Aug 13 2015

Meet Frida!

Hello, I’m Frida! Have you ever seen a face as precious as mine? I know, I know…I’m hard to resist, with my adorable looks and sweet personality. But I’m so much more than a pretty face. I’m a wonderful dog, looking for a dedicated and committed owner who won’t give up on me. I want to be your dog forever. I will entertain you and make you smile every single day for the rest of my life…that’s a promise! I am playful and social and affectionate and lots of fun!

I am a gorgeous, 47 pounds of pure sweetness, purebred Pit Bull Terrier. I’m already partially housetrained and crate trained. Please be patient with me though when we get home, since another change in my life is sure to take me time to adjust to. My whole life so far has been about change. As a wee pup, I was rescued by the ASPCA and brought here to Wayside. I was adopted for a few days, but things didn’t work out for me there, so I came back and spent time in a loving foster home, learning all about life as a beloved family dog. It worked, too, because I found another family and have been with them for the last year and a half. Unfortunately, they’re moving and can’t take me along with them. So now I’m back at Wayside, hoping against hope that this time we finally find each other and become family. I need you and I hope you need me too!

I’m smart, well behaved in a home, and a fun dog to have around. When I lived in a foster home, I stayed in my crate when my family wasn’t home and I was calm and quiet in there, especially when I had a toy to keep me company. In my last home, I stayed in a special room when I was alone. Sometimes I had problems with submissive peeing. A little pee would sneak out when I was nervous. My buddies at Wayside can give you suggestions on ways to help me control that, so be sure to ask! The more comfortable and relaxed I get with you, the less likely that this will be a problem. I’m an affectionate dog who likes to snuggle and I’m easy to care for. Sometimes my play gets rough, so just keep an eye on me, help me stay calm, and I’ll get along just fine. I’d love to enroll in obedience classes with you! I’m one smart cookie, so I think I’d be the star student, and it would help us bond too.

I love to play! My favorite thing is the water and I can keep entertained for hours with a hose, faucet, or sprinkler. I love baths and time in a kiddie pool, too. If you like to spend time at the lake and are looking for a water dog, I might be your gal! I’ll need daily exercise in my new home, so whatever it is that you like to do to stay active, count me in! Even if you’re not into the water, I’ll be happy going for a daily walk or run or hike with you. I just want to be by your side, so I hope you want that too! I’ve lived with other dogs in both my foster home and my latest home, but I’d still like to meet any other dogs you have before we go home together, to be sure we get along great. My playstyle is very rough and tumble, so not all dogs appreciate having me around. But if I can meet the right match for me, I might be a really great dog buddy. I’m also looking for a home without cats or small, furry animals, because I like to chase them.

I’ve lived with kids before and I do just fine with them. In my last home, sometimes I was extra protective of my dad and my 5 year old sister, when strangers came around. This is something that you can train me not to do though. It will be important to redirect me and let me know it’s time to focus on you when I start feeling protective. Your adoption counselor can give you effective ways to help me with this. Please bring the whole family out to Wayside to meet me and we’ll see how we all do together.

I wish my life so far could have been more stable. I wish I could have just been a carefree, sweet, simple puppy, adopted by the perfect family that I ended up living with for my entire life. I wish I didn’t have to spend time at a homeless shelter. But sometimes life doesn’t go as we plan, and I understand that. Despite all I’ve been through, I am a happy and fun little gal, just trying to find my way in this world. I hope you find me soon. I’m so ready for my new life with you to begin!
Love, Frida

P.S. Guess what? I decided to join the Wayside Runners Group, to keep me in shape while I’m here at the shelter. My running friends call me a natural! I run with a loose leash, keeping your pace and staying focused all the way. I notice people admiring my cuteness when I run. Afterwards, a dip in the kiddie pool suits me just fine! If you’re looking for a running partner, I might just be your gal!


Apr 24 2015

Dog Training Tips: Excessive Chewing

How to help your little chewer 

It’s not uncommon for dogs to enjoy chewing on different objects, regardless of whether or not it’s something they should or shouldn’t be chewing on, all dogs have the natural instinct to chew.  Dogs chew on things for different reasons, some of these include: they’re bored, they’re panicking due to separation anxiety, they’re teething, they’re exploring the world around them, they’re hungry, or they just naturally enjoy chewing as a daily activity.  It’s our responsibility as their owners to try to figure out why they’re chewing and ensure they have appropriate items for them to chew on.  Below is some additional information about how to manage a dog that likes to chew a lot.

