Foster Success Story: “Princess” Gracie


“Princess” Gracie

Fairy-tales begin with “Once upon a time” and often subject a beautiful princess to hardship and trial before granting her happiness forever. This is the story of a grey and white kitten born in the wild and lured into a live trap set by some of our HSBC Trap-Neuter-Return volunteers. Although to the kitten this experience must have seemed terrible at the time, she was actually being rescued by the first of many fairy godmothers who would transform her life. The volunteers took her to a generous vet who checked her over and spayed her. From there, she went to live temporarily with HSBC President Jeannie Nichols, who named her Gracie. Jeannie cared for and fed her but was not able to give Gracie the time necessary to socialize her. Then HSBC fostering volunteer Sherry Nelson took Gracie in, and slowly the timid little feral creature learned to enjoy human contact at Sherry’s home.

Meanwhile, not far away, a woman named Colleen, her husband, and her three lovely teenaged daughters were talking of getting a companion for their cat, Mystique, a tall black cat Colleen describes as “The Best Cat Ever.” They had rescued Mystique a few months ago when she had been an emaciated stray with eye infections. It did not take long for Mystique’s sweet personality to emerge and for her to become a permanent part of their household, which also includes a gentle lab mix named Maxine. As the humans discussed Mystique’s future companion, the older daughter said that she would prefer a cat with grey and white fur.

At work the following day, Colleen mentioned to Sherry her daughter’s desire for a grey and white cat, and here is where the story takes on the magic of a fairy tale. Sherry was delighted to suggest Gracie as a possible new addition to Colleen’s family. Sherry told Colleen that the kitten might not be immediately approachable and would need some patience before she accepted the family. Colleen was amazed; her daughter expresses a wish, and that wish is granted the following day! Not only that, but Gracie was sixteen weeks old, the same age as Mystique.

So Gracie entered Colleen’s family. As Sherry predicted, the new kitten at first hid in corners or peeped at the family from behind an open door. Gracie always allowed her new owners to hold her, but soon she started going up to them to ask for affection. Now Gracie and Mystique frolic together without a care in the world, and she mingles freely with the family instead of observing them from a distance. Colleen says of Gracie, “She eats like a pig” and, “She is loved.”

If Gracie could talk, she might tell us that she feels like a fairy-tale princess rescued from an uncertain fate and magically spirited to a life of warmth and love. Her story has many fairy godmothers and the luck that gave her the grey and white coat her new family wanted in their next cat. Gracie’s good fortune also depended on the HSBC Trap-Neuter-Return program, in which volunteers trap feral cats so that they can be sterilized and their kittens can be socialized and adopted into good homes. Along the way, each person who cared for Gracie gave her the courage to discard her fears and become a playful and affectionate kitten. It is because of this HSBC TNR program and the incredible volunteers who manage it that Gracie will be indoors this winter, a great pet for a loving family and a happy friend of “The Best Cat Ever.”



Adoption Success Story: Rick

Rich with his new parents!

Rick is a 4-month-old calico long-haired kitten who was trapped by HSBC TNR volunteers with his feral mother and two littermates. While the mother cat was very wild and had to be returned to her outdoor home after her spay surgery, Rick and his two siblings were so tame that they were taken into our HSBC Cat Foster/Adoption Program for spay/neuter surgery and vaccinations before being put up for adoption.

Unfortunately, Rick’s long hair was so matted that it was an impossible job for our volunteers to comb him out. At that point, Sudsy Puppy came to the rescue by giving the HSBC a reduced price for de-matting and bathing Rick, plus clipping his nails since Rick was a rescue kitten. Right around that time a local couple who was looking to adopt a long-haired kitten contacted our HSBC website, and within a week they came to Rick’s foster home to meet him. They were immediately smitten and adopted Rick into their family, which also includes two adult cats. Rick is now fitting in fine in his first forever indoor home.

The Humane Society of Bay County is seeking foster homes for adoptable cats and dogs. Interested individuals and families must fill out an application, be willing to have a home visit prior to placement, provide food, water, litter, treats, etc., and be willing to pick up and/or drop off animals at adoption events. The animals will have been sterilized, vaccinated, de-wormed, and treated for fleas prior to fostering. The HSBC will cover costs for vet care if needed.

