethood's Book Fair at the 577 Foundation.

The book center will be operated by Planned Pethood from January 1, 2013 to March 31, 2013. Through our volunteer efforts, we will receive 50% of the monies donated & 50% is contributed to Read For Literacy which helps hundreds of people learn to read.     
We cannot accept: damaged/musty smelling books, Encyclopedias/Reference books, Text books, Readers Digest Novels & Magazines, National Geographic Magazines, Magazines over a year old, Books on tape, Albums & Movies Catalogs.

Hold onto your books until March 2013.  We will announce where and when you can drop off your books, etc as we get closer to the date. 

Can you  . . . Help During The Sale?
We need 7 people to work one day a week for the 13 weeks we are in charge of the Book Center.  For example, Person A will work only 13 days during this 3 month period, on every Monday.  Person B will work the 13 Tuesdays in that 3 month period.  So on and so forth.  The volunteers tidy up the area, reshelf books, sweep the floor and organize donations as they come in.  It takes about an hour.  You can do your one hour anytime you want during the 16 hour day.  Bring your family or enjoy the quiet, alone time. 

If you haven't heard of the 577 Foundation or explored their property, you really are missing out on a hidden jewel in our community.

Contact ed@plannedpethood.org if you can help.  That's E.D. as in Executive Director, not Edward.     
Family Photos

Looking for a family photo to share over the holidays?  

Select from one of our numerous settings like a fireplace, Christmas tree, front porch steps, piano, etc; for your Holiday greetings or to chronicle another year of family bliss. Bring the pets. You, the kids (two legged and four legged) and the rest of the family can be photographed in our of the elegant settings at the Mansion View Bed & Breakfast in Historic Old West End Toledo.

$8 for your first grouping. $5 for each new grouping thereafter. For instance: Mom, Dad the kids, Spot and Fluffy is grouping one for $8. Then one of just the kids for $5.   Then one with the kids, Spot and Fluffy for $5. So on and so forth.

Your photos will be placed on a Flicker account online for you to print off the photos you like and however many you want, from the comfort of your own home.

November 3 & 4, November 10 & 11, November 17 & 18 and  November 24.  
By Appointment only.  Make your appointment here:  http://signupgenius.com/go/photos
$20 Worth Of Coupons 
Make money for Planned Pethood + Save money for your family = what a deal!

We will be selling coupon books for $5 to Elder-Beerman.  These books have $20 worth of coupons for you to use.  Basically, Elder-Beerman is giving you $15.  100% of the $5 will go to Planned Pethood. 

Plus, if we are one of the top coupon book sellers, we will get a percentage of the total merchandise sold at the registers during a special weekend event.  We will announce the date of this event, once we know it. 

Coupon books are good during October and November, just in time for holiday gift purchases.  We will start selling the coupon books in the next few weeks.  If interested, please contact Sherry at 419.386.1372 or 419.345.8851.

Want to help us sell books at your work, school, church, neighbors, etc?  Call Sherry and she will get you what you need.  Big thank you to the Maumee Lady Elks for putting this together for Planned Pethood, Inc.  The dogs and cats thank you.
Volunteers Needed
How do we make this organization work?  Volunteers!  We need your help. 
  • Adoption events
  • Dog Washes
  • Rummage Sale
  • Transport animals
  • Transport paperwork
  • Play Dates
  • Bake Sale
  • Book Center
Bakers For Our Bake Sale Needed
*  Create baked goods to sell
*  Be on hand to sell items
*  Set up and take down our area

WHEN: Saturday, 9.22.12 during the Dog Days of September Event
*  We might set up shifts for set up and take down.
* Must be done no later than Thursday, September 20
* Contact ed@plannedpethood.org to make drop off arrangements. 
* 1407 Key Street, Maumee  
*  Yes, there are rules
*  We have a method to sell the most and make the most money, donors are asked to follow our guidelines.
*  We also have rules we have to follow per the Department of Health.
*  We will email the rules to those who sign up to help. 
*  It is very important when signing up that you identify what you will be donating.  This is the only way we can avoid duplication.   
Sign up here:  http://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B0F44AAA9292-dogdays
Changes In The PPI Board
We thank Carol Dunn for her years of service as our Board President.  She remains on the Board.  As her last term expired in June, she stepped down as President. 
Planned Pethood welcomes new board members: 
Paul Hubbard
Glacial Energy

Michelle Wasylecki
Financial Coach
United North

Theresa Grimes
Early Intervention Specialist
Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities
Your United Way Donation
-- can go to PPI 
Many businesses offer United Way donations through Payroll Deductions.  The United Way campaign has begun and will wrap up around the end of November.  When you get your form to make a donation to the United Way of Greater Toledo, you can have 100% of those funds got directly to Planned Pethood. 

