Tag Archives: dogs

‘On The Map’ visits Oakland County to learn about transitions taken by Leader Dogs


Our latest “On The Map” series brings us around the state to learn about transitions involving people, animals, and technology.

Dogs that help the visually impaired are some of the most highly trained service animals.

What does it take to guide people who are deaf-blind or visually impaired?

If these dogs could talk they would say good trainers, lots of patience, and treats. Continue reading

“A little bit of freedom” is result of training program which pairs inmates and leader dogs for the blind

DSC_8275 (1)Service dogs for the blind are being trained by prison inmates at a growing number of prisons state and nationwide.

And some of the professionals who work with the program say prison inmates are the best trainers around.

Continue reading

The Charlevoix Area Humane Society is looking for homes for three dogs from Detroit


The Charlevoix Area Humane Society has some extra room in their shelter, and they’ve decided to use the space to welcome transfer dogs from Detroit.

The Charlevoix Humane Society has taken two pitbull mixes and a doberman. Continue reading

Dogs rescued from a puppy mill in Oscoda County this week are now safe and being treated

A dog and ASPCA member in Mio after being rescued. Photo courtesy of the ASPCA.

A dog and ASPCA member in Mio after being rescued. Photo courtesy of the ASPCA.

More than 50 dogs are being held in a safe location and being treated by medical professionals after being rescued from a puppy mill in Oscoda County on Monday, December 14.

A tip from a neighbor led Oscoda County officials and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to a mill in Mio. Continue reading

Legislation would strike down local dog breed bans

dogsAny local ordinance that bans specific dog breeds may soon be struck down, under legislation approved by the Senate earlier this month, with bipartisan support.

The measure would prevent ordinances that say a specific breed is not allowed, or to be controlled in a certain way.
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New furry faces in Traverse City Public Schools mean serious business

Photo courtesy | Interquest Detection Canine s

Photo courtesy | Interquest Detection Canine s

Golden Retrievers will soon begin visiting the Traverse City Public Schools, but these dogs aren’t just for fun.

They are apart of a private safety dog company, called Interquest. The retrievers will be searching for drugs and alcohol. In the past police drug canines have come and searched, but the school district felt the German Shepards were “too intimidating”. Continue reading

New program at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park aimed at dog owners


The title of bark ranger could be yours at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Park.

The volunteer will bring their dog to the lakeshore trails and educate other pet owners about pet rules and park information. Continue reading

Paws for Freedom: one dog’s rescue story from Iran to Saginaw

Pets take on roles; they’re family members, best friends and sometimes – targets.

Captain has been all three. Today he lives with a family in Saginaw. He was adopted out of Iran. A place where dogs have been outlawed for over thirty years.

Jeff Popovich tells us about Captain, his new family and his remarkable journey:

Despite missing a leg, Captain runs effortlessly to greet, Reza Saffarian.

Saffarian is an Iranian-born American citizen who adopted Captain from his home country two years ago.

He said, “We are just happy to be able to help an animal that had probably been put down overseas if that was not, you know if that was not for the circumstances.”

Dogs have been outlawed in Iran since the Iranian revolution in the late 1970s.

It wasn’t until 2004 the country’s first ever animal shelter was founded. It’s called Vafa. That means loyalty in Farsi, the official Persian language in Iran.

Saffarian said animal activist groups like Vafa have been busy trying to improve the fate of dogs in Iran.

He said, “They were instrumental in identifying these dogs and bringing them in, and sheltering these animals.”

The shelter adopts dogs to safe homes in other countries through their website.

Saffarian said, “We were able to look on their website, read the stories of these dogs, and be able to hook up some of these dogs and he was one of those few, and I think they would tell you that, he was one of the few fortunate dogs to be able to get adopted out of nearly 500 dogs.”

Saffarian decided on Captain because he says he felt the dog would be overlooked by other families looking to adopt because he is missing a leg.

He got in touch with the Vafa representative who handles adoptions to the US.

A few weeks later Captain was on a plane to Boston.

Once he was in the US, his journey continued to Saginaw through a volunteer group called The Liberty Train.

That’s an all volunteer organization dedicated to rescuing and transporting animals to homes across the country.

Laura Harper is transport coordinator and founder of The Liberty Train.

She said, “We get drivers to pick up a dog at one location then they transport them to the next location and pass them off to the next driver and so on and so forth until they get where they’re going.”

Harper said it’s a humbling experience working with so many people that are so willing to help.

She said, “When I get to the end of the week and I know that I’ve got wonderful people like Team Iran and Team US/Canada or the Vafa shelter and all the other rescues that we work with it fills my heart. It keeps me going knowing that there are good people out there.”

Back in Saginaw, Reza Saffarian said he’s grateful to all the people who were involved in Captain’s rescue and transport.

When Captain arrived, the Saffarians were concerned about his stump. It had not been properly amputated when he was still in Iran.

Saffarian said, “So we put him through a surgery shortly after we got him, and ever since I think he has…his life has taken for the better.”

Since his rescue, Captain has adapted to the English language.

He’s also picked up on things that American dogs take for granted, like climbing stairs and even playing with toys.

Saffarian said, “We are delighted…we are really delighted. And I think somehow he appreciates that too you know you saw how he comes to the door and greets us, and how he sticks by me. I think he understands that maybe he is somewhat lucky.”

Captain went from being a target on the streets of Iran to a full fledged Saffarian family member.

Aside from being one lucky dog, Captain’s journey is one example that possibilities are endless.


Vafa Animal Shelter

The Liberty Train