Jan 4 2021

Get Fit With Your Best Friend

2020 has FINALLY come to a close. After months of staying home and working on our quarantine bodies, you might have New Year’s resolutions of getting fit on your mind. You don’t have to do it alone! Our pets can be the best inspiration and workout companion to keep you motivated while also having fun. Check out some of these ideas to inspire your “new year, new you” goals.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

If it’s not too cold outside consider going for walks with your pet. It’s a great way to get your blood pumping and bond with your best friend at the same time. Bundle up and make sure your pet is comfortable with a sweater/jacket if needed. Start by going for a few walks a week and gradually increase your amount of walks and/or time walked. Explore some new trails or take a new route in the neighborhood to keep things interesting. Also consider inviting a friend and their pet along for the journey (socially distanced of course) to socialize while you burn some calories! The more fun you have the more likely you are to continue onward with working towards your goals.

When temperatures fall below 32 degrees it can be dangerous for your pet to be outside for too long. Consider some indoor actives instead!

Workout at Home

Roll out your yoga mat and your cat is almost guaranteed to want to join you. While they can’t commit to the poses and stretches you are doing, having them there can make the experience much more enjoyable. Plus, petting them is a great excuse to take a break. Your dog might also get into it! There are lots of Youtube videos such as “Doga“, “Pup Pilates“, and even exercises that involve lifting your dog or squatting with your dog.

Playtime is a great way to exercise and have fun with your pet! While they are chasing the ball see how many sit ups or push ups you can do before they bring it back. Grab a laser pointer and while your cat is running around trying to capture the elusive red dot have a dumbbell in the other hand and do as many overhead presses, curl ups, or rows as you can.

Set up an obstacle course for your pet to run through. Using things around the house for them to jump over, crawl under, and weave through can be a fun activity for you and your pet (both dogs and cats!) Once your course is set up, have some of your pet’s favorite treats handy and get to work. You and your pet won’t even know you are working out it will be so fun!

Just remember that getting fit is a process! If you are doing things you enjoy doing then you are much more likely to maintain your fitness goals and stay consistent. Finding ways to incorporate your pets into your activities can not only help both of you get fit but can also create a stronger bond between you. Your pet will love you no matter what, so just have fun and get creative! Comment below with your favorite ways to stay active with your best friend.

Written by: Tara Cleveland
Animal Marketing Coordinator

Nov 25 2020

Winter Enrichment

It’s that time of year where we can see our breath outside and the winter chill pushes us indoors. Don’t let this change in weather limit your animals’ learning, energy release, and fun! By getting a little creative we can keep our pets mentally engaged. Check out these enrichment ideas for dogs and cats!


Nose work interests most dogs because there is the promise of a yummy reward! Pick your dog’s favorite treat and something to hide it in which requires your dog to think. We love using dog puzzles and crinkle mats!

A treat hunt is also a fun way to get your dog moving. While your dog is outside or distracted hide treats throughout the home and encourage your pet to search for them. Using small treats to lead to a grand ultimate reward such as your dog’s favorite toy or high-value bone is a great way to start the hunt. Be sure to use lots of praise when they find a treat! 

Treat rolls make for a great DIY puzzle! Collect toilet paper rolls and stuff it with treats, peanut butter, tuna, etc. and fold the edges to seal it. Your dog (and cat!) will have to figure out how to open the roll to get the goodness within. If this is too easy for your brilliant companion Kongs are great for freezing peanut butter or tuna in so that they have to work at it a little more.


Cats are easily visually stimulated! There are free apps just for cats and Youtube channels dedicated to engaging them. If your cat is old school and prefers enrichment without screens try these ideas:

Cat puzzles! There are several treat puzzles/mazes that you can purchase online for your feline that will keep their brains busy. If your cat is anything like mine, he prefers the boxes that toys come in versus the toy itself. Boxes and paper bags make for a great DIY cat puzzle! Cut out holes (big enough for your cats arms to reach inside) throughout the box and place toys and treats inside so that your cat has to go fishing for them. Paper bags can also be cat heaven, especially with some catnip inside. 

Laser pointers have stumped our cats for years! The mysterious red dot comes and goes with no apparent pattern or reason and most cats love to hunt/chase it. You can’t go wrong with this classic! If you want to be able to fully focus on finding your winter chill try automated laser pointers.

What are your pet’s favorite indoor activities during the winter months? Please share in the comments!

