Chamber Blog

Meet the Pets of the Grand Rapids Chamber Staff

Meet the Pets of the Grand Rapids Chamber Staff

Animals play an important role in our lives. They provide us with companionship, emotional support, and even reduce our stress levels and sense of loneliness. Beyond this, animals can also be trained to be seeing-eye dogs, emotional support animals, and even detect seizures. There’s no doubt that animals truly affect the quality of our lives!

In honor of all the wonderful animals in our lives, we decided to ask our Chamber staff members to tell us all about the furry friends of their households and why having them around makes life a little bit sweeter.


Joshua Lunger, Director of Government Affairs
& Blue, the Weimaraner

Meet the Pets of the Grand Rapids Chamber Staff 2

Tell us about Blue!

Blue is never more than two feet away from me and is always looking to make my wife and I proud by showing off. The day we picked him up from the rescue is a great memory. It was odd letting a large strange dog you met for about fifteen minutes hop into your car and take off. He was really happy and it was a relief he didn’t freak out!

What makes Blue special or unique?

Blue is the first dog I’ve had that actually hides his bones! It usually takes him many attempts to find the perfect spot, and he will use whatever materials are available to hide it – blankets, pillows, clothes, dirt. Unfortunately, this ends up making him anxious and he will randomly have to go ensure that the bone is safe. This sometimes involves digging in the middle of the night or relocating it to a more secure spot.

Email: lungerj@grandrapids.org


Trista Bernheisel, Accountant Assistant
& Lilly, the Boxer + Calvin, the Tabby Cat

Meet the Pets of the Grand Rapids Chamber Staff 3

Tell us about Lilly!

Lilly is seven years old and she has the biggest personality. She loves being outside, playing with her toys, and of course, snuggles! We have so many memories, but a notable one is when she won the award for “The Dog Judges Would Like to Take Home,” when she competed at a local dog show. I mean, when you look at her face, who wouldn’t want to take her home?

Tell us about Calvin!

Calvin is five years old and acts more like a dog than a cat. He loves attention and is super affectionate. He prefers to lay as close to your face as possible, even when there is tons of room on the couch. He also almost always sleeps with his face planted into the floor.

They get along so well, I am so lucky to call them mine!

Email: bernheiselt@grandrapids.org


Mark Allen, Director of Business Outreach
& Marshall, the Shih Tzu/Maltese Mix

Meet the Pets of the Grand Rapids Chamber Staff 4

Tell us about Marshall!

Marshall is always excited to greet me upon my return home from a quick trip to the store or after a long day at the office. He spends most of his days on the back of the couch keeping watch over the neighborhood from the front window of the living room. In his spare time, he enjoys camping with the family and playing with his squeaky toys.  Vacationing in the family camper is new to him and he seems to be adjusting well to this relaxing lifestyle.

What makes Marshall special or unique?

A unique trait of Marshall’s is his ability to judge our kids’ friends; helping us pick the good from the bad.  If he doesn’t care for someone, he will continue to bark at them during their visit and keep a watchful eye on every move that they make. To date, he has a very high percentage of picking out the friends that seem to be a good match.  

Email: allenm@grandrapids.org


Ken James, Director of Inclusion
In Loving Memory of Oreo James, the Guinea Pig (2012 – 2018)

Meet the Pets of the Grand Rapids Chamber Staff 5

Tell us about Oreo!

Oreo was the first pet that we got for my three daughters. He had black and white fur, loved having his chin and neck scratched, and enjoyed eating baby carrots. We were originally choosing between the names Domino and Oreo and ended up with Oreo. We miss him very much!

Email: jamesk@grandrapids.org


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