Black Star Farms host Pours for Pups to benefit Great Lakes Humane Society


Photo: Great Lakes Humane Society founder Linda Gottwald with volunteers Sallie Donovan and Alison Collins and dogs Dollie and Taylor, both awaiting adoption.

By Sandra Serra Bradshaw

Sun contributor

It is time to kick off summer with a special event combining the love for wine, dogs, and music to support a great cause. Join Black Star Farms as they celebrate 25 years with a dog-themed party, Pours for Pups, benefiting the Great Lakes Humane Society, a local non-profit Leelanau County organization dedicated to animal welfare. The event will be held on Saturday, June 10, from 5 to 8 pm at the tasting room patio and front lawn at this picturesque farm-winery in Suttons Bay.

“There is such a need—we have to turn away dogs every day,” said Linda Gottwald, founder of the Great Lakes Humane Society (GLHS.) “This year more than ever there is a need for animal shelters. Whether it is because of the COVID effect or the economy, I have never seen so many people surrendering animals. Sadly, we have to turn away animals daily because of lack of space and the numbers coming in. Fortunately, we have a really high turnover rate, last count we had 1400 adoptions since we opened in 2011. ”

The Great Lakes Humane Society’s mission is to take in stray and unwanted animals and find loving, lasting homes for them, to educate the public about adopting rather than purchasing a pet, and to increase awareness of the need to spay and neuter animals in the battle against pet overpopulation.

The Humane Society of the United States reports about 70 million strays nationwide. Of those, an estimated 5 to 7 million animals wind up in one of the nation’s 3,500 shelters. Michigan animal shelters took in around 131,000 cats and dogs (2021 figures). Of these 84,00 were adopted out, but sadly more than 16,000 euthanized canines and felines in 2021. Animal shelters are required to report these statistics to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) each year.

The GLHS was founded in the memory of an abandoned mother dog named “Frannie” adopted by Gottwald. Since 2011 when GLHS opened and to date they have been able to place more than 1,400 once-homeless dogs. Linda has, since childhood, has had a passion for animals, and as such has spent her lifetime helping them. The Chicago Anti-Cruelty Society awarded the Albert Schweitzer Community Service Award to Gottwald for her volunteer work with them in 1998.

Gottwald is the author of Once Upon a Shelter, a book chronicling her work with abandoned animals. She is a member of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. She lives on a 10-acre farm in Leelanau County with her dogs Tootie and Panda, which is also home to GLHS, along with the various canines that come and go.

Come to Pours for Pups and meet adoptable dogs from the Great Lakes Humane Society. There will be live music with Adam Sleder of Soul Patch, lawn games, delicious grilled gourmet hotdogs along with classic toppings. Black Star will serve specialty cocktails such as the Greyhound and the Salty Dog. Custom labeled “Dog House” wine will be available for purchase with proceeds to support the GLHS.  For special fun for you and your dog, there will be a “Walk the Dog Treat Trail.” Dog bakery treats, donated by Pets Naturally of Traverse City, will be scattered along the trail for your pup to find and enjoy munching on. Black Star Farms offers this as a dog-friendly equivalent of wine tasting at this special now yearly event.

“We love our dogs,” said Chris Lopez, tasting room manager at Black Star Farms. “We want to take this opportunity to help our furry friends in the community,” he continued. “Please come on out and enjoy,” Chris added.

For the safety and enjoyment of everyone attending, do keep your pet leashed at all times, and do pick up after your pooch. Due to state regulations, animals are not allowed inside the tasting room unless they are certified as service animals.

Black Star Farms’ portion of the day’s sales will be donated to the Great Lakes Humane Society. “I cannot think of a nicer venue than Black Star Farms as a backdrop for adoptions,” said Gottwald. “We are thrilled and honored that this wonderful winery thought of helping our animals. Wine, music, puppies to pet – how can you not have a wonderful time?”

To volunteer or donate to GHLS, (adoptions by appointment only), email or call 231-846-8293. The Great Lakes Humane Society is located at 7246 E. Harrys Rd in Traverse City.