Written by: Tara Cleveland

Nov 4 2020

Holiday Safety Tips

Keep your furry friends safe during the holidays!

Treats please!

Tip #1: Keep all food in a safe place Make sure all of the food is in a place where your pets can not reach it. Open countertop areas, dining areas, and even coffee tables in the living room can be easy targets for our smart furry friends. Some Thanksgiving foods are harmful to pets. If your pet were to consume under-cooked turkey or raw turkey they could get salmonella.

Tip #2: Pass on the pie Chocolate is very harmful for pets and artificial sweetener is too. Chocolate contains theobromine which is very toxic for dogs. If your pet consumes chocolate, consult your veterinarian immediately.

Tip #3: No bones Turkey bones can be harmful for animals. They can cause intestinal problems and splinter. Stick to pet approved treats and away from any bones.

Tip #4: Dispose of any trash
Do not leave trash out for your animals to get into. Greasy paper, bones, plastic, and aluminum foil from cooking can lead to blockage in animals intestines if they were to get into it. This can be fatal. Dogs don’t know the difference between smelly paper and real food – if it smells tasty to a dog it will likely be consumed.

Tip #5: Pay attention to your animals behavior
This is a big one because animals can feel very stressed during the holiday season with a lot of people in and out of the home. Make sure your animal is comfortable and not under any stress. Keep an area your pet likes off limits to guests so your pet can take a break. Make sure guests know about the pet rules about no treats and giving your pet space.

Tip #6: Enjoy the holidays with your pets
They are our best friends and we want to keep them happy AND heathy. Consider laying off treats before the holiday meal and save them for that special day so they enjoy them a little more. Pets deserve to feel a part of the celebration, but do not let them overindulge!

If you have any tips and tricks for Thanksgiving please share! We want to insure the safety of animals during the holidays!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Oct 1 2020

Join Our Kindness Campaign

October is Bullying Prevention Month

It’s October, which means the beginning of Fall, the usual Halloween festivities, and National Bullying Prevention Month! This cause is extremely important to Wayside Waifs, as our Humane Education team works to end bullying and increase empathy and compassion skills in area schools with the No More Bullying! Program. On a normal, October day, we would be out in schools with our humane education animals, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are pivoting to virtual platforms to connect with students and teachers.  

Pivoting has been a valuable skill in almost every aspect of pandemic life – so, it makes sense that it should also apply to understanding bullying. Bullying has not disappeared, but pivoted as well. Accounts of bullying (virtual/cyber) have greatly increased over the past year. One teacher commented that a student reported being bullied because of what their room looked like in the small Zoom screen, while several others have noted increases in bullying on online gaming platforms.  

To appropriately and effectively work against these developments, we must gain a better understanding of one another and focus on practicing the five CORE VALUES that we discuss in our No More Bullying! Program – Responsibility, Compassion, Being Humane, Self-Control, and Integrity. Honing our skills in these areas will not only help to eradicate bullying, but will also boost our self-respect and outlook on life, which is incredibly important during a time of distance and isolation.  

So, this month, we have created a Kindness Calendar, with different challenges for yourself each day to remember to practice the CORE VALUES. Additionally, on our Wayside Waifs and No More Bullying! Curriculum Facebook pages, we will be posting resources to increase understanding and empathy for others. Please like us on Facebook and jump in to the work that we and our community so desperately need. 

Sep 23 2020

What to do When You Find a Stray

Wayside Waifs is so proud to partner with animal control departments in Grandview, Belton, and Riverside to offer assistance to the community with stray animals. It is important that we, as a community, know how to properly care for these strays and that starts with understanding the steps to take if a stray is found. 

Any stray animal you find should be taken to a vet clinic to be scanned for a microchip, regardless of whether that animal is wearing a collar or not. Many animals can sneak out of their collars or wear breakaway collars so just because they aren’t wearing one doesn’t mean they don’t have a family. It is important to be cautious with handling any animal you do not know as they may be injured, sick, and/or afraid. If you are unable or unsure about handling a stray animal contact Animal Control. If the animal is microchipped you can enter the microchip number here to contact the microchip company. Most companies will contact the owner directly or give you the contact information to get in touch with the family.

If you are unable to get in touch with the family (outdated numbers, not answering, etc.) you should contact the animal control department within the city where you found the animal. Click here for a list of local Animal Control resources and contacts.

