Category Archives: Stories

A Bulldog’s Second Chance

Dash the 2 year old English Bulldog was unfortunately surrendered over to the staff at East Holmes Veterinary Clinic due to bladder stones. Being partnered with East Holmes vet clinic in re-homing dogs in need – they quickly  got into contact with us as it was apparent he needed to have surgery immediately.

We raced down to Berlin, Ohio and picked up the poor boy. We transported him to our veterinarians at West Park Animal Hospital where he underwent his first surgery. The stones were removed and he went into a foster home with Friendship board member, Amy Richards, and her husband.

While he was recovering from his surgery, they noticed he was still having trouble going using the bathroom… A week later, it was back to the doctors. This time they sent him home with antibiotics for a possible urinary tract infection.  Things did not seem to be improving despite the treatment. In fact, things seemed to be getting worse!

Dash’s veterinarians at West Park were at a loss. We all agreed that  it was time for him to see a specialist. We took him to Metropolitan as an emergency patient. It turns out we were all in for a shock at what this poor dog was enduring.

Dash had probably been living with bladder stones for so long that they had completely scarred his urethra. It was at the point where a catheter could not pass through from all the scar tissue. His bladder had swelled to the size of a grapefruit due to his inability to relieve himself.

There was only one choice – a very drastic surgery to bypass the scar tissue.

This amazing surgery done by the specialists at Metropolitan changed Dash’s life forever. They made a completely new urine passage for him so he could finally use the bathroom like a normal dog. It is truly incredible! Dash was now able to go to the bathroom on his own! He seemed like a whole new dog that was comfortable for the first time in years. A flip had switched and he was happy, playful and running around! After months of recovering from both surgeries, his foster family could not let him go. His new name is Fred, he has another English Bulldog sibling, and he could not be living a more happy and fulfilling life.

Fred is just one of many special dogs that we are able to give a second chance thanks to your generous donations. Because of your support, we are able to change lives for dog’s like Fred and so many more. His surgeries and vet visits cost over $4,000. But the cost of seeing him running around and playing in the backyard…is truly priceless.

To help more dogs like Fred, considering supporting the Friendship APL with a one-time or recurring donation.

Oscar and Adam: A “Tail” of Two Lost Weenie Dogs


Oscar and Adam’s intake photos in Wayne County.

When Friendship APL got a call about two senior dachshunds that were found roaming the streets of Wayne County, we knew we had to come to the rescue. It was clear from the photos that these poor pups, one standard dachshund and one mini, had been living the “ruff” life for a while. It is unknown if they were no longer wanted and were let a-stray, or if they had found their own way out of their previous home. Either way, they were picked up and waited…and sadly were not claimed by anyone.

These poor pups were burdened with inflamed skin and major hair loss.

The wiener dogs, that we named Oscar and Adam, were dirty, had major hair loss and could barely waddle due to their long, curled nails. Their eyes were severely infected from an untreated illness, the hair they had left was matted, and their ears hadn’t been cleaned in a long time. Despite all this, they were happy, friendly and curious. Their predicament, however they found themselves in it, had no sway on their spirits. At Friendship APL, they began treatment and were placed up for adoption to continue the healing process in a home. It was at the Friendship APL where they found their adopter, who was the perfect person to start them on their new journey.

Their first night on their new mom’s couch. Their long journey led them to this!

Regina, their adopter, says;

It’s like they’ve always been part of my life. So I renamed them Sam and Omie (after a restaurant in OBX) and Sam (the big one) is almost totally clear of his kennel cough. He takes his iniprinal every day for his heart failure and hopefully with that, he will have a full lifespan. He is a snuggler and a lap dog and enjoys sniffing around in the backyard. He and my golden retriever play well together and he runs around my house with a happy trot and wagging tail, making a thunderous noise.

Sam and Omie with their new dog family.

Omie, the little wiener, is also a lap dog.  He likes to play with Sam but he’s happiest when I’m holding him. He had a clean bill of health and his skin is so much better. Both are growing their hair back. I love them and I know they love me.  Each night all four dogs sleep with me and they have their own space in my king sized bed and I have been left with 6 inches at the edge. So they are doing very, very well.”

Look at them today! Their coats continue to improve.

Regina continues;

They are such good dogs! It would have been tragic if they would have been separated… I can’t imagine the thought if Friendship APL wouldn’t have rescued them. I am so very happy my daughter tagged me on your post that Saturday. I knew they were meant to be with me and I got out there early because I didn’t want to take any chances. They are just perfect.

From wandering the streets to a warm bed – these pups are now living a great life. The Friendship APL is able to continue rescuing dogs like Oscar and Adam because of the generous support of our donors. Click here to learn how to support our mission, and to donate to dogs like Oscar and Adam.

‘Wags’ Delivers Yet Again

by Gregg Senko – 

Or more aptly stated, people delivered once again. The 9th annual Wags to Riches fund raiser is the single most significant fund raiser of the year for the Friendship APL of Lorain County. This year was my second time attending so count me in as a repeat offender. There were a lot of familiar faces from ’17 as the shelter’s employees, volunteers and board members all worked diligently to not only carry the evening to a finish line of success, but also help construct the evening from the ground up months in advance.