In the section entitled "Payroll Deduction" under numbers 1 through 4,there is a line where you can write in Planned Pethood.  You can see an example of the form below.  In the past we use a code to denote PPI.  But now, all you have to do is write in our name. 

Reach us at:
PO Box 350908
Toledo, Ohio 43635

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Peek Inside The Nursing Home

The resume reads: This dog is housebroken, does not tear anything up, is fine to be left home uncrated, is well mannered, likes kids, and is loving and happy. Wow, sign me up. Where can I find a dog like that? I’m sure people will be beating down my door to adopt a foster dog like that! Wrong, wrong, wrong. This is the description of soooo many senior dogs I have fostered for Planned Pethood. And, unbelievably, they linger in foster care. Before I commit to a senior, I must come to the realization that this dog may spend the remainder of their lives without a forever home and remain with me. For the reasons listed above, I love fostering seniors. And, my home has been nicknamed by the other volunteers “The Nursing Home” due to my affinity for the canine elderly.
It is nearly impossible to limit spinning my stories of the dog silver set to just a couple of characters, or this blog might go on forever. Just Bucky’s story alone could fill a decent sized children’s book. But I will try to give the short version (no mean task for this author). Buck was an elderly Bagel (Basset/Beagle) who was 10 or 12 when he was surrendered by his owner. You know, like giving Grandpa away. His name has actually been Buddy but there were 3 other Buddies in the program at the time. Buck was utterly sad, confused, and depressed. No matter what I would do, he would not wag his tail. Then, one day while walking at the park, we met Lynda with her beagle Juliet. One thing led to another, as conversations go among dog walkers, and I told her Bucky was a foster dog. She spoke to him and I’ll be damned if he didn’t wag his tail for her. We didn’t realize it at the time but it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

The next thing you know, an application arrived. One question and answer stood out, “Why do you want to adopt this dog?” Lynda responded, “I want him to be happy and content for the rest of his life”.  She provided a beagle paradise for the old dude. She made him stairs so he could rest on the couch when his arthritis prevented him from jumping up. The three of them took leisurely walks daily so Buck could sniff and pee every few feet. They shared an unmatchable love. He lived for two more years succumbing to cancer at 14. I accompanied Lynda when it was time to put him down and he left us all heartbroken but better people for having known him.
Big John was a massive boxer who was incredibly regal in his bearing. I actually overheard someone say “you mean they took in a nine year old boxer?” Planned Pethood does not discriminate by age, breed, or disabilities when they take a dog into the program. This was my first boxer experience and I do mean experience. Boxer people are like a cult and they speak boxer, their own language which was pretty confusing for someone like myself who was uninitiated. Well, Johnny was so impressive, that he was like a secret handshake at the park. The boxer people were attracted to him like a magnet.
He really wasn’t feeling very well at first. He was misdiagnosed initially but we finally realized he had a thyroid condition which was treated with a pill once a day in his favorite snack, peanut butter. Then his coat came in smooth and silky and he just held court throughout the neighborhood. His strut down the street was the ultimate definition of cool. He was about to be adopted by one of those wonderful boxer people, when we got some bad news. The big guy was struck down by cancer. Planned Pethood chose the best course of treatment for him, and he lived another happy, pain free eight months with us. It was tough to let him go. To honor Big John and never let him leave from my heart, I adopted him posthumously.
We cannot conclude this senior edition without adding some girl power. You already know Nina, returned at 10, now adopted at 11 to a family with 2 small children who love her (“Just Throw It Away” blog). So let me introduce you to Levine too. She was a nine to ten-ish yellow lab snagged from death row at the pound. Everyone in the universe would have foster dogs if they were all like Levine. She is beautiful both inside and out. She is sweet, gentle, and loving. She had a few health issues as well but came through with flying colors to be adopted by the most incredible family. Their other dog, Bailey, has gone blind and Levine n/k/a Emmy has become her seeing eye dog. Both dogs became fast friends at the initial meeting. Bailey can no longer see but she can smell so Emmy takes the lead on walks followed by her BFF. She doesn’t need to use her eyes anymore. And I must admit, I misled Tori, the human kid in the family. I promised her Emmy would love to sleep w/her. But, to date, she sleeps with Bailey.

