A Day with a Homeless Dog

A Day with a Homeless Dog

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Help Hoya find a Home

I have been volunteering at the KCMO shelter for almost 4 years and I have seen MANY dogs; all shapes, sizes, breeds and personalities.  There have been so many that have taken a piece of my heart and special ones I won't ever forget.  I recently met another one that I can't stop thinking about - my boy Hoya!

Hoya's story starts on Oct 17th when he first arrived at the shelter. Unfortunately, I didn't get to meet Hoya back then, but someone from the public found him running around and dropped him off at the shelter as a stray.  No one ever came for him so he became available for adoption.  The trainer described him as an active young male who is both friendly and social.  He seemed to ignore cats and did ok with some dogs and needed to learn a few manners.  Hoya stayed at the shelter until he was adopted in the beginning of December.  His time was short with his new family and he was brought back maybe 2 weeks later =(


I CANNOT say enough fabulous things about this Boxer mix.  Hoya is so stinkin handsome.  He is totally housetrained, he knows the commands "sit", "shake" and "down".  When harnessed on a leash he is a breeze to walk.  He will sit pretty and enjoy the world with you.  He does fantastic in the car.  He can be picky with his dog friends, but I am sure out of the stressful environment Hoya will know no strangers.  He is a total lovebug and will melt your heart.

Right now Hoya is really struggling with being stuck in a kennel all day.  He is stressing himself out, pacing and barking.  He seems to barely eat and is on alert all day long.  He can't seem to relax at all.  Today I took him from the Zona Rosa location to the shelter for a little bit of a break.  He had a nice peaceful car ride and enjoyed the one on one time.  We were able to let him play with a couple of dogs to try and wear him out.  I really tried to show him off to potential adopters, but today wasn't his day.  He finally took a little nap on the way back to Zona, I was happy to see him tired.  I tried hard not to cry when I left him today, but I just want the best for him.  I will be back at Zona tomorrow to spend more time with his precious face! 

Hoya is absolutely wonderful and I know there is the perfect family for him, they just don't know that he is at Zona waiting for them.  If anyone is looking for AWESOMENESS, please tell them about Hoya.  He deserves lots of love and attention!!!  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

One Dog at a Time

OVERWHELMING, the one word most used to describe the KCMO shelter.  The number of dogs is overwhelming, the barking dogs is overwhelming, the smell of 150+ dogs in one big room is overwhelming.  It is the feeling I get as I am driving to the shelter, wondering, how many volunteers will be there to help me.  After almost 4 years it is a feeling that is still there and probably won't ever go away.  

It was just this past Sunday that I became overwhelmed before I even left the house.  I only knew of one other volunteer who had confirmed she would be at the shelter to help (I can always count on Natalie).  That was two volunteers to try and walk at least 80 dogs, two volunteers to help the photographer get pictures of all the newest dogs up for adoption.  We would both be helping potential adopters and I knew at that point all the dogs weren't going to get out for a walk that day.  I felt overwhelmed having to choose which dogs I was going to pick and which ones I would pass up while they look at me with those eyes, telling me to pick them.  I hate that feeling and unfortunately it happens more than I want it to. 

I arrive at the shelter and Natalie has already started, it is always so nice to see people who have the same passion you do.  I grab my leash and despite my overwhelming feeling, I am happy I am there to help and give attention to the dogs.  The multiple dogs in the stacked cages all turn when they see the door open and my five hour volunteer shift has begun - One Dog at a Time...   

I constantly remind myself to focus on the one dog I am spending time with.  Learn his/her name, get to know their personality, give them the attention they have never had or are missing since arriving at the shelter.  Then I come across the first dog I picked; a potential adopter is interested in Nicole, a young Boxer/Lab mix.  She is shaking in her kennel, tail tucked as far under as she can get it and is hesitant to let me get her out.  Here comes that feeling again, not only for me, but for Nicole.  She is overwhelmed by all the other dogs and is nervous to trust me.  Once we get her outside, Nicole's personality completely changes.  The woman looking at her seems to instantly bond, taking her on a walk and cuddling her.  Fingers crossed, Nicole might just be getting a home...            
It didn't happen on Sunday for Nicole unfortunately, but just this past Tuesday, Nicole was on the adopted list.  She had found her people and she wasn't going to have to feel overwhelmed in the shelter any longer.