Sure, there were plenty of eye-popping prizes with many attendees dressed to the nines.  That’s not what Wags is about.  The band Honeycreek returned to the delight of many and filled the night’s air with plenty of music.  That’s not what Wags is about.  The food was delicious, proving to be a feast fit for a king.  Nope, not what Wags is about either.  The cat that can’t see.  The dog whose skin is sunk in between his ribs.  That’s it.  That is exactly what Wags is about.

I’m not going to get into the specifics of what FAPL’s vet bills cost, but it’s safe to say they are the shelter’s largest expense year in and year out.  Despite the financial quicksand that these medical procedures prove to be, there is no denying they must be done.  If there were someone capable of saying no to the treatments and medications these animals need, I can assure you, there is no place for that person at FAPL.  Money is a major concern, certainly, but FAPL’s main directive is not to save money.  It’s to save lives.

Probably one of the greatest moments for me at this function is seeing those life-saving successes in person.  There was dog who had a dangling limb and is now up and about on three legs, happy as can be and licking everyone’s face in sight.  Then there’s Hope, the blind cat that was once terrified and hurting is now pain free and loving her home.  These are two examples.  There were 4,500 animals rescued by FAPL last year.  You can definitely believe there were a treasure trove of success stories in addition to the two I mentioned here.  For FAPL, their work is never done.

With that in mind, Wags to Riches isn’t just a fun night.  It’s a necessary night.  The shelter’s appreciation for the generous donations goes without saying, and with that in mind, it reminds me of something I once heard FAPL Director Greg Willey say.  Many months back, I overheard someone express how they were sick of people in general in regard to the cruelty some of these animals face.  Greg responded with a swift rebuttal that abruptly pointed out just how awesome people can be.  Wags to Riches is the evidence of that.

Look at what that core group of people do at the shelter on a daily basis.  Look at what 300+ guests did at the 2018 Wags to Riches this past weekend.  Yeah, there are some bad people in this world.  There are also a lot of great folks with hearts that have no limit to their generosity.  Lebron may be someone to root for, but FAPL is something to root for, and Wags to Riches is its court, its rink, its end zone.

A Family Affair

by Gregg Senko

Friendship APL is like a bee hive.  You can see a lot of activity from the outside, but that’s a mere fraction of what is actually taking place inside, and not only in the FAPL building itself, but the care and aid that goes on elsewhere for FAPL.  I recently had the pleasure of speaking with FAPL volunteer extraordinaire, Belinda McElhannon.  The story would be incomplete if I were to only mention Belinda’s contribution to the shelter, though.  There’s not one, not two, but…well, maybe it’s better if I let you read on to get to know this awesome family…


Gregg: It sounds like there’s more than one of you who help out at Friendship APL. How many in your household participate and who does what? ​

Belinda: There are four of us that volunteer regularly at FAPL. Valerie, my oldest daughter (does not live at home) is a member of the board and started out ​by volunteering to walk dogs on Saturday morning. Justin, my son, also volunteers for dog walking and special events and is a huge help in fostering at home. Abby, my youngest is the most dedicated and walks dogs, works special events, participates on the MPR committee and is also a huge help in fostering the animals in our home. I am the fourth volunteer, walking dogs at the shelter on a weekly basis, fostering, working special events and in the past have helped Greg with taking animals down to Fox 8 to be on with Dick Goddard.

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Gregg: How long have you guys been volunteering at FAPL? ​

Belinda: Since July of 2011.​

(left to right) Justin, Abby, Belinda and Valerie

Gregg: Which one of you was the first to get drawn toward FAPL’s cause? How did it play out from there? ​

Belinda: Valerie was the first to discover FAPL. She had just lost her dog in June and went to a dog washing event at the United Church of Christ and met Mary who was representing FAPL at the time. Valerie wanted to channel her grief and thought volunteering at FAPL would be the way to move on from a very difficult loss. She took Abby and Justin with her the first few times and then I joined in at the beginning of September. And from there, it has become a second family for all of us. As we continued to volunteer at FAPL we found our family at home growing. When we started volunteering we had one dog of our own that we adopted from the Cleveland APL. We then adopted the rest of our four legged kids from FAPL. A bassett in January of 2012, a bassett in May of 2013, a beagle mix in November of 2013 (she was a puppy mill dog that was a foster failure), and a husky/shepherd mix in May of 2015.

Our first fosters actually came to stay with us right away in September of 2011. It was a humane case that was expected to drag on for quite some time, and it did. We fostered two of six very special dogs from September of 2011 until June 2nd of 2012. From there we continued to walk dogs every Saturday morning, foster puppies for 4 years and started fostering kittens in May of 2016 and have been fostering kittens only ever since. Our first kitten was another foster failure. And our fourth foster kitten was a foster failure. So now we have a very well rounded home to foster kittens in and they become well adjusted to cats, kittens, dogs and a variety of people. We have fostered 27 kittens in a fifteen month period. We had as many as 12 kittens in our home in May and June and the joy they brought to the house was priceless. ​


Gregg: In regard to fostering, how easy is it to separate any emotional attachment when it comes time to return the animal to the shelter or to a forever home?

