Mar 30 2015

Reducing Urine Marking in Cats

The first step with any behavioral issue is to take your cat to the veterinarian for a full evaluation.  Cats are very stoic animals and will hide illness and injury.  Sometimes our only clue that something is physically wrong is a behavioral symptom.  Many behavioral modification programs can begin in conjunction with or shortly after your trip to the veterinarian.

Cats will spray for three reasons: marking territory, to help them feel secure, or because they are in conflict with another cat. Is your cat neutered/spayed? 90% of cats reduce spraying within 30 days of being neutered. Was your cat previously an outdoor cat? Are there other cats in the home? See also the article on Cats in Conflict. Are there any cats in your neighborhood that walk around?

Determine if you cat is spraying or urinating outside the box.  A cat who is urine marking will typically back up to a vertical surface.  You will see the tail held upright and quiver and the front paws may knead.  You will find a small amount of urine on the vertical surface and usually running down to the floor.  The areas a cat chooses to mark are typically common paths the cats are walking in the house, the perimeter of the home, or around windows and doors. A cat who is not using the litter box will leave a large puddle on a horizontal surface.

Your first step will be cleaning: Try using an enzyme based cleaner on the area.  If the area is carpet can you pull it back and #1 replace the pad #2 get to the wood underlay.  Once you get to the wood you need to get hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar and soak a rag or towel and place it directly on the affected area and place something heavy on top.  The hydrogen peroxide will pull the urine out of the wood.  You may need to change the rag or towel and reapply.  If you attempt this with a finished hardwood floor the stain may also come up if you aren’t careful about the timing so try vinegar. The vinegar mixture should be 1.5 cups warm water and .5 cups of white vinegar. You can also sprinkle baking soda on top of the area once it has dried to absorb any remaining smell. (You should not use vinegar on marble or stone.) You can actually see and smell the urine on the towel so it is quite remarkable! Don’t forget to clean the walls!  You can purchase a hand held black light to see the urine more clearly so you make sure it is completely gone from that area.  In cases of spraying even removing and cleaning behind base boards might be necessary.

Buy puppy pee pads and place those in areas where he sprays to reduce the chance you will need to clean again.  Remember the spray is going up the wall most likely so you may have to get painters tape and put the pee pad on vertically.  The next step will be to place a tall cat scratcher in front of the areas being sprayed and place either a food dish or a water bowl next to it.  Scratching is another (more acceptable to us humans) way to mark territory.  There should be a scratcher for each cat in your case.  Cats also do not like to pee where they eat or drink so adding the food and water to those areas might also help. It will also help to have multiple feedings and watering stations so they don’t have to feel uncomfortable about those resources. It may look silly for a few weeks but they needs to associate those areas with scratching, food, water and finally with playing.  The last portion will be to start playing with them in those areas to build confidence.  Remember that we are trying to break a habit here so it may be a few weeks of this setup.  If another incident occurs simply replace the pee pads.  We are hoping for a reduction of the behavior as they begin to feel more confident.  Only remove them after several weeks of no spraying in that area.

If you see the cat sniffing around in the areas that have previously been sprayed, interrupt the sniffing by distracting the cat with a toy or a treat.  Consider re-cleaning the area in case the smell remains.

 

If after trying these suggestions you are still experiencing undesirable behaviors in your cat, SUBMIT QUESTIONS by clicking the link under Ask A Trainer on the Behavior and Training page of our website.

 


Dec 4 2014

“Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks”: Chatting with Gabby Munoz, Canine Behavior Manager at Wayside Waifs

While I met with Gabby Muñoz the other day, two tiny Chihuahuas explored the office, having just been surrendered by their owners the day before. Gabby pointed out that they were curious and friendly, but nervous. Their ears were set back, and they were a little shaky.

Some dogs who come to Wayside Waifs are more than a little nervous. Abandonment, abuse, or neglect may leave them not knowing how to interact with humans or other animals. They may guard their food or overreact to unfamiliar stimuli, or shy away from contact altogether. Wayside Waifs hired Gabby as an expert to help the more troubled dogs trust again, behave more appropriately and become good pets.

