Aug 31 2010

Volunteering at Wayside Waifs

Jim is one of the awesome volunteers at Wayside Waifs

Jim is one of the awesome volunteers at Wayside Waifs

Nearly 7,000 animals entered the doors at Wayside Waifs last year alone. Cats, dogs, and little furry things that all needed shelter, love, and care. I am always sure to tell new volunteers during orientation that all of these animals enter the shelter knowing how to be an animal, but most of them need your help becoming a pet.

On an average day we can have 80 dogs that all need to get out and our Cat Adoption area can house over 70 feline friends. Providing mental stimulation is, by far, the most challenging thing to do for these animals. Offering a consistent face and a soft hand is all they ask. Volunteers give of themselves both physically and emotionally. I have one volunteer who tells me she makes sure she visits the new dogs before leaving for the day so she can let them know that they are ok now, and that the people here will show them love and compassion.

When I came to Wayside Waifs, about a year ago, I could not help but be by moved the dedication, work ethic, and kindness of the volunteers. Most days, the shelter needs close to 100 volunteer hours of support. In addition to direct animal contact, volunteers help in a variety of ways. Several volunteers provide administrative help in the volunteer office, the foster program, and the adoption center. Responsibilities can range from data entry, to calling adopters about their new family members, or keeping inventory of our retail items.

Special events are also a way for volunteers to support the shelter. During events, volunteers have a host of responsibilities and become the face of Wayside. If you are interested in learning more about volunteering, please visit the volunteer section on our website. I look forward to meeting you!

Written by AnnMarie Thomas
Wayside Waifs Volunteer Manager

Aug 26 2010

Foster Flunkie

Ju Ju found her forever home with her foster mom, Kristin

Ju Ju found her forever home with her foster mom, Kristin

If you ask a majority of the staff and volunteers at Wayside Waifs, you will soon realize most of us are foster flunkies. But, what exactly is a foster flunky?

Being a “foster flunky” several times over, I ask myself this a lot. Fostering gives animals a temporary home needed before they go to their forever home. Sometimes, that forever home is found at the foster home. So, what makes someone adopt one foster but, let another go? Is it timing? Or is it the individual animal? After lots of research and personal experience, I have come up with the conclusion that there is no perfect answer. Personally, my adopted fosters make my household feel complete. 

My last adopted foster was one that snuck up on me. I knew what kind of dog I was eventually looking for but, during my period working a Wayside, I knew that I wanted a dog that really needed me. Well this came in the form of a black and white funny eared dog named Ju Ju. At the shelter, she was so scared that she completely shut down. When I first laid eyes on her, I just thought to myself, “This is another dog that really needs a foster home.” I wasn’t thinking that the foster home would be mine and definitely not thinking that I was going to adopt her.

After asking around with no luck, it was down to the wire. Who was going to foster this little girl? One day I just decided to take her out and let her stay in my office, which is when she won me over. I started thinking that if I took her home, she might not come back. Is it those soft eyes? Maybe, it is her sweet demeanor? I cannot pinpoint one over the other, it was just perfect.

Now, after waking up next to her every morning, I realize that it was meant to be. I always hear that animals pick you; maybe that is what happened in this case. Whatever it is, fostering is very rewarding and having her to remind me of that every morning, gives me faith that the others I have let go, got a home like my Ju Ju.  

Written by Kristin Sampson
Wayside Waifs Foster Program Manager

Aug 24 2010

Sweet Biscuit Needs a Forever Home

Biscuit is currently available for adoption at Wayside Waifs.

Biscuit is currently available for adoption at Wayside Waifs.

This little girl is named Biscuit. Although she is fully-grown at five years of age, it would be very easy to mistake her for a much younger cat, since she’s such a tiny little thing. Biscuit, along with several other cats, was rescued by the Humane Society of the United States from horrible and unsanitary living conditions in Montana. Since she’s arrived at Wayside Waifs, her life is much better, and she is getting the attention she has obviously never had before. 

