Jun 21 2017

Waif Wednesday

It’s time to meet our Waifs of the Week: Marshmellow, Bubba Ray and Gracie Belle, and Marvin!

This is Marshmellow, and the name suits him to a T, because he’s white, fluffy and sweet. He was found as a stray. He’s a friendly guy who enjoys attention and gives great headbutts. He’s curious, and he loves to explore his surroundings. He’s very playful, too, and he keeps himself entertained by playing with his toy mouse in his kennel. He has a blast! When he had his Felineality test here at Wayside, we found out that he’s a Sidekick. That means he’s moderately brave in new situations, and his favorite thing in the world is just hanging out with people, and making them look and feel good. Could he do that for you?

Learn more about Marshmellow here.

This is Bubba Ray, a sweet, 9-year-old Rottweiler mix who was brought here by his last owner. In his last home, there was a loose fence and sometimes when he wasn’t being monitored, he would escape. He was just curious though! Anyways, it’s better that he’s now somewhere safe and now he can find his fur-ever peeps and a home that fits him perfectly! He’s a sweet guy who takes his food very seriously which is why he’ll do best in a home without small children. He’d also like if you had a safe, quiet place for him to eat his food. He’s not too fond of cat friends but he loves other canine companions! In fact, I should mention that he’s a bonded pair with his best friend Gracie Belle. They love each other and have to go home together. But hey, two is better than one, right?! He’s super smart and already knows the commands sit, down, handsome, goodnight and shake but he’s eager to learn even more from you! He also loves to get outside and explore the world on walks and does pretty well on leash. He’ll have so much fun getting active with you! He’s a sweet guy who really just wants a family to love and be loved by. I hope that happens soon. Come by soon to see if he’s the one for you!

Learn more about Bubba Ray here.

This is Bubba Ray’s partner in crime Gracie Belle! She’s a sweet girl who’s looking for her second home. You see, her last owners had to bring her to Wayside because she kept escaping. It wasn’t on purpose, she’s just curious! Anyways, now she’s in search of a family who will do what they can to keep her safe and let her love them forever! Needless to say, she’ll need a home with a tall fence that she can’t jump over. She’s pretty athletic. She’s also looking for a home without cats or small children. She’ll do best in a calm home. She should mention that she’s in a bonded pair with her best friend Bubba(pictured above)! They have to go home together but hey, two is better than one right? She’s a sweet girl with a huge heart and her and Bubba are ready to give you all of their love. Come by soon to see if they’re the bonded pair of your dreams!

Learn more about Gracie Belle here.

Bubba Ray and Gracie Belle together on a walk!

This adorable little kitten is Marvin! He is a bundle of fun in a small package and he is so ready for a new family to call his own. Kittens are so much fun and boy do they love to play! He will need some work on training but you will have a lot of fun along the way. Being such a youngster he will definitely need both physical and mental stimulation to help him stay well rounded. Give him some fun and interactive toys in the mix and he will have the time of his life! He thinks I should also tell you that he loves to cuddle. Curl up with him and he will purr to show you just how happy he is; cuddles are his favorite! If you are looking for a new buddy to bring you smiles and cheer, come on out to Wayside Waifs and ask to meet Marvin!

Learn more about Marvin here.

Come meet our Waifs of the Week during our adoption hours listed below.

  • Monday: CLOSED
  • Tuesday: CLOSED
  • Wednesday: Noon-8pm
  • Thursday: Noon-8pm
  • Friday: Noon-8pm
  • Saturday: 10am-6pm
  • Sunday: 1pm-6pm

Written by Teryn

 


Jun 16 2017

Bert and Marla: Long-Term Residents

Wayside Waifs typically cares for 5,400+ animals per year, but some of our residents stay longer than what is expected. Sometimes the animals get extra medical treatment for maybe an upper respiratory infection, to something as severe as pneumonia. That can extend the stay of our friends here, and another reason they may stay longer is if they are involved in our behavior rehabilitation programs here. Every case is different, but these two long-term animals have the longest length of stay in the dog and cat categories. Bert and Marla are eager to find that fur-ever home, but here is a little background about them.