The day continued, one dog at a time.  I met so many fantastic dogs, all worthy of a wonderful home.  More volunteers showed up and we were able to help each other out, sharing stories of the dogs we were walking, working together one dog at a time.  We were able to get all 30+ dogs a fantastic professional photograph.  More dogs got outside to play than I expected and I was able to get 7 new videos of dogs that are available for adoption.

It was nice to see that despite the overwhelming feeling that most of us had, we all STILL came out to volunteer.  I understand it is hard and stressful and sad, but if we don't come out to volunteer, who will?  These dogs deserve the smallest amount of time we can give to show them love and attention.  If we all work together, support each other, it doesn't always have to be so sad and overwhelming.  How do we get more volunteers to stay involved and help each other out, so the same volunteers aren't always there feeling those feelings?

Please just remember this - it is one dog at a time!  
I can't share this quote enough - "The kindness one does for an animal may not change the world...but IT WILL change the world for that one animal!"        

Let's all continue to work together and help support our homeless animals and each other.  Please consider volunteering at the KCMO animal shelter!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Why should you Volunteer...

I have heard time and time again all the reasons why someone can't or won't volunteer at an animal shelter, especially at the KCMO shelter.  Anyone can argue that they don't have enough time (who does?) or that they are too tender hearted and could not endure the prospect of becoming attached to a dog or cat who had to be put to death because time had run out. There are so many reasons why people can't become a volunteer, but I have to share the so many reasons why people should...

1. Be part of the solution. You'll join a network of hundreds of thousands of people working to make the world safe and more humane for all living creatures. You'll make the jobs of everyone working for animals a little easier by lending a hand and spreading the message of responsible pet ownership and animal protection. 

2. Get warm fuzzies. You'll never find a more grateful and accepting comrade than an animal you've comforted. To them your undivided attention is the best part of their day. 

3. Keep good company. You'll make lots of new friends—and not just the four-legged kind. Working side by side with people who share similar interests can forge lifelong friendships. I have met so many great people and it is one of the reasons I continue to go back every Sunday.

4. Meet the new you. You'll discover skills you never knew you had, and you may be surprised at what you're capable of achieving. The exercise you can get with some of those dogs is amazing.  Along with using customer service skills and helping people find the right match for them.

5. Gain a new career. You'll learn things that may lead you to the career—or career change—of your dreams. Employers and college admissions officers look favorably on time spent in volunteer service. 

6. Enjoy a wagging tail, a purr, and a smile. Didn't someone once say that the best things in life are free?  A lick on the hand or a hug makes all your other worries go away.

I know it can be hard and maybe going into the shelter is just to much and overwhelming.  Please know that there are other volunteer opportunities that are available.  Destiny Hritz would love to show you the many possibilities to help KC's homeless animals. 

1. Animal Taxi. Dogs and cats both need to be taken to other places.  Maybe it is heartworm treatment or brought to a boarding facility.  Weekly transports are guaranteed and we need drivers.

2. Fostering.  There is short term and long term.  We have dogs that just need a nice place to stay for a couple weeks to a month.  These dogs are moving on to bigger and better things and they could use a place to stay.  Long term would require someone to keep the dog until it is adopted and finds its forever home.  I have done both and it is great to give those dogs the one on one attention they deserve. 

3. Office help.  There is always something that the ladies could use help with.  Filing and organizing papers. Maybe even cleaning up areas.  Just ask and I am sure they would be so appreciative.

4. Photography.  Beautiful photographs are the best way to market these animals.  Volunteering to capture our adorable dogs and cats in their cutest poses is so helpful.  Pictures say 1,000 words! 

5. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK.  We can't say how important it is to spread the word about the KCMO shelter.  Many people have never heard of us and don't know where we are.  They think we are full of pitbulls and unwanted animals, but KCPP is so much more, help us spread the word about all the wonderful things that are happening! 