When someone comes to visit her, Biscuit immediately gets excited and happy, kneading her blanket and purring up a storm. Due to the neglect of her previous living situation, she’s not really sure what to do beyond that, though. She LOVES to have her head and chin scratched, and to be petted, and it is very obvious that she really WANTS to cuddle with you, but she’s just not sure, yet. Biscuit will come to you and rub against your hand and enjoy pets and scratches. Given time and patience, she will probably turn into a very affectionate lap cat for the right person. She just needs consistent encouragement from someone with whom she feels comfortable. She really is a sweet girl who needs a kind person to take her in, especially after the hardship she has already endured. She deserves it, don’t you think?

Like the other cats rescued in this particular raid, Biscuit has been exposed to FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus) and, although she has tested negative for the disease, she can still pass it on to other cats. For this reason, she needs to go to a home with no other cats. She will also need to be tested again in three months, and Wayside Waifs will provide that test at no charge to the special family that gives Biscuit the home she needs.

Feline leukemia virus is a contagious, viral disease of cats. In addition to causing leukemia, it has been associated with various other types of cancer, anemia, and immune suppression leading to increased susceptibility to various infectious diseases.

Although cats may clear initial infection, there is no cure for persistent infection and FeLV is ultimately fatal. Cats pass the virus between themselves through saliva and close contact, by biting another cat, through a litter box or food dish used by an infected cat.

Although cats like Biscuit, who have been exposed to FeLV, tend to be difficult to place for adoption, Wayside Waifs is committed to saving as many lives as possible.  If you are interested in opening your heart and home to Sunset, please visit her at Wayside Waifs.  As part of our Feline Frenzy summer cat adoption special, Biscuit’s $75 adoption fee is waived.

Aug 21 2010

A Story of Love & Loss

Oh my golly, I could not be more in love with Titan.  These Mastiffs, they are sensitive babies.  And Titan has been thru more than his share of stress. 

At the end of my Saturday volunteer stint, I went in his cage to love on him.  Poor baby was shaking so hard. I petted him and did things to his face that my English Mastiff, Sampson likes, like circling his eyes, scratching underneath his chin and rubbing the sides of his face.  All the while I told him that Sampson liked it, it made him sleepy and I hoped to help Titan relax.  I decided to ask for a furlough and I felt in my heart I needed to “save” him.  

Having adopted a very frightened, emotionally scarred Mastiff the year before, I know how delicate they are and how much positive they need.  It was storming and I’m sure it brought back bad memories for the poor fella with his door issues.  When I got home it was thundering and lightening and raining and he would not go inside.  I prayed for Titan and just as I was ready to give up (after 40 minutes) and borrow some neighbors’ husbands, I decided to get Sampson and see if Sampson could convince Titan to come inside. Sampson is a very happy doggy and he loves everyone.  So Sampson came bounding out and the two instantly bonded.  Titan followed Sampson 1/2 thru the door and realized what had happened and backed up.  So I fed Sampson a treat and then that cutie patootie Titan decided he wanted some too.  

The very first night, I was sitting on the couch and Titan jumped up there, put his head in my lap and we both fell asleep right away.  We went to bed and Titan got in bed like he had been doing it all his life.  He got real close and I hugged him.  Sampson was on the other side.  I woke up several times to Sampson crying and I could not figure it out.  I woke up alarmed and then reached for Sampson and was relieved, kissed him and went back to sleep.  

The following Wednesday out of the blue, Sampson had a lump on his “wrist” inside his left leg.  I thought maybe he had fallen or something so thought okay nervous mom, give it a couple of days.  By Saturday Sampson was limping quite a bit.  Sampson loves to ride in the car so I decided we would go to PetSmart for the first time to share an “alone” moment so he wouldn’t feel jealous/threatened by Titan.  Sampson had a ball, was a total ham at Petsmart, had his picture taken and was the belle of the ball.  Sunday Sampson’s limp was quite a bit worse.  Monday I called the vet and was able to get an emergency appointment that night.  

