Category Archives: Stories

Three’s Company, Five’s a Blessing

At first glance, the Richland County Dog Shelter (RCDS) is a small labyrinth of hallways lined with cage after cage, augmented with a symphony of begging barks from its residents. There is a well-established relationship between the RCDS and Friendship APL, which is what led to a recent call from Richland to Friendship.  Just like every person, every business or establishment has its own strengths and weaknesses.  While the RCDS can house several more dogs than Friendship, it’s Friendship that truly excels at finding quality forever-homes for animals.  It is through teamwork like this that becomes a matchmaker for the four-legged variety.

Soon after the call came in, Friendship’s Intake Supervisor, Stephanie, headed out with a van full of travel cages while I tagged along. Upon arriving at our Richland destination, the wide stone-block building looked rather vacant.  There was a lone car in the parking lot and it proved to provide a quiet scene.  After signing in, however, we made our way to the dogs and the barking began.  Some were so scared their canine calls were those of duress or begging.  Others remained so silent, but spoke with their wide eyes, following our actions as we studied them, hoping to be the next dog to escape the confines of their cage for even a few minutes.

There is a method to the choosing of the dogs that would come with us. In an overall sense, they need to be adoptable.  While a number of things can sum up to meet that requirement, the basics of it are a friendly demeanor and an interest in their human counterpart(s).  Thus, the process is certainly not random in nature and carries a degree of heavy-heartedness just the same.  While there is the emotional peak knowing we are putting five souls on the focused path to loving homes, there is also the valley knowing that over ten times that many must be left behind.


Sassy (recently reunited with her owner)

As Stephanie paced the shelter floor and examined each dog in detail, I made mental notes of her decision-making process. I soon realized this was a daunting yet time-sensitive task.  A list was made of five dogs, which we took to the front desk.  As we declared the names of those we intended to take with us, two were immediately nixed as there were already applications in process in Richland for their adoption.  One of these was Cobalt, a short-legged, long-bodied dog with black fur and blue-gray spots, looking like something along the lines of a Dachshund and a Scottie.  His body was a unique mixture of breeds to be sure, though his affectionate attitude stood out the most.  The other was Olivia, a dog that I made a quick connection with and the one that Stephanie gave me the duty of picking.  To put it plainly, it was a bummer that we weren’t able to include these dogs in the care and home-seeking talent of Friendship.  However, the flipside to that coin is that they are being adopted so they are on their way to a new and permanent home.


Ridley (adopted)

Stephanie and I headed back and toured the facility once more, claiming two more dogs to fulfill our max five-capacity for the trip back. It wasn’t long before we made our tally.  First was a Cupcake, a female Corgi-mix that is a little ball of love. Next was Ridley, a male Shepherd mix who has a face to die for.  Then there was Hank, a male retriever mix whose wiry, nimble frame was never suited for cage life (but then again, what dog is).  Last but not least were our late additions, Sassy and Birdie.  Sassy is a female Boxer-mix and Birdie is one beautiful coon hound.  After our journey, all five dogs got to take turns running in Friendship’s outdoor caged areas.  The dogs were intrigued by one another, but even more so by their outdoor surroundings where they got to stretch their legs, run around and just act like a dog.

Cupcake -Friendship APL

Cupcake – Corgi mix (adopted)

In all honesty, all five were very sweet dogs. They were of varying energy levels with Hank, Ridley and Sassy covering the most ground.  Cupcake is in heaven just being close to someone showing her affection, and Birdie, oh Birdie, if I could adopt her I would.  She would gallop, then stop, then exclaim the day’s goings-on in her world to a neighboring canine (in this case Cupcake).  When I called out to her, she would make this almost apologetic walk toward me where she need to be at my side, her face next to mine as she bore an expression of devotion and trust.  She is a prize of a dog, no doubt about it, but then again, aren’t they all?


Hank – retriever/terrier mix (adopted)

The next step for the newest residents of the Friendship APL is to get any additional shots and vaccinations not administered during their stay in Richland. There is also all-important spaying and neutering that will take place as well.  Shortly thereafter, these five loveable souls will be ready for adoption and a new life filled with the care and love of someone’s home.  The story doesn’t end there, however.


