Category Archives: Dog Updates


ADOPTED! August 15, 2015


Read about Kerby’s journey to Secondhand Mutts here.

Kerby is estimated to be 5-7  years old. He is a male, Border Collie/Aussie/St. Bernard mix (best guess!) that arrived from the City of Cleveland Kennel picked up as a stray. Kerby is a gentle soul and has a lot of love to give. He would make any family complete. He know some basic commands and appears to be crate trained. Kerby is able to jump a 4′ fence and he is a bit too obsessed with cats for us to recommend he lives with cats unless they are really good with dogs. Kerby is up to date on shots and microchipped.


He and my older, laid back dog got along fine. I think he may do best around his size or larger breeds, as he seems to think small dogs are cats, too, or need rounding up. He knows commands and hand signals and is doing much better on the leash. We have walked every day during our six weeks. He enjoys modeling our dog, Sam. He is still having a few potty accidents in the house. He really wants to drink a lot of water. He eats fast, also. I think he may still be stockpiling from when he as on the streets. You may need to limit water intake or only offer it with meals so he doesn’t have inside accidents. Sometimes I also think he forgets that he’s outside to potty (in the backyard), as he gets distracted with cars riding by (he gives has in the backyard as I’m on a corner lot), dogs walking by outside our fence, etc. A corner lot is not for him! He will potty and poop on the leash when we walk. 

He’s loving, mindful, eager to please, and submissive. He is still a little hesitant around my boyfriend, but not my son.  If you raise your voice he will cower, but not tremble. Again, he was getting better as the weeks went on. He is trusting and loves to eat and loves to have you throw his Kong frisbee we bought him. He also enjoys retrieving tennis balls. He loves attention and slept on my bed sometimes, and other times slept on the floor next to my bed. No dog aggression issues and when my dog would give him a warning bark about a toy, Kirby would immediately retreat. He respected Sam immensely. 

I think he would make an excellent agility dog. He would love that type of activity. I did not take him to the lake or any dog parks while he was with us. I tried to get him to get into a baby pool of water in our backyard and he wanted no part of it. His hair is growing in nicely and his ribs aren’t as visible, but he could still put on a few pounds in my opinion. Overall, he’s an excellent dog. Not a counter surfer and not a chewer. 


We are not a traditional shelter, we are a cage-free facility. All dogs are temperament tested and must get along with other dogs to stay here. Appointments must be made in advance to meet our Secondhand Mutts. Please call 216-664-9660 or email to set up a time. We are closed on Sundays. We prefer to adopt to local families but will consider long distance adoptions.

Adoption Fee $200

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Stray and Scared to Grateful and Beautiful

Kerby_CACFreedom ride for this “shy” guy we have named Kerby. He was at the City of Cleveland Kennel, picked up as s stray on May 3rd, taken back to the kennel and waited patiently for his owner to claim him. No such luck. “R10”, his cage number, was identified by the kennel staff as:

“severely matted, needs to be groomed, sweet and fearful. Can’t walk on a leash”
A plea was made by  Chief Dog Warden Jaimson and the Director of The Friends of the Cleveland Kennel for a rescue to spend time with him and take him in as the kennel was filling up fast and nearly full. Anthony, a certified dog trainer, one of our volunteers and a senior staff member of The Mutt Hutt, spent some time with him and reported back his assessment. He was fearful of the leash but showed no signs of aggression. The next day Becca Riker, the director of Secondhand Mutts, and Anthony went back to the kennel to try again.

With a little time and positive coaxing and praise Anthony got the lead around his matted neck and then safely coverted the lead into a harness. He was gentle removed from R10 and taken outside to the fresh air and yard.  It seemed Kerby had never been exposed to a leash or was hesitant due to some pain he was having from his matted coat. He was slightly fearful but not aggressive and off we went for a stroll. Shortly thereafter we pulled him from the kennel and Anthony loaded him into his truck and we took him to Secondhand Mutts/The Mutt Hutt. Kerby_beforegroom2

Kerby_jaimie_bathHe’s badly matted and headed right over to The Mutt Hutt Grooming Salon getting pampered by Lead Groomer Greta and the Salon Assistant and Groomer Jaimie.  His double thick coat was severely matted and it was necessary to shave him down completely. Several hours later Kerby was feeling much better and headed over for his required quarantine period to decompress from what he had been going through the last two weeks. Kerby_tailmat2


It takes a village and we are always committed to going The Extra Mile for a dog like Kerby. He is a diamond in a ruff and should find a great home in no time.


Finished and Feeling Fabulous!

Kerby has shown off his skills of sitting and he knows how to give paw. He’s got a great disposition and would make a great pet for any family.


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Logan and Hobble: We are funding for an “Arm and a Leg” and we need your assistance

ExtraMile_logo_squareWe are committed to helping dogs, like Hobble, who otherwise may be euthanized or looked over at rural shelters due to a lack of funding. Logan and Hobble and other dogs  in our program like Reuben, Logan, Kanga and Miracle got the help they need through The Extra Mile fund. If you would like to donate for their medical care please click here to learn more about this rewarding program.

