Jan 29 2009

5 ways your business can support Wayside Waifs

Is your company looking for a meaningful way to give back to the community? Would you like bring your employees together in support of a great cause? At Wayside, your team can make a world of difference – and have a lot of fun along the way!

Here are five great ways your business can get involved. We’d love to add your business to our family of corporate supporters.

1. Become a 2009 Fur Ball sponsor
Join us for our 2009 Fur Ball on Saturday, May 9, at 6 p.m. at the Overland Park Convention Center. This year’s theme is Cattyshack, with table sponsorships ranging from Tiger Woods ($25,000) and Slice of Heaven ($10,000) to Wedgy Woof ($5,000), the Chevy Chaser ($2,500), and Putt for Pets ($1,750).

For more details about the Fur Ball, including the specific benefits associated with each sponsorship level, visit www.waysidewaifs.org/furball or call Marla Svoboda at 816-986-4401.

2. Provide corporate volunteers
Work side by side to make a difference! A group from your company can come to Wayside to volunteer, or you provide support at one of our special events. We can also arrange a Lunch and Learn, where a Wayside team member will visit your company to talk to your employees about Wayside Waifs and volunteer opportunities.

For more information, contact Ashley Cunningham at 816-986-4431 or acunningham@waysidewaifs.org.

3. Host a benefit event
Throughout the year, special events of all sizes and types help raise funds for Wayside Waifs while raising awareness about animal welfare. If you have an idea for an event, we’d love to talk with you!

To discuss how your business can host an event to benefit Wayside, contact Trish Stinger at 816-986-4418 or tstinger@waysidewaifs.org.

4. Hold a supply drive
Our wish list identifies items the shelter needs year round. Your company can organize a drive to collect needed items and then bring them to the shelter. Supply drives are a great way to support Wayside while uniting your office around a common cause.

Contact Trish Stinger at 816-986-4418 or tstinger@waysidewaifs.org to find out what’s on our wish list and what types of supply drives would help us most throughout the year.

5. Promote Wayside Waifs in company email and newsletters
We love it when people spread the word! By promoting Wayside waifs to your customers and community, you can help us raise awareness and connect with new donors and volunteers. We’re happy to provide logos, images, and messages for inclusion in your corporate emails and newsletters.

Questions? Contact Jenny Brown at 816-986-4417 or jbrown@waysidewaifs.org.

Jan 28 2009

Understanding why your cat won’t use the litter box — and what you can do about it

If you are struggling to get your cat to use the litter box, don’t give up hope. Litter box problems are very common, and with patience and consistency, you can help your cat embrace good litter box behaviors.  To help you get your cat “back in the box,” here are some guidelines and tips adapted from the Humane Society of the United States.

Look at things from your cat’s point of view
Most cats prefer eliminating on a loose, grainy substance, which is why they quickly learn to use a litter box. By taking a closer look at your cat’s environment, you should be able to identify factors that have contributed to the problem, and make simple changes that encourage your cat to use the litter box.

There are four common reasons why cats don’t use the litter box:

  • Aversion to the type of box, such as dislike of a covered box.
  • Dissatisfaction with the depth of the litter.
  • Preference for a particular type of litter.
  • Preference for a particular location in the home.

However, the problem may be a combination of multiple factors. To get to the answer, you’ll need to do a little detective work—and remember, the original source of the problem may not be the reason it’s continuing.

For example, your cat may have stopped using the litter box because of a urinary tract infection, and then developed a surface preference for carpet and a location preference for the bedroom closet. If this is the case, you will need to address all three factors to resolve the problem.

Make sure there isn’t a medical problem
If your cat has a house-soiling problem, check with your veterinarian first to rule out any medical problems. Cats don’t always act sick, even when they are, and only a trip to the veterinarian for a thorough physical examination can rule out a medical problem.

It’s common for cats with medical problems to begin eliminating outside of their litter box. For example, a urinary tract infection or crystals in the urine can make urination painful—and both are serious conditions that require medical attention. Cats often associate this pain with the litter box and begin to avoid it.