  • Puppies go through two teething phases, one when their puppy teeth or “milk teeth” start to come in at about 3 weeks old and the second when their adult teeth start to come in at about 3 months old.  It’s not uncommon for young dogs up to two years of age to continue to want to chew a lot into their teenage phase even though they are no longer teething.
  • Generally speaking, younger dogs have a lot more energy than older dogs so as a result they are much more active and need to be given constructive outlets to burn off all that energy.  If they’re not given the appropriate exercise and mental stimulation for their age and breed, young dogs can become very destructive in your home.  It’s imperative that you make the time to exercise your young dog, train basic obedience behaviors to your young dog so that they learn some manners, and give them appropriate chew bones and toys.  A tired dog is a good dog.
  • Always supervise young dogs to ensure they are not chewing on inappropriate objects and to ensure they are not choking and/or ingesting parts of the toys you’ve given them to play with and chew on.  Baby gates, crates, or keeping your dog on a leash tied to your belt are all good tools for total supervision until you get to know your dog and his or her chewing habits.  Not all dogs can play with the same toys safely so it’s imperative that you monitor your dog when you give them a new toy for the first time.  Ingested toys can cause serious life threatening intestinal blockages and the surgery alone to remove the blockage can cost a few thousand dollars at a veterinary office.
  • You can ensure that your dog is not chewing on inappropriate objects by keeping your personal items picked up and put away.  Also make sure that rooms are safe for your dog and that things like plugged in power cords are out of your dog’s reach.  Closing doors to extra rooms like bedrooms and bathrooms will ensure that your dog is not sneaking off and chewing on your things or harming herself.  Remind your children that it is their responsibility to keep their items like toys and shoes put away if they don’t want them chewed on by the dog.  It’s not uncommon for dogs of any age to want to chew things that smell strongly of their owners like dirty socks, underwear, shoes, etc. so make sure they are out of your dog’s reach.
  • If your dog is chewing on an inappropriate item, always redirect their chewing to their dog toys and bones instead of scolding them.  Scolding them will not diminish their need to chew and do something mentally stimulating; it will just teach your dog to fear you.  Instead teach them what they should be doing by offering them toys or chews that they should chew on.  See the list below of toys recommended for excessive chewers.
  • If your dog is chewing on larger items that you can’t put away like furniture, you may want to try a taste deterrent spray like bitter apple spray.  However, the best option is always going to be supervising your dog when you’re home and then redirecting them to an appropriate toy when they feel the need to chew.  If you’re not home to supervise then you may need to crate train your dog or baby gate them in a dog proof room like a kitchen or bathroom.  Some people can safely give their dogs toys to chew on while they are away while others cannot because their dog may have a history of ingesting or choking on toys.
  • If your dog is excessively chewing when you are not home and is doing things like escaping out of its metal or plastic crate and then chewing up carpets, doors, or the molding around your doors or windows, you most like have a dog that is suffering from separation anxiety and should seek immediate help from your veterinarian and a behaviorist.  Please see our separation anxiety handout.  Your dog is experiencing extreme mental and emotional distress, akin to a panic attack. Do not continue to try to crate your dog; she may severely injure her body or teeth while trying to escape out of a crate.
  • Recommended dog toys for excessive chewers*:
    • Kongs stuffed with peanut butter or wet dog food and then frozen
    • Himalayan Chews
    • Goughnuts
    • Nylabones
    • Wholesome rolled rawhide bones
    • Deer, moose, or elk antlers
    • Bull horns
    • Bully sticks
    • Rope toys
    • Tuffy plush toys
    • Leather toys
    • Red Barn or Merrick marrow bones

*Items above are generally safer if they are made in the USA compared to products shipped in from overseas, particularly animal products such as rawhides and marrow bones.  Wayside Waifs does not receive any financial reimbursement for endorsing these products.  Wayside Waifs can also not be held liable should your dog have problems while interacting with these toys.

 


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


Feb 3 2014

Quick Tips for Wintertime Potty Training

potty trainingPotty training your pup can be trying business. So, what do you do when you add snow or ice-laden ground to the picture? Although a wintery mix can complicate things, taking some basic measures can help ease this transition. At Wayside Waifs, we know a thing or two about potty training, and we are here to share some quick and simple tricks that should have your pooch potty trained before you can say “spring” and by the time the flowers are in full bloom.

Potty Training Pointers:

Create a Potty Zone.