All of Gabby’s work is based on scientific research, in keeping with her academic background. She earned her Masters in Biology with a Zoology concentration from Western Illinois University. She has also always been a “dog person,” and is the owner of two rescue cocker spaniels now.

Gabby told me about a Wayside alum named Frank, a yellow lab/Shepherd mix. His owners had used physical dominance and punishment to try to control him. In response, he had become aggressive, to the point that many shelters might have given up on him.

The staff started Frank’s rehabilitation simply by showering him with treats and positive reinforcement and then ignoring him when he wasn’t behaving. Positive reinforcement works much better than punishment in changing anybody’s behavior. After lots of work with Gabby and the other patient humans at Wayside Waifs, Frank’s behavior had turned around. He was ready to find a forever home, and he went home with a retired man in a successful adoption match.

Because I didn’t associate Labrador retrievers with fighting behavior, I asked Gabby if certain breeds are more aggressive than others. She told me that breeding did bring out certain personality traits, but that a dog’s experience plays a large part as well. Many American pit bull terriers, for instance, can be excellent pets. Wayside Waifs carefully assesses the behavior of all dogs that come to the shelter.

I had read before that owners need to assert their dominance as the “leader of the pack”- something I probably don’t do with my two rescue terriers. Gabby explained that this idea came from studying wolf behavior. But although dogs are related to wolves, they’ve evolved to behave quite differently. She said that they best owner-dog relationships are, like any relationship, based on “co-respect.”

Gabby assured me that my dogs could definitely learn more from obedience classes at Wayside Waifs, even though I’ve had them for a while. The shelter actually offers three levels of classes: one for puppies, one for dogs and an advanced course to help dogs obey even in the presence of distractions.

Although any dog can learn a lot, Gabby said, their basic temperament will not change. A shy dog can learn to interact with others, but may never be the life of the party. A boisterous pup can learn to calm down, but may never be a couch potato.

Dogs have their own personalities and quirks, just like people do, and they deserve to be loved for who they are. After all, they love us for who we are. And isn’t that what we all want?

-Stacey Donovan
Contributing Writer


Jul 14 2014

Meet Wayside’s First Canine Behavior Modification Specialist

Gabby Muñoz began her new position at Wayside Waifs in May. Along with overseeing Wayside’s behavior modification and enrichment programs, she also works with the most challenging dogs to make them adoptable. Gabby works with one of our Waifs

Gabby received her Master of Science degree in Biology, with Zoology concentration, from Western Illinois University. Before joining Wayside she served as head of dog training at Dog Pawz Day Care in New Orleans. Most recently, Gabby was a zoo keeper at the Kansas City Zoo. She has two adopted cocker spaniels, Wylie and Brando and has been a volunteer at Wayside since last May.

Gabby has created a new series of dog training classes at Wayside. Check out our website to learn more about these classes and to sign-up for upcoming sessions.

Written by: Trish Stinger
Web Marketing Manager
Wayside Waifs


Jan 20 2012

The Amazing Transformation of Izzy

The day Izzy was rescued

The day Izzy was rescued

Commitment…  Patience…  Unconditional love…  Acceptance…  Powerful words with serious meanings.   But, all must become a basic way of life for anyone who is considering adopting a puppy mill rescue.  Some puppy mill rescues may eventually become fairly “normal” dogs, but others’ spirits have been so battered and broken that they will never truly recover, leaving them with permanent physical and/or psychological scars that will affect them for the rest of their lives.  Some will come with medical issues due to lack of proper nutrition, veterinary care and sanitary housing, while others will be plagued with psychological issues, most commonly an intense fear; both of people and of new situations.  And, due to their endless confinement, all will have a lack of understanding of the appropriate protocol for elimination.  Many will get better, but far more will not.  At least not completely.  But, now, thanks to the rescue efforts of Wayside Waifs, many puppy mill rescues are being given a second chance at life in a home where they will know love unlike anything they could ever imagine. 

