Category Archives: Wayward Dog

From the Streets to the Shelter

What would you do if you found this at your neighborhood park?

shepherd mix

Fortunately for this little shepherd mix, when my friends stumbled across him a few days ago they did more than hurry past and try to forget about the sad sight.

They contacted animal control.

That’s not always an easy call to make. The shelter in Kansas City, Missouri, is not in good condition, and although euthanasia rates are down, not every animal makes it out of there alive.

For these reasons, my friends weren’t thrilled to send the pup to the city pound, but they weren’t in a position to tend to his immediate needs.

They did the right thing.

And again, they did not simply turn their backs when the truck drove off with the stray animal.

They recognized that to survive the shelter, this dog would need allies on the outside.

So, they shared his picture and story on social networks and lost pet forums.

They called up the shelter to see how he was doing.

They even went to visit him.

shepherd mix

My friends would really like to adopt this dog, but at 45 pounds he is slightly too large for the rules set by their apartment complex.

They say he seems to be friendly and sweet, and the shelter estimates he is between 6 months and 1 year old.

Today, he is officially available for adoption from KC Pet Project. His identification number is 19425723.

Please share this dog’s story with anyone you know who may be interested in adopting him.

What do you do when you find a wayward dog?

Read more about the experience of finding this dog at ginchy!

Angel is looking for another angel

Yesterday, I shared a picture of a frightened pit bull mix who is missing part of her upper lip.

As I predicted, “Angel” still has a beautiful smile.

brindle pit mix smiling

Life is already getting better.

Angel is off the streets but still needs help.  Here is her story, as told by Julie, the Midwest Adopt-a-Bull volunteer who helped catch her:

I came to know “Angel” under sad circumstances, and I am now as motivated to find her a quality foster home, more than I have ever been in my life, about any dog. Angel was seen roaming in a neighborhood for several weeks but would avoid people, noises, cars…anything that made scary sounds or moved too quickly. She had come to trust a neighbor who was giving her food and water whenever she would show up here and there, and would return nightly to sleep outside the bedroom window, next to house in a safe corner.

The lady contacted me over the weekend, and we set up an action plan to try to get her to a safe place. Long story short, after an hour and a half getting to know Angel, feeding her treats, and moving ever-so-slowly, we were able to get her in my car for a trip to the vet.

brindle pit mix with missing lip

There’s a curious Angel.

She is the most tolerant dog I’ve ever met, turning away as the neighbor’s feisty chihuahua snapped and growled at her…Allowing me to carry her into the scary vet office lobby….Shaking and panting from her nerves, yet licking my hand when I gave her a treat. This poor girl needs help and needs it fast.

Angel is  heartworm negative and not microchipped. She is likely about a year old and definitely a pit mix, possibly a boxer or rottweiler mix.
She can be listed with Midwest Adopt-a-Bull but needs a foster home first.
Julie is certain that in a safe, loving, quiet home, Angel will respond quickly and become an excellent companion.
brindle pit bull mix

Will you be Angel’s angel?

If you or someone you know can help Angel, please leave a comment or contact Julie at jtischer77(a)yahoo[dot]com.

The counting continues

A familiar, fleet-footed brindle mix laid nervous eyes on me last Friday.


As if I could forget the original inspiration for this blog – chronicling the wayward dogs who cross my path – there’s always Stella.

She’s the wily boxer/pit bull/greyhound dog who gave me a workout on at least three occasions last summer when she escaped her backyard and took a joyrun past my house.

When I saw her the other night, she wasn’t far from the home I took her back to in the past. That was good, because with both Luke and foster dog Charlie Machete in tow, I could do no more than entice her to follow me, which, of course, she didn’t want to do.

My gut says Stella made it home that night. However, it was disappointing to note that – unlike in the past – she didn’t seem to have any ID tags on her collar.

In Kansas City, wayward animals found wearing a license can get a free ride home from animal control, provided the owner can be reached.

