We’d Like You to Meet Our Staff’s Adopted Pets!

It’s an occupational hazard when you work for BISSELL Pet Foundation…you advocate for adorable, lovable rescue pets; you fall in love with them at first sight; and then you take them home!  That’s how it is around here and we’d like you to know more about our staff’s adopted pets.



Iris is a Yorkie mix, who is the best friend of Kat, our Program Assistant.  Iris and 85 other dogs were rescued in April 2015 from a puppy mill in Kankakee, IL where newborn Iris was found in a shoebox.  BPF provided funding and assisted with the raid which led Kat and Iris to meet.  Kat knew she wanted to give a home to one of the puppies and she waited patiently until she finally had her chance to bring home Iris.  Holly, BPF Senior Communications and Event Coordinator, also assisted on the raid and adopted Iris’ sister Lucy! Now these two littermates and best friends see each other for playdates and in the office—because it’s always take your pet to work day at BPF!




Holly also adopted Milton, who was saved from a Missouri puppy mill. Milton’s favorite thing to do is to come to work at BPF.  He loves long meetings, PowerPoint presentations and Excel spreadsheets, as long as Holly is with him.  Milton especially loves having his picture taken.  (Check out our Facebook cover photo to see one of his poses!) He aspires to be a therapy dog to spread his love and happiness to everyone he encounters- because he just can’t contain his kisses!



Joanna, BPF’s Grant and Program Manager, also has two adopted pets:  Max and TJ.  During a winter storm in 2010, a small, brown creature darted into Joanna’s open door.  Joanna couldn’t tell what Max was at first—he was black and brown with wet, matted fur and was covered in his own feces.  He had clearly been neglected and left to die in the storm.  After some extensive clean up, Joanna discovered he was an adorable Bichon Frise puppy.  While Joanna was delighted by her new friend, her landlord would not allow her to keep a pet, so she found a temporary home for Max until he came to live with her forever.



Max loves to play with Joanna’s other adopted dog, TJ, a black Lab mix.  Joanna visited a local rescue in 2014 intending to come home with a large breed dog like she had in childhood.  She met several wonderful dogs, but didn’t find the right match until she encountered TJ. His playful and affectionate disposition was just what Joanna was seeking.  Even though he was much smaller and didn’t look like what she had imagined, Joanna just knew he was the right dog for her!



Our team’s adopted pets have brought us so much joy! There are amazing pets in shelters and rescues across the nation just waiting to share their love with you. Once you adopt you will never shop again!

“Operation Summer Saves”: Ending Cruelty and Saving Lives

Animal Rescue Corps (ARC), a national animal protection nonprofit, needed support in Tennessee for three, separate rescues this month and they called upon BISSELL Pet Foundation to help make it happen.  And in fact, not only did BPF give $10,000 in emergency funding to support Operation Summer Saves, but BPF founder, Cathy Bissell, and two BPF staff members also volunteered on Day 1 at a puppy mill rescue in Gibson County, TN.

There approximately 48 dogs, mostly small breeds, were living in conditions that tugged on the heartstrings of even the most veteran workers.   The majority of the dogs were found in stacked cages with piles of urine-soaked feces, in addition to a few large dogs roaming loose on the property. Two dead dogs were also found in cages —one of which was in a cage with two other living dogs.  A later search of the property found more dead dogs, some who had been discarded in a heap and one which appeared to have been locked up and left to die.  It was truly a horrific scene.



Many of the living animals were found without access to food or water and several were exposed to the hot, summer sun without shade. Adult dogs and puppies, some just days old and nursing, exhibited signs of severe, chronic neglect including:  emaciation, mange, dehydration, intestinal worms, external parasites, urine scalding and severe matting.  Several dogs required immediate IV treatment and nourishment after evaluation from the veterinarians present.

Tragically, most of these dogs had never seen the outside of a cage or felt the ground beneath their feet, and the rescue day delivered their first experience with love and compassion.  Beneath their matted coats, all were beautiful animals with so much love to give.  The comfort they felt in the volunteers’ arms was visible. Many dogs gave kisses liberally, seeming to recognize they were being given a second chance.