Puppies are definitely not right for everyone. Potty training, chewing, and hyperactivity, I will leave to someone else. I know I will always adopt adults into my pack. It is a win/win situation. I’m sure many people have never even considered adding a senior citizen to their family. The oldsters will not be around as long but the time they have with you will be golden. People crave vintage cars and clothes, why not dogs?  The old dogs can pack a lot of love and companionship into those last few years. Thanks for the memories to Bucky, D-Dog (Dallas), Red, and Big John.

-- Judy S.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


It was a warm summer night and I was D & D (desperate and dateless) that particular Saturday night. So I decided to take the dogs for a bit of a stroll around the neighborhood. It seems like an innocent enough pastime. But nothing is ever simple or easy in my world. As we walked, we encountered a little boy playing with some kittens, who were running free. I asked the kid to go get his mother.  Instead nana emerged after a few minutes. Her home was adjacent to a park and first the mama cat had shown up, then one baby, then another, then finally three. The woman was at wit’s end. Luckily, the kittens were socialized and friendly therefore they were adoptable so I returned with a carrier and whisked them off. I explained to her I would be back later to do a TNR (Trap/Neuter/Release) with the mother. Spay/neuter is a founding principle upon which Planned Pethood is based.

The next day I was able to corral the mother without much trouble. As a matter of fact, mama was not much more than a kitten herself and she was very friendly. So I called Karen, Planned Pethood’s Cat Intake Coordinator. Karen has one of the toughest jobs in rescue. She literally gets 50 to 100 calls a day from people who want to dump cats or kittens, usually during the height of kitten season. And that is to her own, personal phone number! That's on top of the calls filtered to her from our FIXX Line (419.826.FIXX).  She must make the decision of who will be saved.

Well, Karen was in no position to add another adult cat to the program at that moment, but we got the cat in. People want to adopt kittens, the smaller the better. Adults tend to linger in foster care for months. We had Alice (I was on a presidential relatives naming kick) spayed and vaccinated with her foster going to be my semi-significant other, Bob. Bob tried fostering but he failed miserably because he ended up adopting Alice himself. Currently, two cats own Bob, Alice who is now 4ish and Brittney, both his former fosters ending his career as a foster dad.

TNR is misunderstood and people are wary about using it. So here is a short primer on what the heck TNR is. The cat population is out of control. One unaltered female cat can be responsible for thousands of offspring. Cats form colonies from which all new cats are excluded. If all the cats are fixed, the colony will eventually disappear through attrition. Friend and fellow rescuer, Nancy points out, “rehoming does not work as has been proven by every trailer park that has the decades old approach of forbidding feeding, then killing, or trapping/dumping”. Those trailer park problems persist.

Most people get the trapping and neutering but have issues with releasing the cats where they were found. We must point out too, that there is a big, big difference between a stray and a feral cat. Feral cats live in the wild without any socialization with humans. Trying to adopt a feral cat would be like trapping a squirrel and bringing it into your home as a pet. The goal is to trap the cat, spay or neuter, then release them where they were found.

My friend Jeannie is a self taught TNR expert. She has, to date, been responsible for TNR with 19 cats and kittens, most of them on her own dime. Planned Pethood began to help out when they discovered her need. They are known at the clinic as Stoney Creek #1, #2, #3…#19. Employees there and Jeannie are on a first name basis. She has had to fend off a great deal of resistance from upset neighbors. At one point, they were releasing the cats from their traps, thinking the traps were inhumane. Another resident stole her trap entirely. Some still are hostile to her efforts. She and other neighbors have a pool of money from which they feed the cats. I just got a bulletin from her: NO NEW KITTENS this season, it read. But this unbelievable dynamo did not stop there. She used TNR with the feral cats at her lake house too. They are known as the royal family, the Queen, Prince, Princess, and even Royal Consort (although his consorting days are now over). Hopefully, more and more people will become enlightened if not become an activist like Jeannie.

Traps can be obtained from Humane Ohio in the Toledo area for a cash deposit. They provide a low cost spay/neuter option. Any cats that arrive in a trap do not need an appointment. For those in economic hardship, Planned Pethood can provide assistance toward with the cost of spay/neuter in some cases.

Further information about TNR can be found at Humane Ohio and Alley Cat Allies websites. My heart and encouragement go out to all the dedicated and selfless volunteers who trap and transport. In most cases, it can be a thankless job. They are real heroes.