If they didn’t get home some other way, maybe that rule helped the pair of wayward dogs encountered on Indian Creek Trail by the KC Pittie Pack the very next morning. Although they wouldn’t let us get close, those obvious dog buddies did appear to be wearing collars and tags.

They turned tail when a member of our dog socialization group handed her own animal to a friend and took two steps in their direction.

I’ve added all three of these dogs to my 2012 wayward dog count. Over halfway through the year, we’re up to two “saves,” four “sightings” and one unsuccessful “chase.”

Honestly, I would love to not have to update that list ever again. But it’s summer – high time for escapes – and there’s that whole pet overpopulation problem that continues to dog this and so many modern cities.

What do you do when you run into a wayward dog? Have you seen any lately?

Want to adopt a formerly wayward dog? Check out the Adoptable page for information about my foster dog Charlie Machete and several other available dogs.

Your help is needed


Wayward no more.

A little, lost dog refused my help on Monday night.

For the first time in months, Zach and I happened upon a wayward dog. It was around 10 p.m. We were driving past Loose Park.

On the residential side of the street, our eyes picked up the silhouette of a small dog or puppy. He sniffed, then he’d trot down the sidewalk. He was wearing a collar with about four inches of extra material or the remains of a leash he’d chewed through. I never got close enough to tell for sure.

Zach pulled over. I jumped out and pursued the little black dog for several blocks, but every time I got within 10 feet, he’d look at me and run faster. Eventually, I lost him in the darkness as he ran away from the busy street and into the park.

I don’t know what we would have done if we’d caught the little guy and he didn’t have a microchip or tag.

No doubt we would have called upon our friends in the local animal welfare and rescue network – a community that could always use support.

Britton and Star Hunter. Photo courtesy Her Kansas City.

The last time we captured a wayward black dog, the first person we called was Britton Hunter.

Through her organization Friends of KC Animals, she helped us get Charlie Machete fully vetted, neutered and implanted with the microchip that ultimately saved him from euthanasia last month.

Friends of KC Animals, a liason between local shelters and rescue groups, helps thousands of animals across the Kansas City metro every year and is leading the movement to get a much-needed new shelter for Kansas City, Missouri.

This summer, the leader of another local group stepped up to help us when he heard that Charlie Machete’s adoption fell through.

Here’s a man who loves pit bulls.

Mike Kitchens and his new rescue organization Midwest Adopt-a-Bull have added our longtime foster dog to their program and are helping us maintain his good health and networking him with potential adopters.

Through its volunteer network, Midwest Adopt-a-Bull provides a second chance to dogs by getting them out of shelters (or worse) and into foster homes where they receive love and socialization until they are adopted forever.

Both of these organizations are desperate for help right now.

According to Britton, Friends of KC Animals is currently running so low on funds that the group may have to go on temporary hiatus until it can gather more resources.

Midwest Adopt-a-Bull operates on a razor-thin budget, as well. That group’s biggest need right now, though, is for people to open their homes to the dogs in its foster program.

Can you help?

Donating is easy – any amount you can spare can be put to good use.

Fostering is rewarding – for you and for the animal whose life you help save.

I urge you to join me in supporting these two wonderful organizations.

To make a contribution to Friends of KC Animals, just head to the group’s donate page.

To get involved in fostering with Midwest Adopt-a-Bull, head to that group’s website and fill out the application to foster – or adopt. (Monetary donations help, too.)

Where are all the wayward dogs?

Dogs like this are why I started this blog:


Zach’s mom happened upon this sweet yellow lab not long ago in her neighborhood. He had no tags or microchip.

She kept him for the night, and luckily his owner recognized him in her front yard the next day.

My parents also kindly gave shelter for a few hours to a smaller neighborhood dog that went wayward around St. Patrick’s Day.

It’s awesome that our families made the effort to help these lost dogs, especially considering our mothers were each very privy to the many months of challenges Zach and I endured after taking in the stray Charlie Machete.