Taking part in a rescue like this one is emotionally difficult for all involved, but ultimately comforting knowing that the abuse and neglect at this location was stopped.  However, we know there are so many more pets that need our help—in puppy mills, on the streets and in shelters waiting to be adopted.  We are grateful to ARC for their incredible effort and for the opportunity to work alongside them this month.  Being on-site reenergized our passion, reminding us of the tremendous need.  We are inspired to do even more to support the lifesaving work of all our partners who are making a difference on the front lines in shelters and rescues.  We continue to look forward to the day when every pet has a home. Please join us in reaching this goal.  https://www.bissellpetfoundation.org/joinus/

Who Let the Dogs Out?! Grand Rapids Party Animals Broke all the Records with 11th BISSELL Blocktail Party!

Thanks to all of our friends and supporters who ‘woofed’ it up with their furry friends, BISSELL Blocktail Party #11 broke all the records with attendance of more than 1000 and with $555,000 raised for animal welfare organizations in Michigan!! It was a beautiful, sunny evening on the lawn of Mangiamo! promising a beautiful future for homeless pets.


The night went to the dogs with pooches dining on tasty yappetizers, drinking from oversized dog bowls and posing for pictures, while their human friends enjoyed food from local restaurants and took home amazing silent auction items.  Mangiamo!, the generous host of the event and avid community partner, was ‘paw-sitively’ decked out as a pet paradise, because this party is all about the pets!


There really was something for everyone, and friends with two and four legs loved the new additions to the night!  “America’s Veterinarian”, Dr. Marty Becker, was in the (dog) house signing books and sharing wisdom.  Pet owners loved finding out the breeds of their adopted dogs with DNA testing and they took advantage of the microchipping on site.  Local favorite, Chris LaPorte, created incredible caricatures of our best friends and the ‘puparazzi’ from Terpstra Photography captured the evening with beautiful images.


Oh what a night we had on Blocktail Eve!  Our VIP sponsors grooved to the sounds of the ‘60’s with The Midtown Men, 4 stars from the Original Cast of Jersey Boys, and also broke records for attendance and funds raised.   It was a great kick off to the main event!

All of the fun and success couldn’t have happened without you.  We are so grateful to all of our friends, volunteers and supporters who attended the Blocktail events or made a contribution.  Our community has generously supported Blocktail for over a decade, making an incredible impact on homeless pets in our area. We are challenged each year to raise more money to fund the lifesaving work of our partners and our fantastic supporters came through again!  We are thrilled by this year’s success and are grateful for everyone who made it possible!

To learn more about how BPF grants have impacted our community, go to bissellpetfoundation.org

Join Us June 14th for the Best DOG-GONE Party in Town!

We are so excited that BISSELL Blocktail Party is back for its 11th year!  The annual fundraiser and celebration of adopted pets will take place 6-9pm ET on Tuesday, June 14th promising a good time for all– rain or shine. Join pet lovers and their four-legged friends on the lawn of Mangiamo! for an evening of music, ‘yappetizers,’ a unique silent auction and a chance to mingle with fellow pet lovers. Blocktail is sure to give the Grand Rapids area something to bark about!


New this year, pet owners can have their dogs microchipped while they mingle, and get DNA testing to learn their dogs’ breeds. In addition, special guest Dr. Marty Becker, “America’s Veterinarian” as seen on Good Morning America and Dr. Oz, will attend the party and autograph his books for party goers. Popular ArtPrize winner, Chris LaPorte will return to draw caricatures of furry friends while humans sip summertime drinks and snack on delicious food provided by local favorites including Furniture City Creamery, Kangaroo Kitchen, Kitchen Sage, Mangiamo!, Saburba, Sweetie-licious, Twisted Rooster and Yesterdog.