This is Bert, and he is a five-year old Basset Hound mix. His LOS (Length of Stay) is 184 days since he was returned from his previous adopter. Collectively, his LOS is longer than that. Bert was transferred to us back in August of 2016 when his previous shelter ran out of room for him. He came to us with a little upper respiratory infection, as well as being Heartworm positive. Bert received care for both conditions and is now healthy and ready to settle in a home.

Bert battled an infection on and off during his first few months here, and then he was medically cleared for adoption. Bert has a high reactivity to other dogs when on-leash, and he has been known to get stressed out around children. However he is a sweet boy, and very active! He LOVES going on walks and runs, and really loves to be outside when the weather’s nice. He loves toys as well, especially Kongs. The staff members and volunteers here have easily joined Bert’s fan club, as he is now a favorite throughout.

Jess, our Canine and Behavior Manager, speaks highly of Bert. “He’s a really fun guy, and if you’re looking for an active, lovable boy, Bert’s the dog for you.”

Jess also mentions his restrictions with children and dogs shouldn’t necessarily be set in stone. “Honestly, he needs a patient person or persons to train him properly, as he never has had the proper training. Once he has a good pattern of behavior, maybe he’ll do good with kids and dogs. At the beginning, it might be too much for him.”

Elise, a Canine Care Technician, also had some great things to say about Bert. “He will make you laugh, he’ll go outside and roll on his back with a big goofy grin. It’s hilarious!” Elise works with Bert and all of our canine friends regularly, and has seen his progress firsthand. “He needs a special person that will see how unique he is, and that will be Bert’s perfect home.”

This precious boy is looking for his big break, and who better to tell you about Bert than Bert himself?! If you want to watch his video, click here.

“Hi there, I’m Bert! I’m an adorable, 45-pound dog who’s looking for a place to call my own. After being transferred here by my shelter when they ran out of space for me, I’m ready to move on with my life and get things started with my new family! I’ll do better in a home without small children. Sometimes I forget how strong I am! I’d love to meet the whole family before heading home, so bring everyone out to meet me! I’m affectionate and loving with people! I like to stay active because being healthy is so important. I have great leash manners when I use my easy walk harness so taking walks together will be so much fun! Being outside is one of my favorite things so I hope we can spend some time bonding over the exciting sights and smells of this world. I also love to keep my brain sharp so teach me everything you know! I’ve already got the commands sit, down, and come covered but I know I can learn even more with your help. Oh, and I can even army crawl! I think that’s pretty cool. Get me extra motivated with fun toys or yummy treats! I’m so handsome and have a stellar personality. I’m one happy boy who doesn’t know a bad day! I’ll be sure to put a smile on your face whenever you’re around me. I hope you’ll come meet me soon so you can fall in love with my bubbly personality and handsome smile! Love, Bert”

This is Marla, and she is a three-year old tabby cat. Her LOS (Length of Stay) is 136 days straight. Back in February of this year, Marla was rescued from a hoarding case, and had no major signs of illness. With hoarding cases, we test for FIV and FELV, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus and Feline Leukemia Virus respectively. Being around all those cats in certain conditions can bring life-altering illnesses. Marla was the only one out of ten in her group to test negative for both, she is resilient!

Even so, she did contract ringworm after staying her for almost a month, and was put in our isolation ward to treat her patches of hair loss. She was shy through all of this, so she felt a little run-down. However, with quick treatment and our excellent TABBY program, To Achieve Best Behavior Yet, she became the wonderful cat she is today! Our excellent staff and volunteers worked with her everyday to allow her to come out of her shell. She is a staff and volunteer favorite as well, mainly because of how independent she is.

Our Volunteer Coordinator Becky is Marla’s Waif Watcher, which is an advocate program to help promote our waifs. “I love how independent she is, but she also will come up for pets. She will enjoy playing with someone, and playing by herself. She’s the perfect cat!” Becky used to work in our Feline Care Department as well, so she also got to know Marla through there. “When she started to come out of her shell, we noticed how playful she is, and it’s adorable to watch. She is also unique looking for a tabby, so that is a positive too!”

