Stray Story: “Gunther”

Update:  Within a few hours of this post, several local rescue groups stepped up and Gunther is being transported to the SPCA of Southwest Michigan on 3/31/16.

Like so many dogs that find themselves in the care of Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement (KCASE) and other stray animal shelters all over the world, how they came to be there is often a mystery.  Was it dumped?  Did it run away?  Did it escape an abusive home or is it lost from a loving family?  Most potential adopters will speculate based on the way the dog acts or behaves.  Dogs that cower at men must have been beaten by a man.  Dogs that dislike children were abused by a child or children.  Dogs that hesitate or refuse to walk on stairs must have been thrown down stairs at some point in its life.  None of these statements are based on any facts, but they help potential adopters connect with the animal they’ve chosen.  These assumptions help intensify the “rescuer-rescued” bond they form with their new pet and are ultimately the beginning of what will hopefully be a long and happy relationship.

guntherGunther, a stray Mastiff mix at KCASE is just such a stray.  She turned up about a year ago in the City of Kalamazoo. Scared and skittish, she refused to come to anyone.  Finally she found a family with a large open barn that they kept open just for her, worried that something bad could happen to her.  They provided her food and a safe place to sleep if she needed, but month after month were no closer to securing her than they were the first day they noticed her.

The family called local rescue groups and were told that they couldn’t help.  She was a stray, and local rescues cannot take in stray dogs.  She was unable to be contained and had an unknown temperament.  She didn’t seem to trust people and she wasn’t ready to be caught.

Finally, after the plight of Gunther was brought to the attention of KCASE.  Officer Shellie Simpson, a 12-year veteran at KCASE, brought out a live-animal trap to hopefully lure the dog.  For several weeks the dog eluded Simpson and the trap, finding a way to retrieve the food inside the trap without setting off the mechanism that would have closed the trap door behind the dog.

Frustrated, but unwilling to give up on the dog, Simpson found a way to dangle the food inside the trap leaving the dog no other choice but to fully enter the cage if she wanted the free meal.  The plan worked, and finally the dog, who survived the winter without a home, was brought indoors for the first time since her ordeal began.2016-03-29 16.16.24

Named “Gunther”, the dog is a female large-breed brindle and white mix.  She had clearly been hit by a car recently and limps, with an injury to one of her back legs.  She was seen by a veterinarian who was able to clean up the wound, however Gunther may need continued vet care.  Her ears had been cropped and she’s thin, but she is very sweet and the staff at KCASE love her.  She visits the front office regularly and the shelter is currently looking for a rescue group that can spend more time preparing her for a new forever home after she is recovered from her time as a homeless dog and is ready for placement.

Gunther is just one of countless stray stories coming out of KCASE every day.  We’ll never know what happened that led her to where she is today, but KCASE is doing everything they can to find her a rescue group willing to take her in.  KCASE is committed to finding every adoptable pet a home and KCASE Director Steve Lawrence tells us that she is highly adoptable, but needs a rescue to help her overcome her medical hurdles before she should be placed in a forever home.

If you can help, please contact KCASE at 269-383-8775.  You can also view other dogs available for adoption at KCASE by visiting them at PetFinder at





Dog Walk Registration Now Open!

Get in on all the fun and pre-register for the 32nd Annual Dog Walk & K-9 Festival, sponsored by Bishop Construction!  This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and we need you and all of your animal loving friends to register, and help raise funds for local animals that need our help!


Pre-Register for just $20!

$20 – Pre-Register by 5PM on April 29 to guarantee your t-shirt size
$30 – Register after April 29 or at the event; t-shirts available while quantities last

Registration includes:

Event T-Shirt | Youth XS to Adult XXXL
Lunch | Food provided by Subway and Papa John’s Pizza
Drinks | Drinks provided by Paw Paw Wine Distributors and Coca-Cola Bottling
Wristband | wristband gives you free access to our Photo Areas, the Doggie Dash obstacle course, Crazy Pet contests, 2 Free raffle tickets for a chance to win a prize at our Raffle Tent and Free Coffee at the Bake Sale tent

Activities Include:

Dog Walk & K-9 Festival Walk
Sponsored by Bishop Construction

Stroll, power-walk or wiggle your way through 2 miles of wooded pathways. Along the trail you’ll find plenty of fresh water at one of our four Watering Holes for you and your four-legged friends. Don’t forget to stop at Watering Hole #3 for a photo taken by a professional photographer! Find the starting line just north of the parking area and finish south of the Food Pavilion.

