Feb 27 2010

Lawmakers Consider Animal Abuse Registry

I wanted to share this article recently posted in the New York Times about a bill lawmakers are considering to create an animal abuse registry.  While most shelters across the United States have created their own “list” of people who should not be considered as potential adopters, it would be a huge advantage to have one master database that everyone could use.   According to the article, some states have a similar registry, however this proposed bill for the state of California and not for a national registry.

Perhaps if this bill passes in California, lawmakers in other states will follow suit and introduce similar bills in their respective states.  If there are registries to protect our children against abusers, does it not make sense to have a similar registry to protect our “fur babies” too?    

Last year, Wayside Waifs took in over 6,500 abandoned, abused and homeless animals in Missouri.  When animals have come from abusive homes Wayside staff and volunteers spend countlesss hours to help the animal overcome their fears and nurture them back to being happy and emotionally healthy animals.  We are only able to do this with the help of our foster families.

What are your thoughts about this story?  Would you support a similar bill in your state?  This story is definitely one to watch in the coming months.

Written by Trish Stinger
Web Marketing Manager at Wayside Waifs

Feb 25 2010

Meet Zen!



Shy, but very friendly once I get to know you, energetic, housebroken, loving and playful, with one of the most expressive faces on earth-hi, I’m Zen, a 1-year-old make Chinese Shar-Pei mix searching for my new home.  Doesn’t that uniquely furrowed brow just take your breath away?

I want you to know that Wayside has been my savior not once- but twice in my short life.  I arrived the first time just last spring on the Rescue Waggin’, when I was only a pup.  I found a new home right away-but as the months went by, things didn’t go so well for my family and I came back to Wayside in December.

I needed huge doses of confidence building and socialization, so in an effort to give me a second chance, my Wayside pals found me a foster dad who has a willingness to help me overcome my insecurities.  Wow, from the first day there until now, I have had the very best time! My foster dad has two boy dogs, so we have formed our own fraternity!  The house has a doggie door to the backyard and we have the run of the house and outside during the day while he is off working hard to keep us in doggie biscuits.

I spend  the days wrestling with my buddies, chasing the ball, playing with all toys offered, and in the evening, I curl up on the couch with my foster dad and put my head in his lap for snuggle time.  At night, I sleep soundly on my very own doggie bed.  My foster dad has been introducing me to new life experiences- especially new people and young kids whenever he can.  I’ve found that little kids scare me a bit.  I’m a little like Cowardly Lion still, but I am working on getting more courage and being a very brave dog.  It’s hard, but I’m trying.

I hear my foster dad saying all the time what a good boy I am in so many ways.  I’m quiet, I don’t chew on things I shouldn’t (well, not much anyway), I respect his yard, I’m a lover and I do really well walking on a leash now.  Yes, I must admit I haven’t been perfect, but I’m trying and learning every day how to be the best dog I can be.

My foster dad actually says such nice things about me, and I think he knows me well enough to know that all I want from life is for someone to love me.  I am a dog that is very eager to please, and I want to find a family that wants to include me and make me an important part of their lives-and wants to encourage me to become the dog that I was always meant to be.

I’d live to get the chance to meet you.  You need to know that I may be a little shy or uncertain of you at first.  If you will just be patient with me, I’ll become your best friend-the most loyal and true blue of friends- for a lifetime to come.

Love from,
Zen the Dog

Feb 20 2010

Wayside Waifs at the Home Show

On Thursday, Ashlee Parker, Communications Manager at Wayside Waifs, and I spent the afternoon transforming our booth at the Home Show into a fun play land for our Waifs who would be attending the Home Show.  Thanks to Guier Fence we have a wonderful play yard for the dogs to run free and play with Wayside Volunteers and attendees of the Home Show.  We added a futon with colorful bedding, some bright colored bean bag chairs, lots of toys and comfy beds.  Wayside has never done a play yard like this at the Home Show, but we were very excited about it.

On Friday morning, there were a lot of people already at the show and everyone wanted to know what time the dogs would arrive in the play yard.  Thanks to Barbara, Adoptions Manager at Wayside Waifs, Steve and Kristen  we were able to get the dogs to the Home Show earlier than planned!  From the time the dogs arrived, our booth area was packed!  The dogs had a blast just playing with each other and staff members.  It was quite comical and as a result several of the dogs, including two seventeen-week old, miniature toy poodles, found forever loving homes.