Clean soiled areas thoroughly
Animals are highly motivated to continue soiling an area that smells like urine or feces, and your cat’s sense of smell is so much stronger than yours, so it’s important to thoroughly and properly clean any soiled areas.

Urine stains will glow in the dark under a fluorescent black light, which you can purchase at a hardware and pet supply store. Stains should be cleaned with an enzymatic cleaner. Strong smelling household cleaners will do little to eliminate the odor or deter your pet from re-marking the area. Be sure to clean the area thoroughly before steam cleaning to avoid “locking in” the odor.

In addition to cleaning thoroughly, you can take steps to make the area where your cat has been eliminating outside the box less appealing. Try covering the area with upside-down carpet runner or aluminum foil, place citrus-scented cotton balls over the area, or put water bowls in the area (because cats often don’t like to eliminate near where they eat or drink).

Use praise, not punishment
Never punish your cat for eliminating outside of the litter box. By the time you find the soiled area, it’s too late to administer a correction.

If you catch your cat in the act of eliminating outside the litter box, do something to interrupt her, such as making a startling noise – but be careful not to scare her. Immediately take her to the litter box and set her on the floor nearby. If she wanders over to the litter box, wait and praise her after she eliminates in the box. If she takes off in another direction, she may want privacy. Watch from a distance until she goes back to the litter box and eliminates, then praise her when she does.

More tips for encouraging good litter box behavior:

  • Keep the litter box extremely clean. If you can smell the box, then you can be pretty sure it’s offensive to your cat as well.
  • Add a new box in a different location, and use a different type of litter in the new box.
  • Make sure that the litter box isn’t near an appliance (such as a furnace) that makes noise.
  • If “ambushing” by another pet or a child is a problem, create more than one exit from the litter box to give your cat an escape route.
  • If you have multiple cats, provide one litter box for each cat, plus one extra box in a different location.
  • If you recently changed the type or brand of cat litter, go back to providing the litter that your cat had been using.
  • If your cat is eliminating on soft surfaces, try using a high-quality scoopable litter.
  • If your cat is eliminating on slick, smooth surfaces, try putting a very thin layer of litter at one end of the box, leaving the other end bare, and put the box on a hard floor.
  • If your cat has a history of being outdoors, add some soil or sod to the litter box.
  • Put at least one litter box on every level of your home (remember, a properly cleaned litter box does not smell).

This information adapted from the HSUS fact sheet Solving Litter Box Problems.

Jan 26 2009

Pics and Paws for a Cause – Join us on February 7

Bring your canine or feline valentine to this unique benefit for Wayside Waifs! Pics and Paws is your chance to capture you and your pet in a moment of love. For just $15, you will receive a 4×6 professional portrait and a special valentine.

Cover model Jennifer fell in love with tail-wagging Abner from Wayside Waifs.

Pics and Paws for a Cause
2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 7
Brookside Barkery & Bath
14040 West 119th Street
Olathe, Kansas

Wayside Waifs extends a very special thank you to the sponsors and partners who make Pics and Paws possible: Biao Magazine, Brookside Barkery & Bath, theRYEstudio, and KCTV5.

Jan 23 2009

Suffering from pet allergies? You’re not alone

With Barney the Scottish Terrier back on the ranch in Texas, pet lovers across the nation are looking forward to seeing what kind of dog will be taking his place in Washington.

Malia and Sasha have been promised a puppy, and we can’t wait to see the girls playing with their new dog on the White House lawn! We applaud the first family’s plan to adopt a dog from a shelter. We also are also pleased to see them taking plenty of time to choose just the right dog for their family.

Since Malia has pet allergies, the Obamas have narrowed the field to either a Portuguese Water Dog or a Labradoodle – both are breeds that don’t shed much and tend to be good choices for reducing allergic reactions.

What causes pet allergies?
Glands in the animal’s skin secrete tiny allergy-triggering proteins, called allergens, that linger in the animal’s fur but also float easily in the air. Allergens are present in saliva and urine, too, and may become airborne when saliva dries on the fur.