I leave you with some adorable faces who are waiting to see you and get a chance of fresh air and love.  Please invite friends, make it a group activity.  I started 3 years ago and I am thankful for everyday that I get to give these dogs LOVE and ATTENTION! 


Thursday, September 6, 2012

What and Why is Fostering Important...

Fostering is, quite simply, bringing a dog into your home and loving it like a member of your family until they are ready to find their furever people.  Fostering might not be for everyone, but before anyone completely writes off opening their home to a dog or cat in need, they should have as much information about it as possible.  

Anyone who’s ever fostered an animal has heard this statement, “I could never do that, it’d be way too hard for me to give them up.”  I’m not going to lie, it has been hard for me every time, but so rewarding.  I have been able to find great homes for 2 of my foster dogs and I am looking forward to finding the perfect home for my current pup.  Please keep the below information in mind when making the decision to foster.

First and foremost it is important that everyone in your household is on board.  Having a dog can be a lot of work.  Feeding time, play time, walks, medications, picking up toys and other, well “stuff” – as a foster parent, you’ll be responsible for all of these things.  Make sure everyone in the house realizes this, and is willing to help pitch in. 

Having a strong support system makes it a lot easier.  KC Pet Project has great resources, volunteers and staff to help you if you decide you’d like to join the wonderful world of dog fostering.  Both the KC Pet Project Volunteer Facebook page and KC Foster Pet Network Facebook page are great resources to ask any questions or get advice for your foster.  There are trainers available if you need help and a foster coordinator to inform you about adoption events and how to get your foster adopted.  Below is a great example of one of how our volunteers can be helpful and share insights on their own foster situations.  Heather Bauer is a foster mom extraordinaire and you can see her advice on how she handles her foster dogs…
Hi All! I've had many people ask me recently how I logistically keep my fosters in my house, and keep everybody happy and sane at the same time;). Thought this might help some that are considering fostering, but just don't know how they'd manage to do it all...
I keep all my fosters in my basement, in crates. It's a basic basement, nothing fancy at all. I always keep a light (of some sort) on, and a radio playing. This seems to keep them pretty soothed throughout the day and night. I always have at least one foster, and 2 other dogs in my house, Macey (a foster failure chow from KCMO) and Harley (another chow mix from Broward County shelter in FL)...I walk or run all the dogs in the morning, and also at night...separately. My dogs have the run of the main floor all day, then I let them out in the back yard at night. My fosters always go in the front yard. They NEVER interact unless I let them. I feed them separately, walk, treats, etc.
I recommend to ANYONE if you can't adopt a dog or cat at this time, to PLEASE FOSTER!! You may only have your foster for a few weeks, may be longer. Fostering is one of the most rewarding things you can possibly do with your free time. Not only are you saving lives, you're fulfilling them with a new found love that many have never known. Beyond that, it brings to you a joy and pride that you just can't get anywhere else.  To apply to be a foster parent just visit the KC Pet Project website and fill out your foster application.  The foster coordinator will contact you within the next few days.  Once you get your dog or cat all you have to do is LOVE them.  You'll be able to take them to FUN adoption events, which not only helps socialize the dog, but you can also meet other foster parents, just like yourself, and compare notes;)  Lots of TLC and love will help your foster get adopted in no time!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Be the Voice - Share these dogs!

 Probably the biggest reason why people don't volunteer is because it is too sad.  Trust me I know this, I have been volunteering for 3 years now.  If I don't do it, who will?  How can I not volunteer and help the voiceless?  There is a way you can help without being at the shelter.  SHARE THEIR STORIES!
The shelter is FULL! It is the summer time, dogs are out running around and ignorant owners are leaving dogs out in this heat.  We have to make space for the dogs that will be coming in tomorrow and next week and next month.   Below are 19 dogs that need your voice.  Some of them have been there since APRIL, some are scared and need a more secure environment.  I am writing this to spread the word about these amazing dogs and to help give them a chance at love and a happy life.  You can help too!  Pick a dog, copy and paste the picture and bio, post it on your Facebook page - it's that easy.  The more people that see these dogs, the more likely their chance of a happily ever after!  Will you help...