With these two dogs alone we need to raise $3950.
We can do it with your help.

Logan’s Story

LoganSHM_face_webLogan came to us via owner surrender when the owners realized they could not properly care for him and they decided to Respect the Dog. Of course we would take him in: cute, energetic, affectionate puppy…he’d be an easy adoption!

Once Logan was introduced to the public it took no time for him to gain interest and soon enough there was about to be a hand-off for foster to adopt!
And then…our “easy” adoption got a little twisted: literally.

During the course of play at daycare with another Secondhand Mutt, Logan’s leg twisted “just so” and a limp appeared…we gave him a day of rest to see if he could shake it off but since he didn’t, it was off to Gateway Animal Clinic! We started with anti-inflammatory and paid meds but it wasn’t helping so off to Animal Emergency West he went…with a diagnosis of torn ACL.

His foster-to-adopt family had already been caring for him in their home and they were as bummed and concerned as we were over the diagnosis. Luckily he is a young, healthy pup…but getting him “ready” for the surgery (lots of crate training) was no easy task: Logan just wants to be off having fun!

The surgeons were smart to make us wait until the foster family felt confident he could deal with the amount of crate rest he’d need (eight weeks’ worth!) after the surgery and then it was scheduled and the surgery was performed last week (while foster mom was on spring break from her teaching job) and Logan is on the mend…

What we need to mend now is our pocketbook!

The surgery, along with his previous vet visits and meds cost us nearly $3000 and that’s a lot of money!

Hobble’s Story

HobbleSHM_richlandHobble was transferred from the Richland County Animal Shelter to our facility to get the medical care he needed from our organization funded by our generous supporters. Hobble was originally taken to a local cat rescue facility and when turned away he was taken to the Richland County Animal Shelter. It was close to closing time when the “owner” arrived and quickly dropped him off and left. The wonderful staff there immediately noticed something was wrong with his front right leg and quarantined him in a cage until he could get transferred to a rescue that would take care of him. That’s us! One of our dedicated transport volunteers drove from Cleveland to Medina to meet one of the volunteers from Mansfield for the puppy pass on. He was safely delivered to us and taken to our veterinarian.
Hobble_bedHobble  is a 12 week old Shar Pei/Chocolate Lab mixed puppy. He is adorable and soft and we are certain he will find a loving home to move into as soon as he is ready for one (we are in the process of screen applications now). Hobble arrived at the Richland County Animal Shelter with a lame front right leg. Scar tissue and a crooked paw indicated a prior injury and veterinary assistance would be needed to make a plan for his car. Hobble doesn’t seem to mind hobbling along but occasionally he will trip but he gets right up. We took him to see Dr. Liz at Gateway Animal Clinic and she speculated the injury was either an old injury that could have been he was stepped on or got his foot caught somewhere or he could have been born with the defect. Sometimes puppies umbilical cords can be wrapped around their legs while they are growing causing an injury quite like what we are seeing on Hobble. The facts are we have no real facts on his history or what really happened. What we do know is the best thing for Hobble is to have his front leg amputated within the next six weeks.

We have moved Hobble to a temporary foster home and are now busy screening applicants so we can move him into a fostering-to-adopt home. By doing this he will be able to settle in with the family we’ve chosen for him to live out his life, get properly trained and prepared for surgery and then have a home to recover in. Puppies who have legs amputated adjust very well as they are already learning and Hobble will grow up not knowing the difference of having 3 or 4 legs. He will be neutered during surgery.

The cost for his surgery is estimated to be $950.


Combining Logan’s and Hobble’s care our Extra Mile Funding is depleting quickly and we need your support. Please consider donating so that we continue to confidently help dogs through our The Extra Mile fund whenever it’s necessary and whenever we can. Thank you so much for your ongoing support.

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Jumping for Joy: Kanga’s Story

kangaFor those who have followed us for the past few years you are no stranger to a dog named Kanga who entered our program in November 2013. Yes, we said 2013….she’s been with us for two and a half years. Kanga, arrived as a young boxer mix with a leap bigger than namesake: the Kangaroo. She has not only proven to leap fences, leap into bunk beds 5′ off the ground but she has also leaped from foster home to home back to foster home to another home back to foster home and a few stints at boarding long term at our facility and another and today we are happy to announce she has finally landed: At her forever home.

ExtraMile_logo_squareIt’s been a long time and we stuck by Kanga, watching her grow up, get exposed to many dogs, get overwhelmed with too many dogs, get irritated with the constant daycare environment of daycare (it can make a dog a little nuts living here day in and day out).  Along the way she’s made some dog friends and along the way she’s had her struggles. She has always loved people and she has always loved cats. She loves to run and burn off energy and she was placed with a couple over a year ago who started their journey with her volunteering by running her for miles and miles. They did this for about a month and then decided to adopt her. Sadly, a few months later they determined due to some house breaking issues and severe leash re-activity issues when walked in public she wasn’t a fit. Rather than take her back we offered to help by providing training through our Extra Mile fund. But in the end we all determined she was the wrong dog for the situation she was living in and she was returned.