The vet asked to take him for an xray.  I thought that was odd but okay.  She was gone a long time.  When she entered the room her face looked very sad.  She said she was 95% certain Sampson had osteosarcoma.  I thought okay, how do we treat this.  She told me it is a very aggressive form of bone cancer, very painful and any treatment would basically keep him around longer but stretch out his pain; there is no cure.  And the lump on his leg was a tumor that had exploded out of his leg, that the leg could fracture with minor trauma and the cancer had likely metastasized throughout his body and into his lungs, soon to cause breathing problems.  I said I don’t want to be selfish and keep him around for me when it’s painful for him and burst into tears.  She had to leave the room to talk to another  patient, as they had worked me in.  Then she came back, showed me the xrays, said the radiologist would confirm or dispute the diagnosis on Wednesday and I could decide what to do then.  She said she was immediately going to put Sampson on a mild form of opium and an anti-inflammatory, but warned me not to be surprised and think Sampson is cured when he could walk like all was fine the next day.  Sure enough, he walked like all was well.  

I keep bursting into tears.  I don’t understand this.  Sampson was adopted last year, August 19th.  I thought we had lots of time left.  And Titan adores Sampson; Sampson was teaching Titan how to be a dog and not to worry about doorways, etc.   Titan reminds me so much of Sampson before Sampson got sick.   

In retrospect, I see now some things that indicated that Sampson wasn’t well.  Titan makes me laugh because when I take a shower, he pushes aside the curtain and looks at me, to make sure I’m behind there.  He also follows me everywhere, which I love, and which Sampson used to do.   He shows fear in various situations but I tell him it is okay, he’s a good dog and love on him.  I am certain I can help him build his confidence.  He is so fun –  acts a bit like a puppy yet at times I mistake him for Sampson.  I think Titan has a lot of love to give and needs a lot of love which is a perfect match for me, as my dogs are surrogate children.  

I was reflecting this evening (in between tear bursts) how blessed I am that Titan is here now when I need him most.  It’s almost as if he was a divine appointment.  I felt like it was right from the get go.  Now I know why I felt that way.  I think he will help me get thru this.  

Part 2

Sampson went to doggie heaven today and will soon be laid to rest in the Wayside memorial park so I can visit him each week at Wayside.  I frequently go there, walking the bully breeds and big energy dogs that need to “work it out” and always wondered what the white crosses signified.  Call me crazy, but I always feel a peace when near the crosses.  Sampson will be cremated with other animals, which is very fitting because he loved everyone and every being, he even stopped to smell flowers on our walks! 

This past Saturday was another good one for Sampson – he and Titan and I played ball and frisbee and barbequed.  Over their two weeks together, Sampson and Titan grew close and would frequently rest side-by-side.  Sampson taught Titan that yards are good things, and walks are even better (so much to smell!).  Saturday I saw the two walking side by side in the yard, with Titan glancing at Sampson to make sure he got the gait just right.  It is amazing how far Titan has come in their two weeks as friends. Several times last night I heard Titan’s footsteps and mistook them for Sampson’s; I believe that thinking one was the other was a transition of sorts because I did not know today would be the day.  As my neighbor Anne put it “Isn’t that just like Sampson – doing one last good deed – helping to restore another injured soul.”  I know Sampson has helped restore mine. 

Written by Sara Henning
Wayside Waifs Volunteer

Aug 18 2010

Meet Zyrus

Meet Zyrus a 10-month-old Border Collie/Shepherd Mix

Meet Zyrus a 10-month-old Border Collie/Shepherd Mix

Smart, somewhat shy but playful, especially with other dogs, fun, and entertaining, with the softest, shiniest coat you’ve ever laid eyes on…that’s me, Zyrus, a 10 month old Border Collie/Shepherd mix in the market for a forever home of my very own. I’m also fully housetrained, crate trained and so well behaved. Wow! I have come such a long, long way in my journey to this point in my life and I’m so excited to share my story with you. Please bear with me as I remember and salute my past. Not that I like to dwell on it, but I believe it’s important to know where you come from in order to understand where you’re going in life.

