Why I Love Working at Wayside Waifs

Marla Svoboda, Wayside Waifs Director of Development

Marla Svoboda, Wayside Waifs Director of Development

Wayside Waifs is such an incredible place on so many levels.  This morning when I pulled up our long drive and visually took in the front half of our gorgeous 44 acres, and bright, beautiful building standing up proudly against a perfect blue sky.  And I smiled to myself as I thought how lucky I am to get to work here.  But it was after parking my car and walking towards the door it hit me…I saw a green vested Wayside volunteer having sharing a special moment with a St. Bernard named Maggie that I really started to get emotional.  They were off to the north of the building, and Maggie was looking up at our volunteer so still and loyal, while our volunteer scratched her ears and spoke to Maggie gently.  For that moment, Maggie wasn’t a homeless dog in a shelter, but a special, loved dog just waiting for her perfect family.  Witnessing the bond of a human and dog, almost even more so with the selfless giving volunteer and homeless animal…it can be overwhelming.  What a gift.

And then there are Wayside Waifs employees.  When I began my work here as Development Director almost four years ago, I remember being blown away by how smart everyone who worked here was!   I suppose I was expecting more passion than intellect (no offense, coworkers!), but Wayside Waifs has a way of attracting the cream of the crop in both categories.   Over the years, I have never worked so hard, or enjoyed anything so much as raising money for thousands of animals who come to our doors each year. It is so fun to tell new people where I work. I joke that there is only one degree of separation between Wayside and the greater Kansas City Community…everybody knows and loves Wayside!

My job allows me the opportunity to talk to people one on one on a daily basis about their pets, and what they mean to them.  Stories of disease, dying and death, stories of loss, of disaster and divorce.  And how their animals, their beloved pets, were the one thing that got them through it all.  Amazing.

My office looks out over the parking lot and some afternoons I will take a break and look out and see brand new adopters gently coaxing in their new waifs into their cars…and I think about excitement of the bond that is just now beginning; that will grow so much over their years together.  That special pet will no longer be one of hundreds in our building, but one precious and valued family member, who will not only be loved but give so much more love in return.  To be a part of that process is humbling, and it is truly an honor for me.

Marla Svoboda
Director of Development

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