Months later she started going home with a young woman who worked at The Mutt Hutt and at first was doing well there. We knew the best fit for Kanga was one where she could get away from dog daycare life so we had our doubts things would work but we had to give it a try for her sake. It was a short lived attempt and once again, Kanga proved to be “too much dog” and wasn’t playing nice due to some toy guarding issues and we took her back and moved her back into one of her many foster homes.

kanga_sleepkanga_trainKanga has been leaping from home to foster home to home to foster home to daycare and back to foster homes during her two and a half years with us. Last summer we place her in an outside boarding and training facility to give her a break from her unstable routine in hopes of offering her structure. What we learned is she is one of the most obedient, work-smart dogs around. She is eager to please and she is affectionate toward humans like no other. She is loyal, patient and loving. She has trouble meeting dogs on a leash so we knew we had to find her a home either as an only dog or a dog who’s owner could care less about taking her on walks but okay with having friendly dogs over to play. But where will we find that owner?

kanga_smutThree years ago an elderly gentleman by the name of Bill adopted a middle aged dog named Porkchop from our organization. Porkchop was a one of a kind dog that had a troubled past transferred to us from another shelter due to his cage behavior and fear issues. We were close to deeming him non-adoptable, with no interest for months, until Bill came into his/our life and gave Porkchop the security and chance he needed. Porkchop provided Bill with a lifetime of companionship albeit only a few short years. Sadly, Porkchop passed away from natural causes a few weeks ago. Never without a dog Bill promptly looked up dogs on our website and inquired about Kanga. We knew Bill was patient, we knew he was home 24/7, we knew he had a large fenced  yard and we knew he had a way with “special” dogs.

On March third we took Kanga to Bill’s house to meet him and he started fostering. Bill is disabled and has a wonderful family of dog-loving people in his life including a home caretaker, dog caretaker and a huge yard for Kanga to play in. When we arrived at his house with Kanga Bill  had a big overstuffed chair set up for her next to his lift-chair-bed, a dog bed on the floor (if she preferred that) and a basket full of dog toys. A bowl of fresh water, bones by his side and a smile on his face we will never forget.

kanga_yardNeedless to say since night one Kanga choose to sleep on Bill’s chair, with Bill, and that is where she’s been night after night since she got to the house. He let’s her out to play in his large yard and she gets visits from her favorite dog caretaker John daily. She has toys and dog food shipped to the house and she’s made herself at home. She’s welcome to come in for daycare visits thanks to donors who have left us with daycare visits at The Mutt Hutt to donate to adopted dogs who may need visits but their owners may not be able to afford the service.

Thank you to everyone for believing in our mission, believing in Kanga and thank you to the anonymous donors who made it possible for Bill to adopt her sooner than he expected when the fee was covered by two of our supporters. Thank you to the foster families who gave her a break from daycare life and provided her with love, a couch, and a family, to the two families who gave her a chance in their home when she was adopted, to Gateway Animal Clinic for your constant care for her allergies, to Roxanna and Christina at HDPK9, Mel at Paramount Dog Training, Martha at Portraits by Martha, to the staff at The Mutt Hutt and to Bill, his family and John who we know will care for Kanga for her lifetime.

Respect the dog.



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Sweet Tea’s Journey

Many of Cleveland’s stray or discarded dogs start their new lives at the City of Cleveland Kennel. This is where Sweet Tea’s story begins.

SweetTeaSHM_face_webSweet Tea arrived at Cleveland Animal Control as a stray, less than a year old and heavily pregnant. Almost immediately upon arrival, she gave birth to four puppies, two male and two female. Kennel staff tries to find rescues for new mothers as soon as possible, so a Facebook cry for help was sent out, and Secondhand Mutts stepped up to rescue Sweet Tea and her babies. It wasn’t an easy task taking this shy, paralyzed with fear  mama dog out of the kennel but she was safely escorted out with two volunteers.

The puppies (Kettle Corn, Funnel Cake, Hush Puppy, and Cheesy Fry) were just two days old when they were moved out of the kennel and into their new foster home with Secondhand Mutts volunteers Mary Jo and Kip. While her puppies thrived in their new environment, Sweet Tea was initially very shy and withdrawn but she gradually learned to trust people. Once her puppies were all adopted, Sweet Tea accepted and nursed three orphaned puppies that were brought into the foster home.

sweet tea and pups with Mary Jo

Sweet Tea remained timid and was extremely fearful of being outside. Once the second set of puppies was grown, Sweet Tea was moved to another foster home with volunteer Amelia, where she could get more one-on-one socialization.