The severity of reaction to these allergens varies from one person to the next, ranging from mild sniffling and sneezing to life-threatening asthma. Reactions can be complicated by simultaneous allergies to other irritants in the environment. About 15% of the population is allergic to dogs or cats.

What about non-allergenic breeds?
Contrary to popular belief, there are no “non-allergenic” or “hypo-allergenic” breeds of dogs or cats. Even hairless breeds may be highly allergenic. Cats tend to be more allergenic than dogs for allergic people, although some people are more sensitive to dogs than cats.

Dogs with soft, constantly growing hair – the Poodle or the Bichon Frise, for example – may be less irritating to some individuals, although this may be because they are bathed and groomed more frequently. One dog or cat of a particular breed may be more irritating to an individual allergy sufferer than another animal of that same breed.

Living with pet allergies

If your allergies are not life threatening, there are steps you can take to reduce allergy symptoms and make it possible to live with a pet.

Here are some tips from the Humane Society of the United States for dealing with pet allergies:

  • Create an “allergy free” zone in the home—preferably the bedroom—and strictly prohibit the pet’s access to it.
  • Use a high-efficiency HEPA air cleaner in the bedroom.
  • Consider using impermeable covers for the mattress and pillows, where allergen particles can accumulate.
  • Use HEPA air cleaners throughout the rest of the home, and avoid dust-and-dander-catching furnishings such as cloth curtains and carpeted floors.
  • Clean frequently and thoroughly to remove dust and dander, washing articles such as couch covers and pillows, curtains, and pet beds.
  • Use a “microfilter” bag in the vacuum cleaner to effectively catch all the allergens.
  • Bathe your pet once a week (this can reduce the level of allergens on fur by as much as 84%).

Working with an allergist to control symptoms
If you are coping with pet allergies, is important to find an allergist who understands your commitment to living with your pet.

First, don’t be quick to blame the family pet for allergies. Ask your allergist to specifically test for allergies to pet dander. If tests confirm that you are allergic to pet dander, allergy shots (immunotherapy) can improve symptoms. The shots work by gradually desensitizing a person’s immune system to the pet allergens.

Additional treatments for symptoms include steroidal and antihistamine nose sprays and antihistamine pills. For asthma, there are multiple medications, sprays, and inhalers available.

A combination of approaches – good housecleaning methods, immunotherapy, and medical control of symptoms – is most likely to succeed in allowing an allergic person to live with pets.

This information adapted from the HSUS fact sheet Allergies to Pets.

Jan 16 2009

Is your dog barking too much? Here are two more common causes

Yesterday’s post looked at two common causes for excessive barking: social isolation and territorial behavior.

Dogs may also bark too much as a result of fears and phobias, or because they suffer from separation anxiety. Here are some guidelines to help you understand and address these two types of barking behavior, courtesy of the Humane Society of the United States.

Common cause #3:  Fears and phobias
Your dog’s barking may be a fear-based response. Loud noises – such as thunderstorms, firecrackers, and construction noise – often trigger this kind of barking. Look to see if your dog’s posture indicates fear: ears back and tail held low.

Here are some tips for helping your dog be less fearful:

  • Identify what is frightening your dog so you can desensitize him. You may need professional help with this process. If the fear is severe, you can talk to your vet about anti-anxiety medication while you work on behavior modification.
  • During thunderstorms and other frightening times, mute outside noise by leaving your dog in a comfortable area in a basement or windowless bathroom.
  • Turn on the TV, radio, or loud fan to drown out loud noises.
  • Block you dog’s access to outdoor views that might be causing fear.
  • Avoid coddling your dog – you don’t want to reward fearful behavior with attention and affection.

Common cause #4: Separation anxiety
Does your dog only bark when you’re away, and does the barking start right after you leave? Does your dog also display other behaviors that show a strong attachment – such as following you from room to room, greeting you frantically, or acting anxious when you get ready to leave?

If so, the cause of barking may be separation anxiety. See the HSUS fact sheet on Separation Anxiety for more information on addressing this problem, including counter-conditioning and desensitization techniques, as well as guidelines on the use of anxiety medication.

What about bark collars?