When there is snow on the ground and you are trying to potty train your canine, be sure to clear off an area that facilitates your dog’s needs. The area does not have to be huge, but you will want to be certain it is large enough that your dog does not feel cramped.

Send Cues.

One of the most important parts of potty training is sending your pooch the right cues. You want potty time to be unlike any other time. So, when you grab your leash or head to the yard, be sure to get down to business. Saying commands like “Go potty,” or “Do your business,” just before tinkle time is a good start. A rule of thumb? Be firm and consistent with your commands, so your dog associates them with potty time.

Praise, Praise, Praise.

Once your pooch gets it right, going potty outside upon command, make sure to let them know they have done a great job. That’s right; after they finish their business, remind them how good their behavior is. Treats are another form of positive reinforcement; however, just remember to dish them out immediately after the proper behavior occurs.

Learn More

Looking for a canine companion? Wayside Waifs has a number of pooches that would love to find a permanent home. These pointers should get any pooch on the road to becoming house trained in a short matter of time.


Shelter Hours
:

Wednesday-Friday Noon-8pm

Saturday 10am-6pm

Sunday 1pm-6pm 

 


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


Nov 28 2011

Find Grrr-eat Gifts at Whiskers & Wags!

Looking for the purr-fect gift for your kitty?  Does your dog crrr-ave toys that keep him busy?  Whiskers & Wags, Wayside’s Pet Boutique has grrr-eat gifts for your furry family members!  We just received several new holiday toy items in the store, as well as new leashes and collars!   Proceeds from all purchases benefit the animals at Wayside Waifs!

Check ‘em out!

A fun assortment of dog rope toys that will keep your pooch busy for hours! Price: $10 ea.


Naughty or Nice?  You decide!  Each ball has nice on one side and naughty on the other. So fun!  Price: $1 ea.


Colorful plush dog toys are tail waggin’ fun! Price: $5 ea.


For our feline friends these zany cat bouncers feature a fun mouse attached to a “springy” tree. They are guaranteed to be the cats meow!  Price: $5 ea.


These are sure to be a hit!  Handpainted ornaments feature different breeds of cats and dogs! Quantities are limited and new ones are coming in each week!  Price: $10

Shop Whiskers & Wags, located in the Harold & Marilyn Melcher Pet Adoption Center at Wayside Waifs!

Store Hours:
Wednesday – Friday: 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday -Sunday: Noon to 6 p.m.


Sep 29 2011

Meet Bandit!


Hey there everyone! I’m a super handsome and sweet lovebug named Bandit, and am so happy to meet you! I am a 4 year old, 79 pound Dalmatian/Pointer mix, and I’m waiting for a brand new home. Actually, I’ve been waiting awhile now, so very patiently in my kennel, for you to come for me. I break the hearts of some of the volunteers here as they’ve watched me do this waiting game thing. I just stand at the door of my kennel, oftentimes with a toy in my mouth, and I wait.

I’m such a nice and good looking dog! My looks are stunning, what with my black and white coat, adorable face, and cute little paws that prance with joy. I’m at least partially housetrained too, because I know to go to the bathroom as soon as I get outside! I may need a refresher when we get home, but I’m well on my way. I’m trying to do everything I can to be a good boy and hope that someone will want to take me home.

I came to Wayside as a transfer from another shelter where they didn’t have enough room for me. I’m happy to be here, don’t get me wrong, but what I really need is a real home. It’s hard to get a good nights sleep here at the shelter and it’s hard for me to relax in my kennel. I am well behaved, though, and I don’t jump around and bark and act crazy like some of the dogs do. Still, I do want you to notice me. Please?

I am strong, athletic and active. And at 4 years old, I am in the prime of my life! I love to go out for walks, although sometimes I get excited and pull on my leash. I do much better with a harness, if my pulling is a problem for you. Being stuck in my kennel all day just isn’t the life for a dog like me, that’s why I get so anxious and pull. After a run in the park, I calm down quite nicely and don’t pull nearly as much.

I’m quite friendly, social, gentle and playful. I know how to sit for my treats. I love people, but I do have a little bit of an independent streak in me, too. This isn’t a bad thing, because it means I won’t be constantly bugging you for attention. I can keep myself entertained, as long as I have a few toys and room to play. I happen to love to play FETCH! I’m great at the game, too by the way. I always love to have a toy in my mouth. It is calming for me, and it shows that I’m always ready for a game! Because I like my toys so much, I would probably do best in a home without children under 12. I’m not the best at sharing, and small kiddos don’t always understand that. It is called ‘resource guarding’, but, it can be a really easy thing to work with me on. Trainers and adoptions counselors at Wayside have information about how to help me get over my need to guard my favorite items.