Although large mobile events like this can be very taxing on our resources, we really enjoy these kinds of events.  So many people came up to show us photos of the pets they had adopted from Wayside Waifs.  It’s so wonderful to hear people talk about their pets and how much adopting an animal changed their life in a positive way.

Today, there has been a steady flow of people coming to the Wayside play yard, interacting with the dogs and sharing their stories.  Wayside also has their own stage this year and there are several shows taking place throughout the day.  You can learn about Wayside Waifs Humane Education programs in local schools and Wayside Dog Trainers will also be presenting on the Wayside stage throughout the day.

I invite you to come by and experience our awesome play yard and love on some of our wonderful Waifs who are looking for a forever loving home.  The adoption process only takes about 30 minutes and you can take your dog home from the show!

The Wayside staff and volunteers will be at the Home Show on Saturday from 10-8 and Sunday from 10-6.  We look forward to seeing you at the Home Show at Bartle Hall!


Written by Trish Stinger
Web Marketing Manager at Wayside Waifs

Feb 18 2010

Animal Attraction

In Love with Banana!

In Love with Banana!

I have always been interested in the science of love.  Why do we as human beings choose that one person over so many others?  What are the chemical or the subconscious reasons that signal us to pair up with particular person?  What creates attraction?  Some of it is evolutionary, some of it is purely physical, but is there more?  And how does this translate to the animals we choose to be our pet companions?  We all know we love them as much, and sometimes even more than our human companions…

I have worked at Wayside Waifs for over three years, and have loved every minute of it.  It has been fascinating to observe and learn from the dedicated staff here about their relationship with their own animals.  Of course, nearly every staff member here has one, two, three and a few of us even have upwards of six.  Because of city ordinances, I won’t mention where those folks live.   But seriously, what makes someone bond with that certain special animal over so many others?  Especially someone who may work or volunteer in an animal shelter who is exposed to so many different animals, each and every work day?

The New Best Friend!

The New Best Friend!

Our longtime volunteer photographer, Josh Solar, adopted his first dog at Wayside this past weekend.  Josh has looked into the eyes of hundreds, maybe thousands of Waifs at Wayside to capture many of the beautiful and emotional animal pictures you see on our website and in our publications.  So, after all this time, after seeing those beautiful animals, why this one dog?  Why was Banana the lucky one? 

Banana Just Understands Me

Banana Just Understands Me

I certainly don’t have many answers when it comes to the science of love, be it human or animal.  I am really just posing the questions for my own un-scientific poll.  What was it that first attracted you to your pet?  What made you follow through with your adoption?  What makes your relationship work, and your love grow?


Written by Marla Svoboda
Director of Development at Wayside Waifs

Feb 12 2010

Caring for Your Pets Teeth

A Great Smile!

A Great Smile!

Teeth.  Everybody has them, including your pet.  Unfortunately, too often they are ignored – leading to many avoidable problems.  Teeth are important structures, needed for such necessities as eating and defense.  In humans, we know when our teeth hurt!  But your pet may not make his problem as obvious, resulting in problems such as weight loss, bad breath, and behavior changes like inappropriate grumpiness, due to pain.  Pets do not display signs of oral pain like people do – the condition must be very severe before owners will notice obvious changes, such as reluctance to eat.  Many people notice that after dental treatment, like removal of diseased teeth their pets act like a younger self (i.e. puppy, kitten), playing and acting happier than before. 

So what sort of problems can pets have with their teeth?  Teeth can be broken, from chewing on things such as rocks, they can become inflamed from trauma (sometimes resulting in the need for removal), and they can accumulate tartar resulting in gum disease and bad breath, just like in humans!  Pets do not develop cavities like people- cats however can develop a similar condition called “resorptive lesions” that result in a hole in the tooth and are very painful like human cavities.  These often necessitate removal of the affected tooth.  Other conditions can also affect the mouth that are not primary tooth problems. For example, tumors can develop in the mouth or abscesses could  develop if foreign objects get stuck in places they shouldn’t.