Animal control departments are governed by their city’s ordinances which dictate the level of assistance they are able to provide; for example, Grandview doesn’t have a leash law for cats so if you were to find a stray cat they wouldn’t be able to come pick the animal up unless it’s underaged, sick, or injured. If the cat isn’t in one of those three categories, you should contact the animal shelter in the city in which you found it. While some people may see a stray animal showing up at their door as a sign that this is meant to be their new pet, it is important to note that not making every effort to reunite the animal with its owner is illegal. This means posting to lost/found pages (link Wayside’s page), making posters, etc. 

If you do find an injured or underaged animal and you can’t get in touch with animal control, you might reach out to emergency animal clinics to see if they are able to assist by taking the animal in. Note, however, that you might have to pay an “emergency fee” for them to do so. Some animal shelters may be able to assist with these emergency medical needs but calling ahead is always a good idea to be sure what their policies are. Expect to provide a government issued ID when bringing an animal to a shelter. It is required by state laws; there might be a reward; or the animal might be diagnosed with a disease that animal control needs to notify you of.

By understanding the steps to take when finding a stray you can help that animal by reuniting it with its owner or getting it somewhere safe such as an animal shelter so that it’s owner has a better chance of reconnecting with their beloved pet.

These lucky dogs were reunited with their owners!

Aug 13 2020

Bringing Your New Cat Home

Change can be a bit scary for cats so acclimating them slowly to their new home is important to be sure they are comfortable enough to eat and use their litter box. Each cat is different in how quickly they become comfortable with moving to a new home so let’s start by understanding cat body language. Cat owners, especially new cat owners, may not understand that their new feline is trying to communicate with them and they can easily overlook signals that the cat is giving them. There are many physical cues of a cat’s mood such as their eyes, ears, body, and tail. Here a few of the basics you should be aware of:

-If your cat’s head and tail are high they are likely happy to see you.
-If your cat’s head and tail are down or tucked they are likely not seeking interaction.
-If your cat’s tail is down and bristled and/or you hear them growl, hiss, or vocalize this is a clear warning to back off and that your cat wants to be left alone.
-If your cat’s ears are flat and tail is raised and bristled, and you hear hissing or vocalization then they are likely scared.
-Cats may pant when they are excessively stressed, anxious or overheated which is a sign to give them
space and allow them time to calm down.

While your new cat is so fluffy, soft, and cute it’s important to interact with them on their terms, not yours. Start by offering your hand for them to smell. If they rub their cheeks and face on your hand they clearly want interaction. If they don’t and walk away then let them. Like the saying goes “if you love her, let her go” and your cat will appreciate you for it. Perhaps leave a yummy cat treat behind so they will start to pair you with something positive which will end the interaction on a good note. By not honoring your cats cues you are teaching them that they have to be direct and sometimes even defensive because you aren’t listening to them. Think of it like this, if there was a human 10 times your size that didn’t listen to your cues of wanting to be left alone and they insisted on picking you up, petting your tummy, and hugging you, would you enjoy that? Probably not. No matter how much intended love was behind these acts, it doesn’t matter. You must give respect in order to receive it and that starts by paying attention to body language and cues. 

Now that we’ve covered that, let’s get your new cat comfortable in their new home! Limiting your new cat to a smaller, quiet room in the home is the best way to ensure they don’t get overwhelmed in their new space. This room is ideally set up with their litter box, food/water bowl, toys, etc. before your cat comes home. Be sure to provide your new cat with hiding areas as well as vertical spaces and areas to scratch. Make sure the door to the room is shut before opening the door to your cat’s carrier. Once it’s open just give them some space. Maybe sit quietly and read a book in the corner or leave the room entirely so they can start to explore. While the cat you met at the shelter may have been sweet and confident, you may be experiencing a different cat now that they are unsure where they are. So give them some time to adjust and don’t force interaction. Allowing them to first get comfortable in this room will allow you to monitor their food/water consumption and that they are using their litter box. If your cat doesn’t use the litter box or eat on the first day that is normal as they are still getting comfortable. If your new cat hasn’t eaten and/or consumed water within two full days you should contact your veterinarian for an appointment. Cats can develop health issues within three days of not eating so monitoring this is critical.

Once your cat is confidently exploring this room, regularly using the litter box, and seems comfortable is when you can open the house up to them a bit more. If you have other animals in the home then reference our behavior articles on introducing your new cat to your resident cat(s) or resident dog(s). Your cat may prefer to remain in the room they have established as comfortable and safe and that is okay! Again, allowing them to explore at their pace is key.

