Jan 29 2010

Meet Oreo- Just as Sweet as the Cookie!

Oreo

Oreo

Charming, sweet, playful, loving and loyal- that’s me, Oreo, a beautiful, one year-old border collie mix.  I’m currently searching for my forever home.  I was surrendered to Wayside in November 2009 when my puppies where just two days old, but we were quickly placed with a very supporting foster family, and I took on the responsibility of being the best mom in the world to my little ones.

Initially, I was very shy and afraid of everything at their house.  It took me some time- but I have gained confidence in myself, and I’ve adapted beautifully to living in a home with a loving family.  I’m lucky to have four canine friends of all shapes and sizes, three feline acquaintances, and two of the loveliest girls (8 and 10 years old) in the world.

Me and the Girls!

Me and the Girls!

Besides learning how to be a good mom at their house, I have also learned the fine art of staying in a crate when I am home alone.  When I’m in my kennel, you won’t hear a peep out of me.  I am also working very diligently on becoming a fully housebroken dog, and I think I’ve just about mastered it- I’m an extremely intelligent girl.

Can I tell you all of my favorite things in this world?  Great big bear hugs from the people I love, long slow tummy rubs when we are cuddling, running to great my ‘girls’ each day after school, daily walks around the neighborhood, wrestling and playtime with a doggie pal or two, my own rawhide chews, and my most favorite things of all- to lie by the feet of someone that I trust, and that I know will always take the very best care of me.

I have so much I want to offer a family of my very own.  Besides a huge daily dose of fun and laughter, I am a dog brimming with sweet love and devotion, and I know I will make someone a wonderfully loyal, lifelong companion.  Could you be the one for me?  Please say yes and call Wayside or contact foster@waysidewaifs.org to meet me.

Written by Oreo the dog


Jan 27 2010

Meet Brewster!

Brewster

Brewster

Hi, I’m Brewster, and I’m a 1 1/2 year-old male, lab mix of a dog without a home of my very own yet.  Why you ask?  Because my perfect, forever family is out there somewhere, but they just don’t know about me yet.  So, I’m going to tell you all that you need to know, and maybe you will finally find me.  My foster mom is extremely proud of the dog I have become at her house.  Who wouldn’t be – once you get to know me better?

Handsome doesn’t even begin to describe my looks.  Brains are there too!  Exuberance personified.  Did I hear you ask if I’m crate trained?  Yup, I am!  Housebroken? True dat.  Loving and giving to a fault, and I am not ashamed to admit that I have a real soft, sensitive side that is just beginning to emerge.  I can dish out plenty of doggie kisses, I can lie by your feet while you read, I am quite the couch potato, and I’m willing to be a foot warmer in bed at night, if you decide you want one.

I’m a lover of just about everything life has to offer- introducing myself to people of all ages, a good game of tug of war, playing with dogs and puppies of all shapes and sizes, belly rubs, any type of treats you have, fluffy blankets and soft doggy beds, swimming, and peanut butter kongs.

I will need at least a 6 foot fence and a big back yard to play in since I’m an energetic and athletic guy.  I’d love if you had another dog for me to play with, but if you don’t, we can still make our relationship work.  I’ll just need an extra walk, a run or some extended play time at the park. 

I am very smart and I learn quickly.  If you don’t want me to do something, just tell me – I understand about rules and regulations.  I’d love it if you would adopt me, and we could do some Wayside training classes together.  The skill I would most like to learn about is how to walk perfectly on a leash.

Now I just have to ask- could you be my forever loving family?  I hope I get a chance to meet you.  Please call Wayside to schedule an appointment, or email foster@waysidewaifs.org.

Written by Brewster the Dog


Jan 22 2010

Photographing Fido

Photo by Josh Solar

Photo by Josh Solar

Capturing pictures of your four-legged friends can often leave you frustrated, (especially if they don’t listen well) but when you do get those great natural shots, it’s totally worth it!  So, here are 10 simple tips I use that you can follow to get those great shots of your favorite fuzzy companion.  Don’t worry, I’m going to keep it easy and leave out the f-stop, shutter speed, camera setting stuff!

1. Capture the Personality.  You’ll want to photograph your dog in a place where they are most comfortable.  Taking them to a park with lots of distractions makes it just a little bit more difficult to capture your dog being your dog.  Get them into the spots they love to sleep, where they enjoy running around, etc.  You know where your dog is most comfortable, so take the pictures there.  That’s the best way for you to get good shots that show your dog’s personality.