SweetTeaSHM_foster_bedIn her new foster home, Sweet Tea slowly grew more comfortable under the guidance of her canine foster brother and sister. She learned to enjoy going outside, rolling in the grass and running around with her foster siblings. They taught her that walking on a leash is a fun activity and not something to be feared. Belly rubs became a new favorite! Sweet Tea still had anxiety around new people, and preferred to get attention and treats in one of her “safe” places.

SweetTeaSHM_foster_yardAfter many months in foster, learning how to be a happy dog, Sweet Tea finally was adopted into her forever home. Her new mom, Darlene, has been patient and understanding with “Tea”. When she noticed that Sweet Tea was having some anxiety problems about being left home alone, she was immediately matched with Sandy, a Secondhand Mutts board member who has past experience working with dogs that experience separation anxiety. Sweet Tea’s foster “mama” also provided advice and guidance to help Tea adjust to her new home. According to Darlene, this extra support from volunteers at Secondhand Mutts was the key to her and Tea being a successful match.

Now, Sweet Tea loves to visit and play with her canine cousin, Pepper. They race around the yard together and chase each other. When she is happy and panting, it looks like she’s smiling. Darlene is continuing to work with her to build her confidence around new people. Both of them look forward to their daily walks, and just being with each other.


Sweet Tea’s journey from pregnant stray to happy and loved family member was a long and slow one. Her story provides a great example about the behind-the-scenes work that goes on in the rescue world  – how it sometimes takes a village, and the dedication of many volunteers, to “Respect the Dog.”

“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.”

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The ‘Wright’ Brothers: Right at home

WilburOrvilleSHMWilbur and Orville arrived at Secondhand Mutts after months of living in a hoarding situation and four months of living at a kennel in southern Ohio. We are not quite sure what they suffered, but it is obvious that at minimum it was extreme deprivation of proper human attention and any physical or emotional affection.

When they arrived in Cleveland, they were literally paralyzed with fear. Wilbur and Orville spent their first two weeks avoiding humans and human touch at all cost and they would spend hours in the exact same position, most often on top of each other if there was a human around. They would hide and keep their faces buried in corners. The Mutt Hutt staff member and Secondhand Mutt volunteer Leah was their most constant companion, given they were either in or near her office while she worked…it was a given they’d warm up to her first and there was their first human bonded relationship!

Soon after the boys slowly learned to trust staff members at The Mutt Hutt and allowed volunteers to “walk” them. They were terrified of strangers and cars and leaves blowing in the wind. Their “walks” often took them no further than the corner and took 30 minutes just to get there. It would take months before they were comfortable enough with anyone to just.walk.

wilbur_sparkleThe one thing the boys loved was dogs: all dogs! Thankfully we were able to secure a foster for them with two great dogs that are regulars at The Mutt Hutt. Early in November of 2014, the boys made their first adventure to that foster home. It was clear the change scared them but having the resident dogs and a kind and patient foster family (a set of female cousins) helped them transition to being able to show affection and sleep on couches and be more like actual dogs. They learned household behaviors from their foster dog sister, Maizey and would follow her and their foster brother Jack around, observing behavior and then eventually trying things themselves. The boys’ favorite activity was sleeping on top of the dogs or their foster mom Gina. Their potential for a lifelong companion was obvious—it was just a matter of time and trust. Oh, and a house without a lot of closed doors and strangers. The boys engaged in fear barking and fear piddling even after weeks in the safe environment with the same two people. The barking left much to be desired.

WilburSHM_ppThe boys returned to TMH for the holidays. By this point, they were getting better adjusted and were able to go to monthly adoption events at the Pet People in Rocky River. They were frequent guests at Pet People, and did well with the staff and customers. Their big brown eyes and obvious want for attention (even if they didn’t always know how to receive it) pulled people in and they’d receive treats and kisses and pets and ear scratches and learned over time to spend less of their visits huddled under tables and locked behind the legs of the volunteers they knew.

Over the course of the next year or so the boys would move in and out of different foster homes and trials for adoption. They made an escape through a broken fence at a foster home and ended up putting dozens and dozens of volunteers to work searching for Wilbur (Orville was caught right away) in the dead of winter. Good Samaritans found/captured him a week later but Secondhand Mutts volunteers and organizers always had to be on high alert with them…and this was something to manage whenever introducing them to new fosters or fosters to adopt.

WilburSHM_bedIt was Orville that relaxed into being a regular, trusting dog first…but he could be set off whenever Wilbur became anxious or upset (which was still often) and we decided, after much discussion and debate to try and separate them.

It worked for Orville and he spent a lot of his time with the same foster home that he had started off with. Meanwhile, Wilbur spent a lot of his time at The Mutt Hutt. During this time, while much of his behavior (alarm barking and charging) was challenging to the staff, everyone understood that Wilbur was the way he was because of the terrible situation he came from. Staff members worked endless hours with him and along the way, Jessica grew especially fond of him. Jessica and her family opened their home to him for a long-term foster over the summer of 2015, because Wilbur was not relaxing into this stable, quiet home and a regular routine (he continued to come to daycare because he has always loved being around the other dogs!), we consulted with our partners at Gateway Animal Clinic and decided to try medication for him, continues to be on medication to this day.