I’ll always try to help a dog in need if I can. But I’m honestly glad I haven’t recently run into any wayward dogs I didn’t recognize.

They’re out there.

Their pictures pop up in my e-mail, on Facebook and even on my Waldo street corner.


I saw a woman posting that lost dog flyer yesterday.

A few pink signs also recently appeared, reminding us that waywardness isn’t reserved just for pet dogs.


My heart goes out to anyone whose pets have gone missing.

I hope kind souls recognize the animals as someone’s beloved and help them home.

Spreading the word helps – in addition to all of the usual spots, feel free to post pictures of lost or found pets on the Wayward Dogs Facebook page or Tweet me @crystalwayward. (This goes for readers everywhere, not just Kansas City.)

Together, we can save lives.

For a big list of helpful tips on what to do if you find or lose a pet, check out the Adoptions & Services section of

Tara the neighborhood elderbull

Sometimes, helping a wayward dog get home isn’t that big of a deal.

If you’re a fan of Wayward Dogs on Facebook, you may have caught a recent status update about me stopping to help a neighborhood dog before work.

That dog was Tara.

Tara the elderbull

She’s a tough tank of an elderbull who lives around the corner. She belongs to a retired couple who take her for a walk along the Trolley Track Trail every afternoon.

This pit bull type dog was found wandering a dangerous street in Kansas City in her younger days. She landed with a rescue group and eventually with my neighbors’ daughter. They took over Tara’s care when their daughter was deployed in the military.

When I saw Tara trotting down the street without her people I knew something wasn’t right, so I pulled over.

When I knelt down and solicited her, she just cocked her head and turned in the other direction — toward home.

I followed her in the car, arriving in front of her house about the same time that her owner screamed around the corner in his truck. His face was stricken.

“Have you seen Tara?”

“Yes!” I said and pointed to where she was just emerging, nose in the grass, from behind a neighbor’s house.

He leapt out of his truck and ran to her.

Although Tara probably would have made it home on her own — and if not, she is licensed, wears an ID tag and is microchipped — I was glad I stuck around to make sure she got back with her people.

Have you ever helped a neighbor dog get home?

Nellie the beagle has a new name and needs a new owner

Remember Nellie the beagle who went wayward for five months before the Lost Dog Registry helped reunite her with her family?

Nellie — at the KCMO Animal Shelter, 1/19/12

Well, the happy ending didn’t last long. Four days later, Nellie escaped again. Fortunately, she found her way into kind hands at North Oak Animal Hospital, where Susan Johnson is the practice manager.

Nellie showed up in our parking lot in January and ran up to one of our staff as they were taking the trash out.  She was immediately brought inside and put in our isolation ward and given a good dinner.  She was thin and looked older than we thought at the time. We let her rest a few days, then vaccinated her and ran all the other tests.

Because her original owners have not claimed her, Nellie, now known as Abigail, is available for adoption to a new family.

Can you help Abigail find a new family?

The North Oak staff has grown attached to sweet Abigail, who is estimated to be 6 or 7 years old and is friendly with all people and dogs and doesn’t bark much.

Mrs. Johnson says although the clinic is not equipped to handle strays consistently, Abigail will remain there until someone agrees to foster her in their home or adopt her forever.

She seems content to lay on her quilt in her run pen but quick to get up when we walk back to the kennel area.  She is current with all vaccinations which is: Rabies, DHPP, ITT.  She had a fecal done twice plus a negative HW check and is on Heartgard monthly.  She is bathed as needed and loves her baths.

Abigail’s adoption fee will be the cost of her vaccinations. The clinic will provide six months of free heartworm preventative.

If you or someone you know is interested in meeting Abigail, contact North Oak Animal Hospital at 816-436-4400.

Also check out Abigail’s profile on this blog’s Adoptable page.

Tips for taking your dog on the Katy Trail

Taking a dog on your next bike trip? Here are a few things we learned about biking and dogs after taking Luke on the Katy Trail last weekend.