We know you will find something you must have with hundreds of one-of-a-kind auction items for every personality and lifestyle:  travel destinations, fitness packages, fine art, hot tickets to big events, and even an opportunity for your pooch to be named the 2017 Blockstar – the furry face of the 2017 party! New to the auction this year, and sold in limited quantity, is BISSELL Pet Foundation’s AdoptBox, a special box filled with goodies for pets and their owners.  And of course, our guests love the highly anticipated ‘doggy bag’ that awaits them at end of the night, featuring our popular BPF leash and other ‘paw-some’ party favors.  And ever better, you will leave knowing you helped make a difference in the lives of pets in need.

If this sounds like a barkin’ good time, then don’t miss the VIP Sponsor Party on June 13th where the Blocktail festivities will kick off with a private concert featuring THE MIDTOWN MEN, 4 stars from the Original Cast of Jersey Boys. These Tony Award Winners will bring favorite hits from the 1960’s to life leaving guests jumping and jiving all night long to the sounds of Frankie Valie and the Four Seasons. VIPs will be treated to a special evening of food and fun with a live auction featuring amazing items only available to guests on Blocktail Eve.


It’s always a beautiful evening in Grand Rapids to help homeless pets while picking up special auction items, posing for a few photos with your best friend to share on social media, and enjoying a memorable night that celebrates all the pets in our community.  Now it’s double the fun with two nights of Blocktail celebrations!  We hope to see you there!

Tickets to the 2016 BISSELL Blocktail Party are available now until June 10 online www.bissellblocktailparty.com. Tickets may be purchased for $100 per person and include two complimentary drink tickets as well as appetizers for humans and their furry friends. A limited number of tickets will be available for purchase at the event but will not include complimentary drink tickets.

VIP Sponsor Party tickets are also still available, see details at www.bissellblocktailparty.com.

It’s Never Too Late: Spay/Neuter Program Leaves Animal Control Officer Overjoyed

BISSELL Pet Foundation partner, Community Spay Neuter Initiative Partnership (C-SNIP), received a $52,500 grant for Spay/Neuter fee assistance. This grant provided by proceeds from the 2015 BISSELL Blocktail Party allowed 1,748 dogs and cats to be spayed/neutered. Inspired by the BISSELL  Pet Foundation’s encouragement for collaboration, C-SNIP quickly saw the value of getting vouchers into the hands of those who have the most interaction with at-risk animals. Two programs were piloted as part of these efforts. The first and most surprising was when they put ten vouchers into the hands of the surrender intake desk staffers at the Kent County Animal Shelter. Those pets referred by local Animal Control Officers may be the most pivotal, immediately saving their lives and keeping them healthy and home. The second was to ensure that Animal Control Officers had an easy and efficient way to refer animals for free spay/neuter surgery as they investigated complaints and made follow up visits.


A beautiful dog who directly benefited from this grant is Lil’ Smoke, an adult male Pit Bull and a prolific breeder for a local backyard kennel. The owner was proud to show Animal Control Officer Jensen how many puppies Lil’ Smoke had created and even showed off his breeding website with emphasis on the dog’s masculine attributes. ACO Jensen worked with Lil’ Smoke’s owner for two years, recognizing and returning the dog when he strayed and taking photos of shelter dogs to see if they came from his litters. ACO Jensen received spay/neuter vouchers as a part of C-SNIP’s pilot collaboration with Kent County Animal Shelter. Jensen took one of the vouchers to Lil’ Smoke’s owner. With the voucher in his pocket until it was about to expire, the owner finally brought his most prized breeder into C-SNIP to be neutered. It was a remarkable coincidence that ACO Jensen was doing a ride along with a new volunteer the same day and recognized Lil’ Smoke in the kennels. The sight filled ACO Jensen with joy. After continually witnessing the worst animal welfare transgressions in our community,  seeing the most unlikely dog waking up from a neuter surgery was a beautiful moment.

C-SNIP has done a wonderful job increasing live release rates through its spay/neuter programs and voucher partnerships with local animal controls. Not only has this grant impacted the lives of the animals who now have a second chance to find a forever home, but it also has increased community awareness and support for spay/neuter to prevent pet overpopulation. BISSELL Pet Foundation is proud to partner with organizations like C-SNIP who save lives daily through innovative programs.