I first showed up at Wayside as a stray when I was just 5 months old, along with my 5 brothers and sisters. Just a family of puppies who longed to be loved, that’s all we were. They all got adopted and are hopefully living large with their new families. Sure I miss them, but I need to focus on myself now. Of all of us puppies, I was the most shy and sensitive in the family. Everything pretty much frightened me and you can’t imagine how scary Wayside was to me. Makes me tremble just thinking about it! Luckily, that’s when I met my Foster Mom (FM). She scared me too, at first, but we have come a very long way since our first day together.

The first time they asked me to do a write up for my web page, I had only been in my foster home for a few weeks, and I spent most of my time talking about how scary life was. Well, things have changed since then, so FM and I sat down and decided it was time to update my file. Zyrus 2.0 we’re calling it. I’m gaining confidence every single day and FM says I’m a vastly different dog now than when she first met me. So from here on out, I’m concentrating on the present and the future. To quote my favorite song, I’m ready to “Turn the Page” to my new life. I hope maybe you’d like to join me!

FM can’t say enough great things about me! She adores me and you hear it in her voice every time she talks about me. Well behaved, entertaining, great running partner, fabulous on walks, great fun to take to the dog park, comforting to cuddle with…she can go on and on. She has taught me so many things over the past several months and I know I can never repay her. I guess me finding a perfect home is enough for her. I’m so grateful to her and working hard to become a great dog so that my perfect family will want me and come for me.

Here’s what FM has to say about living with me. Like I mentioned, I’m very well behaved. I’m fully housetrained and crate trained. I stay in my crate when FM is away from home and also at night. It’s a safe haven for me and I don’t mind my crate at all. Loud noises are still somewhat scary to me, but I’m working on that. I’m not much of a barker, unless I need to notify FM of something she needs to be aware of. I don’t jump on furniture, except for one chair that FM has approved for dogs, or when I need some loving and try to jump on FM’s lap as she sits on the couch. I’m very smart and learn quickly, so I will adapt to whatever rules you have for me.

I’m great with other dogs, especially my foster dog brother, Louie. He is awesome! He’s small and sometimes he stands underneath me. We are quite a sight, he and I, and FM laughs every time we show off this way. I love trips to the dog park! I try to play with every dog there when we go. I love to run, chase, splash in the pool a little, check out the people. You heard me right, I’m at the point in my life where I like to sniff and check out the people around me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still sort of hesitant when it comes to meeting new people, but at least I’m out there making an effort. And I’ve found that most people are pretty ok. The only problem with the dog park is getting there. I sometimes get car sick. Yikes! Only on the way there though. Once I realize we’re heading back home, I seem to be ok. Weird, but true.

FM doesn’t have a fenced in yard, so we spend lots of time exercising by walking and running. In fact, I ran 3 miles earlier today with her! She says she couldn’t ask for a better running partner. I’m great on my leash. And when we’re home and she lets me out, I stay very close to her. I have never tried to run away or done anything inappropriate in the backyard. My absolute favorite treats are of the rawhide variety. My mouth waters just thinking about rawhide.

I hope you don’t mind one or two more words from me about people. I need time to get used to new people and warm up to them. I’m still a little uncertain and hesitant at times. In general, I’m curious about people. Young kids or wild kids are still scary to me. FM has never seen me snap at or nip at anyone though, ever. But I would really prefer a home without kids or with calm kids over 8 or so. Once I get to know you and trust you, my bond is deep. I love it when FM scratches the top of my head and down between my eyes. She understands me and I trust her with my life.

As you can probably guess, there’s a certain type of home that I’m hoping for and dreaming of. Well, my number one desire is patience, love, and someone who understands me for who I am. Having another dog around to teach me and play with me would be awesome too. Since I’m still young, sometimes my play gets a little rough, but I’m working on that! And I would love to have someone around a lot, because life is so much sweeter when you’re not alone. A daily walk or run is also on my wish list, since it is one of my most favorite things to do and it helps me experience life in a positive way.

