Howl-O-Ween Hoof and Woof … and the Woman Behind It

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Looking for activities that include your furry friends in the festivities? Mark your calendar for Sunday, October 19, noon to 3, at Manhattan Park, where plenty of fun will be had—and for a doggone good reason!

The BISSELL Howl-O-Ween Hoof and Woof is a family-friendly, pay-to-play carnival full of good old-fashioned fun: games, raffles, face painting, a cake walk, a sack race, and a dunk tank; treats and eats from Marshmallogy, Olga's Kitchen, Robinette's Apple Haus and Winery, Rose's, Sietsma's Orchard and Cider Mill, and Yesterdog; and more. Be sure to walk your pup along the Trick-or-Treat Trail. (Don't forget the costumes!) There's even a Smooch Your Pooch photo booth, to capture your day for posterity.

Looking for the profile part of this article? It's here ... and in Howl-O-Ween Hoof and Woof ... and elsewhere. Beyond the fun there's a serious side to Howl-O-Ween Hoof and Woof, stemming from one woman's commitment, dedication, and passion. Funds raised will benefit the BISSELL Pet Foundation, developed to address the growing problem of displaced, unwanted, and homeless animals in the United States. The foundation, with its "Until every pet has a home" motto, was created in 2011 by lifelong pet lover and advocate Cathy Bissell, who lives with her own pack of adopted pups and wanted to do much more to help others. Her desire was borne of the "really great dog" she adopted from a humane society—one who needed a chance, a home, and some love.

The dogs, everywhere, take center stage.

Sales of BISSELL products help support the foundation, as do donations and events such as the BISSELL Blocktail Party® and the Bark Prize designer doghouse competition. In return, the foundation offers grants to animal welfare organizations of various size and need, and has even provided emergency funding for aid in extreme

"Adopted dogs are grateful dogs, and they have so much love," Cathy said. "We want to help created awareness of how great these animals are." She notes there's a huge need to help homeless pets locally and throughout the country—"we would love to be donating in the millions"—and the inaugural Howl-O-Ween Hoof and Woof is the party she always wanted to have. Cathy and a friend pondered it for a couple of years before setting things in motion and finding sponsors. Meijer®, the lead sponsor, is a strong supporter of children and families. Other sponsors are firmly in the pack, and Cathy hopes the event will help bolster her mission.

Cathy wishes for a world in which all dogs have a safe, happy home; a world without puppy mills, where people "do their homework" before bringing an animal into it—learning to better fit their pets to their lifestyle. BISSELL Pet Foundation (and the founder herself) strives to make people aware of pets in need and the benefits of adopting them. "We want to get wonderful pets into loving homes," Cathy said. "If people only knew! Once you adopt, you'll always want to adopt. These animals are so grateful, so happy to be in a loving home."

And for those pets already in loving homes, here's a chance to come out and play—and help others. When all of the fun's been said and done, BISSELL Pet Foundation will donate part of the Howl-O-Ween Hoof and Woof proceeds to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital and part to West Michigan Therapy Dogs, organizations working together in and out of the hospital to help people (especially children) heal. Both will be at Howl-O-Ween Hoof and Woof.

Admission to Howl-O-Ween Hoof and Woof is free! Visit http://www.hoofandwoof.org/ for details on the event, taking place rain or shine! To learn more about the BISSELL Pet Foundation, visit http://www.bissellpetfoundation.org and https://www.facebook.com/BissellPetFoundation. Or talk to Cathy Bissell. She'll tell you all you need to know about the carnival and about making a dog's life whole—and making your life fuller through the love of an adopted pet.

Written by: Amy L Charles is the editorial director for West Michigan Woman. She, too, loves dogs, and proudly admits that her first two Salukis came into her life via rehoming situtations.

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