 It was November 3, 2009 when 21 frightened and horribly neglected dogs were rescued by Wayside Waifs from their previous lives of pain and misery at a puppy mill in Camden County, MO.   As I watched them being impounded that day, I found that my heart was especially touched by two emaciated poodles; one gray and one cream colored.  It brought tears to my eyes to see their dirty matted fur, their incredibly long toenails, their filthy, rotten teeth, the wounds on their bodies from having to fight for their food, their swollen and stretched out mammary glands, and their wasted and worn out bodied from years of over-breeding.   And, more heart-wrenching still was seeing the dreadful fear in their eyes as they stood trembling at the uncertainty of their fate.  No matter how gentle the touch or how softly and kindly the words “It’s going to be OK” were spoken to them, they still could not comprehend that they were safe and that they were now beginning their journey to a life that would be filled with goodness.  In their frightened little minds, the past had proven to them that only bad things ever happened, so how could this scary new world be anything but a continuation of their previous life in hell?  Fortunately for them, time was on their side, and each would be allowed to adjust to their new-found freedom at his or her own rate.  Over the next couple of weeks I would often visit with my two little favorites; the gray and cream colored poodles, along with several others too.  I would spend some time just being with them every day, trying to help with their socialization, always telling myself that they would all be going to wonderful, loving homes, and that I would have to let them go, because the two dogs I already had at home were enough. Eventually, each of the rescues began their migration from the holding side of the building over to the adoption side, and one by one they started leaving Wayside, to a new and better way of life. 

It was one day in late November when I went to visit with one of the poodles that I found she had a new “roommate”, because her previous little buddy had recently been adopted.  Who was this pitiful looking schnoodle, and how in the world did I miss seeing her before now!!!?  “Darma”, as she was named by the staff, was cowering in the corner, pressing hard against the wall, trying to get as far away from me as she possibly could.  I reached out to let her sniff my hand, but coming from a place where no human contact had likely ever been kind, she had no intention whatsoever of coming anywhere near me.  But, Whispers, the cream-colored poodle, would now readily approach me, so I just continued to visit and snuggle with her, allowing Darma to skeptically look on from the security of her corner.  She looked so sad and lonely huddled there in the corner, but in all honesty, it was the sorrowful, pleading look in her eyes which, in the end, totally captivated me.  Regardless of everything I had told myself about not needing another dog, I really knew from the very first moment I saw her that she would eventually be coming home with me.  And, thanks to Wayside, I have come to discover a reciprocal love from an adorable puppy mill rescue who has come to mean the world to me.

So, I read as much as I could about adopting a puppy mill rescue, and after purchasing a couple of baby gates and placing a dog crate with the door left open in every room of the house, (so she would always have a safe haven close by), I thought I was well-prepared to bring home the newest member of my family.  I quickly learned, however, that nothing I had read had fully prepared me for life with a puppy mill rescue.  On the day of her adoption I went to her kennel, slowly opened the door, and gently lifted her out, at which point she immediately began to fight to get away from me.  So, I clutched her tightly to my chest, and just sat down on the floor with her and spoke to her in a calm, soothing voice, and once she relaxed and ceased to tremble I felt we were ready to go home.  I placed her in a travel crate, knowing that the car ride home would be particularly frightening for her, and that confinement while in the car would be the best option.  Nearly everything she would encounter now would be completely new to her, and for her, every one of those things would be absolutely terrifying.  It was heartbreaking to see the almost constant fear that she was suffering, but I was certain that, over time, she would eventually overcome those fears.  There would be progress.  It would be slow, but there would be progress.  Dedication…  Commitment…  Patience…  Unconditional love…  Acceptance: Progress… 

I immediately found that she didn’t actually need a crate in every room.  The only crate she ever would flee to was the one that she sleeps in every night.  Every “first” for her was incredibly difficult, and many of her fears of those “firsts” remained fears throughout the “seconds”, “thirds”, “fourths” and beyond.  The first time I put a leash on her she flopped around like a fish out of water, but it didn’t take her very long to adjust, and now she walks on leash really well.  Progress…