Begonia – Retriever X, F, 1 yr, HW neg.  THE LONGEST KCMO RESIDENT Begonia is a sweet, active, water loving dog who is eager to get outside. She is a tad vocal and jumpy in her kennel and can be difficult to leash because she is so excited to go outside. But once she is outside she is more mellow and gentle. She does pull a bit on the leash and could use further training in this area. She allows all touching and handling. She is excited and friendly towards other dogs but her energy level may be too much for some more mellow dogs.  Occasionally she may not get along with another dog, but overall she plays well.  She should be fed separately at mealtimes.  She’s gotten into an altercation with another dog over the food bowl in the past.  At the shelter she has been exhibiting some unwanted cage behavior, barking and growling and lunging at people, particularly the vet staff.

Lincoln – Retriever X, 1-3 yrs, HW neg. THE SECOND LONGEST KCMO RESIDENT
Lincoln would probably love to be someone's running buddy as he is very athletic and strong. He loves to run outside and sniff and play on his own. He is a bit on the independent side, however he seems to enjoy sitting and being stroked and spoken to. He allowed all touching and handling with the exception of full body hugging on which he will tense up and attempt to back out of it. He showed no signs of resource guarding and/or posessive behavior and was confident enough to eat and accept treat from my hand. He did display some defensively aggressive behavior with another dog, growling, baring his teeth and eventually lunging at the other dog. He would do better in a single dog household.

Tofu - Chinese Shar Pei mix, M, 1-3 YRS, HW pos.
This mellow boy just wants someone to sit with and pet him. He is quiet but curious in his kennel and comes forward politely to be leashed and taken out. Outside he walks well on the leash with minimal pulling and comes over to you when you call him. He will play with coaxing and invites but for the most part he prefers to explore and sniff things on his own. He is easy and calm with other dogs but will give correction if the other dog is excessive such as if another dog for tries to mount him. He does show some slight sensitivity in handling his front paws, he will flinch and pull them away. Other than that he allowed all touching and handling and showed no signs of aggression and/or possessive behavior. Tofu has a head tilt, likely the result of an inner ear infection.  He will need additional medical care for the ear infection.  Tofu is heartworm positive and a candidate for treatment through the shelters heartworm treatment program.

Trudy - Beagle mix, F, 4-6YRS, HW pos.
This little beagle mix is as sweet and docile as they come. She will get up calmly and come forward in her kennel to be leashed and taken out. She did have a little trouble getting in and out of her kennel and needed to be picked up to get back in. She seems a little wobbly on stairs although she will take them. She was calm and mellow for her bath and water does not seem to make her nervous. She allowed all touching and handling and showed no signs of aggression and/or possessive behavior. She is relaxed and a bit aloof with other dogs, letting them sniff and investigate her, but choosing not to engage with them. She may sniff for a few seconds but then she will find something she is more interested in and go off on her own. She is heartworm positive and candidate for treatment through the shelters heartworm treatment program. Trudy may have a possible neurological issues.  Sometimes she drags her back feet.  This could possibly be intervertebral disc disease.  She will need to be seen by a specialist for more accurate diagnosis.

Norm - Beagle mix, M, 4-6YRS, HW neg.
This little beagle mix is very happy to see you. He is quiet and a little bit reserved in his kennel, but as soon as he sees the leash and a person, he perks right up. Outside he does pull on the leash when he wants something and would benefit from further training in this area. However he is eager to meet people and other dogs as well. He is social and friendly towards other dogs and allows all sniffing and investigating and will even respond to their invites to play after awhile. He allowed all touching and handling and showed no signs of aggression and/or possessive behavior. Norm has skin allergies, the cause is unknown. 