Regards, Judy S
We are dedicated toward the end of the pet overpopulation problem. Statistics have shown that the majority of litters in shelters are the product of unintended pregnancies. They have stories attached to them about how Sparky somehow got out of the yard or how some strange dog jumped into their yard. Your unaltered pet is the source of that unintended pregnancy. You have insurance on your car knowing you probably won't need it, but you have it when you do need it. Don't take the risk of having your pet contributing to the overpopulation problem (and, yes, this includes your cat or dog).

Planned Pethood began over 25 years ago when a small group of concerned animal lovers wanted to do something to stop the huge pet overpopulation problem in our area. They began a program of working with local veterinarians to offer low cost spay/neuter. Today we continue that mission.

When you join Planned Pethood, at an associate level or higher, your annual membership entitles you to low cost spay/neuter at any of the participating veterinarians listed below.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Clark- the five-year report

 Five years ago, we signed papers, and Clark, the part-Doberman, part who-knows-what dog was officially part of our household. He had worked his way into our hearts a week or two earlier.

We had gone to the Planned Pethood event at PetSmart in Rossford to see a girl puppy. When we arrived, someone was signing papers on her. Clark was in an end crate; One of the chow mixes was barking and raising a fuss two crates down, which set Clark off. Winter, a German Shepherd was on the other side also driving him crazy.

Clark Gable & David share a snuggle
I went down the row of crates a couple of times, and asked if we could get that dobie-mix male out and “socialize” him. I didn’t want a male dog. I wanted a female, but I felt bad for the boy going crazy in the crate and if I could get him out for a bit maybe he would calm down. I sat down cross-legged on the floor. Clark walked over to me, climbed in my lap, and put his head on my shoulder. My wife, Michelle, asked me if she should start pricing crates. It was that obvious.  I said, "No we are not getting a male dog.  Especially not today" and made Michelle take me to lunch.  I had been sitting with Clark for about 2 hours and was hungry.

We discussed Clark all through lunch and tossed around the idea of MAYBE fostering him to see if he would fit in with us. We returned to PetSmart to discuss the possibility of fostering him with PPI and saw the "Pet People" who had been helping us, Vicki and Barb.  As we pulled up, they starting practically jumping up and down and shouting, "It's Clark's people.  It's Clark's people. They came back."  Deb had taken Clark home by that time but they promised to get in contact with her right away and we just needed to fill out the forms online.

About a week later Deb brought him over for a sort of trial run, and he moved into what became his forever home. By the time Deb had brought him to us a 50lb bag of food, a large box of treats and a few toys had been purchased. My wife asked “What if we don’t keep him?” “They can take this stuff with him.” was my reply. The money didn’t seem relevant at that time.  Less than 4 days later it had been determined that we needed to tell PPI that he was staying with us and to start the final paperwork.

Since then, we have grown to love our silly boy more and more. His antics entertain us, his excitement at just simply seeing us return from time away raises our own spirits. The affection he shows, by laying his head on your lap to get scratched, to taking a nap with you (in the big bed), to climbing in your hap (at 50 pounds, no small feat) comforts us when we are tired or anxious.

He also provides a modicum of protection; when we had trouble with some neighbors, Michelle wouldn’t walk past their house without him. Another time, he came to the defense of Daisy, our other PPI dog, who was being attacked by a mean schnauzer. It was Clark who jumped in the middle of that and made the other dog run away.

He goes with me to the office on weekends to catch up on work, where he reminds me to take a break now and again. He’s gone with us to Illinois to visit my mom, where he’s a good house guest. He is so much our dog, that we can read his facial expressions, from “I’m happy and excited,” to, “This is not the routine and I don’t understand.”

Even now as I write this, he is curled up on the dog pillow we keep here in our “office.” As long as he and Daisy are with us, they are happy, and we are too.

It has been five years, and Clark is truly our forever boy.

Thank you for not giving up on him.

PS I still giggle at the thought of the pics we sent to all of you titled "Clark Stressed" and it was Clark sleeping peacefully with his first stuffed animal "Crate Baby"   Which like any good parents, we have saved !


Planned Pethood makes it a priority to find homes for pets in our own backyard. Until there are no more unwanted cats & dogs in the Northwestern Ohio area, we will continue our policy of accepting only local animals. We place a priority on strays and animals that are on death row in kill-shelters.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

BLACK: The Hot Color This Season

Little black dress in the closet, check. Sleek, black BMW in the driveway, check. Black dog or cat to make the family complete, OMG, no way! Tragically, being born black is the kiss of death for many adoptable dogs and cats. Black pets are euthanized more than any others, they linger in shelters more than any others, and they are the last to be adopted from rescue organizations, like Planned Pethood. Planned Pethood volunteer, Colleen, has one of the toughest jobs in the rescue world. She heads to the pound weekly to determine which dogs are adoptable and which are not.