Bark collars are not a good solution because they don’t address the underlying cause of the barking. This can lead to symptom substitution, where a dog becomes destructive or aggressive, or engages in behaviors like digging or escaping.

A bark collar should never be used for barking due to separation anxiety or fears and phobias because punishment will only worsen your dog’s fear and anxiety behaviors. For other types of barking, a bark collar should only be used in conjunction with behavior modification that addresses the reason for the barking.

This information is adapted from the HUSUS fact sheet Solving Barking Problems.

Jan 15 2009

Two common reasons dogs bark too much – and what you can do about it

Whether your dog is a high-frequency yipper or a subsonic woofer, excessive barking can be hard on your nerves – and hard on your neighbors.

Here are some guidelines to help you understand and address barking behavior, courtesy of the Humane Society of the United States.

Why is your dog barking?
It’s normal for dogs to bark from time to time, but sustained barking for long periods of time is a symptom of a problem.

Before you can solve the problem you have to determine what causes your dog’s barking behavior. This can be tricky, since barking may occur when you aren’t with your dog. If your dog barks when you aren’t there, try a little Canine CSI:

  • Ask your neighbors what they see and hear (which will also reassure them that you are working on the problem!)
  • Drive or walk around the block and watch or listen for awhile.
  • Start a tape recorder or video camera when you leave the house.

Even if your dog’s excessive barking occurs when you are around, it may take some careful observation to determine exactly what triggers barking behavior. But with a little effort, you should be able to determine the root cause – and then apply the right methods to help your dog bark less.

Common cause #1: Social isolation or frustration
Boredom or loneliness can lead to frustration when you aren’t around – and attention-seeking behavior when you are.

This kind of barking is often seen in:

  • Dogs who are left alone for long periods of time.
  • Dogs left in unstimulating environments, with no companions or toys.
  • Puppies and adolescent dogs (under three years old) who don’t have outlets for their energy.
  • Active types (such as herding and sporting breeds) who need to be occupied to be happy.

To address this kind of barking, you need to expand your dog’s world and increase people time.

  • Walk your dog at least twice each day. Walks should be more than “potty breaks.”
  • Teach your dog to fetch a ball or Frisbee® and practice as much as possible.
  • Teach your dog a few commands or tricks and practice every day for five to ten minutes.
  • Take a dog training class with your dog so that you can work together toward a common goal.
  • Provide safe, interesting toys to keep your dog busy when you’re not at home (such as Kong®-type toys filled with treats or busy-box toys).
  • Rotate toys to make them seem new and interesting.
  • Spend sufficient time with your dog each day – petting, grooming, playing, exercising.
  • Keep you dog inside when you are unable to supervise.
  • If your dog is well socialized and your employer will let you, take your dog to work with you sometimes.

Don’t undo your hard work when you go away! When you have to leave for extended periods, take your dog to a doggie daycare, hire a qualified pet sitter, or have a trusted friend or neighbor provide walks and playtime, just the way you do.

Common cause #2: Territorial behavior
Does your dog bark when he sees “intruders” – like the mail carrier, children walking to school, and neighbors? Does his barking posture look threatening, with tail held high and ears up and forward?

These are signs of territorial barking, where your dog is protecting his territory and his “pack” (you and your family!).

Here are some ways to counteract territorial barking:

  • Don’t encourage your dog to be responsive to people and outside noises.
  • Teach your dog a quiet command. Allow two or three barks, and then say “quiet” and interrupt the barking by shaking a can filled with pennies or squirting water in his mouth. When he’s quiet, say “good quiet” and give him a treat. The noise or squirt isn’t a punishment – the goal is to distract your dog so you can reward the ensuing quiet. You can also throw a toy or ball.
  • Desensitize your dog to the stimulus that triggers the barking. Teach him that people he views as intruders are actually friends and that good things happen (treats, petting, playing) when these people are around.
  • Use attention and praise to reinforce good behavior. When your dog is barking, call your dog to you, have him obey a command such as “sit” or “down” and reward him with praise and a treat.
  • Have your dog spayed or neutered to decrease territorial behavior.