Please contact Cheryl McKenzie, HSBC Cat Foster Coordinator, or Stephanie Beiser, Dog Foster Coordinator, for more information at 989-893-0451 or email and – open your heart and home to save the life of an animal in need!

HSBC’s Cattery Project

Our friends at the Humane Society of Bay County have been working incredibly hard to complete their renovations and open their facility to the public. Check out the latest update on their progress!

The last major remodeling project to complete the new Pet Adoption Center of the Humane Society of Bay County is proceeding at a good pace.  This large “Cattery” area will feature four glass “cat condos” holding up to four cats each with beds, perches, toys and climbing blocks. Outside these cat enclosures there will be sitting areas for visitors and potential adopters to interact with the HSBC cats and kittens available for adoption.  To date, the ceiling, lighting and an exit door have been replaced, the original flooring removed, and, most recently, a new and easily sanitized extra-thick epoxy floor installed to meet the animal sheltering license requirements of the Michigan Dept. of Agriculture and Rural Development. While the Pet Adoption Center is not yet open to the public, the HSBC is hoping for a January 2019 completion date.  

Let’s help the HSBC achieve their goal! Please consider donating to this wonderful cause at

Meet Marjorie

In our continued efforts to support The Humane Society of Bay County, we’d like to share an adoption success story. Please consider adoption or fostering!

Labadie - Marjorie

Marjorie, a Neapolitan mastiff, came to the HSBC as a medical transfer from a rescue in November, 2015. She was a stray that had gone unclaimed, and because of her breed, the rescue reached out looking for placement with the Humane Society of Bay County, among others. It was also discovered that she was positive for heartworms, but luckily we had room in our HSBC Dog Foster Program to take her.

Before Marge even began her heartworm treatment, she met with Michelle and Bob, who had contacted us through a family friend who had adopted Hemingway (a special-needs Yorkie) from our program some months prior. They were looking to add another canine family member and needed a good match for their current mastiff, Sheba. At a meeting, Marjorie and Sheba hit it off right away, and Michelle and Bob confirmed that they would like to add Marge to their family after her treatment was complete.

Marjorie’s treatment and recovery required three months of strict crate-rest, but Marge was finally able to resume normal activity and go home with her new family in late February, 2016, where she continues to live a happy and healthy life.

NOTE: To enable the HSBC to achieve more foster and adoption success stories
like Marjorie’s, we need foster homes to care for dogs temporarily until their
forever family can be found. Please consider fostering a dog in our program. For
more information, email or call 989-893-
0451. Fostering is a great way to enjoy “short term” pet ownership while having
the flexibility to travel, host major events, etc. between foster placements.



Some of our Favorite Michigan Vacation Destinations!

Do you have the desire to get away but not sure where to go? Below are some of our favorite spots around the state that we highly recommend!


Craving some fudge? Then head up to Mackinaw City!
Looking for beautiful beaches? Check out Frankfort!


Prefer the city? Grand Rapids is home to the John Ball Zoo and many other awesome activities!
Want to check out “Good Morning America’s Most Beautiful Place in America”? Then head over to the Sleeping Bear Dunes!
Got a few days to spare? Then Tahquamenon Falls is a must!



We’re Ready for Summer!

Image courtesy of

We’re ready for Summer! Are you?It may be hard to believe, but we love having fun away from work too! Here are some Summer activities folks here at the dealership are looking forward to.