Although I will probably always be somewhat shy, I am in the process of blossoming into a happy, friendly, and lovable dog who longs to be part of my very own family. I promise to continue to work every day at overcoming my fears and insecurities. I have already come such a long way in a short time and I’m so excited about the great life ahead of me. So if you think you might like to share in my journey and help a shy but loyal and grateful guy continue to come out of his shell and live life to the fullest, please give Wayside a call and schedule a time to meet me! I can’t wait to meet you…and you can’t imagine how good that feels to say!

Love from Zyrus (don’t forget to watch my video and see how cool I look!)

P.S. Since I’m in foster, to set up a time to meet me, you’ll want to call the adoptions department and talk to the nice people there. You can reach them at 816-986-4426.

Aug 12 2010

Our Beautiful Sunset

Beautiful Sunset

Beautiful Sunset

Meet Sunset! This adorable little calico girl is four-years-old. Sunset has had a tough time, up to now.  You see, she is one of the cats that was rescued by the Humane Society of the United States from some horrible living conditions in Montana, and was brought to Wayside Waifs.  Despite everything she’s been through, Sunset has not lost her loving nature, and she is very enthusiastic about demonstrating that!  When someone comes to visit her, she literally LEAPS into their arms and purrs up a storm.  And once you’ve got her, she doesn’t want you to let her go.  This sweet girl just want to be loved, and to love someone back. Now that she is at Wayside Waifs, Sunset’s life is much better, but she really needs a forever home.  Because she is so special, she also needs a special home.

Although Sunset has tested negative for FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus), we know that she has been exposed to it. For this reason, Sunset will need to live in a home with no other cats, at least for the time being.  She needs to be retested in three months, and the Wayside Waifs will do that at no charge for the special family that gives this wonderful cat, who has already experienced so much hardship, a loving home.

Feline leukemia virus is a contagious, viral disease of cats. In addition to causing leukemia, it has been associated with various other types of cancer, anemia, and immune suppression leading to increased susceptibility to various infectious diseases.

Although cats may clear initial infection, there is no cure for persistent infection and FeLV is ultimately fatal.  Cats pass the virus between themselves through saliva and close contact, by biting another cat, through a litter box or food dish used by an infected cat.

Although cats like Sunset, who have been exposed to FeLV, tend to be difficult to place for adoption, Wayside Waifs is committed to saving as many lives as possible.  If you are interested in opening your heart and home to Sunset, please visit her at Wayside Waifs.  As part of our Feline Frenzy summer cat adoption special, Sunset’s $75 adoption fee is waived.  

Written by: Chris Dauten
Wayside Waifs Volunteer

Aug 10 2010

Qpons for Pets

Wayside Waifs is proud to partner with, a local company dedicated to helping our community by helping you save money!  Every time you buy a deal from, money comes right back to Wayside Waifs to support our efforts to save abandoned, abused and homeless pets. 

QponsKC is a simple, easy way to help our furry friends.  Just go to and sign up to start receiving amazing deals– 50% off or more for your favorite restaurants, spas, attractions, services and so much more. Every time you buy a deal, dollars go back to Wayside Waifs.

Help us spread the word about this great opportunity!  Tell your friends, family and co-workers.  Every time one of us purchases a Qpon, it brings us one step closer to finding all of our waifs a forever home. 

This week’s deal: 50% off at Pump It Up, Kansas City’s Most Awesome Kids Destination!

Pump It Up

Pump It Up

Buy one get one FREE at Pump It Up. Attain a state of fun and celebration, via jumping and bouncing on an inflatable landscape. For $6, you get two Pop-In Playtime passes. That’s 50% off. Buy our BOGO deal, and never stop enjoying our inflatable playground.

Join us in the “The Inflatable Party Zone,” indoor arenas, filled with gigantic inflatable slides, bounce houses, obstacle courses and more.