Her reaction to every new experience was to bolt, not really knowing where she was bolting to, or if the path that she was choosing was safe to take or not.  Everything she experienced initially sent her scurrying; the vacuum, television, doorbell, dishwasher…  She no longer runs to hide from any of those things, although she does still prefer to keep her distance from the vacuum.  Progress…  Rain, snow, walking on the grass, or just being outside, were all horribly frightening to her at first, but now she loves to go out in the back yard, as long as I go out there with her.  Progress…  Once-in-awhile she still will have an accident in the house, but that is rare, so in that regard she is getting better.  Progress…  She has even learned what “go potty” means, and knows to eliminate at that prompting.  But, if I take her outside and she doesn’t actually need to go at the time, she will still squat when I say “go potty” and then come running over to me to receive her snuggles and praise.  She’s no dummy!  And, as terrifying as the first few baths were for her, she really doesn’t mind bathing now at all.  I found that giving her treats while bathing her provided her with something she desired to such an extent that she would willingly tolerate a bath, if she had to, in order to receive those treats.  Now, every time I even just pull back the shower curtain, she comes running into the bathroom and puts her paws up on the side of the tub – just in case it happens to be her bath/treat time.  Progress… 

Izzy today

Izzy today

I am fortunate in that I can take Darma (now *Izzy) to work with me every day.  Her comfort zone is under my desk, and although that is where she stays all day, except for when we go out for a walk, I still feel it is better for her than being at home, alone in her crate all day.  *So, how did Darma come to be known as Izzy?  When Izzy first came home with me, she still had her puppy mill look – a skinny, frightened pooch with dirty matted fur.  So, I thought that this “not quite beautiful on the outside yet” little girl needed a beautiful name, so I named her Isabella.  So, I groom, and I try to get her to the “beautiful” look, but after every bathing and grooming she immediately shakes her body and rolls around on the ground, only to rise up looking terribly scruffy and completely unkempt.  So, I decided that shortening her name to Izzy was more fitting to her crazy and cute, yet messy and disheveled look.

Nothing makes me happier now than to see her running at full speed around the back yard, sometimes chasing after my other schnoodle, and sometimes just running for the sheer pleasure of being able to run free.  Progress…  She is my constant companion, and in the comfort of her home, her eyes are bright, her stubby little tail is constantly wagging and she runs and plays like any “normal” dog.  Progress…  But still, whenever she encounters other people, or faces new situations, she reverts back to being that scared and distant recluse that made her way into my heart back on that cold November day. 

Oftentimes, when she is sitting on my lap, I will look into her soulful and hurt-filled eyes, and wonder of the fear that is behind them, and the painful memories that time can never erase.  It infuriates me that she, and so many like her, have been forced to endure a life filled with horrible torture and unspeakable pain, all so that some selfish, greedy breeders can make a buck.  Yes, hundreds have been saved, but sadly, thousands remain imprisoned, daily suffering a fate that is far worse than death.  We can’t give up on them.  Wayside Waifs will not give up on them.  One by one by one we will do our best to offer these survivors the life that they deserve.  And, to all of the other Izzys out there – We will not forget you.  We will not abandon you.  We will not stop fighting for justice for you.  We will not.  WE. WILL. NOT.  Progress…

 

Written by Karen Brown
Lead Development Associate at Wayside Waifs


Jan 10 2011

Keeping Your Waifs Safe & Warm This Winter

Until now, let’s face it- we have been spoiled!  But finally “old man winter” has delivered a wintery blast and its time for humans to dig out their snow boots and ice scrapers.  It’s also time to think about keeping our pets safe during these snowy arctic cold days.  Here are some tips to keeping your pets safe.

1.  Keep your pets inside.  Limit your pets outside time for bathroom breaks when temperatures start to tumble.  If its too cold for you, it’s defintely too cold for your pet.  If your pet is normally outside, move them to a sheltered garage or heated dog house, away from the wind.     

2. Outdoor cats have been known to find refuge underneath the hoods of cars.  When the car is started, the cat could become injured or even killed by moving parts of the engine.  If you have an outdoor cat, honk the horn before starting the car to give the cat a chance to escape.

3.  Keep your dog on a leash in the winter weather.  Pets can lose their scent in the snow and ice and find refuge in unfamiliar places.  This is also a good opportunity to check your dog or cats id tag to make sure they have the most current contact information in case your pet becomes lost or stolen.  We also recommend mircrochipping your pet.  More dogs are lost during the winter than any other time of the year.