Ultimate Air Dogs
Sponsored by Portage Printing

UAD, or dock jumping, has been a favorite event for years! You can pre-register your dog at the UAD website, or just come for the show. Walkers of all ages love to see the dogs diving into pool. Just make sure you stand back once they get out or you might get wet! UAD will be stationed between the Main Event area and the South Field. Competitors must park in the main parking lot. There will be no parking in the event areas to anyone.

Click Here for the UAD website to pre-register your jumps

Skyhoundz Hyperflite Disc Competition
Sponsorship Available!

Register your dog at the event for FREE beginning at 9am at the Dog Walk & K-9 Festival and see if your dog has what it takes to be called a ‘disc dog’! Skyhoundz Local Championships are free events, open to all competitors regardless of experience. Time slots may be limited so be sure to register right away when you get to the Dog Walk & K-9 Festival. Skyhoundz Hyperflite Disc Competition will be located in the center of the Main Event Area. Competitors must park in the main parking lot. There will be no parking in the event areas to anyone.

America’s Best Frisbee Dog Demonstration
Sponsorship Available!

See how the professionals do it! Watch as Bill Camp, a trainer with America’s Best Frisbee Dogs and his pack of furry athletes perform tricks and give it all they have to get the coveted disc! Bill’s incredible disc dogs are all rescued, and have performed for major sporting events and halftime shows, the Disney Channel, National Geographic, and many other venues. We’re happy to have him back for another exciting event!

Pet Photographs
Sponsorship Available!

We have three photo areas waiting for you! Get an updated family photo that includes your four-legged children, taken by one of three talented local photographers. All photos are available for download about 10-14 days after the event. Photos will be taken with Nipper, our 6 ft. fiberglass mascot near the entrance of the event. We’ll also have photos along the tree-line in the main event area and another photo area at Watering Hole #3. We’ll also have roaming photographers capturing the moments as they happen.

Main Stage
Sponsored by Derspinna Kennels

Live music is planned for the music stage, which is in the Main Event Area next to the Food Pavilion. Grab lunch and wander over for some good music. Don’t forget to come back for the Crazy Pet Contests, which will be in front of the Main Stage at 12:30pm!

Children’s Area
Bullfrogs & Butterflies Christian Learning Center and Preschool

We have entertainment for everyone, including our Children’s Area. Play in the bounce house courtesy of Jungle Joe’s, make cool things with noodles provided by Noodles & Co. and get your faces painted! Everyone is going to sleep good after the Dog Walk & K-9 Festival.

Doggie Dash Obstacle Course
Sponsored by Yogi’s Diner

The Doggie Dash is a short and simple course but can prove challenging for even the most athletic dog. Hurdle over hay bales, run over ramps and lunge around the bend to make it to the finish line. Must be a registered Walker to participate. Try 3 times. Your best score will be used to qualify you for a trophy! The top 3 finishers will be awarded.

Crazy Pet Contests
Sponsored by Bark Busters In-Home Dog Training

We know that every dog isn’t an athletic superstar, so if physical activity isn’t your thing, maybe your dog can reign supreme in one of our other competitive categories!

  • Best Singer/Talker
  • Best Dressed
  • Dog and Owner Look-a-likes
  • Cutest Dog
  • Most Attractively Challenged Dog
Paw Print Art

Stamp your dog’s paw on an artistic print and keep it as a memory of your precious canine friend! Ink is non-toxic and washable. These one of a kind prints are a perfect way to remember your pet and this special event you celebrate together! Each print is $5.00; all proceeds benefit the Kalamazoo Humane Society. Find us next to Nipper’s Trading Post!

Raffle Tent

We’ll have 30 great prizes to give away and you could win! Each registered Walker starts with 2 free tickets, but you can get more at the Raffle Tent. Tickets are 2 for $1.00. Ticket sales will end at 1:15PM and prizes will be drawn at 1:30PM. All prizes must be picked up from the KHS office no later than Friday, May 20 or prizes may be forfeited. We cannot ship prizes.




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