I was invited to dinner last night at the Bridgeside Super Club south of Grand Rapids on Pokegama Lake. I have fond memories of this place for many reasons. Years ago, I used to sell pull tabs here from a booth in the corner of the bar. Then, a few years later when I was on hard times, Harry and Ruby, the former owner of the club put me to work in the kitchen washing dishes and prepping for the chef.
Last night I had the most incredible lobster dinner that I’ve had in years.
After dinner, we were all invited out to the deck overlooking the lake to enjoy a 40 year old bottle of brandy. Then I learned the real reason that I was there. My friends Steve and Amy, the couple who adopted Pedro, took on another cause that is near and dear to my heart.
Just a little background here.
The North Country Animal Rescue, north of Grand Rapids was on the verge of closing their door. This shelter has been operating since 1978 from monies from the estate of a woman who passed away in 1976. Before she passed she had 2 dogs and 23 cats. Unfortunately the money finally ran out due to poor financial management in the last 10 years.
This is the front view of the shelter.
And a rear view.
Enter Steve and Amy.
A real estate developer has been making offers on the property where the shelter is located for nearly 8 years, but the people managing the shelter always refused to sell. Now they were in a bad place, and the management was ready to sell out.
Steve wrote a check for $1.4 million to purchase the property. Part of his decision was personal. He knew the real estate developer very well and he didn’t want this guy to build another row of condominiums. It was part of an age old battle between this developer and Steve’s father that had gone on for a great many years.
It is going to cost Steve approximately $4.5 million to update the main building and the surrounding facilities. The surrounding facility have housed over 150 dogs and cats, and has housed horses, goats, and many others over the years. He plans to expand all of these buildings.
I used to volunteer at this shelter, so I know that what he is planning is going to be on a grand scale, and I’m actually looking forward to helping out with what I can.
Steve and Amy also added another member to their family.
Molly is 14 years old, and according to the vet, if she receives good care, may live for another two or three years. Steve and Amy took Molly in so that she could spend her remaining days not seeing the world through the bars of a cage.
Molly’s previous owner abandoned her in the bathroom of a gas station 4 years ago, and she has been at North Country ever since. She is such a little lover and deserves to live out her remaining years with a loving family.
A quick update on Pedro:
Pedro will be going to a dentist tomorrow to have some teeth fixed. Otherwise he is having the time of his life. Steve had a catio built that I could only describe as a wonderland for any cat. When I get a chance, I want to get some pictures of it. From what Amy described to me, and knowing how Steve is, it has got to be close to a 5 star luxury hotel for cats. I can’t wait to get out and see it.
I’m thankful today for people who have more money than they know what to do with, who use it to make lives better rather than to just make more money.
By the time everything is done, Steve figures that it will cost them nearly $8 million to fulfill their plans for the shelter. They both consider it some of the best money they’ve ever spent.
Here’s hoping everybody has a great Thankful Thursday. Mine started out great last night.