“I’m excited to spend the summer with my very first nephew, Weston!” – Sam Reetz (Media & Marketing Specialist)

Weston – Picture by: Sam Reetz

“I am looking forward to our camping trip in June in Indian River, MI. We will be going boating, river tubing, and spending time with family.” – Mark Brock (New Car Sales Manager)

“I look forward to spending time with family/friends, playing ice hockey, and working towards my goals! Hope everyone has a safe, fun, and positive summer!” – Scott Naples (Sales Professional)

Image courtesy of

“I am looking forward to more barbecuing, hanging out with friends and visiting Lake Michigan this Summer.” – Taylor Gradowski (Media & Marketing Director)

 Ludington, Michigan – Lake Michigan (Picture by: Taylor Gradowski)

“I look forward to camping this year.” – Adam Cruff (Parts Manager)

Toyota Sienna Vans hauling a boat and a camper. (Picture by: Adam Cruff)

“I look forward to traveling with my kids” – Stephanie Histed (Service Advisor)

“I look forward to spending time with my dog.” – Alexandra Sauer (Sales Professional)

“I look forward to an absurd amount of golfing.” – Adam Everett (Sales Professional)

“I am looking forward to northern Michigan camping and visiting Mackinaw Island” – Andrew Schwaiger (Sales Professional)

No matter where we’re going or what we’re doing, we have plans to go places.

Question is, where will you go or what will you do?


Labadie Toyota is a Toyota dealer located in Bay City, Michigan. As part of our “People Going Places” efforts, where we highlight those in our community who have stories to share, we’d like to encourage you to reach out to us. If you are interested in submitting a piece as a guest blogger, please email us at We’d love to hear from you! :)




4 Useful Tips for Planning Your Next Road Trip

The open road – Picture Courtesy of

With many of us celebrating spring break in the coming weeks and warm weather and summer fun just around the corner, it couldn’t be a better time to jump in the car to take a family road trip. Whether you’re going on vacation, visiting family and friends, or checking off the next item on your bucket list, here are some helpful tips for a successful getaway.

Rev Up the Fun

Growing up in a time without iPhones and tablets, many of us remember taking family road trips playing 21 Questions or singing along to the radio. Make your next outing a technology-free event and make some memories too. Remember Mad Libs – the comical fill in the blank storybooks they used to sell at the school book fair? They’re only a couple bucks on Amazon, provide many laughs, and are a fun way to brush up on your grammar skills. Another favorite is road trip bingo. Print a few bingo cards with spaces that feature items you might see on the highway (think a traffic barrel or McDonalds). You won’t believe how fast the time will fly when you’re playing games.

Accelerate Your Snack Options

Whether it’s an all-day trip or just a few hours, every good road trip needs snacks. Although it can be tempting to grab something at the gas station or a fast food restaurant, bringing your own snacks is a healthier and cost-effective choice. Fill a cooler with lidded drinks and sandwiches, and bring some individually packaged pretzels and cookies. You’ll satisfy your restless travelers and cover lunch at the same time. Don’t forget some Wet-Naps and a trash bag in case there are any messes!

Make a Pit Stop

After a couple hours on the road, it is inevitable that someone is going to need to stop for a restroom break or to do some stretching. Instead of stopping at a rest stop, schedule a break at a unique local attraction or museum. This is also a great opportunity to stop for ice cream at one of the many small town shops off the beaten path. Forgetting about the destination and enjoying the stops along the way will help you make great memories that will last a lifetime. And remember to take some pictures!

Plan for Curves in the Road

Although today’s cars are safer and more reliable than ever, it’s always good to be prepared for any bumps in the road before heading out on a long trip. Make sure your car maintenance is in order and check for things like wipers, batteries, fluid levels, and tire pressure. This is also a good time to restock your emergency kit with items like blankets, flashlights, and first aid supplies. Finally, be sure your GPS navigation system is up-to-date; this will help you get to your destination quickly, avoiding roadwork and traffic congestion.

Planning a road trip doesn’t have to be a daunting task. When you’re well prepared, you have more time to focus on having fun and making memories with family and friends. Follow these simple steps and you will be sure to have a safe and pleasant road trip experience this summer.
Mel Quist is a senior writer at Venture6 Studio—a creative agency in Bay City, Michigan that specializes in video production, branding and marketing, and content strategy. Special thank you for his contribution to this week’s blog.

Views and opinions expressed in this article does not necessarily reflect those of Labadie Toyota, Labadie Auto Company or groups and individuals within. For more information on how you can contribute a guest blog, please contact us at for consideration. Thank you!