Mar 5 2019

What are bonded pairs?

Adopting just one animal is a big responsibility, but have you ever been faced with the idea of adopting two at once? This could happen if you ever fall in love with a Waif in a bonded pair.

Lucas and Lucy, adopted May 2019

A bond between two animals is more than just a friendship. Animals form bonds with each other out of psychological need. Wayside’s waifs in bonded pairs are considered completely attached to one another, so they have to be adopted together. These bonds aren’t just about having another animal to play with, but also about feeling secure.

While both dogs and cats of all ages can form these bonds with one another, more often bonded pairs consist of adult dogs. These bonded pairs are not always siblings, although siblings can become bonded. Usually, animals in bonded pairs have grown up together or at least spent a good chunk of their lives living together. Sometimes bonded pairs are created in a shelter environment when two animals of the same species find comfort in having a best friend. Both animals benefit from the relationship and actually become more social, build trust, and begin to really blossom as pets.

Wayside has found homes for many bonded pairs over the years, but here are some of our favorite bonded waif alums:

At Wayside, we know that the separation of bonded pairs can cause emotional and psychological stress––some research has actually found symptoms of depression in separated pairs––and if prolonged, this stress could lead to physical health issues. These issues might include fatigue and refusing to eat, which could result in weight loss. Wayside’s team closely monitors the behavior of our bonded pairs to ensure both animals are mentally and physically healthy in the relationship.

Recently, Wayside had a bonded pair of dogs, Lucas and Lucy! These two cuties are siblings and inseparable. Lucas is the more confident of the two, and Lucy tends to get stressed, shy, and fearful when she’s away from her brother. Both Lucas and Lucy are great, lovable dogs on their own, but when apart, they lack confidence, and when together, they open up. These two were adopted together so that they can feel comfortable enough to continue building their confidence in their forever home.

Lucas and Lucy, adopted May 2019

Waifs in bonded pairs need their companions by their side in order to live emotionally and physically healthy lives. When you adopt a bonded pair, you’ll know that your pets will always have a friend to hang out with when you aren’t home. Bonded pairs mean twice the love! You can learn more about Lucas and Lucy on our website.

Pet Adoption Center Hours:

Tuesday-Friday Noon – 8 PM

Saturday 10 AM – 5 PM

Sunday 10 AM – 5 PM

Written by Annie B.


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


May 8 2009

All They Wanna Do Is Dance

Do animals respond to music? We know that many shelters use soothing music to calm animals, and dogs left alone in the house seem less lonely with the radio on. But it seems that birds–those music makers of the animal world–are more in tune than any other pet.

Researcher Aniruddh Patel of the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, California, has been studying whether birds actually dance. Parrots are well known for bobbing their heads in response to a variety of stimuli; my own eclectus parrot, Linus, bobbed eagerly when presented with pumpkin seeds, a favorite treat. And he often bobbed up and down when music played. But do parrots really keep to the beat?

Linus, an eclectus parrot

Linus, an eclectus parrot

 Patel concludes that they do, and he’s published his findings in the April 2009 issue of the journal Current Biology. Adena Schachner of Harvard University agrees that animals that mimic sounds internalize the beat of music and dance to it. Read more about their research in this NPR report by Nell Greenfieldboyce. And in the meantime, watch Snowball the cockatoo boogie down with the Backstreet Boys. Snowball lives at the Bird Lovers Only Rescue in Schererville, Indiana.

posted by Claire M. Caterer


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