Bonnie, our Feline Care Manager, also has some nice things to say about Marla. “I love seeing a really shy cat make a huge turnaround and become who they really are. The day Marla started to play with me was a great day!” Bonnie founded our TABBY program and it has helped cats like Marla become more confident. “Marla gives good signs when she either has had enough or if she wants more attention. She’s a smart girl!”

This gorgeous gal is looking for her fur-ever home, and that might be you! She would love to tell you about herself, and you can also watch her video here. Please note this video is earlier during her stay here, come meet her to see how much she has grown! Here is how Marla is now!

“Hi I’m Marla! I’m a pretty tabby cat with plenty of love to give. My friends at Wayside call me a Private Investigator. That means that I might spend some time behind the scenes while I make sure everything in the house is in order. I might be a little shy at first but I’ve been known to give purrs and headbutts. I love mice and wand toys! I will need a home where I am the only cat and there are no children under the age of 10. I’ll need someone to be patient with me and give me the private space I need to adjust to a new home. Once I’m comfortable, I’ll be your best friend. I can’t wait to have my own furever family!”

You can meet Bert and Marla at our facility during our adoption hours:

Monday: CLOSED
Tuesday: CLOSED
Wednesday: Noon-8pm
Thursday: Noon-8pm
Friday: Noon-8pm
Saturday: 10am-6pm
Sunday: 1pm-6pm

Written by Teryn


Jun 14 2017

Waif Wednesday

Meet our Waifs of the Week: Marla, Bentley, and Bruno!

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Marla is a pretty three-year old tabby cat with plenty of love to give. Her Feline-ality is a Private Investigator, which means she might spend some time behind the scenes and make sure the house is in order. She might be a little shy at first, but she loves to give purrs and headbutts! Her favorite toys are wand and mouse toys! Because she is a shy girl, she would prefer to go to a home without children under the age of ten, and she would prefer to be the only cat in the home. She just wants to have all your love to herself! She asks that her adopter will be patient, as she will be uncomfortable at first in a new environment. She will need a private space for a few days, but after that she is ready to be your companion!

Learn more about Marla here. Marla has a video, you can watch it here!

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Bentley here is a handsome 11 month old American Blue heeler mix, and he is ready for his fur-ever home. He was transferred from another shelter when they ran out of space for him, but he has enjoyed his stay at Wayside so far! His favorite activity would probably be going on walks, and even runs with someone. Bentley is still a puppy so his energy is through the roof, but he is toy motivated so once you give him tennis ball or a chew toy he is a focused boy! He has herding tendencies, so it is recommended he goes home with no children under 5, mainly because he doesn’t want to accidentally hurt them! He would love to continue basic obedience training with someone, he is a smart boy!

Learn more about Bentley here.

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Bruno is an adorable little red kitten and he is three months old. He is a bundle of fun in a small package and he is so ready for a new family to call his own. Kittens are so much fun and boy do they love to play! He will need some work on training but he will have a lot of fun along the way. Being such a youngster he will definitely need both physical and mental stimulation to help him stay well rounded. Give him some fun and interactive toys in the mix and he will have the time of his life! He also loves to cuddle! Curl up with him and he will purr to show you just how happy he is; cuddles are his favorite!

Learn more about Bruno here.

 

You can visit our animals during our adoption hours:

MondayCLOSED
TuesdayCLOSED
WednesdayNoon-8pm
ThursdayNoon-8pm
FridayNoon-8pm
Saturday10am-6pm
Sunday1pm-6pm

Written by Teryn


Jun 8 2017

Waifs of the Week!

 

 Meet our Waifs of the Week: Tiger, Ms. Patty, and Cullen.

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Tiger is a handsome five-year old American Pit Bull Terrier mix. He got his name because of the beautiful golden/black striped coat he has, which has earned him many compliments! He’s practically housebroken, and has been buddies with kids in his previous home. He’s not a huge fan of cats, but he does love his exercise! He’s an excellent running partner, but that energy requires him to have a fenced-in yard that is six feet tall. Come down to Wayside and see Tiger, he’ll be the dog standing on top of his crate!

Learn more about Tiger here.

