A Day with a Homeless Dog

A Day with a Homeless Dog

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Too many lives at risk....

     This week has been an emotional week at the shelter.  So many dogs coming in and the shelter is OVER CAPACITY!  You know what this means?  In order to make space for incoming dogs........dogs are euthanized.  That's the sad truth.  As a volunteer I've received several emails this week with what we call "urgent lists."  These are dogs that have anywhere from 1-3 days to find rescue, foster, or be adopted.  Otherwise.....they are put down.  My heart is breaking for these dogs.  Now don't try and comfort yourself by thinking "oh, they're probably dogs that are really old or sick or aggressive."  Nope sorry, that's not the case.  Or you're thinking "oh they're probably all pit bulls."  Welp that's not the case either.  Shepherds, labs, boxers, terriers, chihuahas......wonderful dogs at risk of losing their lives. 
     So what do we do?  We network.  Volunteers, shelter staff, rescue groups all come together to get the word out about these dogs.  Facebook is our main source.  We are constantly posting pictures, videos, bios, and our own experiences with these dogs.  Pleading for everyone to "share," hoping that just the right person will see that post and step forward to help us out.  It's exhausting, more emotionally than physically.  Our hearts bleed for these dogs knowing that there are only a precious number of hours until they are taken out of their kennel for the final time.  Not to go for a walk outside, not to jump in car with a new family, not to get their picture taken......but to walk through those doors and down the hall to the room.  The room where they will take their last breaths.
    We are so thankful to all the rescue groups and foster families that help us out in these times of need.  Don't blame the shelter, blame ignorance in the community.  People must understand that their pets need to be spayed/neutered in order to control the pet population.  So many puppies and kittens this year....unbelievable.  And people need to know that pet stores and breeders are not their only option!!!!!  I talked to someone the other day with the cutest American Bull Dog puppy....from a breeder of course......EIGHT HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS!!!!!!! Are you kidding me?  This is why breeders are still in business.  I've seen numerous American Bull Dogs in our shelter!  For less than a hundred dollars!  So frustrating.
     However, even with all the urgent lists this week, there have been lots of moments of celebration.  Everytime I've gotten on to Facebook I've seen another rescue that has pulled one of our dogs or another person who has taken in a foster, even when they already have several dogs at home.  Thank you, thank you, thank you to all those who have helped this week.  Dog lovers as dedicated as us are definitely a different breed!  But we can go to sleep at night knowing that we have done our best to make a difference.  Our goal is to reach more and more people, and to show them why we are so passionate about these dogs' lives.  One of my best friends knows how strongly I feel about these dogs and she surprised me with a present this week......an item with a special quote embroidered on it....."In a perfect world, every dog would have home and every home would have a dog."  Wouldn't that be wonderful.....

Monday, May 28, 2012

Why So Many Black Dogs?

There are so many amazing dogs at the shelter right now and a great majority of them happen to be black.  It is unfortunate but black dogs are  most commonly, the last, if at all adopted - why?  The phenomenon may be due to a number of factors, including fear stigma against certain breed types, and the fact that large, black dogs are often portrayed as aggressive in film and on television.  The dogs on this blog and at our KCMO shelter are all unique in their own way.  They all have something to offer and deserve a home just like all the others.  

These two girls are  Mitzi and Nalla, adorable sisters that came in together, full of energy and fun.  Both great at fetch and enjoying the great outdoors.  They are too big to be stuck in kennels all day and are trying to be patient as the wait for their forever homes!  
Below we have Jango - a perfect medium sized dog.  He has just the right amout of energy and you could easily fall in love with his adorable smile!

Here are our big boys - Jerry Lee to the left and Jack to the right.  At first sight you may be a little intimidated by these boys, they are strong, but mature boys and out of their puppy phase.  They are both looking for their new families that they can be loyal to and start new adventures with.  Please don't make them wait too long!

This beauty is Fantasia, a mellow girl, just waiting her turn for her forever family.  She likes to cuddle and get scratches behind the ears.  Loveable girl and too wonderful to be in a shelter!

I couldn't leave out Brooklyn!  The pro at fetch!  It is her favorite thing to do.  She is very much deserving of a big yard and a family who will give her lots of attention.  Look at her face - she's waiting!

These doesn't even begin to give you a peek at all of the amazing black dogs we have.  All fighting to compete with the other dogs and the ones that look exactly like them.  Give these black beauties a chance - they have so much to offer and it is amazing how much you get to know their personalities when you volunteer.  Please help volunteer at your local shelter and spread the word about black dogs - they deserve our attention and love too!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My name is Natalie......