Poor Colleen has shed many a tear and spent many a sleepless night resulting from her life and death decisions. She has sent frantic emails in search of just one more foster. We call them DRD’s (death row dogs). The pound Colleen frequents has euthanasia scheduled for Fridays. When they get enough dogs to fire up the incinerator, the dogs go down. In most cases if we cannot get them out of there by Friday, it is over for perfectly adoptable canines. I know this is not a very appealing picture but it is something people need to know is reality. In this life and death roulette, black dogs are the ones who lose most often. So let’s focus instead and celebrate the minority of black success stories.

A sweet lab mix we named Lena defied the odds- big time. This poor girl had a myriad of strikes against her. Here is the list: number one she was black, she looked like she had some pit bull in her (which isn't a big deal to us but it is to some), she was limping on her back leg, and she had some hair loss. Lena was for sure going to be put down pronto if we did not get her out of there. But she had one huge positive going for her: she had the BEST nature of any dog.

After busting her out of jail, I took her to one of the Planned Pethood vets who gave us some pretty devastating news. The bones in her back leg had been crushed and it would have to be amputated. This sweet and gentle dog had been in horrific pain for at least 4 months. Just when it looked like things couldn’t get any worse, it got worse. Lena was also diagnosed with ringworm (a fungus). Despite all of these obstacles, after Lena’s ringworm was cleared up, she was spayed, and had her leg removed, Lena found a phenomenal home where her sunny nature is still brightening up her family’s days.

Any discussion of black dogs from the pound would not be complete without telling Ernie’s story. Colleen discovered a black lab who would be put down if he remained at the pound past Friday. I was flabbergasted when I met Ernie. He was one of the most stunningly beautiful dogs I had ever encountered.

He weighed 100 lbs. and was not yet one year old and had a head as big as a TV. I laugh now about my days of fostering Ernie but it was not so funny at the time. He would NOT tolerate a crate. When I came home, he was out roaming in the house. He had not just escaped the crate, he bent the bars down. Okay-Okay- we went to plan B: confine Ernie to a bedroom.

As I walked down the street that hot summer day, my neighbors were hollering, “Hey Judy, here comes a big black dog behind you”. I turned to discover, he had busted out the screen and leaped out the window to follow me. When I took the screen in to be repaired, I took Ernie with me. Let’s face it, there was no leaving him alone. I was quickly surrounded by 6 grown men all ooooing and aaahing over the dog. I kept hearing “I wish my wife would let me adopt him”. No one seemed to notice the ruined screen in my other hand. Happily, the big guy found his forever family who live on a lake and have two golden retrievers as his running companions. Last I heard he ate a piano leg and he is still not in a crate.

But families are sadly all too often hooked by looks, not personality.

And it is not only black dogs who get passed over. Black cats and kittens have the odds stacked against them too. Last summer I fostered a litter of kittens, all with names beginning with the letter “C”. I never called them by their names because I could never tell which one was which. The blacks were with me for months, growing up in foster care. They had the best, most affectionate nature. But families are sadly all too often hooked by looks, not personality.

YoYo has beaten the odds and survived a horrific start in life.
The only kitty harder to adopt out than a black kitten is a BIG black kitten. Just when I despaired of the last kittens getting adopted, along came Debra. She is a twenty something from Ann Arbor, met and formed an inseparable connection with Cierra. And what a home it is! She described how her boyfriend installed cabinets near the ceiling so the cats had tunnels to run through. Then she sent me pics of Cierra, now Miss Beast (due to her rambunctious nature) in the cat stroller. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, a stroller for cats. She said her kitties all vie to be the first out the door. Even though she has relocated to Colorado, Debra and Miss Beast are our regular correspondents.

When it comes time to adopt a new family member, please keep your minds and hearts open. Planned Pethood gets the message loud and clear. They recently sponsored a mega adoption event in which all black dogs’ adoption fees were reduced to $5 to add a little incentive to adopting an ebony friend. Please note the standards for adoption were not reduced. My love and respect goes out to all of the Colleens and Debras out there who are doing their part. My own pack now includes two DRD’s, one of whom is black, Stanley and Ida.
by Judy Szewczak


To learn more about what is called Black Dog Syndrome click here.

