Giving back to Detroit's dogs

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Detroit — Homeless pets are the beneficiaries of two efforts in Metro Detroit this week as restaurants and the Michigan Humane Society offer events to encourage adoptions and raise funds for Detroit Dog Rescue. 

Michelle Merriweather, of Detroit, enjoys the playful Saxon during the Michigan Humane Society's Pets for Pets adoption event held at Cadillac Square on Tuesday.

As part of Giving Tuesday, the Michigan Humane Society brought four dogs to Cadillac Square in downtown Detroit for a pet and play event designed to encourage people to consider adoption and even donate to the animal rescue society. 

Workers who work or strolled past the square could meet the dogs, including petting them and gushing over them.

"For Giving Tuesday, we wanted to get people acquainted with our cause as well as get them away from the office and relieve their holiday stress with Pets for Pets," said Shawn Bailey, Michigan Humane Society spokesman. "It turned out to be a big hit, with a lot of donations, so we may be doing this again next year."

The rescues from Detroit included Coco, a 2-year-old terrier mix; Storm, a 10-month old gray pit bull; a hound dog named Saxon; and an 8-year-old beagle-corgi mix named Breeann. They all were looking for their new owners. All of the dogs are available for adoption at the Mackey Center at 7887 Chrysler Drive. 

"My friend Leela sent me an article on it and we just had to come play with the dogs on our lunch break," said Tracy Gabrys, 30, who works at Quicken Loans. 

Elsewhere, Chefs of Metro Detroit teamed up beginning Monday to join the Hot Dogs for Dogs campaign created by Mabel Grey chef and owner, James Rigato. Through Sunday, 29 restaurants will be serving gourmet hot dogs. All of the proceeds will be donated to help the dogs rescued by Detroit Dog Rescue. 

Rigato, owner of Oda Mea, a Doberman, and pit bull rescue Chandler, said he follows Detroit Dog Rescue on Facebook and saw their updates about a dog named Jack who had died after surgery for gunshot wounds.

"My wife and I usually donate money to emergency surgeries at DDR, but it didn’t feel impactful enough, so I wanted to do something more grand," said Rigato of Hazel Park. "So, I made a fundraiser like this that could generate more than I could do alone."

Rigato said after he put out the request. No one he asked, he said, hesitated to get involved. He's aiming to raise $30,000 from nearly 30 restaurants this week.

 "I’m never disappointed by people's generosity ... we're going to do the best we can," he said. 

Restaurants joining the fundraiser are Mabel Gray, Grey Ghost, Livernois Tap, Supino Pizzeria, Takoi, Imperial, Gather, Townhouse, the Root Restaurant and Bar, Chartreuse Kitchen, O.W.L, Wright & Co., Bobcat Bonnies, Standby, the Apparatus Room, Browndog Treats, Cuisine, Downtown Loui’s, The Morrie, Bistro 82, Parks and Rec, Selden Standard, The Southerner, Lady of the House, Nosh Pit Food Truck, Greenspace, Toasted Oak, Roast and Voyager. 

Pick up a hot dog passport and get it stamped at all 29 locations and receive a free gift from Detroit Dog Rescue. Each location has a specially made hot dog at their own price. 

"This is what keeps Detroit Dog Rescue going," said Kristina Rinaldi on a Facebook video. "Everyone thinks Detroit Dog Rescue is a big corporation; we are not. We are a small group of people who rely on volunteers, grassroot efforts and we need you." 

Matt Buskard, owner of Bobcat Bonnies, has a 2-year-old boxer named Yoshi who inspired the Yoshi Dog, a jalapeño cheddar sausage dog. 

"My partner and I helped foster a few dogs before and loved that whole experience," Buskard. "It's already close to our heart and when we saw Chef Rigato ask for help, we immediately jumped." 

Vegetarian and vegan hot dogs are also being served at Greenspace and Nosh Pit Food Truck. 

Some of thehotdogs

Imperial in Ferndale: Bacon-wrapped Dearborn sausage, all beef hot dog, chorizo chili, chipotle mustard, white onion and cilantro.

Townhouse in Detroit: The Midwest Experience -- Windy City all-beef hot dog, the Brinery sauerkraut, McClure's sweet and spicy pickles, Atwater Brewery Dirty Blonde Ale cheese sauce, Stakich honey mustard on a golden wheat hot dog bun.

Nosh Pit Food Truck in Detroit: A carrot hot dog. 

A carrot hot dog available through Sunday.

Grey Ghost in Detroit: The Cubano Dog: ham-and-ground pork dog topped with braised pork shoulder, Swiss cheese, jalapeño mustard and pickles on french bread.

The Cubano Dog

Toasted Oak Grill & Market in Novi: House-smoked chorizo dog in a chickpea corn dog batter, olive and saffron aioli, sherry pickled bell peppers, manchego, Spanish paprika, served with house-made BBQ chips. 

smoked chorizo dog in a chickpea corndog batter, olive + saffron aioli, sherry pickled bell peppers, manchego, Spanish paprika, served with house-made barbecue chips.

Mudgie's Deli in Detroit: Two Sy Ginsberg all-beef hot dogs, corned beef, the Brinery kraut and Swiss béchamel sauce.

Two Sy Ginsberg all beef hot dogs, corned beef, the Brinery kraut and Swiss Béchamel sauce.

Bobcat Bonnies in Detroit: Little Town jalapeño cheddar susage, cheddar cheese, barbecue pulled chicken, pico, chipotle aioli with a side of fries or tots. 

Owner, Matt Buskard, said they sold 12 on Monday.