Our Dream Makers make such a difference and truly help us unleash the dream! Without them, our dream wouldn’t become a reality! If you’re wondering why you should donate to help the Cleveland APL grow, look no further than our Dream Makers to help provide a reason to give.

Bonnie Hagerman

Bonnie and her rabbit, Bugs.

Thirty years ago, I dropped by the APL to donate some newspapers and came home with a little black rabbit!  I had had rabbits ever since college since they proved to be the perfect pet for my lifestyle.  It was “serendipity” that brought me to the APL the day I adopted Munchie.  She had been an Easter gift that had been surrendered. Thank goodness her previous owner was aware of the APL and thoughtful enough to put her up for adoption rather than dumping her in the Metroparks to fend for herself.  The staff wanted to make sure I knew the special needs of a rabbit and that I had the proper housing for her.

Eight years ago, my Bugs, a Peter Rabbit look-alike was such a gift to me.  I could never understand how someone could give him up after four years, but how blessed I was to have him for the rest of his life.  When the APL neutered him, they must have removed his urge for chewing on cords!  Just kidding, but my lamps and computer are still intact.  However, he was a very intelligent rabbit known to devour a book or two.  A box of hay was his retreat, but he always came running for blueberries. I miss waking up to the sound of him munching on his cardboard box.

Growing up with a dog fueled my love of animals.  Once you have seen how a dog looks up to their owner for help, reassurance, loyalty, and love, you want to make sure that animal is cared for by those who respect it.  The respect that the APL has shown to the animals they have found in horrific conditions is amazing.  Their work is not easy, but the rewards of seeing an animal leave the shelter with their forever family is “priceless.” Whatever I can do to help the medical staff has become my focus. I am grateful the Unleash the Dream capital campaign is giving me the opportunity to help fund one of the surgery suites.

This is an exciting time for the APL—looking forward to the future by expanding not only its building but offering more services to better serve the community.  Being part of the Unleash the Dream campaign and supporting the surgical area, in particular, is my way of saying thank you for my “APL alums” and for the pets that will enrich the lives of others. 

Connie Cutietta

Connie Cutietta and her dog, Rocket.

I have been blessed to own four rescue dogs in my life, and the last two came from the Cleveland APL. In each case, the dog came to the APL with circumstances that required special care before they made it to their happy home with me.

My current dog, Rocket, was a stray in an overwhelmed, underserved shelter in Indiana. Thanks to a wonderful transport program called CanINE Express, Rocket was sent to the APL for a better chance at adoption. I saw him and adopted him his first day on the adoption floor! He needed a little medical care, but was soon well enough for me to take him home.

My last dog, Radar, was picked up as a stray off the Cleveland streets. He had pneumonia, and the shelter who rescued him transferred him to the Cleveland APL so he could receive the medical care he needed. Rocket spent several weeks at the APL receiving treatment. Like Rocket, I adopted Radar the first day he was on the adoption floor! 

My two dogs showed me clearly that the APL will go the extra mile to give the animals in their care what they need to live happy and healthy lives. These animals then go on and brighten and enrich the lives of their new families. 

Both Rocket and Radar have brought much laughter, adventure and joy into my life. Both dogs enjoyed Florida vacations with me. Rocket insists on playing with all his toys every night after dinner. He cheerfully picks the ones he wants from his toy box and brings them to me, though his favorite monkey is usually his first pick. Then he snuggles in my lap each night for TV time. You never saw a dog enjoy food as much as my Radar. Meal time would bring a smile from ear to ear. Radar loved taking me on walks through the Metro Parks trails. He always encouraged me to go faster and loved to play games where he could run and jump, for he truly believed he could fly. 

I have been blessed with two wonderful dogs from the APL, and they have enriched my life greatly. They are just two examples of why I am pleased to support the Unleash the Dream Capital Campaign.

Lindsay Hawkins, Carter Hawkins and their cat Sadie.

Lindsay Hawkins

Animals give us so much, but ask for so little.  As a young elementary school child, a rare  pediatric illness kept me at home for large blocks of time during treatment over the course of several years. For a little girl who began to feel extraordinarily lonely at times, it was a golden retriever named Frazier whose unconditional love and support provided the comfort and companionship I needed to get through such a difficult time. Fast forward more than 20 years and animals are still a source of joy and strength. I made the move to Cleveland from my hometown of Nashville in December of 2016. Our whole life packed in a car, my cat Sadie and I creeped up I-71 in a blinding snowstorm towards my then fiancé Carter and our new home. Sadie had no idea where we were going, but there was no way she wouldn’t be by my side. Neither Frazier nor Sadie looked for anything in return, yet I owe them so much.