If, after reading these tips, you are experiencing undesirable behavior from your new cat, click here to submit questions to our behavior team!

Jul 9 2020

Summer Safety Tips

Summer is a time to explore, adventure, and discover. There is no better way to enjoy these activities than with your best friend by your side! It’s important to make sure that you are keeping your pet safe so that you both can get the most out of these beautiful summer months. Dehydration and overheating are not something to take lightly and can lead to serious and fatal conditions.


Collapsable bowls are great for traveling! Pet water bottles are also great because they have a bowl for your pet built into the lid.

While this may seem obvious it’s worth mentioning that your pet is going to need to stay hydrated, especially in these warmer months. Bring along a pet water bottle or bowl so that they can quench their thirst while they smell all the new smells and take in all the views. 

Consider exploring somewhere your pet can be near a body of water so they can cool off when needed. Perhaps explore a new trail that wraps around a lake or take your dog kayaking with you. Be sure your dog is equipped with a safety jacket! While we assume swimming is a natural instinct, not all dogs are good swimmers and they might need some assistance.

The Unforgiving Summer Sun

Be sure to keep an eye on the temperatures and humidity before an adventure. Pavement can also become very hot and can cause burns to your dog’s feet. The best way to verify is to place your hand on the pavement for a few seconds and if it’s too hot to touch then your pet should not be walking on it. Walking on the grass is a good alternative. These factors may rule out an outdoor adventure and equate to some fun indoor adventures near the AC. Heat exhaustion in dogs can lead to serious and potentially fatal conditions such as heat stroke and cardiac arrest. Mornings and evenings may be the best time to get outside with your pet during these hot summer months but it’s crucial to be aware of physical cues of overheating or exhaustion. These things can happen quickly, especially for dogs that are older, have longer coats, are extremely active or flat-face breeds such as bull dogs. 

Signs Your Pet is Overheating

-Excessive panting
-Excessive drooling
-Vomiting / diarrhea
-Gums or tongue is turning blue or bright red
-Less responsive
-Glazed eyes
-Dizziness, loss of coordination 
-Collapsing / experiencing convulsions 

Shade and plenty of chances to rest and hydrate are crucial in making sure your adventuring is not only fun but safe!

Under no circumstances should your pet be left in a car, even in the shade with the windows rolled down.

What to do if your pet is overheated

-Get them to a cool place as soon as possible.
-Offer them cool water to drink, soak towels and lay them over your dog or get your dog into some cool water.
-Get them to the vet. Call ahead so they can be prepared for your arrival.

Parasite and Pest Protection

Making sure your pet is current on flea/tick protection is crucial so that you don’t bring anything home from your adventures that you don’t want. There are many types of prevention so talk with your vet about the right option for you and your pet. Check out our “Spring is Here!” blog to learn more about the products we love at Wayside Waifs. 

Also be sure to be on the lookout for snakes and other creatures that could be harmful to you and your dog while you are adventuring. 

Now that you are knowledgeable with what to prepare for, keep an eye on, and what to do if your pet is to become overheated go out there and enjoy the summer to its fullest potential!

Written by Tara Cleveland, Wayside Waifs

Jul 1 2020

Fourth of July Safety Tips

Jun 18 2020

The Core Values: Responsibility

No More Bullying! Curriculum

What is the core value of responsibility and how is it defined?

Responsibility is doing what you’re supposed to do whether you feel like it or not.

How is the core value of responsibility used at Wayside Waifs?

Taking care of animals is a big responsibility and, in many ways, caring for pets can be very similar to caring for children. Dogs and cats rely on their owners to provide them with the necessities. Pets depend on their owners while children depend on their parents for the things they need each day. What do you think some of these necessities could be?

When we agree to take a pet in to our home, we are responsible to provide them with the following necessities: exercise, food, grooming, love, medical care, safety, shelter, toys, training, and water. Being a responsible owner and caretaker requires providing these necessities every day, whether we feel like it or not.

How is the core value of responsibility used in everyday life?

Has your teacher ever said, “Alright students, your homework assignment for tonight is…” and you thought, “I don’t feel like doing any homework”? In this particular situation, you have two main choices: 1. Complete the homework assignment because you know you are supposed to even though you don’t feel like it or 2. Ignore your homework and do what you want to do instead. Which choice do you think would be the responsible one? That’s right! Choice #1!