  My name is Natalie and here's my story of how I got started volunteering at an animal shelter.  I hope it can inspire you to step up and do something GREAT, like volunteering, also!
  Ever since I can remember I have been a lover of animals.  Growing up I had every pet imaginable: dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, birds, you name it!  My heart has always gone out to all God's creatures, especially dogs. 
  Now I'm a teacher and I love my job, but I've always felt like something was missing in my life.  I knew that I was meant to do more.  And I knew it had to be something with animals.
  One evening in August of 2010 I was browsing pets on Craigs List, cringing at all the "free to a good home" ads and wishing that I could just somehow help all these dogs that needed homes.  I kept seeing dogs' ads from the KCMO animal shelter, formerly Halfway Home Pet Adoptions and currently Kansas City Pet Project.  So I went to the website and browsed around.  A fire was lit inside me when I read about volunteering and I immediately submitted the volunteer application online.  The next day I was contacted and told to come to a volunteer training.  I was nervous and excited at the same time!
  That following Sunday I made the 45 minute drive from my house to the shelter, and that's when I met Natasha.  We clicked instantly and she showed me the ropes of walking the dogs.  I remember feeling so overwhelmed at first; so many dogs just staring at me, desperately seeking my love and attention.  But after just one day, I was hooked.
  That was almost 2 years ago and I still look forward to making that drive to the shelter every Sunday.  For 4-5 hours I forget about all the stress and obstacles in my life and devote my attention to these dogs.  It's as therapeutic for me as it is for the dogs, or the babies as I like to call them :)  I usually walk between 10 and 15 dogs every Sunday, sometimes more.  It depends on how many volunteers we have.  The more volunteers we have, the more time we can spend with each dog because it lowers the amount that we each have to walk in order to get all the babies walked.
  As I walk down the rows of kennels with my leash in hand, each dog perks up as I pass them, hoping and praying that they get to go on a walk that day.  It may only be a short walk, 10 minutes, but that's 10 minutes of their day that they get my full and undivided attention.  And you cannot imagine how appreciative these dogs are of that 10 minutes you give them.  It always surprises me how quickly they trust me and love me.  Has a human every given you this chance so instantly?
  Now I know that everyone is busy, trust me I know.  I’m a teacher and a coach, I work a part-time job, I own my own home, my own car, pay all my own bills, have 3 pets of my own, and somehow I’ve managed to fit this into my schedule.  Sundays work best for me.  “But I go to church on Sundays, then lunch with my family, and blah blah blah.” I know, I know.  But is there just 3 hours a week that you can devote to giving dogs a chance to breathe fresh air, to feel grass on their paws, to get a scratch behind their ears, and to hear loving encouragement from a human?  These dogs depend on us and it’s not fair.  It’s not fair that their survival depends on the human race.  Humans that have wronged them in the past, but yet when one human shows them love they have the ability to forgive and to love us unconditionally once again.
  I will continue to walk these dogs and share their stories.  I may not be able to save them all, but I always remember these words: “Saving one animal may not change the world, but it will change the world for that one animal.”  And that’s what makes it all worth it.  So this is my story so far, but you have not heard the last from me.  Please consider volunteering at your local animal shelter, it could really change your life.  And please continue to read and share our blog because Natasha, Jensen, and I are just trying to create awareness and let people know what “A Day with a Homeless Pet” is really like.
Thank you so much!

Monday, May 21, 2012

In Memory of Tina

Tina's Story...

Where to begin…filled with emotions thinking about this precious girl.  I can only imagine the way she was treated just by looking at her scarred up body and filed down teeth.  How could anyone be so cruel?!?  The story of Tina quickly spread amongst the volunteers.  I knew she would break my heart, but wanted to make sure she knew that there are good people in this world.  Even with all the pain and misery she must have gone through she still gave kisses and was one of the sweetest girls you will ever meet.  The week she was at the shelter she felt love and kindness.  Volunteers spent time with her and she showed her gratitude with kisses.  

I am sad to say that we lost sweet Tina today.  She had to be euthanized after she was found today bleeding from her nose and had a high fever of 107 degrees.  Staff thinks it was pneumonia.  The sadness is overwhelming as so many volunteers rallied around her and pulled together $125 to find her a happy loving home.  At least she knows that people loved her and wanted her to have a great life.  She will be missed as she made her mark on so many of us.

Here is a video and she ended it with a kiss! 

I will be back again next weekend making sure so many other dogs feel the love that Tina did…

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday = Volunteer Day at KC Pet Project

I couldn't wait to get there to help with our Pets for Vets adoption event.
KC Pet Project is full of amazing wonderful dogs and cats and with the adoption event we hoped to match great animals with wonderful homes.  The weather was perfect, there was a line of adopters and plenty of volunteers to help.  It was going to be a good day...   

There are easily over 100 available dogs at any given time waiting to get outside for a walk.
It is always a little overwhelming when you first enter the shelter.  Every dog is looking at you, they are all barking at you wanting to be the first one to catch a breath of fresh air.  Volunteers are a must if the dogs have any chance of getting outside JUST ONCE EVERYDAY.  We need more volunteers - it is heartbreaking leaving and knowing that only half the dogs made it outside to play and get love and attention.  Just one hour can introduce you to some amazing animals who want nothing but to be your best friend and get some attention.  If you have any desire to help just visit the KC Pet Project volunteer page...tell all your friends!
Before I go, I must tell you about my favorite dog, maybe my next foster dog HANSEL...

I fell in love with him last weekend and he was the first one I had to seeHe is around 1-3 yrs old, a German Shepherd mix and he came in as a stray.  He is loveable and good with other dogs.  He does great on walks and jogs at a good steady pace with me.  His downfall is that he is heartworm positive.  Not a deal breaker, but could be a financial hardship for any potential adopter.  I can't imagine him staying there much longer and will do what I can to help him find his perfect home.  I made this video to show off his awesomeness!  He has met the boyfriend and won him over.  The plan is to network this boy and make sure he is seen and if he hasn't found a home in the next couple of weeks, he will be the new playmate to my doggie.   

This is just one of the MANY dogs waiting for you to come visit, please don't wait to long to help - they need you!