Belinda: Fostering is fun, time-consuming at times, rewarding, challenging and sad. The hardest part is taking them back but I know it has to be done. I have to focus on the good that comes from fostering like the 24/7 love and care they get in a home setting and keeping them out of the shelter where kittens are extremely susceptible to disease and get sick quite easily. Kittens are easily entertained with each other and also by themselves. Bottle feeding the young, tiny kittens is rewarding to see them grow and thrive because you are able to help them along. That is where my children have been a tremendous help.

Feeding five little kittens is time consuming and goes much faster with help. There are times when a kitten has to be quarantined from the rest of the house hold and that is where my son Justin is a great help. He houses the quarantine kittens in his room making sure they get all the love and attention they need until they can be introduced back into the rest of the house. We also experienced our first loss while fostering back in July. Not an easy time and only makes me appreciate the staff at FAPL and all that they go through on a daily basis. ​


Gregg: As a family, what is your most memorable cat or dog moment related to FAPL? ​

Belinda: After fostering for 6 years, there are many memorable moments. If I had to choose one dog moment it would be Lucy. She is a beagle/bulldog mix that came from a basement breeder. She arrived with roughly 24 other dogs in February of 2013. These dogs lived their lives in cages and didn’t know what it was like to be on a leash or what grass was. By April of 2013 all the dogs except for Lucy were adopted. She was extremely scared and thin and we brought her home to foster her. She sat under our kitchen table for 2 days and would not move. It took months to gain her trust and to this day (4 years later) she is still very skiddish. It’s been rewarding to see her come out of her shell, learn what her voice is and respond to the love and attention she gets in our home. (Yes, she was a foster failure.) My most memorable kitten foster…they have all been special, they are all unique and each have their own story to tell.

Abby, Dick Goddard and Justin at the Fox 8 studio


Here is a massive thank-you to the McElhannon clan for their gigantic hearts and astounding efforts throughout the year.  If I ever become a mad scientist, you’ll be at the top of my list of people to clone.  You guys rock!

Disasters & Pet Preparedness

by Gregg Senko

The recent damage caused by Hurricane Harvey was catastrophic. The city of Houston received about nine months of rainfall in a span of 48 hours, and as we’ve all seen from the photos and video on the news, the dry landscape turned into an aquatic one. However, while damage can be repaired and buildings can be rebuilt, the loss of life, both human and animal, cannot be returned.  Although we do not face the pitfalls of hurricanes here in Northeast Ohio, it is entirely possible we could receive the precipitation aftermath, thus causing flooding. Let’s not forget the always real danger we face in the form of tornadoes and even the rare but possible earthquakes that have occurred here in the past.

While we as people can take actions to ready ourselves in case of disasters, natural or man-made, our pets cannot do the same.  They rely on us to provide the same readiness and care for them as we do for ourselves.  Just as you would for yourself, have a bag or rucksack ready to go filled with the essentials.  Think about what the needs are of your animal.  While we are all pridefully guilty of pampering our pets, please keep in mind that in the case of an emergency it is completely irrelevant what your cat or dog normally prefers to eat.  Have canned food on hand, make sure their collar is on (with tags) and have a leash on hand.  Don’t forget bottled water either.  It’s best not to make them rely on outdoor puddles or others for help.  Puddles can be bacteria-infested and you never know if and when help will show.  As my mother told me once, “Plan for the worst, hope for the best.”

A few months back I wrote a story about getting your pets microchipped.  As the famous Nike slogan states, just do it.  Make sure that chip is registered and activated too, otherwise that defeats the whole purpose of the chip itself.  In the case you do get separated from your pet, you want to make certain all aspects are in place to reunite you with the animal.  Finally, do not forget their medications.  There’s actually a new requirement in the State of Ohio regarding pet prescriptions stating that customers must provide the veterinary clinic with at least a 24-notice for a refill. In short, don’t be the person that waits until the medicine is gone, then show up at the clinic making demands.

Whether you call it your go-bag, your ready bag or your bug-out bag, make sure you have one on hand for your pet just as you would for yourself.  If these do not exist in your home, it’s definitely a good idea to buy a pre-packaged one or make your own.  Just buy a simple backpack and fill it with the necessary items.  It should also go without saying to keep your pets with you during an evacuation.  While that probably sounds like “no duh” advice, I still have to mention it after seeing photos of dogs tied to trees and poles in the rising waters of Houston.  Do everything right and you will increase the chances that you and your animal companion make it out safely together with the supplies to survive the immediate hours thereafter.

September Adoption Events & Poker Run!

While the weather is still warm, you can bet we are going to make the most of it. With three events slated for September, there is still plenty of time to get out and enjoy the sun while helping out the Friendship APL.  First up will be this Saturday, September 2nd.  Stop by Crocker Park in Westlake as our “Adopt & Shop” event will be underway.  It will take place from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm in front of the Regal Cinema.  The event will be a great opportunity to shmooz with some of our animals, donate to FAPL and take advantage of some giveaways.