Let’s try one more. Pretend that you are at your house, playing video games, and you are about to make it to the last, tippy-top level when your mom or grandma or whoever you live with says, “Come on! It’s time to help with supper!”. In this situation, you could either 1. Pretend like you didn’t hear the person because you didn’t feel like helping get supper ready or 2. Pause the game and go help with supper because you know you are supposed to even though you don’t feel like it. Which choice do you think would be the responsible one? That’s right! Choice #2!

Fun crafts for practicing responsibility!

For full tutorial instructions and other pins check out our Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/waysidewaifs/.

May 26 2020

Socializing Your New Puppy During Quarantine

Since April 24, Wayside Waifs has offered a Virtual Adoptions Program to continue our mission of helping homeless animals during this time of social distancing. This extra time at home with your new pet is ideal for bonding and training purposes but can make it difficult when you are wanting to socialize your new puppy. Puppies have a window of learning social and coping skills between 4 and 14 weeks old. Since we are limited to the people and places we can visit during this time it’s important to get creative to be sure your new puppy is developing skills during this crucial stage of development.

The “New Normal” – Scheduling

Although your schedule is likely very different now than it was or will be, it’s important that you get your new puppy accustomed to what their day WILL be versus getting them used to a typical day in this “new normal” we are adjusting to. Although you may be staying home now, it is advisable to give them some time away from the family during the day so they can learn coping skills and how to “be alone.” If you have already been crate training or baby gating your puppy in another room when you leave for short periods of time then you are on the right track! Now try this out when you are home to teach them that quiet time is normal. Extra enrichment such as a special toy or treat for this quiet time will give your puppy something to do independently. Also, playing some light music or having the TV on for them might help make them more comfortable.

Checkout our Behavior Article Library for tips on crate training and enrichment ideas.

New Surroundings

While you may be a bit limited to what you can expose your new puppy to right now, you can start with baby steps by introducing them to different things in and around the house. Start with exposing them to different surfaces; grass, concrete, rocks, water, mud, tile, carpet, etc. Pairing this exposure with yummy treats and positive praise will make it a fun experience. Be sure you are doing this at a pace that is comfortable for your puppy. Some puppies may take longer than others to adjust to new things and allowing them to go at their pace will ensure the experience is positive.

Now that your puppy is confidently exploring new surroundings, encourage them to take the next step in adventuring by climbing and crawling under things. The stairs can be a daunting concept for some puppies and encouraging them with treats and praise can help conquer them. Certain factors may slow this process down such as the size of your puppy, the steepness of the stairs, and if they are hardwood versus carpeted. So be patient as your puppy figures it out and be sure you are there to supervise this process, especially in the beginning.

Car Rides

Getting your puppy used to the car is important to make traveling fun for everyone! Some puppies can initially get motion sickness while riding in the car so keep your trips short and build them up with time. Using the crate in the car is the safest way to transport your puppy and ensures they are secured during your travels. Putting their favorite blanket and/or toy in the crate during travels will help them feel more secure. There are also other options such as doggy seatbelts to be sure they are kept safely in the backseat during traveling. Once your puppy gets comfortable in the car they might enjoy a puppuccino from your favorite coffee shop drive-thru as a reward for their progress which is the perfect time to reward yourself as well for your patient, hard work as a puppy parent!

Preparing for Visitors

Although you may not be getting visitors at this time, you can prepare your puppy for what is expected when someone comes to the door. Have a family member ring the doorbell and “be a stranger” with yummy treats in hand to build up positivity around visitors coming over. Doing this often will help remove the fear of the doorbell and associate it with meeting new friends.

Work on Leash Skills

Getting your new puppy used to leashes early is a great way to build up your future walking or running partner. Get your puppy comfortable with having the leash on; start by clipping the leash to your puppy’s collar or harness and letting them walk around the yard comfortably while you hold onto the leash. You may need to gently encourage them with treats and praise. If they don’t seem bothered by the leash then start with small distances around the neighborhood and slowly build it up. If they aren’t confidently walking around the yard with the leash attached then just keep practicing until they are. Be prepared for new things such as passing cars, strangers, and other dogs which might be a bit scary for your puppy. Have their favorite treats ready to reward them for being brave during these new encounters.

While it is tempting to allow our puppies much more freedom and slack on our scheduling during this time, it can come back to bite us as we head back to work and our “normal” routine. A little forethought and preparation now will greatly increase your chances of a well-rounded adult dog.

Watch more tips here!

If, after trying these suggestions, you are experiencing undesirable behaviors with your new pet, submit questions to our behavior team by clicking here.

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