From north to south and east to west, the River City of Grand Rapids is full of pet-friendly activities and attractions. No matter whether you love purebreds or mutts, large dogs or small, if you love dogs you’ll feel right at home in Grand Rapids.
And because there’s such a large population of dog lovers in the region, Grand Rapids also boasts a number of wonderful animal welfare and dog rescue groups! Humane Society of West Michigan is one of those groups, and this entirely donor-funded non-profit provides assistance to more than 8,000 animals annually. Its mission is to save hurt, abused and abandoned animals, and then help them find loving, committed owners.
Hearts of Hope Dog Rescue has a similar goal. Founded in 2011, this Grand Rapids non-profit doesn’t have its own shelter facility but instead relies on volunteer foster homes to provide the love and support rescued dogs need until they can be placed in forever homes. The group has helped more than 1,000 animals find loving owners and continues to work tirelessly to solve the pet overpopulation problem.
Finally, Michele’s Rescue is another one of the region’s rescue groups that is well worth a mention. Founded in 1997, this no-kill shelter takes in at-risk animals from all over the country, gives them the care and love they so desperately need, and then helps them find their forever homes. Michele’s Rescue is always seeking volunteers and foster homes to help animals in need, or you can make a donation to help the group continue its impressive work.
This is a 5K/1-mile fun run and walk with a paw-some twist — it’s held at night. Instead of sweating it out in the hot sun, you and your four-legged friend can tackle the course of your choosing in the cool hours of the evening. Held at Riverside Park, this much-anticipated annual event is family-friendly, dog-friendly, and charity-friendly, with all proceeds raised supporting Humane Society of West Michigan. And there’s more to enjoy than just the walk or run, with a beer tent, food, photo booth, face painting, and giveaways to keep you and your pet entertained!
A relaxing walk with your dog, a chance to socialize with other animal lovers, and the paw-fect excuse to get your pooch all dressed up in an adorable costume — you have to admit, this event sounds like great fun. Kicking off at the One Trick Pony Grill & Taproom, this family-friendly Howl-o-ween walk is open to all dog owners and takes you through the Grand Rapids downtown area. There’s a spectacular prize for the pooch in the best costume, as well as treat bags, bobbing for apples, and stacks more! Donations made on the night benefit Hearts of Hope Dog Rescue.
This is a dog walk/run with a very big difference — you can do it when and where it suits you! Held to celebrate National Dog Day, this is a virtual 5K or 10K run or walk that you can complete any time in August. Rather than turning up at an appointed place at an appointed time to tackle a course as part of a group, you choose the course that you and your dog want to run. You’ll need to register beforehand, with a portion of the proceeds going to the event’s nominated charity, and then report your finishing time to organizers. If you’re looking for an excuse to raise a sweat with your pet by your side, this is the event for you!
The annual Chow Hound Pet Expo takes place each year in Jenison and boasts more pet-friendly fun than you can shake a paw at. There are pet food raffles, discounted grooming and microchipping, cheap dog washes, farm animals, face painting, and balloon twisting! When you and your pooch arrive, you can chat with a dog trainer, meet a local rescue group, ask a groomer a question, or find out more about nearby boarding facilities. Throw in a number of giveaways and a heap of kids’ activities and you’ve got a paw-some day out for any pet lover!
Trick or treat! Get your pooch involved in all the Halloween fun at this woof-tastic howl-iday event. Hosted by Fido & Stitch, this festive community walk through downtown Grand Rapids promises a great night out! Doggy costumes are strongly encouraged, with a public Facebook costume contest held after the event. You and your pooch can also socialize with other pets and their humans, and the walk finishes on Garage Bar and Grill’s dog-friendly patio — what better place to enjoy a Halloween feast with your pooch?