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Next is the Purr-mier Adoption Event on Saturday, September 9th at Premier Toyota in Amherst.  Bring the family as there will be hot dogs, refreshments, a 50/50 raffle and pick-a-prize raffles.  Did I mention free adoptions?  If you have been thinking of adding a new member to the family in the form of a cat or a dog, this will be a great opportunity for you!

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Lastly, on Sunday, September 17th, Lake Erie Harley Davidson’s annual Dog Gone Poker Run will take place once again as this is a fan favorite of many volunteers and donors!  The event will run from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm beginning at Lake Erie Harley in Avon.  Contact Lake Erie Harley Davidson for more details at 440-934-5000.

It Starts with ABC

by Gregg Senko

No, this isn’t a lesson in the characters of the alphabet. On the contrary, this is about one of the friendliest helping hands that Friendship APL has received in the last year, and by ABC, I’m referring to the Avon Brewing Company. This family-owned business is still relatively new, and ironically enough, their one-year anniversary is today, August 26, 2017.  The quartet that started the establishment certainly had a daunting task in front of them as the undertaking for a bar and restaurant is no simple feat.  Let’s get to know the guys behind the operation first.

Ken Weaver is an Avon Lake school teacher of 37 years.  His son-in-law, Mathias Hauck, is also a teacher with a background in restaurant management.  Then there’s Dan Weaver and finally Brian Weaver who brings the culinary flare to the table.  Brian was previously the executive chef at Gusto Ristorante Italiano in Cleveland’s Little Italy and then went onto help open Luca, a much sought-after fine dining restaurant, also in Cleveland.  With Brian’s drive, an impressive chef resumé and the work ethic of Ken, Dan and Mathias, the ingredients were laid out to deliver a successful local bar and eatery.

So how did good brew and grub make it to an animal shelter’s website?  The Avon Brewing Company, aside from an impressive beer list and menu which I’ll get to in a moment, has a very generous mentality.  Outside of an aim to deliver a good product, the company also has made it a point to give back to the community.  Once a month, they donate to one charitable organization.  Friendship APL just happens to have been the only recipient more than once.  Their generosity toward FAPL has its roots in co-owner Mathias.  In some capacity or another, he’s been helping out with FAPL for 12 years now.  Whether it is donating money, time or educating others on what we do, Mathias has not forgotten what we stand for.

Outside of the owners, there’s also a certain bartender/server at Avon Brewing Company who’s not afraid to sing our praises.  Ryan has a large part of his heart reserved for the welfare of animals.  Like Mathias, he’s not afraid to stand up for cats and dogs in need, which we greatly appreciate.  Plus, it’s always good to know there’s more animal lovers out there keeping an eye out for homeless pooches and felines.  So now that you’ve got the 411 on how ABC knows FAPL, let me give you the FYI on their M-E-N-U.  Hey, I like my suspense to come to an end.  You didn’t think I was going to tell you how good Avon Brewing Company’s food and drink was without going into detail, did you?  It’s like a past co-worker told me, “There are two kinds of people.  Those who eat to live and those who live to eat.”  I can confidently tell you I’m the latter.

Their patio with privacy fence provides an enjoyable outdoor dining experience.

First, it can be argued that their beer is their calling card.  After all, it was a big reason the four aforementioned gentlemen came up with the Avon Brewing Company.  You don’t commit to home brewing for 15 years and not learn anything.  These guys are innovative, so while you can certainly order a Great Lakes or Coors Light, I highly recommend leaving the comfort of what you know from store shelves and go off the reservation.  Family is a significant aspect of these guys’ lives, so it’s no surprise they named a beer after it, the Ohana Wheat to be exact. ‘Ohana’ is Hawaiian for ‘family’ and from Hawaii come pineapples.  Create a marriage of wheat beer and a hint of pineapple and you’ve got yourself a winner.  There’s also the Barista Blonde, a coffee-flavored pilsner which I found to be quite awesome, and the Verde Gold, a green chile-infused golden ale.  The list doesn’t stop there though.  At any given time they have 13 beers on tap with a total of 21 on the day of their one-year anniversary.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking.  “So you like the beer, Gregg.  I can’t live off of stouts and ales though.  Tell me about the food!”  Hey I was getting there.  I write like I consume.  Beer first, then meal.  Without further ado, let’s get to the grub!  Chef Brian Weaver is in the kitchen every morning cooking up something special…and by something special I mean just about everything they serve there.  In short, it’s a scratch kitchen.  He may not be growing the sweet potatoes they use for their waffle fries, but he’s making the aioli, cooking the corned beef, creating new menu items and whatever other culinary sorcery he’s conjuring up when no one’s looking.  They’ve got traditional fare like wings, flatbread pizzas and pretzel bites (which are god-like in taste bud satisfaction), while also offering a number of salads, unique burgers (like the jalapeño hush puppy burger) and entrees (lobster mac & cheese, anyone?).

