The Coastal Star

Paws Up for Pets!: Shelter activist sees work ahead in legislation

By Arden Moore

The first place Suzi Goldsmith headed after relocating from Detroit to Palm Beach County in 1985 wasn’t to dine at the famed Breakers Hotel, tour the Flagler

Museum or catch an outdoor concert at Bryant Park.

She made a beeline to an animal shelter in Boca Raton to volunteer. But if you know Goldsmith, such a choice comes as no surprise. After all, she has championed
pets since her toddler years and dedicates her life to ensure shelter dogs and
cats land permanent, loving homes.

And, this Manalapan resident loves to host parties — especially ones for good causes. Case in point: the 8th annual Doggie Ball unleashed March 21 at the
Boca West Country Club. Attendees donned cowboy boots and Stetsons to round up
donations to benefit the Tri-County Humane Society, a no-kill shelter Goldsmith
co-founded with Jeannette Christos. It serves Palm Beach, Broward and
Miami-Dade counties.

Although the 400-plus guest list was limited to two-leggers, the event did feature Sir Lancelot Encore, a dog belonging to Edgar and Nina Otto, as Grand Marshall

Yes, Goldsmith does enjoy planning fundraising events, but told The Coastal Star that after this Doggie Ball, she intends to focus on lobbying for legislation to better the lives of companion animals all over
the state.

“I want to spend more time with our animal shelter and helping legislation get passed to stop puppy mills,” she said. “At Tri-County, it is all about being
there for the animals, nursing them back to health and finding them forever
homes. There’s a lot of work ahead.”

Goldsmith doesn’t mind the task. In her native state, she was hands-on involved with the Michigan Humane Society. When she and her family relocated to Palm Beach
County, she saw the opportunity in 1997 to obtain a long-term lease with the
city of Boca Raton to convert a kill shelter into a no-kill one.

“When you’re young, you are naïve and feel that you can do anything,” she says. “It really upset us that it was a kill shelter, so when the city of Boca Raton
announced it was putting the shelter up for bid, Jeannette, a couple others and
I rallied. They gave us a 75-year lease.”

Before she can continue the phone conversation, Kati, her newly-adopted golden retriever bounds into the room and displays tail-wagging exuberance, much to Goldsmith’s

“This dog is about 2 and recently came into our shelter after her owners informed us that they couldn’t find jobs in Florida and were moving to England. They
dropped off Katie at our shelter because they knew we were a no-kill,” recalls
Goldsmith. “Katie was not doing well. She was very depressed and had never been
in a shelter. I adopted her. In no time, her personality blossomed. She is
dynamic, full of life.”

And, has yet to realize that she weighs 60 pounds, not 6.

“It’s hilarious to watch Katie trying to squeeze her large body in the small doggy bed meant for my other dog, Marshmallow, my 7-year-old white toy poodle,” describes
Goldsmith. “Katie thinks she’s a little dog.”

As for daily walks with two dogs, Goldsmith is still trying to master the two-leash routine.

“The little one carries me in one direction and the big dog pulls me in the other direction,” she laughs. “Both are great dogs. I feel blessed to have them in my

Since childhood, Goldsmith has always shared her life with a dog or two. She feels lucky to have never met a dog she doesn’t like.

And, she acknowledges the influence they’ve played in how she views life and her character development.

“Dogs have brought me humility, understanding and commitment,” she says. “They put smiles on my face. They never give up on happiness. And most importantly, they
are always there, in good times and in bad times.”

Arden Moore, an animal behavior consultant, editor, author and professional speaker, happily shares her home with two dogs, two cats and one overworked vacuum cleaner. Tune in to her “Oh Behave!” show on
Pet Life and contact her at

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