 

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Ms. Patty is a gorgeous four-year old Tortoiseshell cat. Her markings are just one indicator of how unique she is! She is a litter box-trained girl who was transferred from another shelter in search of a furever home. Her Feline-ality is Executive, which means she likes to stay busy! She wants to look out the window, get into drawers or closets, and make time for some naps. But don’t worry; she’ll make time for you! She’s not a super big player, but she’ll let you know how happy I am with purrs and head-butts! See for yourself and maybe you will be a match made in heaven!

Learn more about Ms. Patty here. Ms. Patty has a video, check that out here!

UPDATE: CULLEN WAS ADOPTED ON 6/7/17. CONGRATS CULLEN!

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This is Cullen, a dashing one-year old rat. He is looking for a place to call his own, and your home may be that place! His favorite treats are cheese and romaine lettuce, and his favorite pastime is to exercise in his wheel. During his downtime, he likes to burrow in his blanket and settle in for a nap. He is really friendly and loves to be around everybody! He is ready to meet you whenever you are!

 

Learn more about Cullen here.

 

Come out and meet our Waifs featured here and others during our Adoption Hours:

  • WednesdayNoon-8pm
  • ThursdayNoon-8pm
  • Friday Noon-8pm
  • Saturday 10am-6pm
  •  Sunday 1pm-6pm

 

 

Written by: Teryn J.


Jan 4 2017

Meet our Waifs of the Week!!

Ivory

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Sniff. Look. Listen. That’s how I take in the world. And what a world it is! There are squirrels to be chased! Yards to be sprinted across! People to snuggle! You’re my ticket to that wonderful world! Don’t get me wrong, the kennel I live in here is safe, warm, dry, and clean, but I long to investigate this big fantastic world with someone like you!

I’m a young, tall, lanky Catahoula leopard dog mix with a caramel version of those cool spots that is typical of my breed. Because I’m pretty enthusiastic and take my food quite seriously, I need to go to a home with kids older than five. I walk nicely on a leash and relish discovering all of those interesting things that the world has to offer. I haven’t spent much time in social situations, so I’m hoping you can help me understand this amazing world. I’m super smart and already know sit, shake and down, so show me the rest! I’ll pick it up in no time!

I’m athletic and live life with vitality and gusto, so bring your dog family members out to meet me. They can help us decide if we’re a happy mix.

I’ve got my whole life ahead of me and I’d love to spend it with you! Won’t you come out to meet me? We can be partners exploring this spectacular world!

Love,

Ivory

Meet Ivory on our website:

http://www.waysidewaifs.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Pet_detail_new&petid=33951033

 

Ginger

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I’m young bunny looking for my forever home. I’m super friendly and will hop up to you to say hello! I love to have my super soft fur stroked, and LOVE to eat carrots out of your hand! I like to sit in your lap and have you pet me, but sometimes us bunnies get scared if you pick us up. We will even sometimes kick our legs as a defense. After all, in the wild the only reason we leave the ground is if a predator picks us up.

If you are looking for a fuzzy rabbit as a pet, why not adopt me rather than buying a bunny from a store? I’m looking for a good home too, you know! Did you know that rabbits make excellent house pets? We are actually a lot cleaner than most people think. I am litter box trained and can be let out and about in the house to play. We can also be clicker trained. Try searching for clicker trained rabbits on youtube. It’s pretty fascinating!

Us rabbits love to play with toys and will play with a lot of toys you can easily make yourself. We love to play with cardboard tubing from used up paper towels and toilet paper. Rabbits feel very strongly about recycling, so we do what we can to use up those pesky tubes! We love to burrow in and scratch on cardboard boxes and paper bags. We also love to climb on stuff, so make sure you have some climbing structures for us to play on. Come meet me today. I’ll greet you with a proper sniffing as soon as you approach my enclosure. I can’t wait!!!