Birdie – Coon Hound

For every Cupcake, Ridley, Hank, Sassy and Birdie, there are thousands of more dogs out there who roam the streets or are confined to months of the stressful confines of overflowing shelters. I didn’t adopt a dog today.  I’m in no position at this time, but I did assist in getting five of them out of an unfavorable situation and into a better one.  They are now one step away from their personal paradise and it’s results like those that are simply not achievable without the aid of volunteers.  It’s something to consider if nothing else.  We may not be able to open our homes to every cat or dog, but we can find every cat or dog a home.

It’s Emma, My Dear

It was only recently when the Friendship Animal Protective League received a call from the East Holmes Veterinary Clinic that they had someone we may be interested in helping. A young female Rottweiler had been effectively discarded by her human companion, used simply for the purposes of breeding and selling the pups for cash.  The story begins as an unfortunate one as it is often the all-too-common tale that some female dogs go through.  They are treated solely as a product instead of the life-loving canine that they really are.  Rest assured, this four-legged lass was not about to be cast into a pooch purgatory where she would have to fend for herself.  Friendship veteran staff member Allysa and day 1 volunteer, yours truly, hopped in the car and headed down to Mennonite country in Berlin, Ohio.

The 90-minute journey to our destination was painted with numerous family farms and dotted with the occasional horse and buggy, a peaceful and scenic trip to be sure. Upon reaching our destination of the East Holmes Veterinary Clinic, we were promptly greeted by Bob, one of the clinic staff.  While he’s certainly not the tallest employee there, he was one of the most ambitious, but this lively trait is quite common for Yorkies such as Bob (who was later labeled as Robert when he wouldn’t return to the lobby from outside).  In a rather yin-yang of dog breeds, a Great Dane named Moose soon entered the scene, almost apologetically tardy as he followed Bob out to make our acquaintance as well.  The tandem had an uncanny chemistry in their greeting duties, combining their smile-inducing powers that were nothing short of irresistible.  Nevertheless, while Bob and Moose were great souls to spend time with, Allysa and myself were on a mission as it was the Rotti we sought.

moose and bob

Moose (left), Bob (right)…or ‘Robert’ when he doesn’t listen 😉

Within a few minutes, one of the East Holmes humans brought out our pooch of interest. At roughly just over a year old, we laid our eyes on one beautiful Rottweiler, though it was safe to say she was a bit bewildered by all the commotion.  Upon kneeling down to connect with her, it was noticeable that she was a bit under-nourished and in need of some TLC and a little chow.  Though apprehensive to enter our vehicle, she eventually made her way inside and was quite the quiet passenger.  Now the trick was what to name her.  Of course her forever home may change it once she gets adopted, but for now, she needed an identity, even if it is only temporary.  Allysa proposed the question to me, to which my immediate response was a rather uncreative “I don’t know.”  Allysa coaxed my thought process by presenting the question once more.  This time the name “Emma” came out.  I figured we were at East Holmes, triggering the thought of Sherlock Holmes whose partner was Watson.  However, Watson was a male and our dog of the day was a female.  That’s when the actress Emma Watson popped in my brain.  Emma it is!


It’s Emma, my dear!

Once the return trip was complete, Emma had second thoughts about exiting the confines of her travel cage. After a minute or so, she made the leap and it was to the grass we were headed.  It’s been quite some time since I had seen a dog so entranced by its new surroundings.  There was an excitement in Emma’s demeanor as she took in the sights, sounds and smells of it all.  The calls of sparrows drew her attention to the left, while a wind-induced rustling of the weeds perked her ears to the right.  Call me crazy but it was almost as if she was exhibiting an appreciation for this unfamiliar yet open environment.  Soon after, Emma made her way to her cage to which she promptly feasted on bowls of food and water that were ready and waiting for her.  Though she wasn’t familiar of where she was or what the future holds, Emma definitely had a level of excitement that peeked through the curtains of uncertainty.

Lucky Too!


Lucky Too on his way to Westpark Animal Hospital on February 21.

Lucky Too on his way to Westpark Animal Hospital on February 21.

Another day, another dog, another trip to the emergency vet… This 6 month-old dog was hit by a bus… No kidding – a bus! His back leg was dangling, and he had minor abrasions from road rash. We got him to the vet in no time and X-Rays revealed what was already pretty obvious – a big fracture!

The first X-Ray of Lucky shows just how bad a break we were dealing with!

The first X-Ray of Lucky shows just how bad a break we were dealing with!