First and foremost, Friendship APL would like to thank the Avon Brewing Company for being a fund-raising location as well as the donations they have brought to us.  Secondly, if you’re looking for a very reasonably priced meal and some good, unique beers, pay the folks over at Avon Brewing Company a visit.  Ryan can make you a stellar cocktail from scratch (no mixers in this place!) and Chef Brian will be Vin Diesel at the stove cooking fast and furious.  The 201-year old building is as warm and welcoming as the folks who work there.


Avon Brewing Company is located at the corner of State Route 611 and Detroit Road.  For more information, please feel free to check out their website at

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

by Gregg Senko

I know what you’re thinking. Why is there an article on Friendship APL’s website about the 1985 post-apocalyptic action film starring Mel Gibson? Fear not! I can extinguish your flames of confusion right here. This is actually about a cat whose name is Mad Max. Well, it’s actually just Max but when he runs around his home like the devil’s chasing him, he gets the “Mad” moniker attached to the front of his name. As for the Thunderdome part, well, this little guy has had more than his fair share of thunder. With that being said, like Mel Gibson’s on-screen character, he’s also been one heck of a fighter through seemingly insurmountable odds.

Max as a kitten

So this little orange furball known as Max doesn’t like being picked up.  Not a lot of cats do, but a lot of times that’s just because they don’t want to leave the ground on someone else’s terms or they don’t like not being in control of a situation or they’re just a moody in the moment.  With Max, it’s a bit of a different situation.  When he was just a wee lad, someone had thrown him from a moving vehicle.  The then unnamed kitten hit the ground hard and mobility suddenly became a luxury for the poor little soul.  He was found by a good samaritan who brought him into Friendship APL and from there was taken to a vet for some very urgent medical care.  His injuries were numerous and included multiple fractures to his pelvis and a right leg that was broken in two spots; one fracture to the humerus and one to the femur.

FAPL Director Greg Willey eventually took him into his own home for some closely monitored fostering of the newly and temporarily named Sir Meowsalot.  The four-legged patient was able to receive more attention this way than if he were at the shelter, something that was certainly warranted considering his situation.  This chivalrous feline was soon on the mend and it wasn’t long after that he caught the eye of FAPL Board President Deb McFadden.  She and her husband were putty in Meowsalot’s paws and the rest is history.

Grown-up Max

Sir Meowsalot eventually became Max and he is the latest addition to a household that is home to three other FAPL rescues.  Worries about his injuries stunting his growth have since been cast aside as the 15-month old has filled out quite nicely.  He can run like the wind and his appetite certainly isn’t affected either.  When I pay the little guy a visit, he’s usually the first to greet me at the door, although I’m not sure if that’s because he’s happy to see me or he sees an opening to spend a few moments outside.  Either way, this cat has a face that lights up a room and is enjoying a spoiled life, well deserved after his traumatic early days.

Max playing the flute or drinking a milkshake while hanging out with adopted sis Misty.


The Case of the Cranky Cat

by Gregg Senko

Animal shelters can be fantastic places. Take FAPL for instance. Our facility has an awesome roster of staff and volunteers that go the extra mile to not only rescue animals, but also to make sure the ones we have are going to proper homes and not just anyone off the street. Dogs get walked regularly. Everyone is fed. Cages and cat condos are cleaned daily. Still, while the humans do their darnedest to make sure everything is in tip-top shape, some of the animals just aren’t feeling the feng shui.

Let’s take Kierra for instance.  She was a tabby whose owner had passed away.  With nowhere to go, Kierra was turned over to Friendship APL in hopes of getting her a good home.  The idea is to find a great match for the animal within the first couple of weeks they’re at the shelter.  In Kierra’s case, those two weeks passed, then two months, then two more months and so on.  The clock continued to tick for her time in her cage.  However, it was not surprising as to why this was the case, unfortunate as it may be.  Whenever she was approached in her cage, she reacted negatively to the people observing her.  It was usually an immediate defensive posture with a swat of the paw.  Obviously anyone experiencing that quickly moved along.  It just felt like Kierra was going out of her way to not get adopted.

To take Kierra’s side of things though, she was distraught.  Taken from the freedom of a stable home environment and put into a small cage was a lot of stress on the poor girl.  Not all cats react this way, because just like people, they have different personalities.  She was scared and confused, not knowing why she was here or what the future was to hold.  So after several months, FAPL Director Greg Willey had an idea.  She was coming out of that cage…permanently…and that she did.  In order to adjust to life again and be a potential adoptee, Kierra needed to get acclimated to her surroundings as well as people.

Her new home was actually in Greg’s office.  Granted, it wasn’t the home she used to have before FAPL, but a wide open office was a grand improvement from the cage.  For Kierra, it was like going from a dorm room to the Ritz.  She still had her bouts of crabbiness on occasion, but now she showed affection, accepted affection and enjoyed the spaciousness and attention in her new crib.  She was at FAPL for over a year, an uncommon length to be sure, but her social rehab worked like a charm and she eventually found her forever home.  She’s loving life today and is certainly a different cat than the upset, claws-out feline she was 13 months ago.  Actually, I take that back.  She’s the same cat.  Kierra always had love in her, it just took stability to bring it out again.