I am not alone. Our community is enriched by the support of our animals. From service dogs to therapy pets to friends in the homes of little boys and girls, we are all so blessed by the animals in our lives. While they have no voice, it is our responsibility to give back and answer the call they will never make. The level of care and compassion that the Cleveland APL provides comes at a cost, and there are so many ways for us to give. By volunteering time, fostering, adopting, or donating, through the Cleveland APL we can all make a difference in the lives of animals and people in our community. My husband and I are honored to be a part of the APL family and could not be more excited about the future of this community pillar and its ability to touch the lives of even more animals and pet owners through the “Unleash the Dream” capital campaign. We are also the proud parents of our APL foster fail cat, Leon, formerly Puck, who loves curling up on the couch with us, soliciting treats, and annoying his sister Sadie. We can’t imagine our lives without them!

Rita Maimbourg

Rita Maimbourg and her dog, Bentley.

My first adopted dog was a senior miniature schnauzer, whose owner’s health required him to be moved to a nursing home.  The love that I felt from that dog was incredible, and I was hooked!

After Moose crossed the Rainbow Bridge, it wasn’t long before I adopted—in turn—Sophie, Stewart, Rodie, and Bentley, from local shelters, including the Cleveland APL.

Every dog I have taken home from a shelter has been special in his or her own way.  Sophie was a beauty; Stewart was goofy; Rodie was a love bug; and Bentley is, well, a crazy terrier.  But all of them knew that they were chosen to be part of a family and knew that they were loved.  In turn, they gave the incredible gift of unconditional love to me.

Finding homes for adoptable companion animals is certainly part of the mission of the APL, but there is so much more.  I am proud that the APL works to socialize animals who come to us wary of human touch because they have been neglected or abused.  I am proud of our veterinary team who provides A+ care to animals in a shelter that was designed for a different model of care.  And it breaks my heart to see animals rescued from deplorable conditions by our humane agents, but I think “If not us, then who would save those animals?”  

I believe in the APL and its mission of fostering compassion and ending animal suffering.  I know you do, too, and so I invite you to help us “Unleash the Dream!”

Dawn Swit

Dawn Swit and her cat, Sully.

I had been to the Cleveland APL many times as I child, and so after I graduated from college and wanted to adopt cats of my own, of course I went back to the APL.  I chose two orange tabby cats (or rather, they chose me!) and I named them Duke and Leo.  For many years Duke and Leo brought me great joy.  From playing and fetching toys (yes, cats can actually fetch!) to snuggling and giving me unconditional love, they were like my children.  When Duke and Leo eventually crossed the Rainbow Bridge, I couldn’t imagine a life without feline fur-babies and so I adopted more kitties—Chewie, Sully and Peter.  They’re from different litters and were adopted a few years apart, but I affectionately call them “the brothers.”

I chose to support the Cleveland APL’s Unleash the Dream campaign because the APL is so much more than a place to adopt a companion animal.  The expanded facilities will provide more modern and comfortable surroundings for animals that wait to be adopted, offer additional resources for families who need help caring for their pets, and provide better flex space for animals who come in through large humane investigation cases.  Perhaps the most compelling reason is for the medical facility enhancements.  The APL already tends to the medical needs of thousands of animals each year, but the new facility will allow for even more animals to be successfully treated.  For these reasons, I’m so proud to support the APL’s capital campaign. Won’t you please also help to “Unleash the Dream?”

Kathy Tatman

Kathy Tatman and her cat, Domino.

I have been a cat lover since my college years when I adopted a black kitten from a humane society in Kentucky. Kizzy got me through my junior and senior accounting curriculum by keeping me company during those late night practice sets and studies. More recently, I adopted two male tuxedo kittens. These two brought real joy into my life.  Domino was underrated by Felix, his polydactyl housemate. Sadly, I lost Domino at only eight years old to kidney failure. At that time, Felix became king of the house. Felix had a tumor on his pituitary gland, which required 3 three-week radiation sessions in Columbus over a period of four years. Felix passed away in 2017 from what we thought was throat cancer. I had him for 12 fulfilling years.

The CLE APL has bridged the cat gap for me. Every time I am on location at the CLE APL I visit the cat adoption area. I am excited about the capital campaign because all animals, staff, and adopters will benefit from this campaign. The capital improvements will not only improve the brick and mortar, but   also everyone’s experience while visiting the APL. I am especially excited about the cat catios, which will bring the outdoors inside for the cats. The indoor dog play area will allow exercise during Cleveland’s brutal winters. Finally, the clinical areas will be expanded and designed with the proper work flow for efficient patient care. I “Unleashed the Dream;” why don’t you join me!




Campaign Leadership Co-Chairs

Rita Maimbourg Dawn Swit Kathy Tatman


Honorary Co-Chairs

Cathy and Bill Christopher Jane Griswold Jack Herrick
Bill Miller Dean Mueller Indiana Bones

Campaign Committee

Donald Gries Lindsay Hawkins Bob Hazelton
Laura Hudak Pam Lebold Michelle Newland
Mike Weigand Lucy Weller