Lucky Too was going to need to see an orthopedic specialist. His surgery was going to need to take place right away. He was going to need a plate placed over the bone. The good news was that after 12 hours, he seemed to have no signs of internal damage to his spine or internal organs. How can you get hit by a bus and only break a leg?

He went under anesthetic within 12 hours of arriving at Westpark. Everyone knew time was critical, or we could be looking at amputating his leg. The staff did a truly incredible job putting him back together. The X-Rays reveals the extensive amount of work that needed to be done.

X Rays of Lucky Too's surgically repaired leg.

X Rays of Lucky Too’s surgically repaired leg.

Another angle of the incredible amount of work the staff put into Lucky Too!

Another angle of the incredible amount of work the staff put into Lucky Too!















I received the call from the doctor letting me know that his surgery had all gone well and that he was recovering from his anesthetic. In less than 24 hours, Lucky Too is on the mend! He will be heading to a foster home for a minimum of a month while he recovers from the injury.

Lucky Too got the Too in his name because there was already a cat named Lucky recovering from surgery at Westpark, so they needed a way to identify which Lucky was which. This Lucky was thrice blessed! First, he survived being hit by a bus! Second, Friendship APL was able to help him receive the care he needed immediately thanks to people like you who donate on behalf of animals! Three, we have an amazing foster program where they can recover!

Lucky Too recovers from surgery at Westpark Animal Hospital

Lucky Too recovers from surgery at Westpark Animal Hospital

We are so proud to be able to help dog’s like him, but we can only these needy animals with your help. The total price tag on the surgery and care is $2,600! We are a totally donation based shelter. Even $10 can help a dog or cat in need of veterinary care.

To help with Lucky Too’s surgery, click here!


2nd Annual Doggy Dash/Grayce Roach Memorial Run or Walk

 2nd Annual Doggy Dash/Grayce Roach Memorial Walk or Run

There was an unbelievable response from students and staff of Lake Ridge Academy this year for the Doggy Dash. They were there to pay their respects to a beloved friend. Last year, a little over 60 participated in the event. This year over 120 raced and walked! It was both an incredible and touching sight to behold. Below are a few of the highlights from the event.


A beam of sunlight shines down on the tribute to Grayce created by her classmates. The light also fittingly falls on Cowboy, a rescue Border Collie mix at Friendship APL. I am positive that Grayce would have loved this dog…

Doggy Dash

Both the two and four-legged runners and walkers getting ready for the race to begin!


And their off… participants enjoyed a beautiful spring day in the Lorain Metroparks.

Dogs and their companions walked 1.5 miles through French Creek Reservation.

Not everyone walked...

Not everyone walked…


These Lake Ridge Students ran the 5K!


Crossing the finish line!

ing the finish line!


Paul Norrod was this year’s 5K winner!

Thank you to the incredible students and staff of Lake Ridge Academy who made this day possible!

Thank you to the incredible students and staff of Lake Ridge Academy who made this day possible!


Arthur and George’s Story

Arthur and George

Arthur and George

Arthur and George are so adorable! They are 2 month old kittens who were born in foster care. They are playful, loving and FUN! Arthur and George lived with other cats and dogs and did great. These cute kittens can be adopted at Friendship Animal Protective League.

Maysie’s Story



My boyfriend and I adopted Diamond, now Maysie. We love her so much and couldn’t be happier! Just wanted go let you know she’s in a good home.

– Maysie’s New Friend, Katherine Kuncel

Dooper’s Story



We named him Dooper, he’s learning some basic commands and doing great with potty training.

– Dooper’s New Friend, Melissa Wyrick-Klena

Sadie’s Story



No matter how nice the shelter, how incredible the staff, how caring the volunteers – a cage will never be a home. Meet Sadie – a 3 year-old Pitbull mix that has trouble trusting men at first (sadly most abuse is at the hands of men). But once she warms up to you, you will never find a sweeter or more gentle dog. Adopt a shelter or rescue pet!

Riley’s Story



Riley is such a sweetheart! She is a 5 year old Torbie who came from another rescue. Riley is very friendly and loves attention. This pretty girl would love to be part of a family for the holidays.

Scarecrow’s Story



Isn’t Scarecrow a neat looking cat? He is very friendly and really nice. Scarecrow is 2 years old and was a stray so his story is unknown. It would be so nice for this great cat to be adopted into a good home. Scarecrow is at Friendship Animal Protective League waiting for his adoption day.