Promote social development and physical fitness while bouncing, sliding, climbing and jumping at Pump It Up! And enjoy meeting other parents and making new friends in a safe, clean, climate controlled environment!

Remember, sign up for deals at, have fun shopping and make a difference!  To learn more about Wayside Waifs, please visit

Posted by: Ashlee Parker

Communications Manager

Aug 5 2010

When It Comes To Love, Age Is Just A Number

Boo and Tabasco

Boo and Tabasco

Who doesn’t love a snuggly little puppy or kitten?  They’re sweet and cuddly and just SO dog-gone cute!  But, when it comes to adopting, is a puppy or kitten really the right choice for YOU?  Often-times, the answer to that question is “no”, it is not.  So, what are some of the questions you should be asking, in regard to an animal’s age, once you’ve decided to adopt?  Here are some very important questions you need to consider:

  • How long will my puppy be alone and in a crate during the day?  If the answer is more than 4 hours, then a puppy is not a good choice for you.  A general rule of thumb for a young puppy is that it will need to go outside to eliminate every 30 minutes to one hour initially.  You can then gradually work up to longer periods of time.
  • Do I have the time and temperament to train a puppy?  If the time you can spend training a puppy is very limited, then it’s best to consider adopting an adult dog that most likely will already have had some training.  Although watching a puppy grow to adulthood can be a very rewarding experience, the time requirements will be quite extensive.  Young puppies will need to be fed 3 to 4 times a day, taken out several times a day to eliminate and when loose, must be watched constantly.  Young puppies in a new home may also whine through the night as they are adjusting to their new surroundings and life without mom.
  • Do you have young children in the home?  Kittens and puppies can be overly rambunctious and unintentionally nip or scratch young children, especially those who have not yet learned how to interact with animals.
  • Are my “things” so important to me that I would be distraught if any of them became the “object of desire” for my teething puppy?  Although a puppy should always be supervised when out of its crate, accidents do happen.  So, if you know that you could not live with a few teeth marks on the legs of you dining table, you probably should steer clear of adopting a puppy.  Teething generally lasts for the first 6 to 8 months, although some dogs will continue to be “chewers” for much longer than that. 

So, you may be wondering; if adopting an older animal is so much better, then why are there so many of them in shelters?  Are they second rate, or in some way defective?  The majority of older pets are surrendered through no fault of their own.  Many are surrendered because their owners have developed allergies, or have other health issues and are no longer able to care for their pets, or possibly, the pet has just outlived the owner.  Often-times there is simply a change in the owner’s lifestyle, such a move to a new residence which does not allow pets, a change in work schedule, a new baby in the home…….  The reasons are varied, and far too many to list here, but simply said, shelters are full of healthy, energetic, lovable adult cats and dogs just longing for a new forever family.  Adopting an older pet can be tremendously rewarding too.  Not only will they bring joy into your life with their unconditional love and companionship, you will also be giving refuge to a lost and lonely soul who most likely came into the shelter extremely frightened and bewildered, without a clue as to what had just rocked their world.  All of them, regardless of their age, deserve a second chance.

In addition to receiving unconditional love, there are many other advantages to adopting an older pet.  With an older pet you will immediately know exactly what you are getting in terms of size, physical appearance, activity level, sociability, health and temperament.  An older dog may be easier to train than a puppy, and yes, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!  Older dogs tend to be calmer and quieter than a puppy, they will usually comprehend the word “no” and will probably have already come to understand what kinds of behaviors are acceptable and what are not.  And, an older pet will be less demanding of your time than a kitten or puppy.  Mature cats will usually know how to avoid danger, but that is not always true with kittens, and they will need to be constantly supervised.  Thus, the saying about cats having 9 lives!  Older cats may need some time to adjust to their new surroundings though.  If the new adoptee chooses to spend the first few days hiding under the couch, just make sure it knows where its food, water and litter box are and leave it be.  It may only come out in the dark of night for the first few days, but once it is comfortable with its new surroundings it will venture out on its own and want to begin getting to know you.