1. Take it slow.

We take Luke on short (2-3 mile) bike rides fairly often, but we knew from the start that 12 miles in one day would be a lot for him. And we certainly knew he wouldn’t be able to maintain top speed for that whole distance. So, we just put our bikes in the highest gear — to maximize our workout — and let Luke set the pace.

According to the speedometer on Zach’s bike, Luke seemed to like cruising at a rate of about 5 miles per hour. Every two miles or so, he let us know that he needed  a break by lying down in the grass on the side of the trail.

2. Be prepared to meet other animals.

Signs at nearly every trail entrance warn that on the Katy Trail you may encounter wild or domestic animals. Although most of the wildlife we saw was at a distance, a wayward dog did emerge as we passed a junkyard. She ran with us for a few yards before falling back.

3. If you don’t plan on camping, make room accommodations in advance.

We erroneously assumed that Rocheport, Missouri, a little winery town located right on the Katy Trail would be used to putting up people with dogs. But in fact, every bed and breakfast we contacted would not permit a dog to stay overnight. We finally lucked out with the sympathetic operator of the Girl’s Nite Inn.

4. Take plenty of water.

We know Luke is a big drinker, so we carried at least four big bottles of water with us at all times. Luckily, there’s plenty of fresh water access on the portion of the trail we rode, anyway, so it was easy to fill up if we needed to. There was also clean water along the trail for a dog to take a dip in.

5. Bring high-value treats.

I thought I was being smart by packing extra dog food — extra calories to account for all of the energy Luke would burn on the trail. But he refused to eat most of it. He did, however, seem interested in hamburgers and french fries (but not peanut butter granola bars), so next time I’m packing extra yummy meaty dog treats that he won’t be able to deny.

6. Bring pad protection.

This is something we didn’t do, and poor Luke’s feet suffered for it. Remember, while you wear padded shoes, dogs essentially run barefoot. Next time he goes on a bike outing with us, he’s getting some dog booties.

7. Check yourself and your pet daily for ticks.

Luke spent a lot of time running through the trees and tallgrass along the trail. Although he is on flea and tick preventative, he still managed to get a couple of ticks that latched on around his head. (But that just meant bath time as soon as we got home.)

Have you ever taken a dog on a bike trip? What would you add to this list?

Lost beagle makes it home 5 months later

Lost dog

Not far from my home is the headquarters of a local organization founded more than three decades ago with the express purpose of helping lost dogs get back to their rightful owners. I have reported wayward dogs to the Lost Dog Registry in the past but never knew much about this long-standing resource for pet owners in Kansas City.

Laura, a volunteer with Lost Dog Registry, answered the following questions. She has some great advice for anyone who loses a pet or finds a wayward one.

CW: What was the genesis of this organization?

LDR: In the early 70s an avid animal lover named Janice Martin liked to frequent dog shows that featured schipperkes, as this was her favorite breed. During this time she met and became friends with a woman who was just opening a shelter called Animal Haven. Through this experience it became evident there was a need for someone to help reunite lost pets with their owners. This gave birth to the idea of the Lost Dog Registry, which Janice started in 1973. She was very active in the organization until her death more than 30 years later.

CW: What do you do?

LDR: Currently we have 5 active volunteers that come into the office. We take reports of lost and found pets, both over the phone and online through our website. In addition to searching for matching reports we talk with the individuals and provide instruction to them about what steps to take and where they can go in their search.

We provide a centralized website(1) where people can display a picture of both Lost and Found Pets and provide viewable pictures, either through a link or posting, of recent animals that have come into several area shelters. For those that have found a pet we will assist them in whatever way we are able if they are willing to hold onto the pet while locating an owner, thus reducing the overcrowding at the shelter and giving the owner an opportunity to reclaim their pet without having to pay hefty fines.

CW: Why did you get involved with this group?

LDR: I personally became involved with Lost Dog Registry after I lost a pet to tragic circumstances. Getting involved and helping others find their pet was a form of therapy for me initially. I have always loved animals and becoming an active volunteer in a way felt like it was a sort of memorial to my pet—that somehow his death was not so senseless if something good came out of it.