4.  When getting your pet groomed, don’t have them shaved down to the skin.  A longer coat provides more warmth.  Bathing your dog?  Be sure to completely dry them before taking them out for a walk.  For short-haired breeds, put them in a warm sweater with a high collar that gives the pet coverage from the base of their tail to the belly.  

5.  Make sure to keep a dry towel near the door when you bring in your dogs from being outside.  Thoroughly dry their paws, legs and belly.  They can pick up bits of salt, antifreeze and other lethal chemicals from being outside.  It can also be painful for the animal to have shards of ice in their fur.   A dogs paws can actually bleed from encrusted ice.  This is also a good opportunity to give them some extra love and praise them for good outdoor behavior.

6.  Never leave your pet alone in a vehicle.  The vehicle can act as a refridgerator, keeping the cold inside and causing your pet to freeze to death. 

7.  If your pet spends a lot of time playing outside, increase his food supply.  Make sure to include extra protein to help keep his fur in great shape.

8.  Coolant and antifreeze are lethal for cats and dogs.  If you have any spills in your garage or driveway make sure to clean them thoroughly.  Stay away from product s that use ethylene glycol.  If your pet should ingest any of these products, call your veterinarian immediately.

9.  Rock salt is also dangerous for pets.  “Safe Paw” is pet safe ice melt is available for sale at Wayside Waifs and is safe for pets.  Wayside sells “Safe Paw” for about $3 less than most retail stores.   

10.  Give your pet a warm place to sleep.  Make sure beds are located away from doors and drafts.  Warm blankets or a large pillow is great. 

Written by Trish Stinger
Web Marketing Manager at Wayside Waifs


Jul 3 2010

If You Have to Surrender a Pet…

Cody was surrendered to Wayside in May

Cody was surrendered to Wayside in May

Wayside Waifs is an amazing place. If you are reading this, I am sure you have seen our new, amazing dog adoption area. You know how much work we put in to taking care of and finding homes for the animals who come through our doors. You have met the amazing staff and dedicated volunteers who come in day in and day out to help care for and socialize the 300+ animals who currently call Wayside home. You know the good things we do. So, it may come as a surprise to hear me say the absolute best place for your companion animals is in a home. 

No matter how amazing we become, Wayside Waifs is a scary and stressful place for the animals. It is new and unusual and full of strange smells and sights and sounds the animals are not used to. Yes, most animals take to Wayside very quickly and have no problem while they are here. I am certain all of these animals would much rather be in a loving home. Bringing an animal to Wayside Waifs should be the last step in trying to find your companion a home. 

People often wonder why Wayside has so many big dogs and so few puppies or small dogs. The reason is simple—we have a much easier time finding homes for puppies and small dogs. Just like every one of you knows someone (or knows someone who knows someone) who would take in a Chihuahua or wants a puppy, many of you would have a harder time finding someone who would take in a three-year-old, 85 pound lab mix. It’s the same with us. The small dogs and puppies fly out of the shelter. The super friendly, loving, happy, playful labs and shepherds and mutts tend to spend more time with us.  

What can you do to help? Encourage everyone you know to adopt and not buy animals from Pet Stores or from a breeder. We always have “pure-breed” dogs and cats in the shelter. Visit our adoptions page and count how many “pure-breed” and “designer” dogs and cats we have available for adoption. We also will often see small mammals, rabbits, reptiles, birds and the like. 

Encourage everyone you know to spay and neuter their companions. We see “accidental” litters every day. A couple of great organizations to contact for help are Spay/Neuter Kansas City (http://snkc.net/) and No More Homeless Pets Kansas City (http://www.nmhpkc.org/).

If you have to find a new home for your companion animal, utilize free services like Petfinder (www.petfinder.com) or Craigslist (www.craigslist.com) before surrendering to Wayside. It will take a little more work on your part, but you will get to hand-pick the new family for your companion and Wayside will be able to better help the animals who have no other place to go. 