Catch Us in August! FAPL Upcoming Events

by Gregg Senko

Bored? We’re not! Rain or shine, things are always hopping inside the Friendship Animal Protective League, and while the weather’s still great, we’ll be just as busy outside as well. Read on to find out the virtual treasure trove of events FAPL staff and volunteers will be taking part in. Whether it’s pet therapy for nursing home residents or educating the public on animal welfare, our presence will felt throughout the community in August.


Elyria turns 200 years old this year!  The city will be celebrating with a bicentennial parade and FAPL will be marching in the August 5th festivities from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm.  Come out to celebrate the city’s history and cheer on your favorite non-profit, Friendship APL!  Look for Elyria Bicentennial on Facebook for more information.  Visit the city’s official website here.



While Avon isn’t having a landmark birthday this year, they will be having a party of their own and everyone’s welcome.  FAPL will be at the inaugural Summerfest on Sunday, August 6th from noon to 5:00 pm.  As the event’s website states, “Pack the car and head to the Marketplace at Avon on August 6th for the first annual Summerfest in partnership with the French Creek Foundation. Join local businesses, non-profits and local artists in support of Every Child’s Playground; Avon’s new All-Inclusive Playground Project.  Summerfest hosts a wide array of fun activities for the entire family ranging from live music and delicious craft beer to face and hair painting for the kids!”  Official site info can be found by clicking here.


Turn back the clock on August 19th and come see our classic car show, Wheels for Wags, at Avon United Methodist Church located at 37711 Detroit Road in Avon.  The event runs from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.  If it’s rained out, the event will be rescheduled for August 26th.  Entry donation is $10 per vehicle and pre-registration is $8 per vehicle.  Spectating is free but donations of pet food and kitty litter are greatly appreciated!  Don’t miss out on these awesome automobiles and plenty of door prizes!  Interested in registering your car?  Call Joyce for more info at (440) 315-2938.


On Monday, August 21st, we will be paying the fine folks a visit at The Woods at French Creek for a senior pet therapy hour from 2:30 to 3:30.  While these therapy events typically aren’t open to the public, we are always looking for volunteers to help out at them.  It’s a special moment to witness the moment seniors light up at the sight of cats and dogs.  Plus it gets some of FAPL’s residents out of their confines and into an open area with some human interaction.


We will also be attending the Frostville Dog Gone Funday, a dog-themed outdoor festival in the beautiful Frostville Historical Society. This event is August 27th from noon to 4:00 pm.  Check out this very cool and unique event as the month winds down.


We will close out August’s events with another pet therapy session, this time at Avon Oaks Caring Community.  This visit will take place on Wednesday, August 30th from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  As always, these are great experiences for all involved.

Please contact FAPL with any questions you may have regarding volunteering at (440) 322-4321.

Five Places to Take Your Dog in Lorain County

by Gregg Senko

Looking for a place where your dog can run like the wind and just be him or herself for an hour? Need a groomer? How about a place to board your beloved canine while you’re away? How about a break from Milk-Bones for a more scrumptious treat for Fido? Fear not! We’ve got you covered as this article takes us through five locales in Lorain County that your pooch can enjoy. Please note that Friendship APL is not affiliated with any of the following businesses/places.  These are merely suggestions to take your dog to.

Avon Pet Lodge









Satisfying your needs to take care of your dog while you’re away, the Avon Pet Lodge provides comfortable living quarters for them when the need arises.  Even if you have more than one pet, they can be boarded together by the caring folks that will be looking after them.  As their website states, “Our facility offers the best quality boarding services and day care for your dogs or cats in all of Avon! We can give you peace of mind, knowing that your furry friends are not just in safe hands, but they’re also having a good time!”  Avon Pet Lodge is located at 1101 Jaycox Road in Avon and online at



Grateful Dog Bakery









Focused on natural ingredients and treats that dogs will love, the Grateful Dog Bakery sells gourmet and healthy dog treats that are made on site.  In addition Grateful Dog also has a corner of the store reserved for dog supplies, leashes and toys.  Back to the treats though, since that’s this establishment’s bread and butter, they offer an array of bark-worthy biscuits from bone-shaped pumpkin spelt cookies to gluten-free coconutters (and that’s just getting started!). You can find this well kept secret in North Ridgeville at 31966 Center Ridge Road.  Check their website for hours of operation:



Paws by the Lake









Located a stone’s throw from Lake Erie on the Avon Lake Pet Care Campus, Paws by the Lake is like a Swiss Army tool of pet care.  They groom, they board and they exercise your four-legged loved ones amidst a spaciously warm and inviting interior.  More information for Paws by the Lake Pet Resort & Daycare is available on their website at and at their facility at 33757 Lake Road in Avon Lake.



