Dave Carol, president of Rainbow Feathers Bird Club and Rescue, attended last year’s Pet Expo with “Captain Morgan.”

Dave Carol, president of Rainbow Feathers Bird Club and Rescue, attended last year’s Pet Expo with “Captain Morgan.”

File photo by Donna Dalziel

Guardians for Animals Pet Expo returns to Madison Heights

Nov. 18 event at Madison Place will offer microchips, adoptions and more

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published November 15, 2017

 Ivette Fernandez, from Sit Means Sit — The Go Team Therapy Dogs, does a trick with dog Aja at last year’s Pet Expo.

Ivette Fernandez, from Sit Means Sit — The Go Team Therapy Dogs, does a trick with dog Aja at last year’s Pet Expo.

File photo by Donna Dalziel

MADISON HEIGHTS — There will be countless animals available for adoption at this year’s Guardians for Animals Pet Expo, as well as opportunities for low-cost microchipping to help dogs and cats find their way home if they go missing, with free microchipping available for the family pets of military members and first responders. 

Guardians for Animals, or GFA, is a nonprofit network that provides financial and logistical support for 15 no-kill rescues and shelters. This is the 12th year that GFA has held the Pet Expo, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, at Madison Place, 876 Horace Brown Drive in Madison Heights. 

Parking and admission are free. Families of military members and first responders will also each receive one free microchip for their dog or cat. Additional chips are available for a $5 donation while supplies last. The general public can purchase chips for $10. There is no registration cost or annual fees. 

A microchip is a minuscule device inserted in an animal in loose skin where they won’t feel it. If an animal goes missing and has a microchip, their odds of returning home safely improve dramatically. Any rescue or shelter that finds them will scan them, and the microchip will reveal the rightful owner and how to contact them. 

The chips are being provided by GFA in cooperation with the Bissell Pet Foundation. The idea is to say thanks to the heroes who protect society. 

“Recent events have made it crystal clear that there are brave men and women, military and first responders, who put their lives on the line every day to protect us in time of crisis,” said Alexandria Whitney, GFA founder. “We want to recognize our heroes and thank them for their service, and give their families a little peace of mind by helping keep their pets safe in time of crisis.

“When a lost animal is found, they are checked for a microchip,” Whitney added. “A speedy reunion lessens the amount of stress felt by both the animal and their humans, and makes for a very happy ending.” 

There will be other points of interest at the Pet Expo, as well. Many animals available for fostering and adoption will be in attendance. Kids can meet real-life heroes — the Troy Police K-9 unit — and enjoy magic tricks, a balloon artist, and enter the Mummy Wrap and Best Trick contests to win prizes. Santa Claus will also be at the Pet Expo, and families can have their holiday photos taken, all while helping homeless animals. 

There will also be opportunities to meet exotic birds up close and take pictures with them. There will also be contests for big-ticket items like a 50-inch HDTV, passes to Disney World, a Kalahari Resort package, cash money and more, plus additional items in raffles and silent auctions, as well as giveaways. 

“Our guests can meet adorable cats, kittens, puppies, dogs, guinea pigs and exotic birds,” Whitney said. “Our affiliates are some of the best in rescue, giving so much of themselves to save innocent animals. Many people do not realize rescue is not a paycheck, but a passion to save the animals who depend on us. That is why it is important to have events such as this to bring the public and animal rescues together.” 

She said she’s amazed by the work her affiliates do every day, and she said there are many ways the general public can help them. 

“The mission is about good people coming together to help save innocent, abandoned and abused animals, and raise awareness of the urgency. Everyone can help in some way,” Whitney said. “The most immediate needs are for fosters, volunteers and monetary donations to help with emergency medical needs. In our nearly 14-year history, GFA has never had to say ‘no’ when asked for help by one of our affiliates. We can only continue to do this with the support of compassionate individuals and businesses. 

“No donation is ever too small,” she said. “A single dollar helps to feed a homeless animal for up to three days. Donations are tax deductible and can be made through our website, www.guardiansforanimals.org. Donations of goods and services are also welcome.”  

Brenda Estes, with Best Buddy Pet Rescue, said she appreciates everything GFA does to support her rescue.

“We started our rescue with the help of Alex (Whitney) from GFA. She is always a phone call away if we need food, medical help for a dog or cat, or any kind of support,” Estes said. “GFA puts on events that we can attend for adoption opportunities and fundraising. We have come a long way with our rescue, thanks to the support of Alex and GFA.”

Lisa Vawter, with the Abandoned Animal Rescue of Michigan cat adoption program at the Canton Petco location, also had high praise for GFA.

“I’ve been in the rescue field for over 25 years. I’ve rescued all types of animals, from domestic dogs and cats to wildlife. My true passion is rescuing cats. … But running a rescue group is very expensive — daily supplies, food, litter, veterinarian bills, transporting animals. Unfortunately, it can be very overwhelming … wondering how the group is going to come up with the necessary funding,” Vawter said.

“GFA is an organization that helps smaller rescues continue the fight of rescuing animals. GFA has raised money and paid AARM veterinarian bills, emergency surgeries, unlimited amounts of food, litter and more. And I’m simply one of the rescue groups they support; GFA supports many other rescue groups in Michigan,” she said. “It’s simply beyond words how selfless and dedicated GFA is.”