Puffin - Cocker spaniel/poodle mix, F, 1-3YRS, HW ?
Underneath all this hair is an affectionate girl. It takes her a little while to warm up to you, but with a few gentle words and some coaxing, she will creep up to you on her belly for some petting. She is quiet and shy in her kennel, not making a peep at all. Once she is comfortable she will let you pet her all you want. She will even creep closer to you for more petting. She is nervous and tense with other dogs but she will allow them to sniff and investigate her, but she doesn't seem to want to engage with them. She allowed all touching and handling and showed no signs of aggression and/or possessive behavior.  Puffin just completed a bite quarantine. 

Lionel - Lab mix, M, 1-3YRS, HW?
This little lab mix is a bundle of energy. He is vocal and social in his kennel and comes forward excitedly to be leashed and taken outside. Outside he is curious and excited to explore anything and everything around him. He is eager to run and seems more preoccupied with exploring then greeting people. However he will take treats from your hand nicely. He is active and playful with other dogs and likes to get a bit rough-and-tumble with them. He would do best with another dog who won't be offended by his high energy play style. He did allow all touching and handling and showed no signs of aggression and/or possessive behavior. Lionel just completed a bite quarantine.

Desiree - Shepherd X, F, 1-3 yrs, HW neg.
Desiree is a high energy but socially appropriate with other dogs. She is extremely playful and would do best with another dog who can match her energy level. She is highly aroused by cats and children and a slow introduction would be needed. She would do best in a home without kids as she does display some defensively aggressive behavior in her kennel when she sees small children. She allowed all touching and handling and showed no signs of guarding and/or possessive behavior.  Desiree is a returned adoption because she was also not comfortable with children in the home setting as well.

Newman - Pit Bull X, M, 1-3yrs, HW Pos.
This big, strong guy only sounds scary. In his kennel he does display some aggressive behavior, barking and growling. But as soon as he sees the leash he is a very different dog. He is calm and mellow and will come forward excitedly to be leashed and taken out. Outside he does pull on the leash when he sees something he wants and would do well with further training in the area. He also does display some defensively aggressive behavior with other dogs, growling and barking at them when they get too close. He would do best in a single dog household. He did allow all touching and handling and showed no signs of possessive behavior. He is heartworm positive and a candidate for treatment through the shelters heartworm treatment program.

Chauncy – Pit Bull X, M, 1 yr, HW neg.
Chauncey is a sweet, high energy little pitbull mix who is very excited to meet everyone. He is social and friendly in his kennel and comes forward willingly to be leashed and taken outside. Outside he does pull a bit on the leash and would do well with further training in this area. He is excited and playful with other dogs, sometimes becoming highly aroused and a bit rough-and-tumble with them. He would do well with another dog who can match his energy level and who won't become offended with his rougher playstyle. He did allow all touching and handling and showed no signs of aggression and/or possessive behavior.

Chester “Chewbacca”– Terrier X, M, 4-6 yrs, HW pos.
This poor guy is still very stressed out in the shelter environment. He is gentle and not aggressive, however he is terrified and very difficult to get to move. He will flatten himself out on the floor and refuse to walk. He does allow all touching and handling and will even rest his head in your hand, but he is still very nervous with his environment, and any new environments. He seems to prefer his kennel and will readily go back IN to it, however he is hard to get out of it. He is submissive and very nervous around other dogs, even urinating a bit when approached by one. He would do best with another gentle, mellow dog who won't overwhelm him. Once he is more comfortable, he may do well with another test.

Mason –Pit Bull X, M, 1-3 ys, HW Neg.
Mason is a sweet, high energy boy who loves to run and play. He is social and confident and playful and will come forawrd excitedly to be leashed and taken outside. He is a very strong pitbull mix but pulls very little on the leash when out walking. He allowed all touching and handling and showed no signs of aggression and/or possessive behavior. He is a bit pushy and rough-and-tumble with other dogs and would do best with another dog who can match his energy level and play style.