Park 4 Paws









Need to let your dog just be a dog?  Then Park 4 Paws could be the place for them.  Park 4 Paws is a small dog park run by the city of Avon Lake and can be found at 33401 Webber Road (Avon Lake).  Park 4 Paws, also known as the Avon Lake Dog Park, offers a fenced-in area and plenty of shade during these hot summer days.  There’s even a ramp or two for the frolicking canines to run up and down and spend some of that pent up energy.  While there’s no official online page for the park, the website offers some information which can be viewed here.



Splash Zone








Before you get the wrong idea, this isn’t a doggie pool.  Splash Zone in Oberlin is a community people pool, however, there is an exclusive dog park and it’s less than two years old.  Situated on a one-acre stretch of land within the Splash Zone park at 95 W. Hamilton Street, this fun fest for humans and dogs alike is managed by the Lorain County Metroparks.  Hours and information can be found on their website by clicking here. *Photo courtesy of The Morning Journal

Volunteer Feature of July 2017: Hyland Software

In a change of pace from our typical Q&A volunteer features, this month focuses on not one person, but a group of people. Specifically, some of the great folks at Hyland Software in Westlake, Ohio.  Every month, a group of employees from Hyland come out to walk dogs and socialize with our cats.  In the word’s of FAPL’s own Cathy B., “They are such rock stars!” noting that the group has scheduled volunteer outings through the end of the year.  “When they are here I can absolutely be sure that every dog in the shelter will get walked and socialized.  They are really a tight group who know exactly what they’re doing.”

What’s additionally great with the volunteers from Hyland Software is how we consistently get repeat helpers as well as new faces each month.  They are big fans of the shelter and keep coming back for more.  Cathy goes on to mention, “I think last time I had over 30 of them walking dogs and socializing with cats. I know at least three of them who fell in love with animals while they were here and actually adopted them.  That’s the gist of their awesomeness. They are also a very friendly corporate entity.”

There’s no mistaking the great culture that’s bred at Hyland Software.  They’re one of the top-rated employers to work for in the Greater Cleveland area and it’s obvious that the generous mentality that’s carried at their corporate level trickles down to their employees.  FAPL would like to extend a big thank you for their continuous assistance each month.  You are some incredible individuals and we appreciate it!

Mourning the Loss of a Pet

by Gregg Senko

It happens to all of us. It’s the worst part of having that lovable animal companion. Sure there are expenses like vet bills that can sting the pocketbook, the jaw-dropping moment when they chewed up antique furniture, but there is absolutely no comparison in having to say goodbye. What’s the best way to overcome that? How long should you wait before getting another animal? Should you even get another animal? These are all valid questions, to be sure, but the reality is there is no right or wrong answer for any of them.

This is something I’ve experienced more than once, as I’m sure that’s the case of most of our readers here.  When I was about 6 years old was my first dealing with the loss of an animal companion.  That was Fritzi, a black lab.  Years later it was a most awesome parakeet named Petey who passed in front of me on an autumn Sunday.  Then nine years ago it was Maggie, a yellow lab with a white coat and a heart of gold.  I balled my eyes out each time, shedding more tears the older I got.  Perhaps that’s due to spending more time with each pet as I grew older.  Perhaps it’s appreciating the relationship more.  Either way, it doesn’t get easier.

So how does one remedy that?  It always depends on the person.  A neighbor of mine has had a number of German Shepherds over the years.  She and her husband treat them extremely well and provide them with textbook training.  When one of these beloved dogs heads Heaven-bound, they usually have a pup not long after.  Some look at this in a rather cold manner, as if it’s to wipe away the memory of the pet they just lost with an instant replacement.  For me, especially after Maggie, I was not ready to have a dog for several years.  Some may look at that as not being able to get over the loss.

The truth is, others will always have their own idea on how you should handle it.  We all know the old adage about opinions and how everybody has one.  There is no right or wrong.  Who am I to say someone didn’t wait long enough for a new cat, dog, bird or rabbit?  If they provide a loving home and proper care, that’s all that matters.  My only advice is when that situation is looming that your pet is dying or may need to be euthanized, your primary concern with them should be them, not what your next pet will be.  Once they pass, then you can consider what happens next.  Note that the operative word there is “them” and not “you.”  Never keep a suffering pet alive who cannot be healed just because you will have trouble letting go.  In such a scenario, love is displaced and selfishness takes over.

Actually I have one other bit of advice.  Look toward a shelter.  Whether it’s FAPL or somewhere else, get acquainted with the animals in these facilities.  Breeders can be hit or miss.  They’re typically for-profit and not all of them are careful in how they handle their animals.  Plus, the ongoing inbreeding of dogs puts inherent health problems on a repeat cycle (hip problems in Retrievers, dental woes for Yorkies, skin problems for Sharpeis and so on).  So while all of our furry and feathered friends eventually part ways from this world to the next, just remember to be there for them in that transition as they were always there for us.  Take a moment to breathe before considering your next pet, if there will even be a next pet.  If there is, give them that same love you gave the last one and embrace the new personality you will be welcoming into your home.

Someplace Somewhat Like Home

by Cathy Belt

“We are very much an anti-shelter animal shelter.”