All of Planned Pethood's pets are up to date on age-appropriate shots and flea and heartworm prevention before being offered for adoption. In addition, Planned Pethood's policy is to treat all medical ailments, regardless of cost, unless the treating vet feels there is nothing more that can be done. We do not refuse treatment to our animals based on cost of treatment or on the age of the animal.  When we take in a dog or cat, we take that commitment seriously.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fourth Of July: Not A Cause Of Celebration For Most

It is the fourth of July and the neighbors are at it again. Well, lighting off a few fireworks in the ‘hood is harmless fun, right? Maybe not. More dogs & cats are lost on the fourth of July than any other day of the year. Many animals are terrified by all the noise and commotion so they bolt and even jump fences as the fear courses through their veins. Years before I became a foster for Planned Pethood my rescue dog Helga had developed severe storm and fireworks anxiety before she became part of my pack.

Just a bit of background on the big girl. Helga Sue was marked down at the shelter because she had been there for months without any interest whatsoever. The employee there must have been desperate to get rid of her. She told me that our meeting was the first time she had wagged her tail since she had been incarcerated there. My semi-significant other and I rolled our eyes. The employee also commented the dog was obese and depressed. I retorted, 'aren’t we all?' I’m not one to resist a sale, so Hellie was on her way to her forever home. When we got her there, she immediately started chasing the cats and exhibiting nearly every bad behavior known to dogdom. Poor kitty Bernice lived in the basement for four months.
[SIDE NOTE:  Hel’s name had been Honey, a name that was so ill-suited that we laughed. The shelter told me she was a golden/husky mix but she was so unusual that I had her DNA tested. The certificate came back blank and the company gave me my money back.]
We had no clue about her anxieties until the first serious thunder storm hit. And, I am ashamed to say, we did everything wrong. Helga was a big girl and she would pace and try to stuff her large butt under the bed (ain’t happenin’).  I would try to console her and pet her which in reality was reinforcing her negative behaviors. Then we looked for solutions to the problem.
The vet recommended anti-anxiety medication (downers). My next question was, when do I give them to her? The answer was astounding. They told me to watch the radar on T.V., then an hour before the storm was to arrive, give her the pill. Really? So, on goes the T.V. and down goes the pill. I cannot tell you how many times Helga Sue was high but the storm blew over. Then we figured out a system. We used an herbal remedy that lasted about 20 minutes while we waited for the drugs to kick in. We also had to tell the big girl to suck it up because she was not going to be coddled anymore. That was terribly hard because we felt so badly for her.
Over the years, several of my Planned Pethood foster dogs, including Stanley who I have adopted, have experienced various stages of these kinds of fears but I have always dreaded the fourth most of all. We close the windows, turn up the stereo, and crank up the AC, all in an attempt to blunt the effects of well meaning people out to celebrate our nation’s birth. This will be Stanley’s first Independence Day with us. Maybe people would think twice if they knew the heartbreak and panic families experience when they find their companion is missing.
Protect your animals by keeping them inside days before and after July 4th.  Close windows and secure doors.  Your animal might have been fine last year, but may have a problem this year.  For those who are especially frightened by loud noises such as storms, please secure your animal in a place like your basement or a cage indoors.  Your vet may think it best that your animal be given medication prior to fireworks to help with anxiety levels in your pets.  Consult your vet before it’s too late. 

Should your pet become lost, you can find helpful hints here.

Mission Statement:  To reduce the overpopulation and suffering of dogs and cats through education and low-cost spay/neuter programs and to rescue, vet and place adoptable dogs and cats into
good permanent homes.
 This blog is dedicated to the memory of Helga Sue who we lost to a kidney disease at the age of 10.  Blogger extraordinaire- Judy Szewczak

Friday, June 22, 2012


OMG, that dress is soooo last year’s style, throw it away. This computer is too slow, let’s just pitch it. And, our dog, she’s getting so old she doesn’t even play anymore and she’s not as fast as she used to be, let’s get rid of her too. Sadly our society has embraced a throw away mentality.  
Nina is all smiles
These are exactly the circumstances under which my Planned Pethood foster dog, Nina, arrived on my doorstep. She has been with us for a year now, turning 11 in foster care. She was originally adopted at 18 mos., then kicked to the curb at 10. The family had 3 dogs and wanted to downsize. Thankfully, Planned Pethood has an enlightened return policy, anytime, anywhere, and for any reason, the rescues are welcomed back. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated occurrence. People have no qualms about disposing of one of their family members. 