Meet Ginger on our website:

http://www.waysidewaifs.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Pet_detail_new&petid=34246790

 

Barney

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Thanks for reading about me! My name is Barney, and I’m a gorgeous gray-and-white boy with beautiful green eyes and and adorable smudge of gray on my nose and a tip of white on my gray tail. I came to Wayside as a stray. I’m a friendly guy who loves people very much. I enjoy attention, and I will let you know how much with my great headbutts and wonderful purr. When I had my Felineality test here at Wayside, they told me I’m a Secret Admirer. That means that I tend to be a little timid in new situations, but I love people very much. Once I get to know and trust you, I will be your best friend forever! I can’t wait to meet you! Love, Barney

 

Meet Barney on our website:

http://www.waysidewaifs.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Pet_detail_cat_new&petid=34144380

 

Don’t furr-get! You can meet Barney, Ginger, Ivory or any of our adoptable pets on our website!

http://www.waysidewaifs.org/


Sep 26 2016

Meet Memphis!

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Meet Memphis! This sweet, goofy guy is a 75-pound Mastiff mix who’s looking for a home. He was transferred to Wayside Waifs when his last shelter ran out of space for him. Now that he’s settled in, he’s more than ready to find his peeps and get to his new fur-ever home!

Are you looking for a laid-back companion who will enjoy relaxing around the house with you? Memphis is your guy! He would be a great friend to children and other canine companions, too. Memphis is super smart and eager to learn all the exciting things you have to teach him. With some positive encouragement and some extra treats for motivation, he’ll be able to learn the ropes in no time.

He loves to stay active by taking long walks. He’s an explorer who enjoys the exciting sights and smells that the great outdoors has to offer. He has great leash manners, too so staying healthy will be something fun you can enjoy together!

Memphis is an independent guy who won’t ask for much. He’ll let you know how much he loves you by curling up by your side to enjoy some belly rubs. As you can see in his picture, he also likes to stick out his tongue for fun! If you’re looking for a silly, fun, loving companion, come by Wayside Waifs soon to see Memphis! Tail wags!


Sep 12 2016

Meet Waif of the Week, Ayla!

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Meet Ayla! Ayla is proud to be one of this week’s Waifs of the Week and is hoping this will be her time to get noticed by her new peeps! Ayla first came to Wayside Waifs when her old shelter ran out of space for her. She was then adopted, but brought back when her owners were worried about her health. When she arrived back at Wayside, we did everything we could to make sure Ayla was in amazing health and feeling more than ready to find her fur-ever home! She’s back and better than ever, waiting for the best family to go home with.

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Ayla is an adorable, Hound/American Blue Heeler who is 1 year and 8 months old. Like most young dogs, she’s energetic and loves to play! She did great with the 6-year-old she used to live with, so if you have little ones at home she’ll make a great companion. She loves to go on walks and does grr-eat when she uses her easy walk harness. Getting active can be a fun and enjoyable experience for both of you! Ayla could also try daycare or dog parks.

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Ayla is a very smart pup. She already know the commands sit, down, and stay and she’s the type of dog who’s always eager to learn. With some basic obedience training she’ll be able to add even more to that list. She’s extra motivated to learn when you give her yummy treats or fun toys to play with!

 

If you’re looking for a companion who is sweet, smart, and beautiful, Ayla is your girl. With those big brown eyes, you’re sure to fall in love at first sight! Ayla would love to meet you so stop by Wayside Waifs soon!

 

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Sep 30 2015

Luna’s Journey to Finding a Forever Home

Scared and hungry, Luna came to Wayside Waifs in need of medical attention.

Scared and hungry, Luna came to Wayside Waifs in need of medical attention.

This is Luna. She came to Wayside Waifs from a well-meaning animal lover that did not have his animals spayed/neutered. After a time he ended up with too many animals to care for and was over the city limit for owned animals. That’s when several cats and kittens were brought to Wayside, including Luna.

She was only 2 1/2 months old, underweight and suffering from Coccidia (a parasite that when not treated, can cause damage to the lining of a cat’s intestines.) We were able to give her life-saving medications to treat the parasites and she also received standard vaccinations. Once she was well, she was spayed and received a microchip.

While at Wayside, she lived in our kitten nursery with her sister Squirt, receiving nutritious food, care and love from our staff and volunteers.

Stay tuned for more about Luna’s story…


Jun 29 2012

Is There A “Cat Person” Purring Inside You?

