The Ford House

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House tells the story of the home life of a prominent American family.

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Ford House goes to the Dogs!
Posted: March 25, 2013

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House is welcoming the dog days of spring with a visually rich photography exhibit and a host of programs and events - from dog walks on the lakeside grounds to healthy cooking for dogs - for families, adults and children to celebrate their canine companions. Activities run April 6 – June 2.

Dogs were a significant part in the Ford family story, with a young Josephine Ford having many “best friends” growing up at the Grosse Pointe Shores estate. Since opening to the public in 1978, the estate’s grounds have been the site of dog walks to benefit area charities, and today there is even a working border collie on the grounds team to help keep the geese at bay.

“Dogs have long held a special place at Edsel & Eleanor Ford House,” explained Chris Shires, Ford House director of interpretation and programming. “In the early years when the family lived at the estate, it was home to the boundless energy of many dogs. We wanted to capture that energy and passion and provide a new way for our visitors to enjoy the estate.”

The Nature of Dogs Exhibit
At the centerpiece of the initiative is the exhibit The Nature of Dogs: Photography by Mary Ludington. Over the course of 10 years, Ludington documented each of the nearly 175 breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club, capturing each breed’s energy and unique characteristics in their natural settings and revealing the heart and soul of her furry subjects.

“I wanted to do more than document each breed; my greater emphasis is on heart and soul,” Ludington says. “There are all of dogs I have gotten to know. I created their portraits by following their lead, observing and simply recording them being themselves.”

On Saturday, April 6, from 2 to 4 p.m., Ludington will give a personalized tour of The Nature of Dogs exhibit and talk about her photography techniques. The Nature of Dogs is sponsored by Banfield Pet Hospital and runs April 6 through June 2. Admittance is free to Ford House members and included with regular admission.

Dog Days of Spring programs
The pooch-inspired programming continues throughout the run of the exhibit and include dog walks, a dog food cooking class, behavioral training sessions, an animal adoption day, a family movie night and more. The event is sponsored by Banfield Pet Hospital.

An Afternoon with Photographer Mary Ludington,
April 6, 2 – 4 p.m.
Join featured photographer and exhibiting artist Mary Ludington for an informal gallery talk and tour of The Nature of Dogs as she shares her inspiration as well as details of many of the individual dogs featured in the exhibition. She will also discuss shooting and darkroom techniques used in creating her photographs. This event takes place in Ford House’s South Cottage. $10/$5 members

Sunday Dog Walks at Ford House,
April 7, 14, 21, 28 May 5, 12, 26, 7 – 11 a.m.
The grounds of Ford House will be open to dogs and their owners on select Sunday mornings throughout the run The Nature of Dogs. Leashed dogs and their owners are welcome to tour the beautiful landscape Sundays this spring. See website for guidelines. Banfield Pet Hospital will have a tent each Sunday with giveaways and a trained Veterinary Technician to answer questions. The Michigan Humane Society will offer special education opportunities on April 7, 21, May 5, 26. $5 per person/Free to members

Canine Cuisine: Cooking Healthy Treats for Your Best Friend,
April 13, 2 – 4 p.m.
Healthy, homemade cookies and smoothies...for the dog? Yes! The dogs don't have to be left out when it comes to special treats in your household. Join us to learn how to make healthy treats for your pup, learn which of human ingredients are good (and bad) for the dog, and even take some samples and recipes home. Class directed by Lisa Bardy, owner of the Bow Wow Bake Shoppe in Grosse Pointe Woods. This class takes place in the Ford House Visitor Center. $15/$10 members

Bring Out the Good in Your Dog,
April 20, 9 – 11 a.m.
Animal behaviorist CJ Bentley will lead participants and their dogs in a behavioral training program focusing on beginning-level fundamentals of good manners - sit, down, stay, come, polite greetings and walking, wait at doors and leave it. CJ trainings are "dog friendly." Participants will meet at the picnic area near the Visitor Center. $25/$20 member

Pewabic Pooches,
April 27, 10 a.m. – noon or noon – 2 p.m.
Whether you’re a fan of Terriers and Spaniels or Hounds and Labradors, this workshop will help you to create the puppy of your dreams. This will take place in the Visitor Center. $30/$25 members

Banfield Presents: Dental Care for your Dog,
April 28, 8 – 11 a.m.
Does your pet have bad breath? Dr. Mirella Magri will be available at the Sunday Dog Walk to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding your pet's dental hygiene. Veterinary Technicians will also be present to give a brief exam of your pet's mouth and educate on how to keep your pet's mouth healthy. Participants will meet at the picnic area near the Visitor Center. Included in the $5 dog walk fee.

• Adopt-a-Pet Day,
May 4, noon – 3 p.m.
Looking for a new best friend? The Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society may have just what you’re looking for. Both dogs and cats will be available for adoption on this Adopt-A-Pet Day. All animals accepted into GPAAS adoption program are professionally screened for health and temperament and have received veterinary care. Free.

• Dog Portraits,
May 5, 8 – 10:30 a.m.
During this Sunday Dog Walk, John F. Martin Photography will take your family photo – complete with pooches – on the picturesque Ford House Grounds. $5 per photo, plus Grounds admission.

• The Echoing Call of the Wild: Dogs and Their Wolfish Ancestry in Literature,
May 16, 7 p.m.
Anthropological and genetic research on when, where, and how the dog evolved will be presented by Karla Armbruster, English professor at Webster University - along with an analysis of how writers have used the idea of dogs' wild ancestors to support various, sometimes competing visions of the relationship between wild nature and human culture. his will take place at the Visitor Center. $20/Free to members.

• Banfield is calling all Future Vets,
May 18, 10 a.m. – noon
Does your child love dogs? Then they will love the hands on activities at this event! Licensed Veterinary Technicians will hold a fun and educational overview showing your child how to examine a dog, safety around dogs, the care of dogs, and much more. For ages 6-12. $10

• Movie Night at Ford House,
May 31, 7 p.m.
Enjoy a Disney Classic with your family on the beautiful Ford House grounds. Grab a blanket and spread out on the lawn for a showing of Lady and the Tramp. $5

• Mutt March,
June 2, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Join hundreds of dogs and owners for a walk on the beautiful Ford House grounds to benefit the Michigan Humane Society. The 24th annual event will help the Michigan Humane Society care for more than 100,000 animals each year through its lifesaving programs. Visit for details.
Edsel & Eleanor Ford House is located at 1100 Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Shores. Since 1978, Ford House has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors to share in Eleanor Ford’s vision of preserving the estate for future generations to enjoy through interpretive tours, family activities, lectures, exhibits and gardens and grounds events. For more information, visit or call 313.884.4222.

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