It was a disposable dog that brought me into the world of foster care. Someone dropped off their dog at the high school where I worked. She had on a collar but no tags. At the end of the day on that Friday, it was just me and the dog still left at school so I took her home and called Planned Pethood.  There were no foster homes available so, could I just keep her until one opened up? I named her Jane after a good friend who fostered and there was no looking back. I ran ads, checked with the pound, and called shelter after shelter. No luck. I took her to our vet and she did have a microchip. I got really excited as the company played the tune “Reunited” in the background as they check on the dog. Jane’s family had TWO phone numbers listed but they had disconnected both .   It was then I knew indisputably that she had been thrown away (BTW, Jane got a wonderful forever home). 
The most egregious and sickening example of abandonment takes place when people just flat out move and leave their pets. My foster dog Liam came to me from a pound in a rural county. He was rescued from a trailer with 30 cats. When the officers entered the residence, the temperature registered 120 degrees. There was no prosecution. The offenders were “in the wind”, left the state.  I could not get little Li, who resembled a fox, to eat properly. We finally figured it out, he never ate dog food. He went to town on cat food however. He had some dental problems too and had to have several teeth removed. When he smiled, gaps and all, he looked like he came from the hills. Liam now lives in a huge suburban home with 3 kids who adore him. He came to bunk up with us while his family went on vacation recently.
This state of affairs has become so common that the volunteers  of Planned Pethood no longer even bat an eye at a story of animals being abandoned. Currently, I am fostering a litter of “Y” kittens, Yardley, Yogi, Yoyo and tiny little Yoda who came from a hoarder. The woman had 70 cats in her home. She acquired them as people threw them away but she did not spay and neuter them which created  a larger nightmare. These babies are among the lucky ones because Planned Pethood stepped in and saved them. They were sick with respiratory infections, eye infections, and bacterial infections.  
In conclusion, as disgusting as these stories are, they are neither unique nor isolated.  Finally, this blog is dedicated to the memory of little Yancey who died before we could help him. 
All of Planned Pethood's pets are up to date on age-appropriate shots and flea and heartworm prevention before being offered for adoption. In addition, Planned Pethood's policy is to treat all medical ailments, regardless of cost, unless the treating vet feels there is nothing more that can be done. We do not refuse treatment to our animals based on cost of treatment or on the age of the animal. When we take in a dog or cat, we take that commitment seriously.
(submitted by Judy S)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Lucky Kitten

Lucky started life as so many kittens do- a stray in an abandoned house.

A neighbor fed him and his litter mates for about a year, then one day she saw that Lucky was limping, one front leg literally dangling from his body. She took him to a vet who suggested euthanasia. She'd just paid the euthanasia fee when a Planned Pethood volunteer,Lynn, happened to come in.

Lynn could tell the kitten was severely injured, yet being handed around and taken out of and put back into carriers repeatedly. She noticed that through all this, he never once growled or hissed or in any way acted out. She figured if he was that friendly through all of that, he was worth taking a chance on!

Planned Pethood took him in, and our vet found out Lucky had been shot. His front leg had to be set and splinted. He endured bandage changes and re-splinting every two weeks for a period of several months. He had to be confined to a dog crate to keep him from doing any of the normal kitty-activities that might have interfered with the leg's healing. But true to his sunny nature he bore it all without any fuss, never so much as swatting a paw at anybody. Eventually one leg bone did heal, but because the other did not, and Lucky's leg had to be amputated.

A family fell in love with Lucky, and he is now the proud owner of his very own family! His gentle nature and Planned Pethood's dedication gave him a chance for life.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

In My Twilight Years

Gus was an elderly (approximately 12yrs old) Newfoundland mix who was found as a stray several years ago and stayed with Planned Pethood for two years. He has since passed over the Rainbow Bridge.
He was in terrible condition and initially tested positive for heartworm. For a dog his age, in his physical condition, the odds were not high that he would survive the heartworm treatment. Euthanasia was suggested as an option. Planned Pethood elected to give Gus a chance. He had to be on medication for his heart and his chronic ear infections. He had to have surgery on his ear canal, which then closed up but seeped constantly.
Because he could not reach his ear with his back legs (he has some hip problems) he would chew incessantly on his front leg. His foster parents tried all kinds of things to get him to stop chewing a raw spot into his leg: tube socks, bandages, Tabasco sauce... you name it, they tried it. It took them six months, but they finally got him to stop.