“I’m just not a cat person.”  Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it all before.  Someone will say they don’t like cats because cats are too independent, or can’t be taken for a run like their canine companion, or can’t play fetch.  Oh, but wait – they can play fetch!  Maybe not exactly like a dog, but yes, cats can be trained to fetch small objects, or to do any number of other tricks.  Don’t like having a litter box in your home?  Many cats can even be trained to use the toilet.  Ah, but, will they flush?  Yes, some will actually do that too! And, yes, I will agree, cats are different than dogs.  But, why would we want them to be the same anyway?  Wouldn’t it be better to celebrate their differences and enjoy each species for what they are, and the varying kinds of companionship that they offer?  What I would really wish for is to be able to break through people’s preconceived opinions regarding cats, especially those who say they don’t like cats but have never actually taken the time to get to know any of these marvelous creatures.  

No, I’m not the crazy cat lady.  I am an equal opportunity pet adopter, and I currently have both cats and dogs in my home.  I didn’t grow up owning cats, although I would have liked to.  So, now that the choice is solely mine, I live in a multiple-cat household; currently owning 3 cats, and previously owning as many as 5 at one time.  Making up for lost time, ya know?  And, just like dogs, each is unique in his or her own way, and each one breaks down all of the myths and negative comments regarding cats that I have ever heard. 

Some say they are opposed to owning cats because they believe cats are cold and aloof, or unaffectionate.  Well, I’m here to tell ya, although I can’t speak to the personality of every single cat out there, my experience with my kitty companions has been just the opposite.  One of my cats, who, fortunately for me, lived to be 19 years old, would come bounding onto my lap whenever and wherever I would sit down.  He would happily share his real estate with any of the other cats if they so desired, but inevitably some would just have to settle for a close proximity whenever adequate lap space was not available.  Still, one cat (now 13) has never once ventured onto my lap nor has he ever wanted to be picked up and held.  But, he will lie beside me on the couch and relish in being pet for as long as I will pet him.  And that’s OK, because in his own way he still enjoys “sharin’ the love”.   

Like dogs, cats do require time and maintenance.  Cats are certainly willing to entertain themselves with a toy, but they much prefer their play involve human interaction too.  All, especially those with long hair, need to be brushed regularly to avoid matting.  And, even if items for scratching are provided, their nails will need to be trimmed.  It is also vitally important to clean their litter box every single day.  Oftentimes, the reason that a cat will begin to eliminate outside of its litter box is because the box is not being kept clean.   Essentially, cats are very clean animals, and just so as long as you provide them with a clean and easily accessible litter box it is unlikely that they will eliminate in inappropriate locations, unless there is something medically wrong.  So, if you have a cat that is eliminating outside the litter box it is important that you take him or her to the vet immediately to rule out anything medical. 

Cats aren’t perfect, but neither are dogs, and as responsible pet owners we must learn to make adjustments in our lives, and work to train them to be appropriate housemates.  So, you think a cat won’t obey you?  Won’t come when called?  Does your dog always come when called?  Yes?  Well, good for you!  I wish mine always did!  But, that’s another story.  With repetition, all of my cats have learned their names, and yes, yours can too!  Just like training a dog, if you call your cat’s name and immediately praise him/her with a treat when he/she comes, it probably won’t be long until your cat comes running over to you whenever it is called.  Well, maybe not every time.  Will this work for all cats?  Probably not, but my experience does show that with some cats it is possible.  As with any behavior, almost anything can be modified with consistency and reward.  I also taught one of my cats to sit on command just to prove that it could be done.  He’s quite a chow hound, or rather chow kitty, so it wasn’t exactly a daunting challenge to entice him to sit for a treat.    

Although I can try to impress upon you all of the wonderful things I have learned about cats from sharing my life with them over the years, at the end of the day, people do have their preferences, and we should recognize that a cat is not going to be the right companion pet for everyone, just as a dog is not going to be right for everyone either.  I can respect that, although I would encourage anyone who has never owned a cat to take some time and just get to know a few of these amazing animals.  Whether it’s visiting a friend’s home who has a cat(s) or visiting Wayside’s Cat Adoption area, I would invite you to open your mind to the possibilities, and you just might discover that you are a “cat person” after all.

 

Written by Karen Brown
Lead Development Associate at 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


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