There is a great opportunity in our community this summer: Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce Dogs Unleashed. It’s a community art and small business project that is on display throughout the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods from now through September.

Dogs Unleashed Grosse Pointe features more than 60 dog statutes sponsored by small businesses and hand-painted/designed by local artists. The dogs –both big and small– are on display throughout the summer in front of businesses, inside businesses and next to other places well known in the community.

This is a great opportunity to generate some discussion with children as well as to get outside and enjoy some of our short-lived summer weather.

I recently did just this with my own children. We did a bike tour of the dogs in Grosse Pointe Park, the City of Grosse Pointe and Grosse Pointe Farms. We stopped at each dog, talked about what we liked, what differences we noticed and what we liked about it. Sometimes we talked about the artists (in one case, my daughter knew the artist, so she was excited about that) and the businesses that sponsored the dog.

There are endless conversation opportunities:

  • compare/contrast each dog
  • identify which is your favorite
  • find the dog that has the most accessories
  • find the dog that is the most colorful
  • which one had the best eyelashes? the best paws? the best costume?

The list could go on and on. My kids and I plan to go on another bike tour to see more of the dogs in Grosse Pointe Woods and Shores. They are looking forward to doing another tour and love to see all of the creative work completed by local artists.

We had discussions about so many details that would have gone unnoticed had we simply passed by in a car: the rainbow eyelashes on one, the reflection scene in the eyes of another, etc. It was so much fun!

Not only is a great opportunity for something to do outside but it doesn’t involve screens and it’s a natural source of conversation. Every single dog is painted and decorated differently.

One of my biggest recommendations to families I work with is to engage in face-to-face conversation with their children. While that may sound obvious, not as much of that is going on these days with the plethora of screen options that keep everyone young, old and those in the middle busy responding to texts, emails, social media posts and more.

Engaging in meaningful conversations with children has lasting positive impacts upon them. Conversation is loaded with potential learning for very young children but also just as much for older children and teenagers.

It helps teach/model the back-and-forth (turn-taking) nature of conversation. It also introduces new vocabulary; the appropriate non-verbal contributions to a conversation, such as body language, facial expression, eye contact and more; and new ideas that may vary from their own thoughts.

I encourage you to take a tour of your own with your child and have some discussion about what you find. You might even learn some new things about your child’s taste in art!

A map of all of the dogs can be downloaded from the Chamber’s website. A hardcopy map can also be picked up at their office (63 Kercheval Ave. on the Hill).

I’d love to hear which of the dogs is your favorite! Let me know by responding below. I’m a bit biased, but my favorite is the News Phodographer!

Speech With Sara LLC offers comprehensive evaluation services for speech-sound disorders, orofacial myofunctional impairments (tongue thrusts, orthodontic relapse, weak lip closure, etc.), receptive/expressive language delays and literacy impairments.

Have questions about your child’s speech and language development, contact Speech With Sara LLC, 313-815-7916 or email:

Skip the Screen, Start the Conversation: Dogs Unleashed Grosse Pointe

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