2. Avoid Distracting Backgrounds.  Keep distracting elements out of the background of your photos as much as possible.  Street lights, power lines, a cluttered desk- you get the idea.  These are all things that will distract your eye from the real subject, your awesome dog.  Pay attention to the colors of the background as well.  Avoid brown and black backgrounds for darker colored dogs and vice versa.  You want your dog to stand out.

3. Get In Close.  Get up close and personal with your dog.  This will enable you to fill the frame with what’s most important to you. 

Get In Close!

Get in close!

4.  Get Down to Their Level.  Just like when taking pictures of kids, you want to get down on your dog’s level.  They are usually more comfortable with you that way anyway.  It gives you a better angle than the always standing over them looking down shots.

5. Details, Details, Details.   Some of my favorite pictures are of doggy noses, tails, paws etc.  The details that can only be captured if you get in close to your dog.  Plus, it gives you another chance to give them a little love. 

It's All About the Details!

It's all about the details!

6. Photograph in Good Light & Turn Off Your Flash.  You want to avoid flash because it makes your dogs eyes look red in your photographs.  Look for good window light, or if your are outside, shade.  Try to stay out of direct sunlight, as it will not give you the true color of your dogs coat.  Also, you want to find even light.  This means light that hits your dog evenly, as opposed to half in direct sunlight or half in the shade.  This kind of light will play tricks with your camera and affect your pictures negatively.

Lighting makes all the difference!

Lighting makes all the difference!

7.  Use Humans!  Capture some fun candids with your kids playing with the dog.  Including the humans who are closest to your dog will make the images mean more later on in life. 

8.  Don’t Be Afraid to Bribe.  Use treats, favorite toys or items that motivate and hold your dogs attention. 

9.  Let Your Pet Get Use to the Camera.  Don’t just whip out your camera and start snapping away.  The shutter click usually startles them.  Give your dog the opportunity to sniff the camera an keep it on you while you play with them for awhile.  This will help your pet to feel comfortable with the camera. 

10.  Snap! Snap! Snap Away! Your dog moves a lot, and they are fast.  So take as many photos as possible, just continually snap.  You will be amazed at the amazing images and angles you will be able to capture.   

Above all just try new things.  It’s digital, not film, so this gives you the flexibility to try some new and creative things.   Don’t forget to have fun.  If you’re having fun and excited your dog will pick up on that energy and have fun too. 

Written by Josh Solar
Photographer and Owner of Solar Photographers


Jan 21 2010

Making Fun More … Fun

You’ve probably heard that your dog will be happier and better behaved if you preempt any problem–in other words, offer up play and attention before your dog has to do something negative to try and get it. But some dogs don’t seem interested in play or don’t know how to play. It’s worth your while to show them. The exercise and bonding will both be beneficial. In this fun video, Zak George teaches you how to get your dog interested in a classic game: Frisbee.

posted by Claire M. Caterer


Jan 15 2010

Wayside Waifs Support Puppy Mill Initiatives in Missouri

Dogs at a puppy mill

Dogs at a puppy mill

Being known as the leading puppy mill state in the nation certainly isn’t something to brag about.  It is especially concerning to organizations, such as Wayside Waifs, who work assiduously to promote the well-being of companion animals.  As a state, as a community, as a nation, we need to stand up and shout to end the inhumane operations known as puppy mills.  Driven by money, not by care, concern or reverence for life, these heartless breeders must be held accountable for their despicable actions. 

If you knew the mother of the puppy you purchased from the pet store, online or from the breeder in the newspaper was being forced to breed even though she has mammary tumors, lice, cataracts, joint problems, was blind, suffers from urine burns, has missing limbs – and the list could go on and on -would you still purchase that puppy?  Would you still look at that cute puppy’s face the same way if you knew that the parents of your pup were forced to live in crowded conditions, on a wire floor covered with fecal matter, with limited protection from the elements, with a seldom reprieve between litters, and rarely having felt the hand of a human?  Sadly, these conditions are the reality for thousands of puppies across the state of Missouri every day.  In addition, thousands of Missouri puppies are sold and shipped across the country every month.

Even more disheartening is the fact that many of these breeders are licensed, even though living conditions for their animals are substandard.  Adequate government resources have not been allocated in a way that enables the proper monitoring and follow-up on these puppy mill breeding operations.  On occasion these breeders are forced to downsize (which could take them from inventory levels in the hundreds down to maybe fifty animals), but rarely are they completely prohibited from forcing the life of misery upon animals in the future.  Often the animals caught in the “downsizing efforts” end up on the auction block to be sold to other breeders with the same money-hungry mentality verses true concern for the health, well-being and quality of their offspring.