As far as other dogs go, I can sometimes be a wee bit bossy. I’m not afraid to show other dogs that I like to be in charge. Because of this, I definitely need to meet any other dogs you have before we all go home together. Of course, my dream home would have me as their only dog. And I think I’ll be enough to keep you happy and loved, so you won’t miss not having another dog around.

The other day, I was chosen to be the Wayside greeter dog, welcoming all the customers to Wayside. You have to be a volunteer favorite to be chosen for this important job. And I was a true gentleman, calm, cool, and collected. I enjoyed the attention, showed off my tricks, loved it when people commented on my cuteness. And when a thunderstorm rolled in, I wasn’t phased a bit. Nope. No fear of thunderstorms from this boy! Unfortunately, you didn’t come for me that particular day, maybe you stayed away because of that storm, but I know you will come soon. I have faith in you.

I’m a pretty simple boy, just looking for a family to be a part of. Daily exercise, fresh water and food, a clean dog bed, someone to pet me and tell me I’m a good boy…that all sounds so wonderful. And in return, I’ll be the most loyal of companions to you! I will be grateful to you and love you with everything I’ve got. No one will try harder than I will! What do I need to do to have you stop by and meet me, instead of passing me by? Until you come, I’ll continue to wait here in my kennel.

Love, Beautiful Bandit

ps WATCH MY VIDEO!


Jan 14 2011

A Story of Inspiration


His ribs were clearly visible, his breath was shallow, he had punctured infected wounds on one side of his skull, an ear was missing, and so was half of his face. This was the result of being a bait dog. A bait dog is used to help train fighter dogs how to fight and kill their opponent. Oogy was found during a raid on a house suspected of drug activity. From his personality, you would never be able to tell that he came from the horrible conditions that he did. His face tells a different story though. 

I came across “Oogy: the dog only a family could love” by Larry Levin when I was browsing through my local bookstore. The animal lover in me, as well as the pitbull advocate, immediately forced my hand to grab the book and throw my money at the closest bookstore employee. As I read through the pages I realized the book wasn’t so much an advocacy book, as I had originally thought. It was a book about the act of kindness, the selflessness of adoption, and the power of love. 

Oogy “picked” his owners; it was not the other way around. Levin’s family was in the vet’s office, having to put their cat to sleep due to old age, when Oogy came barreling out of the door and rammed into the closest family member he could get to. The love was instantaneous. 

To the Levin’s, Oogy was a dog who needed a home; the thought that he may have behavior or physical issues due to his past never crossed their mind. “We met and fell completely and instantaneously in love with a dog who had had unimaginable horror inflicted upon him…And in our naïveté, we did not know that we might not be able to do what we did; that the odds were very much against allowing us to take an abused fighting dog and help him unlock the love in his heart for all living creatures”. Oogy has never met a person, or animal, that he has disliked. 

Overall, this book was a good read just for the hope it shined. Wayside see’s its fair share of horrible cases and has to deal with the end result of an animal being mistreated. Although we are very fortunate to have the resources to save most of these animals, there are some that are not within our reach. It’s nice to read a story that reminds me of why I invest my time and passion into my profession; to save the lives of animals and give them a life worth living. Books like this remind me of Waysides success stories: Chance, the boxer mix who came to us with a hunting arrow sticking out of his leg and his leg had to be amputated is now in a wonderful home; Squeakers, the little kitten who won over the heart of a staff member who refused to give up hope, put together a fundraiser for his medical issues, and placed him in a wonderful home; And of course, my personal favorite, Hot Pocket, the pit-bull mix who I thought would never get over all of her medical conditions is now thriving at 55lbs in her new home. 

If Oogy can teach us one thing it’s the act of forgiveness and perseverance. He overcame overwhelming obstacles and is able to run around with other dogs at the park and live life to the fullest. He loves with abandonment and trusts his people beyond measure. Like most dogs, he is loyal to his family. Even though his face tells a different story, he is finally in a home that loves and cares for him and will never allow harm to come near him again.

Written By Alyssa Willet
Adoptions Supervisor at Wayside Waifs


Dec 21 2010

The Challenges of Raising a Puppy

My sweet boy Truman

An adorable puppy for Christmas – I can’t think of anything cuter.  But before you take home that darling little creature, there are some important things to consider. 