CW: How many reports were filed with Lost Dog Registry last year?

LDR: We currently average about 100 reports a month, approximately 1200 reports annually -40% attributable to lost pets and 60% to found pets

CW: What trends have you noticed over the years?

LDR: The reports have pretty much remained consistent throughout the years – we still see many dogs that go missing without collars and a greater number of Found dogs reported than Lost dogs.

CW: Can you share a special success story tha the Lost Dog Registry has been involved in?

LDR: It is always a wonderful feeling when you can reunite an owner with his beloved pet and you remember every reunion. There is not really one which has more emphasis than any others. The most recent match made was of a beagle that disappeared from Barry Road in October.

About 2 weeks ago she was brought into the KCMO Shelter by Animal Control and I remembered seeing a picture of a lost one that looked similar so I pulled the report and sure enough it was her. At first when I contacted the owner I don’t think she really believed it could be her dog considering the dog had been missing for 5 months and I am sure they had given up hope of ever seeing her again. However after I sent a pic message to them of the dog they rushed to the Shelter and it was indeed their missing “Nellie.” And boy was she happy to see her family. Just witnessing the reunion truly made my day.

The one thing that I would like to stress is that having a picture of the missing pet is essential, especially if the pet is missing for more than a couple of weeks. I looked at a snapshot of the online reports filed in the past 3 months and counted 39 lab or lab mixes, 23 beagle/mixes, 18 pit bull/mixes, and so on….so simply providing a short description is not enough to clearly identify your pet once it has moved beyond its home vicinity.

Nellie - posted with report 10/15/11

Nellie -- at the KCMO Animal Shelter, 1/20/12

CW: What advice do you have for pet owners in the event that their animal goes missing?

LDR: Start looking for your pet immediately by patrolling the area on foot, knocking on doors, posting online, hanging posters, visiting shelters. Don’t leave any stone unturned. Carry a clear picture with you when walking the neighborhood to show neighbors, the mailman, children playing in the neighborhood. Post a picture in your online ad and on your lost posters and flyer. Be diligent and do not give up.

CW: What about someone who finds a wayward animal?

LDR: Do everything within your power to locate the owner yourself and if at all possible do not take the animal to a shelter. Notify the shelter that you have the animal in case the owner comes there looking for it and post ads online as well as putting up posters. If no owner is found try to find a good rescue for the dog or else adopt it out to a good family. Every animal that comes into the shelter reduces the time another animal has to find a home. Shelters should be used to house homeless, stray animals who are truly in need of a good home. Every lost pet that is brought into the shelter, even if only for a day, will most likely cause one of these “homeless” animals to be euthanized and never given the chance to find a home.

Learn more about Lost Dog Registry at or

Related reading:

A fun story at Lost Dogs Found about Butler, a Boston Terrier, that LDR founder Janice Martin personally helped in 2009.

#waywarddog challenge

Recognize us?

If you are friends with Wayward Dogs on Facebook, you may have seen this picture already today. Some other kind souls found this wayward pair on Sunday morning in the Brookside area of Kansas City. The dogs were found with collars but no tags.

At the time of this writing, these two dogs were being kept at Pampered Paws Grooming, a local business in the Waldo neighborhood that is very active in the rescue community. If you recognize these dogs, please call 816-333-2522.

I shared the story of these dogs on Facebook and Twitter to show that I am keeping up on my promise to be better about utilizing social media to spread the word about wayward dogs.

If you see, save or hear of a wayward dog, please share the tale and photo (if you have one) via Facebook, Twitter and any other social networks you use.

No matter where you live, feel free to post the info on the Wayward Dogs fanpage.

Also, tweet the alert on Twitter using the hashtags  #waywarddog or #waywarddogs. Tweet me directly at @crystalwayward and I will be happy to retweet.

We can save more lives if we work together!

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