Stay tuned – our next blog post will look at two more common causes for excessive barking: fears/phobias and separation anxiety.

This information is adapted from the HUSUS fact sheet Solving Barking Problems.

Jan 12 2009

Pet care tips for wintry weather

The Kansas City area has already endured some bone-chilling days, and winter has just begun. The forecast for the coming week indicates that temperatures will drop into the single-digits at night, and we can count on plenty of snow, sleet, and freezing temperatures in the months ahead.

Whenever the temperature dips near or below freezing, it’s important to take extra steps to protect your furry friends. Just because cats and dogs have fur doesn’t make them immune to winter’s chill!

If you are an experienced pet owner, you may have noticed that many pets love playing and exploring in the snow – just like children who don’t want to come in from sledding even though they are shivering and turning blue.

Always remember that your pets need extra supervision in cold weather. It’s up to you to be sure your animal companions are safe and warm.

To help you avoid common cold-weather dangers, here are some helpful guidelines, courtesy of the Humane Society of the United States.

Keep your pets inside
Most dogs – and all cats – are safer indoors, except when taken out for exercise. This becomes even more important when the weather adds to the dangers.

  • Don’t leave dogs outdoors when the temperature drops.
  • Shorthaired dogs should never be left outside in cold weather without supervision. Short-coated dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater during walks.
  • Regardless of the season, very young dogs, very old dogs, and all cats should never be left outside without supervision.

Keep a close eye on food and water

  • Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy.
  • Routinely check your pet’s water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal. When the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal.

Doghouses must be weather-proofed
No matter what the temperature, wind chill can threaten a pet’s life. A dog or cat is happiest and healthiest when kept indoors.

However, if your dog is an outdoor dog, be sure your doghouse adheres to the following guidelines:

  • Provide a dry, draft-free doghouse that is large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down comfortably, but small enough to hold in his/her body heat.
  • The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw.
  • The house should be turned to face away from the wind, and the doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.

Even if your dog is accustomed to sleeping in a doghouse, consider making an exception on those nights when the temperature and wind chill are below freezing. If it’s dangerous for humans, it’s dangerous for your dog.

More cold-weather hazards

  • Warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, who may crawl up under the hood. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car’s hood to scare them away before starting your engine.
  • The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet’s feet. Wipe the feet with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates his/her mouth.
  • Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that may attract animals and children. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze (and all household chemicals) out of reach. Better yet, use antifreeze-coolant made with propylene glycol; if swallowed in small amounts, it will not hurt pets, wildlife, or your family.

These tips are from the HUSUS fact sheet Protect Your Pet from Winter’s Woes.

Jan 9 2009

10 wonderful ways to volunteer at Wayside Waifs

You might be surprised how many volunteer opportunities we have at Wayside Waifs. Volunteers support every aspect of what we do, from intake and day-to-day animal care, to foster care and adoption, to education and outreach.

To learn more, visit the volunteer section of our website, where you will find more information on training and experience required for all of our volunteer positions, and instructions on how to fill out an volunteer application.

Here are 10 volunteer positions where we could use more helping hands and compassionate hearts. Is one of them right for you?

Adoption Counter Assistant
– Help our waifs find new homes! Greet customers, assist potential adopters in the application process, explain adoption procedures, describe the responsibilities of pet ownership, and assist with answering messages, filing and copying.

Bathing & Grooming
– Roll up your sleeves and help us bathe, brush, and trim our furry friends. (We’ll teach you how – you don’t have to be a pro!)

Building & Grounds Maintenance – Help us keep our grounds and facilities in excellent condition for our animal and human guests. Assist with mowing, landscaping projects, maintenance of the Pet Memorial Park, facility care and upkeep.

Canine Companion/Advocate – Puppy love needed! If you are a dog lover, you can help socialize dogs and puppies and introduce them to potential adopters. Or take it up a notch and become a WAGS Trainer, training shelter dogs with simple non-verbal commands (excellent, informative training provided!)

Data for Dogs
– With thousands of dogs coming through the shelter each year, we have a lot of information to manage. Are you an organizational whiz with an eye for detail? We could use your help updating files and providing administrative assistance.

