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Meet another Pet Pro,  Stacie Shaw, owner of Central Bark Doggy Daycare in Edina, Minn.
I met Ms. Shaw at a wonderful Winter-Weary-Westie Party she hosted last weekend for about 50 of my favorite critters. Her daycare has been credited for bringing Caleigh, a shy, frightened Westie, out of her shell. Her owner, Deb Theisen, says Caleigh’s been a changed dog, much more confident and eager to interact with others since coming regularly to Central Bark.—Sid

Stacie with Bailey and Hannah

After graduating from Marquette University, Wisconsin native Stacie Shaw faced a cardboard Jack Russell Terrier staring at her in her living room.  Having grown up with dogs, she wanted her own dog to share her life with. However her parents advised against it, saying, “You work such long hours, who will shower your dog with attention and love while you are at the office?”  Thus, Stacie’s parents delivered a cardboard terrier to hopefully satisfy her urge for a dog. The terrier was only a temporary solution.

In 1999 Stacie began volunteering with a rescue organization called GRROW (Golden Retriever Rescue of Wisconsin).  Through GRROW she learned of a puppy mill rescue trip to Iowa, and ultimately adopted one of the rescues – a 2 year female golden named Bailey.  Because Bailey led such an abusive, unhappy life prior to being adopted, Stacie sought opportunities for Bailey to gain confidence, trust, friendships, fun and love.  The right place was found at Central Bark Doggy Day Care, where Bailey became a regular. What an amazing difference Central Bark and its staff made in Bailey’s life!

That was how it started for Stacie (and Bailey, and later another golden retriever named Hannah). Stacie caught the Central Bark fever and there was no turning back. Meanwhile Stacie kept volunteering for dog-related causes and participating in animal-related courses, to learn all she could about the well-being of our canine friends.

The decision to pursue her dream of opening a Central Bark meant relocating, and Stacie chose the Twin Cities to be her new home. Ms. Shaw transitioned her volunteer efforts to RAGOM (Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota) and to Pets with a Purpose, where she and her dogs regularly visit Alzheimer’s patients. Stacie, and her canine consultants Bailey and Hannah, welcome you and your dog to visit Central Bark Eden Prairie and see what a positive impact we have on your dog, and on your parent/dog relationship.

Central Bark Doggy Day Care

6340 Industrial Drive

Eden Prairie, MN  55346

P) 952.224.4490


A friend recommended a cute article in the New York Times today called the “Puppy Diaries.” It is to be an ongoing series chronicling the travails of raising a new puppy.

The story was well written, humorous, and featured a Westie. What more could I want?


I could want to see people stop supporting breeders when they are fully aware of the option to adopt. The author made it sound that because they were moving from their perhaps 20-lb. Westie up (in weight/not necessarily worth, mind you) to a golden retriever, they “had to” go the route of a breeder.

Ever consider rescuing a golden?

There’s Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota

There’s GRREAT—Golden Retriever Rescue, Education and Training

There’s NORCAL Golden Retriever Rescue

There’s Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue

There’s The Golden Retriever Rescue of North Texas

There’s Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary

etc., etc., etc.

If you’re not in the market for a golden but you still have brand loyalty to a particular breed, there’s The American Kennel Club’s Breed Rescue.

My point is, two minutes of Internet research provided numerous valid options for pet ownership other than supporting breeders/puppy mills. It was quite disappointing to see this short-sightedness being touted in a publication like the New York Times. I shudder to think how many people will ooh and ahh at the cute puppy pictures and then go out and follow in the author’s breeder-supporting footsteps.

While there is overpopulation among domestic animals, it is our moral responsibility, as their human caregivers, to give homes to those creatures who are already here, not custom make our own new dog/cat/hamster, what have you. Each time someone does this, another animal is euthanized in a shelter or pound.

Do previously owned animals have more issues than fresh-baked ones? It depends. They can, especially if they were abused or neglected, but that just takes love and determination to overcome in most instances. And I can absolutely tell you from having owned a Westie from a breeder (20+ years ago before I’d ever heard of rescue organizations), behaviorally and health-wise, she was on equal footing with all of my subsequent four Westie rescues, two cat rescues, and even finch rescues. The breed itself is known to have a propensity toward multiple ailments, and continued breeding isn’t improving the situation an iota.

I know there will always be breeders out there, both scrupulous and heinous in their animal-care practices, so I also know I’ll always be able to find another furry family member who needs rescuing.

I wish the article’s author many years of joy and happiness with her new puppy, of course, because thanks to the breeder, it is another dog in need of a good home. But I wonder about the millions of dogs who look pleadingly through the bars of a cage in a shelter or, if they’re really lucky, have a temporary home with a foster family.

Remember, there is BIGGER picture to consider, too. The Earth has limited resources for us all, animals included. Rescue, care for and love those who are here now. Please don’t create more resource consumers just because you have a selfish need to “buy new.”

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