I write from experience.  After I got my first puppy nearly 10 years ago, I wondered if I had actually adopted a little monster cleverly disguised as a precious puppy.  I had no idea how much work raising a puppy entailed.  Truman had lots of accidents, chewed up countless pairs of my favorite shoes (and almost anything else left on the floor) and generated numerous complaints about his incessant barking from my neighbors.  I remember walking Truman around my apartment complex at three o’clock in the morning in the freezing cold, wondering what in the world I had gotten myself into!  

Make no mistake, I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world.  Truman taught me all about patience and responsibility.  And anyone who’s thinking about getting a puppy needs to have lots of both.  Just ask Alyssa Willet, the Adoptions Supervisor at Wayside Waifs. 

“When people adopt puppies, I ask them if they are ready to have a toddler in their home, because that’s what they are getting,” Willett said.  “Puppies don’t know right from wrong, they depend on you to teach them everything.  If you don’t have patience, don’t get a puppy.” 

You will also need lots of time for your puppy.  They develop most of their behavior traits during their first year of life, and you’ll need to be there every step of the way to help them grow into well-behaved, well-socialized members of society.  One of the best ways to learn the basics is by enrolling in an obedience class. 

“Even the most experienced dog owners can learn something at obedience class,” said Willett.  “And the puppies not only learn great skills, they also benefit from socializing with the other puppies in class.” 

Willett is a big proponent of crate training, because it can make housetraining a breeze.  She recommends keeping the crate in a high-traffic area of your home, possibly even your family room so the puppy can always see you and know it hasn’t been abandoned.  Willett also encourages you to keep a watchful eye on your puppy at all times, and don’t let them immediately have the run of your house.  It’s surprising just how quickly they can get into mischief. 

Even before you pick out that perfect puppy, you need to do some basic research.  A quick Google search will turn up loads valuable information about every breed of dog.  Knowing the personality traits, temperament and basic needs of your dog’s primary breed can help you determine if the dog is a good fit for your family.  

I also encourage anyone who wants a puppy to check their local shelters first.  You’ll be surprised at the wide varieties and breeds of puppies available for adoption.  If you don’t find your ideal puppy at a shelter, do your homework and find a responsible breeder who can guarantee your puppy and his parents were raised in a loving, humane environment. 

One other important thing to consider is the expense of a puppy.  One of the advantages to adopting a puppy from Wayside Waifs or your local shelter is your puppy is already spay/neutered and has already received its age appropriate vaccinations.  Still, the puppy will need booster shots every few weeks until they are five months old, so potential puppy parents need to keep vet bills in mind.  As your dog grows, you can also expect to spend more money on its food, a bigger crate and heartworm, flea & tick preventatives.  Obedience training is an additional expense.  At Wayside Waifs our professional dog trainers charge $100 for a series of six classes.     

Just remember the love of an animal is priceless, and even though raising a puppy is a challenge, it’s also highly rewarding.  Cherish all those puppy kisses, that sweet puppy breath and their hilarious antics.  Most of all enjoy building that special bond with your puppy as it grows. 

“It’s so fun to see who they become,” said Willett. 

Truman became the love of my life.  Yes, getting him through that puppy stage was a challenge, but it was worth all those ruined shoes, carpet cleaner and apologies to my neighbors.  Next month we’ll celebrate his tenth birthday and we’ll pray for many more wonderful years together.

Written by Ashlee Parker
Communications Relations Manager at Wayside Waifs


Nov 17 2010

Keeping Your Hounds Happy This Holiday Season

For many of us, that special time of year — from sometime in early November thru the first of January — is a magical time. It’s the holiday season. But if we are dog owners, this time of year may be a real cause for concern. How will our dogs behave around lots of people ringing our doorbell and coming into our home? What will our dog do when we put up the gloriously decorated Christmas tree with beautifully wrapped presents underneath? What about all the special food laid out for our “human” guests to enjoy? How will he handle all the hustle and bustle and comings and goings?

It’s scary to imagine that in less time than it takes to say, “Happy Holidays,” the dogs have torn open packages, chewed the collector’s ornaments, bowled over a guest, unplugged the flashing lights, pulled the roasting pan from the trash, eaten the cookies, sent Grandma’s good china shattering to the floor and vomited on the rug. Instead of listening to carols, you’re busy looking up the phone number for the emergency vet clinic or profusely apologizing to guests because they need to “leave early” because of your dog’s relentless jumping up, or barking at them.

