From Heartache to Hope


Lollypop is one of 90 dogs rescued from a breeder in Camden County, MO and brought to Wayside Waifs. She is now looking for her forever loving home.

Most of us would do anything it took to ensure the health and safety of our beloved pets.  They are our best friends.  Sadly,  that is not the case for countless non-reputable breeders in Missouri- also known as one of the leading puppy mill capitals in the nation.  It is the greed for a dollar that drives these breeders.  It is the appetite for green that makes them blind to the reality that these dogs are living, breathing creatures capable of feeling sadness, anxiety, fear and a longing for something different in their lives.

Unfortunately, many dogs that have been rescued from puppy mills and brought to our shelter have lived in situations most people could not even begin to dream up!  What should be fur covering their bodies is nothing but piles of matted clumps attached to the skin.  Many dogs have severe skin infections from flea and/or lice infestation.  Eye infections, ear infections and urine burns from living in their own filth are also very common.  Sadly, many of the dogs have no idea how to respond to a human because throughout their lifetimes they have rarely, if ever, been touched by a gently hand.  All of these conditions fall blindly on the eyes of those who are charged to “care” for “man’s best friend.”

Lucky for our furry friends, Wayside Waifs has been a sanctuary for over 360 dogs rescued from puppy mills in Missouri since January 2004.  We look into their eyes and we see something very special.  We see eyes that offer forgiveness, and hearts longing to love.  Our outstanding medical team and saintly foster parents help us nurse these deserving animals back to health, teach them how to trust people, and get them fast on their way to finding loving, forever families. 

It is hope we give back to these deserving animals…something I am confident they lost a long time ago and thought they would never regain.  Nothing is more rewarding for our staff and volunteers than to look back at the pictures of animals we could hardly identify when they came in, and compare that to the pictures forever painted in our hearts when they are matched with a family to call their own. 

Help us end the life these animals once knew, and ensure that those after them never have to experience such dreadful conditions.  Support our life-saving efforts by encouraging everyone you know to adopt their next companion!  See all of the wonderful animals awaiting families of their own at

Watch our latest webisode, The Journey, Part 1 about 25 dogs that came to us last week from a puppy mill in Camden County, MO.

Written by Courtney Thomas
Director of Operations at Wayside Waifs

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