WilburSHM_grass2Even with all of this, in the end, he just simply remained too fearful and had latched onto Jessica and continued to bark and charge at anyone else in the home and so when she went back to school he came back to The Mutt Hutt.

In late July of 2015 a young couple, Amber and Shawn, arranged to meet SHM’s Wilbur, Orville and Sparkle. They recently moved to the Cleveland area and were excited to be in a position to add dogs to their family.  They immediately fell in love with Wilbur and Orville, and took them home over a weekend for a trial. The couple had high energy and experience with troubled rescued dogs. Orville immediately adjusted to the spacious apartment and lifestyle but Wilbur’s alarm barking and charging was too much for this living situation in the end. Luckily for Orville, the family wanted to give him a chance and see how he did as a single dog. It was a happy surprise for everyone that Orville did great in the apartment. We were glad to give them the time they needed to acclimate to each other and on Labor Day 2015, they signed on the dotted line and made the adoption official. He lives a very active lifestyle with his new family and has a dog sister, Sparkle that the couple also adopted through Secondhand Mutts. Sparkle further helped Orville relax into being a great dog and enjoying the fantastic life he has. Orville now goes by the name Oakley and Sparkle is now known as Sophie!

The pair spends their evenings curled up and spooning each other in the center of the couch. Oakley still struggles with some of his anxieties and fears, particularly with men, but there has been a large improvement with his ability to start trusting and loving Shawn through the help of Sophie and Amber.


Wilbur was still waiting and finally caught the eye of a family of three. The husband, wife and adult daughter had noticed Wilbur on the website and felt he would be a great addition to their family. The couple understood Wilbur’s less-than-ideal character traits and had experienced similar nervous tendencies and anxieties with their beloved dog, Chester who had recently passed away. The family was looking to save another dog and their remaining dog Mason was looking for a new companion as well. So a trial was set and off Wilbur went and we all held our breath (again) waiting to see what would happen. The family started off spending hours working with Wilbur to overcome his anxiety and fear of men, and also give him his space to decompress and explore on his own. Their love for Wilbur and his bond with them became evident after Wilbur (typical behavior) bolted out of their door and was on the run…again! It was a whole new search party but in the end…he went right to Nora (Kevin and Linda’s daughter) once he spotted her. After that it only took a few weeks for the family to make it official.

Wilbur_adoptedThe family has been a great fit for Wilbur. Their patience and understanding of his behavior has been keen. His family knows not to overwhelm him with too many guests, and to allow him to approach and cuddle on his own terms. He has a big backyard to run around in and a tiny brother dog to play with. They are all getting along great. We are so grateful this loving family has opened their doors to Wilbur, understands his needs, and is giving him the love and affection we all wanted for him for so long.

This truly is about our huge network of volunteers and supporters. Everyone from volunteer chaperones and dog walkers, to our vets and the staff at Gateway and the kind staff and visitors at Pet People and our foster families and everyone who shared their pictures or stopped to say hello. To those that walked the streets in the dark, calling for a dog that would never answer (btw: he wears a GPS collar now!) and to the amazing staff at The Mutt Hutt who endured so much alarm barking and charging from two little dogs as they tried to find their place in this world. We know that it’s always worth the wait in the end (for our dogs and their new families) but this never would have happened without the dozens and dozens of people who poured their hearts into this mission…to help these dogs become dogs and to find them loving and deserving homes. We never could have pulled this off without all of you: thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.


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“My dog would be much happier living on a farm.” The story of Guinness:

This is a common quote most rescues hear when they take inquiries from owners who can no longer take care of their pets. Sadly, there just are too many dogs that need homes and the fantasy of finding a farm is just that. A fantasy.

ExtraMile_logo_squareJanuary 2014: We evaluated and took in an emaciated dog we named Frog that was found as a stray in the City of Cleveland in December 2013. He was at the Cleveland Animal Control facility awaiting a rescue to take him in. His nails were over an inch long and he was obviously neglected. He was skin and bones. With your donations of potatoes and Biljac dog food we nursed him back to health. Frog was an extremely active dog who had no boundaries or formal training. He was going to be a lot of work. A couple of months went by and we placed him with a  local family. They named him Guinness and and about six months later (August 2014) they returned him to us.

Every rescue dog has issues. They all need work.  It takes a village to set a dog up for success and Guinness is no exception to the village of commitment he has received while in our care.

GuinnessSHM_body2Guinness has spent a lot of time being cared for while waiting since August 2014 for a forever home to come his way. He’s been in the rescue system for a long time and without the help of dedicated foster parents, the staff at The Mutt Hutt, the volunteers who chaperone our dogs to adoption events, the dog walkers, our board members, and let’s not forget the dog trainers –  we don’t know what the outcome of his story would have been. We have allocated hundreds of dollars for his veterinary care, food, shelter, behavior and obedience training, stay and train boarding at HDP K9 and everything in between.