This is a good time to remind ourselves that all dogs are different. They have different personalities. While one dog may revel in the change of pace, another may find it a confusing, stressful time. Your normally placid dog may suddenly begin to exhibit unusual behaviors, such as stealing food, jumping up on people, or growling or snapping at visitors. As owners and “pack leaders”, we need to communicate and demonstrate to our dogs that while their world may be different during these times, we will continue to keep them safe, well managed and secure.

So what can we do now to help prepare ourselves and our pets for these holiday season challenges? Fortunately there are a lot of good answers to this question. To get you started, we will explore just some of them.

Begin working NOW on your dog’s greeting manners if you plan to have guests. Have a friend help by knocking on the door while you practice SIT and STAY with your dog. Teaching your dog what to do when guests arrive will save you and your dog stress from constant correction. Some people teach their dog to “go to your mat” as soon as the doorbell rings.

Keep feeding and exercise routines the same before and during the holidays. Changes to these routines might make your dog feel uncomfortable and anxious. This could bring out unwanted behavior issues.  If you cannot be available to care for the dog at times during the holidays, designate a friend or family member or your local doggy daycare center to provide meals, walks and continued companionship.

Provide your dog with a good “safe zone” place where he feels safe and comfortable. Let your elderly or very shy dog, for example, decide if things are too stressful to remain with the group. Your dog should be able to “escape” to some place away from all the hustle and bustle. It could be a crate or a laundry room or perhaps a basement area. Be sure to give your dog lots of interesting things to do while he is alone – Kongs, toys, food dispensing toys, pigs ears, etc.

Put the food bowl away for a while and feed all of your dog’s meals from Kongs stuffed with his kibble. This takes time and energy to consume breakfast and dinner while you’re busy doing other things. For larger dogs, it might take 4-5 large Kongs to hold all of a meal.

 Anticipate your guest’s arrivals and confine your dog to prevent it from escaping or, worse yet, “soiling” your guest’s clothes with an unwanted jump.

Before your guests arrive, take your dog on a long walk or stimulating doggie adventure. It will take the edge off your dog (and you!) and give you a calorie deficit in preparation for all those gourmet hors d’oeuvres that will be passed around.

Try your best to include your dog, don’t exclude. It can be frustrating to be kept alone and away from al the fun! Don’t banish your dog during holiday activities, but do encourage good manners by requiring that he or she stay on the dog bed, in the crate, behind the baby gate or tethered during the holiday meal.

If overnight guests are joining you for the holidays, orient them with a list of your dog’s rules and etiquette to ensure your training efforts are consistently reinforced. For example: no feeding from the table, no approaching the dog when he or she is sleeping or eating, feeding only “approved” treats, etc.

Happy New Year! Your dog has sensitive hearing and thus the fireworks, bells and whistles of New Year’s revelers can be very frightening. Be sure your dog is in a safe place away from the noise and that he or she can’t escape from your home, yard or auto. Microchip your dog so that both of you can get reunited quickly!

Holiday gatherings can be very over-stimulating for dogs and kids alike, so never leave the dog alone with any little people, even his own kids. Interactions between the dog and kids should be strictly supervised by an adult who’s dog-savvy enough to know when your dog needs a break. Apply the same rule to dogs and children that you would use for managing children around swimming pools in the back yard!

 If your dog is the excitable or anxious type, he might benefit from an over-the-counter remedy, such as Rescue Remedy, to help keep him calm down and relax. Ask your veterinarian about his or her recommendations as well as how much you should use and how often. Comfort Zone or DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) is another good homeopathic option that can also help to maintain your dog’s calm demeanor.

During holiday gatherings, keep a watchful eye for plates and cocktails left at dog level. Since good intentions are prone to fail with so much going on, consider confining your dog to his crate or another room while your guests are bustling about (make sure he has something wonderful to do while he’s there) just to make sure he doesn’t get into trouble.

Be always mindful about heath and safety concerns during the holiday season. Be vigilant about things like: Turkey bones can pose a choking hazard for dogs; Keep things like holly, mistletoe and poinsettia plants out of reach from your dog because they are poisonous to dogs; Avoid glass ornaments, which break easily and may cut a dog’s feet or mouth; Keep burning candles on high tables or mantels and well out of the way of your dog’s wagging tail; and the list goes on.

Much of this is just common sense that we would use around young children during this joyous and festive time of year. With that in mind, we wish all of you a joyous, happy and safe holiday season. And we extend to all of our furry friends, many holiday woofs and lots of joyous wags.

Written by Skip Daiger & Kay Lampe
Professional Dog Trainers and Volunteers at Wayside Waifs


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