Our Executive Director here at Friendship APL likes to frequently boast about being the most anti-shelter shelter director you would ever meet. Obviously being a shelter director himself, this bit usually gets a chuckle from those in attendance. Surely he doesn’t mean he unanimously hates shelters and all they stand for (and you would be right in that assumption).

But what does that actually mean? For humans, an animal shelter is a place for someone to find a four-legged (or sometimes three-legged) addition to their family. It’s also a place to find personal enrichment as a staff member or volunteer. For an animal it is a safe haven from a previous life best forgotten or a temporary residence until the next chapter of their lives. But however we spin what an animal shelter is – it will always be a building filled with cages with animals inside. But does it have to be?

If you’re a cat looking for a home, the Friendship Animal Protective League is not the worst place you could end up. Here you will find no wire cages, no cramped spaces where animals are stacked like Jenga pieces. Little by little, we have been remodeling our shelter room by room with a little help from our friends.

Felines, especially senior cats, special needs cats and long-term residents are high risk for kennel stress. They break down, become anti-social, hard to handle and even stop eating or become ill. This is where our new mini-catteries, possible only because of the generosity sponsored by the Petco Foundation, comes into play.

In our new green room, we have 4 extra-large spaces filled with cat enrichment. The spaces provide a much needed home-like environment for cats to be able to relax, socialize and show their best selves for potential adopters. With a charitable 9k grant from the Petco Foundation, we were able to purchase state of the art glass kennels, new cat furniture from Canada, an Oscillot Cat Containment Systems from Australia, and new benches. The room was also brightened up with a fresh coat of paint on the walls and floor.

Much gratitude from the staff, volunteers and our feline friends to the Petco Foundation, without whom this would not be possible.

Lost Pets & the Value of Microchipping

by Gregg Senko

One of the biggest fears as a pet owner is having your pet run (or fly) away. Despite the strongest efforts of some folks to keep their animals corralled and safe indoors, sometimes, a curious cat or dog will take an opportunity to dart toward the great outdoors which aren’t always so great for them. Once exposed to a seemingly infinite number of directions to run and dangers to experience, domesticated animals can be easily confused or startled once they have left the safe confines of their home.

The first step in getting your pet back is to be preemptive.  According to the website, 1 in every 3 pets go missing.  That is a startling statistic.  If there is a moral to the story, well actually there are several, but the first that comes to mind is don’t be the person that thinks this will never happen to them.  Make it a top priority to get your cat or dog microchipped the moment you adopt them.  This is not something to dawdle with, but having the microchip implanted in your pet is not enough.

I have come across a few stray animals in the last couple of years that were microchipped, only to never have the chip registered and activated.  Think of it as buying a car without fuel.  It’s completely useless without that final action.  Some facilities may offer one-stop shopping where the chip can be purchased, implanted and activated for a cost roughly around $50.  At Friendship APL, all of our cats and dogs already have microchips when they’re adopted.

If that step has been taken and the animal still manages to escape, the next part of the process is to start calling local shelters (like FAPL) and police departments (their animal control officer specifically) to see if a pet matching the description of yours has been caught.  Many individuals will post photos of their pet along with contact information on telephone poles or in the windows of businesses (with their permission) for bystanders to keep an eye out for.  However, while there is nothing wrong with that, such postings tend to get overlooked (especially when the photo is in black and white) or ruined by the elements.  A more efficient way to track down a lost pet is through local online outlets that specialize in this sort of thing.

The first of which comes to mind isn’t really a website, but a page within Facebook known simply as ‘Sam the Parrot’.  Sam the Parrot was started by the late Jerry Liller, a Lorain County resident whose pet parrot Sam flew away.  Liller created a Facebook page for Sam in hopes of reuniting with his beloved winged friend.  When someone lost their dog and asked Liller if they could post it on his ‘Sam’ page, he obliged.  One thing led to another and today the Facebook page Sam the Parrot is a major hub for lost pets in and around Lorain County.

Sadly, Sam was never found, but her legacy lives on in helping hundreds of other pets.

Once outdoors and on the loose, cats and dogs can behave very differently.  Dogs can head off in any number of directions and walk for miles or just camp out in a driveway down the street.  Cats typically don’t go all that far.  They are, however, exceptional at hiding and are most active at dusk and dawn.  Call for them.  They know your voice.  Grab a strong flashlight to catch their reflective eyes in lowlight conditions.  Do not leave food out overnight for your lost cat as that can just attract other animals, like raccoons or opossums, that will chase your cat away.  Don’t keep your lost cat (or dog) a secret.  Talk!  Tell your neighbors and post it online (i.e. Sam the Parrot).  This may sound like a broken record by now in this article, but get your pet microchipped and have a collar and tag on them.  Most importantly, don’t give up!  If you believe someone stole your pet, call the police. It’s a 5th degree felony in the State of Ohio to hurt an animal.

The following are a list of websites for lost pets both nationally and in our area:

  • Sam the Parrot (via Facebook)


Special thanks to FAPL Board President Deb McFadden for her contribution to this article.