Ruff - New Leash
Representatives from “A New Leash on Life” attend the 2011 Ruff & Stuff Pet Festival. (credit: Joanna Noble)

I just love a happy ending! 

That’s one of the reasons why this story really touched me.  Plus all of those cute little puppy faces were irresistible. 

There’s so much to tell I decided to break down this “tail” in three ways:

For those “get to the point” people, here’s the headline:

On September 17, 2011, the 1st Annual Ruff and Stuff Pet Fest was held in Warren, MI and it was an wonderful success story.  There were 168 Adoptions (and still counting), in excess of $10,000 in pet supplies donated by the public, and over 35 animal shelters and rescues with pets for adoption benefitted!  Not bad for the first year!

For those “tell me the story behind the story” people, here are a couple highlights for you:

RUFF - Joanna Noble & Miss Great Lakes Teresa Alverez Photo Stanley Sheltion Jr.

Event founder Joanna Noble and Miss Great Lakes, Teresa Alverez (Photo credit: Stanley Sheltion Jr.)

The Ruff and Stuff Pet Fest is a dream come true for Joanna and Scott Noble, Warren residents who established the festival. As the founders of the K-10 Project Inc., a 501c3 Charity Service Dog Organization, they began looking for potential service dogs they could rescue and re-train in careers that would help humankind, and they came face to face with the overwhelming crisis of countless animals that were overflowing in the animal facilities due to downsizing, job losses, and foreclosures.  

Leaving shelters with tear filled eyes realizing “we can’t save them all” said Noble “we came up with an idea that would invoke the public’s good nature and desire to help the crisis if they just knew about the problem; if they knew surly they would come forward and help”. And they came in droves.

The festival got off to a really rough start when the truck planned for donations suddenly broke down and was not going to be ready in time to collect donations.  The Festival crew was in a panic that they’d have to collect donations from the community in the trunks of their cars.  It would have been a logistical nightmare!  Thankfully, Palmer Moving got word and saved the day.  They stepped in just in time to provide a semi-truck for the event. 

Ruff - Deangenay Harris

Camille Harris and his daughters Deangenay and Stasia volunteered at the Ruff & Stuff Pet Festival. (credit: Joanna Noble)

Beautiful little Deangenay Harris has a heart as lovely as she is.  Deangenay wanted to spend her 8th birthday helping the animals.  Deangenay’s dad, Camille Harris, and her older sister Stasia, age 9, helped make that dream come true when the three of them volunteered at Ruff & Stuff. 

And finally, for those “just the facts, ma’am” people, here’s part of the press release with all the details shared by Joanna Noble, the founder of the Ruff & Stuff Pet Fest, shared with me:

The City of Warren estimated that 4000 people attended the 1st Annual Ruff and Stuff Pet Fest on September 17th, 2011, a 1 day event; so named because it’s Ruff for the shelters and rescues they need Stuff to help save lives. 

Expectations were exceeded for this first time event as the COMMUNITY came out to adopt pets and bring so many donations that nearly ½ of the donated semi-truck was filled.  The total estimated value of Pet “Stuff” came to roughly $10,000 in supplies the public brought to help support animal rescues and shelters that are struggling to help animals that were stray or lost their homes in difficult times. 

Donation Truck Volunteers (Photo credit: Stanly Shelton Jr)

The Palmer semi-truck volunteer crew reported “Many people came just to donate goods and never even drove to the  festival…just dropped  Pet “stuff” and went on with their day” per Mary Kamp,  President of the Warren City Council, who worked with donations all day.  The public was encouraged “if you can’t adopt you can at least help by donating” and “apparently the slogan worked because the community rallied together for this awesome Rally to Rescue event… far beyond our expectations…Next year, I have no doubt, we will fill the entire truck, because we will have a lot more promotional support!”, said Joanna Noble; festival organizer. 

On September 23rd Ruff and Stuff volunteers distributed the donated goods to over 35 rescues and shelters in dire need of the supplies. Some of the rescue groups also help low-income families with pet supplies and so 17 families were provided pet supplies thanks to the event.

Ruff - 6 adopted

This rescue organization found new homes for six pets. (credit: Joanna Noble)

Approximately 168 animals found their forever homes on September 17th in Halmich Park in Warren and the number grows daily as rescues and shelters that participated at Ruff and Stuff process adoption applications and home checks.  Many of the rescue organizations took the time to say “thanks” to the founders for putting on this event:

• Carrol Zoscsak wrote “Two of our MinPins were adopted and another two are pending. This is a huge success for Southern Star Min Pin Rescue and our dogs.  We thank Ruff and Stuff so much for including us in the BEST pet event we’ve ever been to. Friendly people, good food and terrific vendors made it a fun day”. 

RUFF - Ellen Stuben

Ellen Stuben of PapAdopters (credit: Joanna Noble)

• “The Ruff and Stuff Pet Fest” made all the difference in the world for one of our more difficult to place dogs. Being able to meet this cute little dog in person was directly responsible for his placement into a wonderful home.” Ellen Stuban PapAdopters & Placement Service

• Debbie Oberle; Livingston County Animal Shelter stated “I thought Ruff and Stuff was very well run and we had great success with adoptions. Thank you for the donations!! ”

RUFF - Patrice Reed

Patrice Reed's organization found homes for eight animals (credit: Joanna Noble)

• “My group had a great time doing 8 adoptions at Ruff and Stuff. The people were great with the animals. They also enjoy the other activities you had at the event. The music, face-painting were among the things they enjoyed. The donations are great to have. We used a lot of the collars and leads the next weekend at another pet adoption event. Thank you so much.” Patrice Reed, former Animal Control Officer, Licensed Vet Tech and Director of Rescue What we do for the Love of Pets.

RUFF - AnimalControll Officer Tim Herig Photo Lisa O'Dell

Animal Controll Officer Tim Herig and Ruff & Stuff founder Joanna Noble (Photo credit: Lisa O'Dell)

When the Noble’s marshaled the animal rescue community around the Detroit area to join the Ruff and Stuff Pet Fest – for a community event that provided a day of entertainment for the whole family, Pet Education Speeches and good old fashioned community activism designed to bring attention to the plight of man’s best friend they never expected such a success.  Typically, pet events host a multitude of sad animals in cages with nothing for the public to do, so unless they really want to adopt, there is no reason to go. The Ruff and Stuff Pet Fest changed all that with this combination adoption event, donation collection initiative and fun festival.  The air was full of joy and the mission was more than accomplished, it was a BIG win for animals! 

“Detroit’s always at its strongest when we come together as a community”, stated Noble. “There’s no limit to the ways the community can help and because of the success of this ONE day, we are now committed to picking up donations 365 days a year delivering help to shelters and rescues in need.”  “One day put a dent in the problem but we can help people realize they can help every single day until the 2nd Annual Ruff and Stuff Pet Fest rolls around”. 

The Noble’s plan to Make Ruff and Stuff Pet Fest a National Event DAY by 2013 simulcast in numerous cities around the country that are battling the same crisis. 
Interested parties and volunteers are encouraged to email, call 586-K10-Help (586-510-4357), or visit the event website at