We did not give up on Guinness.

However, as we contemplated our strategy to find Guinness that perfect home and person to care for him, we found ourselves asking “If we only knew someone who had a farm”.

We are extremely lucky to have one special woman who works at The Mutt Hutt and has always taken the extra steps to care for the Secondhand Mutts who arrive at our facility. Her name is Kelly.  She vaccinates and microchips our Secondhand Mutts, she conducts meet and greets when we have a lack of volunteers, she takes home puppies to foster, she transports dogs to the vet, baths the dogs, and pretty much does whatever is needed. After nearly six months without a foster home, no leads on an adoption we felt like we were close to running out of options. Kelly stepped up when nobody else would and she agreed to take Guinness in to her family’s home in Medina to see how he did with her other dogs, her cat and her chickens.  Yes, we said chickens.

We found that farm.


Guinness_chickens_350We are elated and beyond excited to announce that with months of dedication and obedience training, hard work by Kelly and her family teaching Guinness to learn boundaries mastering “sit” and “stay” and “leave it” we have found a forever home for Guinness. He’s not calm by any means, he will continue to test all of us when he comes for daycare visits while Kelly is working, he has jumped the fence and needs constant supervision outside, he can sit next to a cat calmly and be in the yard with free range chickens. This is amazing to us really and we have Kelly and her family to thank.


Kelly and her family certainly were not looking for a dog to adopt. They are a working class family living a simple life in Medina County. They have a lifelong love for animals and hearts of gold. When Guinness arrived as a foster dog six months ago they had six rescue dogs (Rocky, Shadow, Carlos, Bella and Brutus), a cat (Lily ) and 27 chickens. Since his arrival, sadly, they said goodbye to their beloved Rottweiler mix Chino. There are dogs that come into our lives for many reasons. Sometimes the dogs find us and sometimes there are dogs that we just can’t pass up. Perhaps it was Chino who made room at the farm for Guinness, so we thank him too.


Guinness…’re home.

We are celebrating Guinness’ “Gotcha Day” and holding a celebratory fundraiser in his honor to share funds with the many other dogs who are in The Extra Mile club at Secondhand Mutts. We hope you come out and join us on Saturday, September 26 at the Lincoln Park Pub. Event details here.

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Junkyard dogs to lottery dogs: Zuni (Dozer) and Hopi (Buddy) are happy at home.

Zuni_HopiSHM_bedAbout a month ago we were contacted by a local animal advocate who had been contacted by Cleveland Police officers asking for help. A few puppies were found running amok in what is essentially a junkyard. It was an extremely hot summer day, the puppies were scared and the owners of the property gave permission for the dogs to be captured and placed “if you can catch them”. Well, they were caught and brought straight to our rescue center for immediate veterinary care at Gateway Animal Clinic.

Hopi_ticksZuni and Hopi, two malnourished Mastiff mixes, were both covered in ticks. Dozens were pulled out of their ears and from around their necks. They were scared, tired and grateful for our help. You could see it in their eyes. After having their health assessed we reached out to our foster network and moved the puppies into foster homes.  Both of the dogs enjoyed having food to eat, comfort, and other dogs to socialize with. Despite all the dogs had been through in their short time they were both healthy and adoptable. Ticks

We reached out to a few adopters who had gone through our adoption application process and patiently been waiting to be matched up with a dog or puppy.  When Carol G. was contacted she didn’t hesitate for a second and made arrangements to meet Zuni (the darker brindle of the pair). Foster mom and former Doberman owner, Dina K., also stepped right up to help the puppies and  the next day came to pick up Hopi.


ZuniSHM_homeZuni is now known as Dozer and he’s certainly living the life with his new mom and dad. As you can tell there is no lack of TLC in Dozer’s household.


“We went to the vet today and he is up to 35 pounds and doing well! He is such a joy and we are so happy to share our lives with him!”

~ Carol G. (July 29. 2015)


HopiSHM_homeHopiSHM_DNAHopi, now Buddy, got his name from the kids in the family. Hopi has glued himself to Dina’s daughter and appears to be growing like a worm! Dina did have him DNA tested just to see what breed mixes he is and the results are: Rottweiler, Boxer, Great Dane and Neapolitan Mastiff.

We are so very thankful to the many of you who first read about these puppies on our Facebook page and sprung into action with donations and offers to help the dogs. We are also thankful to their former owner who did the right thing by giving the pups up.

Respect the dog.