Digital Photography – Are you a shutterbug? We need volunteers with photographic know-how to take on-site photos of animals and Wayside Waifs events (and write captions for the photos, too). You could even see your images featured on this blog!

Follow-up Volunteer – Are you an animal lover and a people person? This important position contacts recent adopters regarding their pets and maintain follow-up contact info. We also need Greeters to welcome shelter guests and explain Wayside procedures, and Receptionists to answer phones, direct visitors, and answer questions about the shelter.

Humane Educator
– Do you have a well-trained, well-socialized companion animal? Do have experience teaching or giving presentations? Our Humane Educators work with their companion animal to make educational group presentations.

Kitty Cuddler/Advocate – Are you a cat lover? We need your help socializing cats and kittens and showing cats to potential adopters.

Mobile Adoptions
– Hit the road and help our waifs find homes! Mobile Adoption volunteers show adoptable Wayside pets on-site at community events.

To learn more about how to apply and qualify for these volunteer positions – and to find out about more volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups – visit our volunteer page.

Jan 6 2009

Abandoned dog gives us hope

Hope the Golden Retriever was looking for a good place to have her puppies.  She was cold and hungry when she showed up to a gas station in Freeman, MO.  Workers there had seen animals dumped on their property before.  Two days later, she began to deliver her pups.


When she delivered eight of her puppies, they knew she needed a veterinarian.  They brought her to Wayside Waifs where she delivered another two puppies.


Hope and her ninth puppy – the first one born at Wayside Waifs.


The first five puppies did not survive due to exposure to the cold weather and low body temperature.  Wayside vets immediately went to work to increase the body temperature of the remaining puppies. Less than an hour later, she delivered the remaining two puppies.


Hope and four of her puppies – one is still on the way.


Her five remaining puppies made it through the first night.  They are still not out of the woods just yet.  We will continue to monitor her and her puppies.  Soon, Hope and her puppies will go to a foster home that can care for them.  If you are interested in helping dogs like Hope through our foster program, click here to find out more about it.


All five pups!  The youngest is the black and tan one on the left.


Jan 6 2009

Start the New Year off right with a training class for your puppy or dog!

Does your Rover roll over – but have a hard time sitting and staying? Is your Princess putting paw prints where she shouldn’t? Is Lucky pushing his luck?

Whether it’s general obedience, puppy classes, or more targeted training such as jumping, barking, or reactivity, Wayside Waifs is here to help you make a lifetime of loving memories with your pet! Through our Companion Training Solutions Program, our certified trainers will help you create a lasting bond with your canine companion.

This January, we invite you to attend one of our Meet the Trainer Q&A sessions, which are offered every Sunday at 2 p.m., or register for Puppy 1 or Basic Dog training classes.

January 2009 Training Classes

Meet the Trainer Q&A

Free to the public!
Date: Sunday, January 11, 2009
Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Repeats every Sunday

Wayside trainers will answer your puppy, dog or other issues with your pet. This is primarily an owner-only session, but please let us know if you want to bring your dog or puppy! If you wish to attend, please RSVP to Skip@DaigerDogTraining.com

Puppy 1

6 sessions, $85
(Next class begins Thursday, January 8, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.)

We will help you build a strong relationship with your new puppy based on trust and cooperation. Puppy classes are an indispensable foundation for the rest of your dog’s life.  All training is gentle and fun, and you will learn how to help your puppy blend into your family. Puppies must be 8 to 20 weeks old with proof of vaccination history (puppies are required to be vaccinated every 3 to 4 weeks until 20 weeks of age).

Click here
to learn more about topics covered in Puppy 1 and how to register for this or future classes.

Basic Dog

6 sessions, $100
(Next class begins January 8 – Thursdays, 8-9 p.m.)

This is as a basic pet owner course spanning 5 weeks with a maximum of 5 dogs per class. You and your dog will learn basic commands, and the class will also try to address any individual behavior issues that you may be experiencing with your dog. Dogs must be over 6 months of age. Proof of vaccinations required.

Click here to learn more about Basic Dog and how to register.

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