Regular oral care should be part of any pet’s normal routine.  Brushing of the teeth is a good way to keep teeth clean and can decrease the need for dental cleanings.  Human toothpaste should NEVER be used- the flouride is toxic to pets.  Special toothpaste is available for dogs and cats – it can be purchased from your veterinarian and at most pet supply stores.  There are also products such as oral rinses or water additives that can be used if your pet does not want you in their mouth.  Regular brushing will allow you the opportunity to examine the mouth for changes in pain (evidenced by reluctance to allow the brushing), growths, or broken teeth.  Pets should also be seen by a veterinarian at least one a year for a thorough oral examination.  Special food and chews/toys are also available that can help prevent tartar buildup as well.

If your pet does require a dental cleaning, it must be done under sedation.  While not necessarily painful, the ultrasonic cleaner (the same equipment used for people) produces a high pitched noise that will bother the pet.  The cleaning itself is also a strange sensation.  The teeth will be cleaned with the ultrasonic cleaner then polished.  While the pet is asleep, a more thorough examination can be performed to check for any less obvious problems.  If needed, dental x-rays can be performed to check for any problems below the gums, such as abscess or tooth root disease.  Some problems, such as the resorptive lesions in cats, are not obvious to the naked eye and can only be detected with dental x-rays.  Tooth removals can also be performed at this time if necessary.

A pet’s oral health is just as important as it is to humans.  Taking the proper measures to insure a health mouth and teeth will mean a longer and happier life for your pet.

Written by Cynthia Moon, DVM at Wayside Waifs

Feb 11 2010

When Scraps Get Out of Hand

Simon’s sister’s dog finds out what happens when a dog’s life gets a little too good.

posted by Claire M. Caterer

Feb 5 2010

Keep Those Paws Safe!

Pick up Safe Paws at Wayside Waifs!

Pick up Safe Paws at Wayside Waifs!

Today the Kansas City metro area is experiencing another blast from old man winter.  We are receiving our fair share of snow at Wayside and our awesome facilities staff is busy shoveling the walks and clearing drives and parking lots for visitors.  When winter weather hits, most people go right for the salt to treat ice and snow covered areas.  But because this common ice remedy poses a real health risk to pets, our staff depends on Safe Paws.  Today, is no exception!

Salt based products used to melt ice contain sodium chloride or potassium chloride which heats up quickly (to 175 degrees) when exposed to water, ice and freezing temperatures.  When your pet walks in the treated areas, the crystal salt pellets can very easily get stuck in the fur between your dog’s toes.  When these pellets come into contact with water, it can burn the pads of their paws, mouth and digestive tract. 

Safe Paws was developed by a chemical engineer “to eliminate the health and environmental problems.”  Safe Paws does not contain any salt and is made of crystalline amide core infused special glycols that are non-corrosive and have a two-way time-released action.

Safe Paws Ice Melter is available at Wayside Waifs for $16.50/gallon.  This is $2.50-$3.00 less than most pet supply stores.  Not to mention, all of the proceeds help Wayside in their mission to save the lives of thousands of abandoned, abused and homeless pets. 

Keep all members of your family safe this winter season and come in today to pick up your supply of Safe Paws!

Written By Trish Stinger
Web Marketing Manager at Wayside Waifs

Feb 2 2010


One of the hamsters brought in by animal control.

One of the hamsters brought in by animal control.

Hamsters have remained a popular companion animal for many years in the United States.  I can still remember my first hamsters, Gizmo and Teddy and all the fun I had taking care of them.  As much fun as they can be, without proper care, things can get out of hand very quickly. 

On Monday, animal control brought us 15 hamsters from an apartment after the owner was evicted.  Many times, hamster litters are accidental as people think they have two hamsters of the same sex.  Most people also don’t realize that the litters need to be separated early or they will start to breed, too.  Depending on the breed of hamster, they can become sexually mature anywhere between four weeks and three months of age.  Before you know it, you can have dozens of hamsters on your hands after starting with just two hamsters.