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It takes a village. The Baku rescue dogs have arrived and are resting up for their ride “home” this weekend.


bandit_300It was a long flight for the dogs arriving from Baku, Azerbaijan but they have arrived safely in the United States. Mike and Tali picked them up at the JFK airport but not without a hitch. Of course the original plan for Mike and Tali was to transport two dogs to Ohio and then at the last minute funds were raised in Baku to help four more dogs and we committed to them. Meanwhile, back in the USA Mike and Tali had only planned for two kennels in their car and when six dogs arrived (which they were given advance notice)  on the spot they rented a second vehicle to get all the dogs to Philadelphia where the dogs are being fostered until the next leg of their journey Friday night. This morning the pack awoke and had never seen grass so they enjoyed romping around in the yard, finding toys and balls and huddling together this afternoon for a nap. We are overwhelmed with the immediate response for donations to help these dogs make it to Ohio this weekend.

mimi_300We did increase our previously posted fundraising goal  from $300 to $450 late last night when we got word about the additional van that was needed at JFK. This morning Mike and Tali  updated up with the weekend transport plan and they have opted to rent one large cargo van rather than have two vehicles and three drivers. This way the dogs could stay together and Mike and Tali can split the night time ride. They are departing Friday after dark and will arrive at our door step at 8 am this Saturday.

eatingoutside_300The cost of the van, tolls and gas are estimated to be around $600 (give or take) and any extra funds raised will go directly toward the dogs care. In addition to the time they have donated Mike and Tali are also donating some funds needed to make this rescue a success. This mission would not have been successful without the help of Mike and Tali who traveled to NYC, acted quickly to insure the safety of the dogs by getting an unexpected second vehicle, then took all of the dogs into their home for two days, fed, bathed and gave them shelter. We are grateful for their participating in this effort.

It takes a village.


This morning as the behind the scenes group exchanged dozens of emails we received a touching message from Lidia in Baku:

It gets lonely sometimes here with only two of us running around , so it feels really good to see compassionate team work , and group support. Actually for the first time ever we had two more ladies coming to the airport to help us. I hope it’s not the last, it felt good. Its just wonderful what you did for the pups , they will have a life, what a gift.


From all of us at Secondhand Mutts, we thank you all for your social media shares and donations. And for believing in this project we didn’t know could be pulled off in record time. The dogs are home.

To make a donation please click on our latest link or mail a check to Secondhand Mutts, 2603 Scranton Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44113

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Azerbaijan to New York City to Secondhand Mutts

Two months ago we were contacted by a small group of volunteers in Azerbaijan who work tirelessly to help street dogs and puppies in deplorable conditions in Baku, Azerbijan (near Turkey).When we say “small group” we mean two women who are advocates for 75 dogs in a shelter that offers the dogs nothing. We will warrn you the video link below is disturbing and those of you, like us, who love dogs don’t really need to watch it to understand we had to help.

The dogs in Baku than can be saved from the streets by volunteers, when possible, move to temporary foster homes, and once a rescue is lined up, the dogs are taken to the Baku airport and flown to New York City (JFK). Then they are temporarily fostered until transport in the United States can be arranged. This is a huge effort with just a few volunteers involved on the Baku side and this effort is a certainly all done on faith those of us who have responded will hold up our end of the deal and take the dogs in. Donations make it possible for the dogs to get vaccinated and board a plane to their final destination. From there they are transported by more generous volunteers to shelters across the country. Cleveland/Akron was an upcoming pit stop for some of these dogs scheduled to move into area rescues and when were were contacted and asked if we could help a few young dogs we obliged. It’s hard knowing there are dogs here in Ohio and the US that need our help but even harder to deny these dogs an opportunity to become a Secondhand Mutt when all the work that has gone into the project to get them to a safe place. We are happy that we were able to help and it wouldn’t be possible without the many foster families who are involved with our organization who never bat an eyelash and just help because they have room in their hearts and homes.

Here is the back story message from the Azerbijan Volunteer Lidia Pejovic:

Warning: Viewers may find the following footage and images upsetting

This is how it all started for me and few other volunteers:

IMG_7378The video went viral, since then they have stopped the shooting but  continued killing them by poisoning them. Slow and painful death. This big cull was part of the city clean-up ahead of the European games they hosted in June. They have no NSR program in place , so killing is a business and the dog killers are paid $10 per tail. In June 2014 we rescued total 3 moms and 17 pups from the games stadium. Lady called us saying that she brought water and food for them and was told by the workers not to bother and waste money they will “clean” them up tomorrow. There are so many stories like this. Sadly locals do not like animals and to describe an animal will use word “it” . It really is a thing for them they are totally unaware and unwilling to understand  that “it” is a sentient being. 

My personal experience just few days ago my neighbor threatened to kill my dogs , I walk with few dogs all the time , mine, fosters and street friends. Dogs did not do anything just barked at the car passing. Unfortunately not an empty threat as the police would laugh if I called them to tell them that someone shot my dog. 

The lady that shot the furnace video is local animal activist Elena Simakina , her adopted street dog was shot while walking off lead close to her home, she witnessed that and started following the shooter’s car , that’s how she ended up at that horrific place where they burnt them. The terrified pups somehow escaped the death and were rescued. Bullets were only used for big dogs smaller ones and pups would be bashed with the shovel to save on bullets. 