The good news is there is hope!  The Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, Humane Society of Missouri, The Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have joined forces and are spearheading efforts to get the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act placed on the November 2, 2010 ballot.  However, getting the act on the ballot requires your help!  More than 130,000 signatures are needed from Missouri registered voters by April 27, 2010.

Staff from Wayside Waifs have been certified to collect petition signatures, and members of the public are encouraged to visit the shelter at 3901 Martha Truman Rod, Kansas City, MO to sign the petition and make this desperately needed legislation a reality for the animals in the State of Missouri.  The act would require:

1. Sufficient food and clean water
2. Necessary vet care
3. Sufficient housing, including protection from the elements and eliminating wire-floored cages
4. Sufficient space for dogs to turn and stretch, lie down, and fully extend their limbs
5. Regular exercise
6. Adequate rest between breeding cycles

The entire ballot initiative can be found at http://www.sos.mo.gov.elections/2010petitions/2010-085.asp

In addition to the efforts the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, The Humane Society of Missouri, HSUS, and the ASPCA; Governor Nixon and his administration has taken a strong stand to improve the conditions of unlicensed and substandard breeding operations in Missouri.  It is a great start, but we still have a long way to go!  Launched in February of 2009, the initiative is called Operation BARK Alert.  Public who have concerns about the breeder now have a way to easily report the situation online at http://mda.mo.gov/animals/ACFA/barkalert/.  Phase two of this initiative, Prosecution Bark Alert, was launched in June of 2009.  This is the first time that the Attorney Generals Office and the Department of Agriculture have joined forces to take legal action against breeders.

Help Wayside Waifs collect the necessary signatures and end the suffering of dogs subject to live on one of over 1,500 puppy mills in the state of Missouri.  No longer do we want to be the puppy mill capital of the nation, currently failing to comply with Missouri laws related to animal welfare and the Animal Care Facilities Act passed in 1992.  With your help, we can become known as the state that truly cares about the welfare of our animals.

Written by Courtney Thomas
Director of Operations at Wayside Waifs


Jan 13 2010

Meet Stuart!

Stuart

Stuart

This is my friend Stuart, or Stewie.  He is the sweetest little dog you will ever meet!  He is a 2 year old purebred Shih Tzu and came to Wayside in October.  He has a handsome white and silver coat.  He was was rescued from a puppy mill and when he came to Wayside Waifs his eye was horribly damaged and had to be removed.  He has some damage in his other eye from not receiving proper vet care.  Stuart has adapted well to his vision challenges.  He has a defect in his right leg that causes it to bow out a little, but this doesn’t stop him from pouncing on toys or chasing a ball.  Stuarts personality far compensates for the physical challenges life has given him.   

His cute face just lights up when anyone asks him to play and he has an incredible energy about him.  I love to watch him play with his toys, I can’t stop laughing at the way he jumps on his rope toy!  I think playing with toys is his favorite activity! 

Stuart does well with other dogs and would benefit from having another canine companion.  He is currently in a foster home and has been around animals of all sizes; from 110 pounds to 4 pounds.  He also does well with cats.  Because of his vision challenges, Stuart would do best in a home without children. 

If you think Stuart is as cute as I do, come and meet him!  Stuart is in a foster home so please call to make an appointment before coming to Wayside.

Written by Trish Stinger
Web Marketing Manager at Wayside Waifs


Jan 8 2010

Picking the Right Doggy Daycare

Molly at rest after shredding an entire box of kleenex.

Molly at rest after shredding an entire box of tissue.

With all of this bad weather our area, it’s hard to get the dog’s out for a walk.  Especially when the sidewalks are covered with a foot of snow!  My two dogs are small, but still need exercise and a lot of play time.  Cabin fever has hit our house!  The usual toys are not working and Molly, the puppy, has taken to finding her own unique kind of entertainment.  Whether its chasing cats, shredding toilet paper off the roll, or chewing on my husbands $500 Bi-pap sleeping mask, it’s time to look into some doggy day care where she can play with other dogs her own size and get rid of some of this puppy energy!

It can be overwhelming to find a daycare that fits your dog’s needs and personality.  With more and more businesses popping up all over town, I thought it might be useful to compile some tips for others who find themselves in the same boat.

1.  Ask friends, family and co-workers where they take their dogs.  This is a good place to start.  If they are as serious about their pets as you are, they have done some of the leg work as well.

2. Think about location.  Do you prefer something close to home, or close to work?   

3. Visit the facility for a tour.  Does it smell?  Is there appropriate room for the dogs to play? 

4. What is the staff ratio per dog?  It should be the same as a child’s daycare facility.  Also, is staff trained in canine first aid and CPR?  Are they trained in understanding body language and behavior to assess your dogs (and others) personality?