One concern expressed by potential adopters when choosing an older animal is that their pet won’t have many years of life left.  But, one need not be overly concerned because, due to advances in veterinary care and nutrition that will most likely not be the case.  Indoor cats will typically live well into their teens, and many into their early twenties.  Depending on the size of the dog (smaller dogs live longer), many dogs can be expected to live well into their teens too.  

As for me personally, I have adopted two older (sibling) cats, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  Boo and Tabasco were both 8 years old when I adopted them in 2000.  Unfortunately, 4 years later Boo developed cancer and had to be put down, but Tabasco has been with me for 10 years and is still going strong.  It saddens me deeply that I was only able to have Boo in my life for 4 years, but I wouldn’t trade those 4 years with him for anything in the world.  When you adopt a pet, no matter what their age, you are always taking a chance in regard to how long they will live.  There is no guarantee when adopting a puppy or kitten that it will live any longer than the adult cat or dog you see in the cage right next to it.  We just need to love them and care for them for whatever time we are blessed with them, and of course, mourn for them when they are gone.  As Queen Elizabeth II said – “Grief is the price we pay for love.”  And, what a wonderful love that is!!!

Written by Karen Brown

Aug 3 2010

Foster Feature: Meet Hot Pocket

Meet Hot Pocket

Meet Hot Pocket

“There’s a dog in the vet clinic that needs to be put in your area” she said. I work in a sectioned off area of the shelter where animals that have medical issues, behavior problems or are too young to be adopted usually reside. I headed down the hall to the vet clinic trying to think of what this dogs problem might be; a broken leg, a bad upper respiratory infection, maybe just a bad attitude. When I saw her I couldn’t believe my eyes. She was covered in scabs, pustules, pimples and had reddened dry splotchy skin. One look in her eyes and I knew I had to help her. I immediately put on the baby blue gown, sported some white surgical gloves and picked her up. She looked so sad,

“What’s her name?”
“Hot Pocket”

Someone had dropped her off in the Wayside parking lot; dismissing her and the medical attention she so desperately needed. The way she leaned in to me and looked in to my eyes told me that she knew I was helping her.

Since no one knew whether she was contagious or not, I couldn’t take her home right away. So, I spoiled her in every other way I knew how. She got plush dog beds, plenty of toys and a lot of love. I could never touch her with my bare hands, in case she was contagious- so every day for about an hour I would get in to my fashionable garb of medical scrubs and sit with her. She didn’t want to play much since she wasn’t in the best of health; most of the time was spent with her sleeping in my lap while I would try my best not to hurt her as I pet her scabby head, and held her dry irritated body. 

Once she was medically cleared as not being contagious I got all of the items she would need together and took her home. As we got into the car I put her in her crate and hoped for the best. She cried and potty’d almost immediately. “Oh no, what am I getting myself in to?” I work with puppies on a daily basis but I’ve never wanted to take one home because I know how much work they are. Plus, how were my room mate’s two dogs going to react to her? I found out once I got home; Cooper, the Springer Spaniel mix immediately warmed up to her. If she sneezed, he licked her face. If she coughed, he cuddled with her. She nipped, pawed, barked and walked all over him and he loved every minute of it. 

With a new boyfriend in tow, Hot Pocket made herself at home. She never potty’d in the house (or her crate), she always let me get a full 8 hours of sleep, and she started learning new commands instantly! As far as puppies go, Hot Pocket was as close to perfect as they come! She loves every dog she comes in to contact with and every person she meets falls in love with her gentle, playful puppy nature. 

Hot Pocket is now making a full recovery and is a beautiful, gorgeous eyed little girl. Had it not been for the fostering program offered at Wayside I would never have been able to get her back to full health and show her what it’s like to be loved. Fostering gives me a feeling of need and a sense of accomplishment. Since I work at Wayside I get to see first hand how much fostering makes a difference; it’s phenomenal. And Hot Pocket is one of the best examples I have to show that.

Written by Alyssa Willet
Puppy Nursery Caretaker at Wayside Waifs

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