A Day with a Homeless Dog

A Day with a Homeless Dog

Thursday, April 25, 2013

My Favorite Volunteer, Andrew

There is literally not a day that goes by that I am not involved with volunteering for the Kansas City Animal Shelter.  On a daily basis I am supporting our homeless dogs either by writing bios to share their personalities, updating a breed list that is distributed to rescue groups, sharing their stories on social media or just being an advocate for the shelter and talking to people about volunteering and what it means to me.  I put together videos for the dogs that I meet and have an album of longtimers and fosters that I keep updated to create awareness for these special dogs.  I do it because I want to and it is important for me to be the voice for these homeless animals.  I get joy from seeing successful adoptions and watching the excitement in the dogs body language when I am spending time with each of them.  It makes my day better. Nothing makes me more excited then seeing new volunteers getting involved and joining this great organization.  These animals deserve all the love and attention they can get and the volunteers are a big part of making this happen.  

Andrew and Talledega
Recently, my soon to be step son Andrew, started asking to volunteer with me when he comes to stay with us on the weekends.  He is 11 years old and I have to admit I was a little shocked.  One, he wanted to spend time with me and not his dad, :) and two, he could be doing so many other things, but he wanted to help me with the dogs. 

It all started over Christmas break when Andrew was able to stay with us for a few extra days.  I was helping out at the Zona Rosa location, transporting dogs in the morning from the boarding facility to the adoption facility.  The kid didn't even blink when I told him we had to wake up at 7am to get started.  It was his week to sleep in and he didn't mind at all.  He was all about it.  We bundled up in our coats and gloves and everyday he was with me to help out at Zona.  I was pretty amazed at how he jumped right in.  He wasn't scared of any of the dogs.  He knew exactly how to approach them; he didn't rush in or overwhelm the dogs.  Andrew would run with me and the dog to help stretch their legs.  If I needed anything he was there to help.  He would water the dogs for us, grab treats or poop bags, he was our kid tester to see how the doggies did with him.  I have to say it was pretty awesome.

Transporting to Zona!
That first week, Andrew quickly connected with Talledega, a small pit mix that loved Andrew too.  That was another thing about Andrew, he didn't judge any of the dogs.  He wasn't scared of the pittie mixes or the big dogs, he was all in and ready to meet them all.  I remember our wild child, Sparrow, grabbing Andrew's coat (he was a little mouthy sometimes).  Sparrow thought it was a game and didn't want to let go.  Andrew stayed calm while I helped distract Sparrow with a treat.  Everything was fine; it didn't make Andrew nervous or upset and we were on to the next dog.  After that week, Andrew was hooked.  Every weekend he was with us he asked when could we go to Zona and walk the dogs. 

He has been a huge help when he volunteers with me.  He has helped me with transporting dogs from the shelter to Zona.  He has made cameo's in videos with some of the dogs.  He is someone that appreciates what we all do for the dogs and wants to help too.  It is really hard for people to understand how and why I volunteer at the animal shelter, but Andrew just gets it.  He asks the questions I ask everyday - how can someone surrender their pet after 8 yrs?  Why would someone crop that dogs ears or pull out its teeth?  I only wish every kid, parent, adult understood what it means to be a pet owner like Andrew does.

He loves the small dogs too!
Andrew is an unbelievable kid and I feel really lucky to be able to have him with me when I volunteer.  It is great to be able to share the success stories with him when dogs get adopted and he is always asking about dogs he has met and how they are doing.  It is awesome!

I know KCPP has had groups of girl scouts and boy scouts come to the shelter to help out.  I think it is a great way to get kids involved and help create awareness about shelter pets and how wonderful they are.  Please consider bring your kids to volunteer or get a group together.  The earlier we can start with these kids the better it will be for them and our shelter pets!  


  1. LOVE THIS!!! Sounds like you have a great kiddo in you life. I wish we could teach all of today's kids to be like this. Great work! :)

    1. Thank you! I totally agree, it is so important to get kids involved and give them an understanding early.