IMG_7376If you are a street dog in Azerbaijan you are in hell. Shelter that I volunteer is in  terrible condition , one staff for 75 dogs , and 2 volunteers. Dogs get water, food and kennel clean up at the best . They never go outside. 

We managed to ensure that they do get fed , cleaned and have water every day. In the beginning  they would be left without food and water for several days in their 3-4 days excrement . We would literally go in and pick up the dogs that are critical , almost dying and take them to the vet . No one was vaccinated or sterilized , there were 30-40 dogs out at the same time fighting and mating. Lot of dogs died from fighting ,negligence and pneumonia. IMG_7379

Now all of them are vaccinated , all males sterilized and we are still working on sterilizing all the females. 

Kennels are built badly there is no real protections from the elements, no drainage, when it rains the dirt road to the shelter is flooded so no car can reach there, the shelter wall collapsed 2 times this winter due to the strong wind, we are pretty much patching the leaking bucket all the time. Its been hard as its  only two of us and no funding, but we made some improvements. No one is interested here in adopting a street dog so we are actively trying to reach out to younger generations , we visited few schools and universities, and although they are scared of dogs we are getting some positive response , some of them did a bake sale for the shelter. Also we are trying to get in contact with foreign companies here  and get some sponsorship.


The Transport from New York City to Cleveland

Two months ago when we committed to taking two dogs the volunteer transporters were lined up. We are now committed to taking five dogs but need your help. Mike and Tali, the transport volunteers in New York, donated their own money and their time to drive from Philadelphia to New York to pick up the dogs, then back to Philadelphia for the night. Mike and Tali will be using  a personal vehicle to deliver our two dogs  and when we added a third they borrowed a larger vehicle to fit the new passenger.  Meanwhile in Baku, in the last few weeks more puppies were picked up on the streets and additional funds were raised to get them to New York.  Unfortunately, Mike and Tali only have room for a few dogs but they have enlisted the help of a close friend, James, who is willing and able to drive a separate rented vehicle to get the additional dogs to Ohio. The cost estimate for the vehicle, tolls and gas is $450. We would love to be able to help Mike and Tali with their own expenses as well if they can be covered.

We are hopeful, with your help, we can raise the funds to pass along to Mike, Tali and James to cover their expenses. If you can give a small donation please help us raise what is needed to get the dogs to Cleveland safely. If we exceed our fundraising goal the additional funds will be passed along to the dogs care and if that exceeds what we spend on the five dogs we now have committed to we will pass your donation back to the volunteers in Baku to help more dogs. If we can not raise the funds in a few days time the dogs will stay with Mike and Tali and foster with them in New York until the funds are raised.

To make a donation please click on our latest link.

The Dogs Arriving

BanditSHM_shelter_250 CocoSHM_250PrincessSHM_shelter_250MimiSHM_shelter_250














We are very excited to meet the our five newest family members. We have already lined up foster homes for most of them and we have contacted some of our approved applicants to let them know of the new arrivals. The dogs will need some time to sleep off their trip and decompress which we will take care of after they arrive. We are looking forward to having them attend Meet-Our-Mutts events coming up this summer and choosing families for them. If you are interested in adopting one of these dogs or puppies please fill out our online adoption application.

We sincerely thank you for your kindness and support.

Respect the dog.


Continue following the story here.

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Our Adoptables Are
  • Socialized in a cage-free dog daycare environment
  • Dog-Friendly
  • Cat Tested (upon request)
  • Fostered in real homes
  • Spayed or Neutered
  • Temperament tested
  • Veterinary Health Checked
  • Fully Vaccinated
  • Distemper Vaccinated
  • Rabies Vaccinated
  • Bordetella Vaccinated
  • Heartworm Tested
  • Microchipped
  • Flea Preventative
  • Heartworm Preventative
  • Groomed prior to adoption

Services provided by
Gateway Animal Clinic

Event Tent Graphic


Meet-Our-Mutts in March: Pet People


March 4, 2017 19565 Detroit Road Rocky River, OH 44116 12:00 to 3:00 pm Join us for an afternoon of pet pampering at Pet People. Our volunteers will be chaperoning three lucky dogs to spend the afternoon with the customers and associates of Pet People.

Meet-Our-Mutts in March: PetValu


March 18, 2017             Creek View Commons 8249 Chippewa Road Brecksville, Ohio 44141 12:00 to 3:00 pm Join us for an afternoon of pet pampering at PetValu. Our volunteers will be chaperoning five lucky dogs to spend the afternoon with the customers and associates of PetValu.

Meet-Our-Mutts in April: Pet People


April 1, 2017 19565 Detroit Road Rocky River, OH 44116 12:00 to 3:00 pm Join us for an afternoon of pet pampering at Pet People. Our volunteers will be chaperoning three lucky dogs to spend the afternoon with the customers and associates of Pet People.


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