Holstein – Pit Bull X, M, 1.5 yrs, HW neg.
This big strong guy is a big lug of a dog. He is friendly and mellow in his cage and comes forward readily to be leashed and taken outside. He does pull a bit on the leash and would do well with further training in this area, however he seems to love being outside exploring. He does have a slight kink in his tail and is slightly sensitive about it being handled too much and will pull it away and lick your hand. Other then that he allowed all touching and handling and showed no signs of aggression and/or possessive behavior. He is highly aroused by other dogs and a slow introduction is needed when and if he is to meet another dog. He is friendly but very rough-and-tumble with them and would do best with another dog who can match his energy level and won't be offended by his pushy playstyle.

Midas - Pit Bull X, M, 1.5 yrs, HW neg.
Don't be offended if this pit mix if more interested in his environment then he is in you! He loves to sniff and explore, jumping up on things to get a better look. In his kennel he is friendly and social and may jump up on the cage bars for attention. But he lets you leash him easily and is raring to get outside and explore. He does display some defensively aggressive behavior with other dogs, growling and snapping at them when they approach him. He would do best in a single dog household. He did allow all touching and handling and showed no signs of guarding and/or possessive behavior.

Kale – Retriever X, M, 1 yr, HW neg.
Kale is a friendly, excitable young dog outside.  He is eager to explore and loves sniffing around in the grass. He is friendly and social with other dogs, allowing them to sniff and explore and even attempting to engage in play with them. He allowed all touching and handling and showed no signs of aggression and/or possessive behavior.  Inside his cage, Kale is becoming more frustrated and reactive and off-putting to staff and volunteers as they approach.  Kale is an owner surrender.  His previous family says he is a heavy chewer.

Scruffy  - Poodle X, M, >6 yrs, HW neg.
Both of these little guys are very eager to meet you! They will both come forward in their kennel to be leashed, picked up and taken out. This little guy seems to be the shier of the two, avoiding eye contact with other dogs and tensing up when they go to sniff and investigate him. But he allowed all touching and handling and showed no signs of aggression and/or possessive behavior.  Scruffy and his brother Tuffy are a bonded pair.

Tuffy - Poodle X, M, >6 yrs, HW neg.
These little guys are very eager to meet you. Both of them will come forward in their kennel to be leashed and picked up to be taken outside. They walk nicely together or apart on their leash. This little guy seems to be the more outgoing of the two, and he is a bit more friendly with other dogs then his brother, accepting invites to play and sniffing and exploring.  Tuffy had a mass on his head that was removed a few days ago.  He currently has sutures on his head.   Tuffy and his brother Scruffy are a bonded pair.

Toby – Border Collie X, M, 10 months, HW neg.
Toby is a young border collie with all the typical herding breed traits.  He loves to be active and play and chase.  Toby is great with body handling, remaining friendly throughout the assessment.  Toby is also playful with other dogs.  Toby just completed a bit quarantine.  He was resource guarding a rawhide when he bit someone.  This was the first time the family observed any guarding behavior.  He has not shown guarding over the food bowl or with toys.


Goliath – Lhasa Apso, M, 1-3 Yrs, HW neg.
This over-sized Lhasa Apso mix is not adjusting well to the shelter.  He likes to seek people out on his own terms and resists being picked up.  We believe in a less stressful environment he’ll be able to bond  and establish trust and allow handling.

 Below is a Facebook album so you can easily share all of them!

The Kansas City Animal Shelter is the largest and only open-admission shelter in Kansas City, meaning we cannot turn away Kansas City, Missouri residents who are surrendering either their pet or a stray, nor can we control the number of animals being brought in by Animal Control.  With limited space in our aging shelter, we do everything we can to find adopters, foster homes, other shelters or rescue groups to help us make space in our shelter.  However, not all animals that arrive at an open-admission shelter are able to be made available for adoption, and many may be more difficult for us to place due to medical or behavioral concerns.    The creation of our “Urgent/At Risk” List is comprised of dogs that need to leave the shelter sooner than other dogs. 
For many of these dogs, going into a foster home for a couple of weeks makes a huge difference. The urgent list does not mean that all the dogs on the list will be euthanized at that date and time, but these dogs are in a critical situation where they need to be out of the shelter by the date indicated.  Please help our Rescue Coordinator by networking these dogs, as it may save their lives and make room for the next group of animals coming to the shelter.   We thank you for your support.