Just like with any animal, if you are thinking about adopting a hamster, do your research.  Hamsters will need an adequate cage, bedding, food, water and toys.  There are lots and lots of choices for all of these out there, but with a little research, either in books or on the Internet, you should be able to narrow down your search and find exactly what you like and what you think your hamster will like.  Here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Cages- There are a lot of different style and sizes of cages on the market and you will need to choose them based on the hamster you are going to get.  Hamsters come in many different sizes and you will want to get an appropriate sized cage.  The bigger the hamster, the bigger the cage.  You will also want one that has good ventilation and will be fairly easy to clean.  Some hamsters can chew through plastic very quickly.

2. Bedding- There is lots of different types of bedding out there.  I would recommend paper of fiber based bedding and would stay away from wood shavings.  You can also use shredded paper as bedding material.

3.  Food- Many foods on the market are very similar.  Check to see what you are getting and make sure it is specifically designed for hamsters.  You can also supplement their diet with some fresh grains, vegetables and fruit, but limit this to treats and not whole meals. 

Teddy Bear/Mix Hamster

Teddy Bear/Mix Hamster

You also want to make sure you know what you are getting into in regards to how often to clean their cages, change their water, change their food, handle them, etc.  Being informed will make you a much better companion for the little guy or gal you pick out.   If you Google “Hamsters as Pets”, you will find tons of websites with more information that you could ever need.  Make sure you research different sites as there are some things the experts may disagree about. 

As always, check your local shelter before purchasing a hamster from a pet store.  Saving a life is always better than buying one.  Once Wayside veterinarians evaluate the 15 hamsters, they will be available for adoption.  Swing by Wayside Waifs to meet them and pick your new companion.  They just want a loving home to call their own.

Written by Joe Hinkle
Manager of Behavior and Admissions at Wayside Waifs

Feb 1 2010

Tips for Adding Another Dog to Your Family

Chassen and Terrance snuggle with their new sister, Ava, adopted from Wayside on 1/17/10

Chassen and Terrance snuggle with their new sister, Ava, adopted from Wayside on 1/17/10

Adding another four-legged friend to the family can be intimidating but people who live with more than one dog often say they wouldn’t have it any other way.  Dogs can play and interact with each other in ways we never could.  Let’s face it, most of us live pretty hectic lives and many of our dogs spend long hours alone, waiting for us.  Another dog can provide companionship to our beloved, not to mention the joy that will fill your heart when you watch your dogs play.  There are a few things to consider before you make the decision to add your family.

1.  How well trained are your dogs?  Rarely is it a good idea to bring in a new dog when you are dealing with behavior issues in your current dogs.

2. How well socialized is your dog?  Dogs that can go to off leash play areas and do well with guest dogs in their homes are usually good candidates for a new friend.

3.  What are the ages of the dogs in your family?  Dogs closer in age usually have play styles and play stamina that match.  Bringing in a puppy with an older dog can give the older dog a spark but it can also be a burden.

4.  Are you willing to make necessary adjustments to accommodate your new addition?  These may include separate feeding areas, separate training times an separate play times.

5.  Are you willing to do everything you can to make this new match work?  Build your confidence before you adopt by researching breeds, finding out about local training classes and making sure you know how to handle any difficult situations that may arise.

Once you have decided a new addition is the right thing for your family, you’ll need to do a little planning to make it work.

1. Bring your dog to Wayside Waifs so that he or she can meet the new family member on neutral ground.

2. Keep the two dogs separated in the car.  Bring a friend of family member to help you transport.

3.  Take your two (or more) dogs for a long walk together before going in the house.

4.  If either dog shows signs of bring uncomfortable (hair standing up, teeth bared, growling) separate the dogs.  Keep encounters short and positive.

5.  Feed separately for the first couple of days.  Each dog should have his own food and water dish.  As they progress, try basic training with both dogs at the same time.  This can be a great way for all of you to bond.

6.  Reassure your resident dog(s) by giving them individual attention.

These wonderful relationships are rewarding to both us and our dogs.  Do your research before you adopt, talk to your veterinarian and use your local shelter as a resource.  After watching your dogs exchange a few play bows, a couple of games of chase and a good snuggle, you’ll be glad you did!

Ava and Terrance are best friends forever!

Ava and Terrance are best friends forever!

Written by Barbara Poe
Adoptions Program Manager at Wayside Waifs

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