What should you do with an animal you find? If you can’t take care of the animal while looking for the human companion, utilize your local animal control. This is where the human will look for the lost animal. We do not have the ability to take in found animals without an appointment as we are limited on space and don’t euthanize the animals in our care to make room for new animals. If you want to hold on to the found animal while looking for the human who lost him/her, we will gladly set you up an appointment to utilize if you can’t find them or can’t find a new home for the animal. (If you have animals, get them micro-chipped so they can be reunited with you more quickly. If they have a microchip, please update the information to make sure they have your current phone number and address.) 

We want to be able to help as many animals as possible, but we also want to be able to help the people and the animals who need the most help. There are times when someone will not have the ability to find their companion a new home. In these cases, we would love to be able to always bring them in immediately, but sometimes we can not. We don’t like to say no to anyone, but there are times when it is necessary. You love the animals in your home and want to do what is best for them. We have over 300 animals in our “home” who we love and we have to do what is best for them. Sometimes, this means we have to so no. It’s nothing personal. If everyone did their part to help increase adoptions and to lower the number of animals in our community who need help, we will be able to really help the animals and the people who need it the most.

 

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


May 13 2010

A Dog’s Purpose


We are very pleased to tell you about a wonderful opportunity that’s come our way-a partnership with Rainy Day Books to raise important funds for Wayside Waifs. 

A great new novel about dogs, A Dog’s Purpose, is coming out July 6, 2010.  Between now and then, Rainy Day Books is accepting orders for the book, “pre-sales” as they are called.   For every pre-sale of A Dog’s Purpose, Rainy Day Books will donate 10% of the cover price to Wayside Waifs.  That’s around $2.20 for every pre-sale.  It could add up quickly, providing us badly needed funds!   Best yet, it is money we make without having to spend money-there’s no overhead cost to us.

This novel is being lauded by some of the nation’s top animal advocates.  More about that below, but first, here are the details of the program.  To support this effort, all you need to do is buy one or more copies of A Dog’s Purpose by going to the book store’s website or by phoning in your order at (913) 384-3126, or by visiting the store to place your order at 2706 W. 53rd Street,, Fairway, KS 66205

Be sure to tell them you want the money to go to Wayside Waifs, as they are donating to two charities in this program.  A Dog’s Purpose is written by the NY Times Bestselling Author and nationally syndicated newspaper columnist W. Bruce Cameron.  Read more about the author at www.adogspurpose.com .

 

Written by Ashlee Parker
Communications Relations Manager at Wayside Waifs


Mar 13 2010

Please, No Pets for Easter

 

Every spring, just in time for Easter, the rabbit population begins its annual explosion. Some parents can’t resist tucking a real live bunny in the basket along with the jelly beans.  But animal welfare groups across the country, from the Missouri House Rabbit Society to shelters nationwide, issue the same plea: Don’t give in.

First of all, a holiday is no time to get a pet. A new pet will be frightened and disoriented; it deserves a calm, even boring debut, not barking dogs, a houseful of strangers, and frenzied children darting around looking for eggs.

But more important, bunnies–and this goes for chicks and ducks, too–are more high-maintenance than you might think. They can’t independently roam your house, unless you don’t mind them gnawing down the dining-room chair legs or tattering your curtains. They need a lot of attention and interaction (kids are great at this part … at first). They need a large indoor cage, exercise, and grooming. And fowl of any kind will need some sort of coop, feed, possibly a water source to swim in, and protection from predators. And did I mention the mess?

A rabbit or duck’s lifespan is ten-plus years. The commitment is the same as for a cat or a dog, and these animals cannot be abandoned to the wild and expected to “make it.” Without the defenses and street savvy of their wild cousins, they’re sure to fall victim to predators.

A rabbit can make a wonderful pet–if you’ve done your research, have the space and time necessary, and have prepared your home and family for its arrival.  You may be ready for the joys of a pet bunny. But please, wait until after Easter.

(For more information on rabbit care, visit the Humane Society of the United States information page. As always, we urge you to consider adopting a homeless animal from a shelter or rescue center.)


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 2 2010

Hamsters

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


Powered by WordPress, Created by Spur Communications