Gus also suffered from mild incontinence due to his age.    His foster family figured out what triggered this, and how to work around it.  There was so much more to Gus than his physical ailments! He was a genial guy, who loved people and attention.

After two years a family came along that were a wonderful match for Gus! They lived in a ranch so no more stairs for Gus. They had central air and used it all the time so no more yeast infections in his bad ear. One person worked from home, so Gus wasn't alone much. It was exactly what Gus needed.

During his last 2.5 years with this family, he was well loved and cared for. They specifically sought out an elderly dog that had little to no chance of getting adopted.

Gus also had a family from California that faithfully sent in $50 a month for Gus' medications. They also knew his chance of getting adopted were slim. When it was time to say good bye to Gus, the family contacted PPI and we were grateful for that.

Planned Pethood took a chance and paid for the medications and surgery to allow this gentle giant to enjoy his twilight years surrounded by love. I hope someone is as nice to me when I'm old and grey. When you see the same dogs and cats still up for adoption week after week, month after month- it's because we are giving them a chance they otherwise would never have.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Insurance Premiums Increased

No good deed goes unpunished as they say and for Planned Pethood, Inc. along with many other shelters, rescues, boarding facilities and kennels it is no exception.  Planned Pethood, along with these other entities, are about to feel the grip of a drastic increase in liability insurance.

Mitzi shows off her two staff members
(cook & chauffeur) and the limo they
drive her around in
Planned Pethood is being hit with a 100% increase in its liability insurance premiums this year.  This increase significantly gouges the coffers for direct intake and care for animals needing services from our programs.  Help from the community is desperately needed.

According to leading insurers for animal rescues and shelters, a number of these companies have experienced a 600% loss ratio; taking in one dollar for every six they are paying out.  Directors, officers and the rescues themselves can be victims of lawsuits which can run in the thousands for defense.

How and why did this happen?
In 2009, the largest dog fight bust in United States' history, in six states, with the cooperation of state and federal law enforcement and the ASPCA, was conducted.  Over 500 dogs were seized by authorities and 30 people were arrested. The Humane Society approached rescue organizations to take in a number of redeemable dogs and puppies, but the rescues first had to secure adequate insurance.

Additionally, more and more states have and are developing new animal negligence laws.  These increasing laws also contribute to an increase in the number of animals seized and in need of rescue placement.

The year of 2008 also saw the onset of significant unemployment and housing foreclosures forcing many people to relinquish their pets whether due to lack of ability to feed and care for their pets or forced to move to rentals which do not allow for pets.  There has been a 50% increase in the number of surrender animals in need of a rescue.
Planned Pethood's agent also related to us that other smaller rescues have caused all the rescues to suffer.  Their sloppy, slapped together adoptions, negligent attention to safety and/ or lack of policies and processes to follow have resulted in dog bites, volunteer injuries and lawsuits.  Those rescues acting in these rash manners have caused almost all rescues to experience an increase in insurance premiums. 

The catch?  The more animals taken into a shelter or rescue - the higher the liability.  Unfortunately, many shelters and rescues do not have adequate insurance and it cannot simply be obtained by your personal insurance agent, but through commercial liability insurance companies.

What are we doing to help?
We started with shopping for a new policy or agency.  Turns out the policy we had was the best one for our needs.  Additonally, Planned Pethood implements best practices to limit exposure to liability.  Planned Pethood has a policy and procedures manual and it is provided to all volunteers during training and reviewed during quarterly meetings.  It provides details for all operations and how they are to be performed along with proper protocol .  Planned Pethood holds regular meetings and training sessions on a consistent basis to ensure communication, enforcement and review of policies.  Volunteers are screened, monitored, trained, required to adhere to our Code of Conduct and provided with the best personnel, assistance and outside resources for animal car to minimize all risks.  By taking these precautions, Planned Pethood can focus on their main goal – spay/neuter and finding homes for rescued animals.

Our need
The community needs to come together and has an obligation to do our part by helping provide for victims of cruelty and neglect.  The more we do to support the efforts of rescues like Planned Pethood, the more we will be able to show the love these companion animals can enhance a person's life.

Planned Pethood operates strictly from donations from generous and loving people of the community.  While there are obvious expenses directly related to the care of our dogs and cats in our foster program, the rescue incurs other significant expenses the public may not be aware of; insurance is one of them.  Your help and donations are greatly appreciated in any amount.

Mission Statement:To reduce the overpopulation and suffering of dogs and cats through education and low-cost spay/neuter programs and to rescue, vet and place adoptable* dogs and cats into good permanent homes.