5.  What is their protocol for medical emergencies?  Do they work with a nearby vet to treat accidents and illness?  If so, call the vet to see how often they are responding to this facility.  While accidents do happen, you want to make sure its not at a high frequency. 

6.  Do they have windows or webcams so you can check in on your dog and staff?  What is their procedure for ensuring your dog is not stolen or can escape?

7.  Ask about the playgroup style.  My two dogs are small, so I would want them in a small dog playgroup.  Also ask how the playgroup is monitored.  It only takes one dog to ruin the fun for everyone.  Are staff members constantly present during playgroup in case fights break out?

8.  What other services do they offer? Do they have a large yard for outside playgroups- or is it an indoor only facility?  Do they offer a pool, grooming or spa services?  These extra services can be convenient if you need to have your dog groomed as well. 

9.  Ask about cancellation policies and fees.  If something comes up at the last minute, are you still responsible for the fee?  Daycares should also require current vaccination records for your pet’s safety as well as others. 

10. Finally, listen to your gut/heart.  Do  you feel comfortable, over all, leaving your pet?  Your own instincts may be the most important factor.

Once you have taken your dog you will most likely be able to gauge whether she likes it or not.  If she is excited and bounding in the door, it’s a good bet that you have found the place.  If she is cowering, whining and scared, you might need to monitor her visit to see how she is reacting to this new experience.

Written by Trish Stinger
Web Marketing Manager at Wayside Waifs


Jan 5 2010

Ferrets

Sweet Wilbo

Sweet Wilbo

Ferret.  What did you just think of when you read that?  For some it’s an image of a weasel, for others “furry snake-like thingies”, or as my mother would lovingly put it, “Ew”.  For most people, ferrets don’t exactly fit the description of something pleasant.  But for others, when we hear the word ferret, we think about our social little one at home.  Ferrets get a bad rap, mostly from people who hear myths or from people who had an experience with an irresponsible ferret owner.  So let’s sort a few things out.

Ferrets do not smell nearly as bad as they are made out to.  If you’ve read that you can “de-scent” a ferret so they will no longer smell, that is false.  While you can “de-scent” a ferret, it’s a very painful process and ferrets only use their scent glands if they get frightened or scared.  The oils in their skin naturally give off a musty smell and the more you bathe a ferret the stronger that musty scent will be.  If the owner is vigilant and dedicated to cleaning their ferrets litter box (yes, that’s right, they can use a litter box) and routinely wash their bedding then there shouldn’t be any unpleasant odors.

Have you ever heard that ferrets will steal and hide anything they can find and carry?  If you have, that’s true.  My ferret, Wilbo, particularly likes pens.  If there are any pens on the floor she will do the one-two-three maneuver: run away with it, hide it, and scrounge for more.  There have been stories of people not being able to find their keys because their beloved little rascal has hidden them.  If you’re worried about losing your keys or belongings to your furry kleptomaniac, the answer is simple: don’t leave valuables on the floor where she or he can steal them.  You can also stalk your ferret and find out where their hiding spots are (like under the bed, or in the corner of the closet).

Ferrets do better in pairs rather than flying solo.  But even if they do have a playmate they need one-on-one time with their owner.  It’s essential to their growth and development.  You can play all kinds of games with your little one!  Wilbo’s favorite is when I get down on the floor with her and act like I am trying to catch her.  She jumps around, makes squeaky noises and chases me around.  She also likes when I snatch her and scratch her belly.  Although ferrets are always on the go they do love to be cuddled.  Wilbo (when she’s not climbing in to dressers and squeezing under doors) like to be cradled in both arms.  It’s a sweet moment and a bonding exercise for us both.

There are many horror stories of ferrets getting lost within the house, or in household furniture.  To ensure that I never lose my baby girl, I keep a collar on her whenever she is outside of her cage.  I know, I know, “Really?  A collar? You keep a collar on your ferret?!”  If a ferret can fit their head through an object they can fit their entire body.  The ferret collars have a bell on them so you can easily locate your ferret-unless they have fallen asleep in the warmth of your clean clothes, but that is another story!

Whether you are new to ferrets or you have owned them for years, you will quickly find that they are wonderful companions and playful creatures.  If you do your research and are dedicated to the care of your ferret then you both will live in peaceful harmony.  Like other pets make sure you can care for and house a ferret for many years to come, as they can live up to 15 years.  If you are in the market for a ferret to add to your family, check your local shelters and rescues before even considering going to a pet store.  From there on, sit back and enjoy the laughs and love that come from watching your ferret explore and play!

Written by Alyssa Willet
Puppy Nursery Caretaker at Wayside Waifs


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