Way back when my little Wayward Dogs project began, I started this blog to chronicle the lost, stray and abandoned canines I encountered.
I’m quite happy to report that for a second year in a row, those experiences did not occur frequently enough to warrant daily posts. In fact, I hardly ran into any wayward dogs on the streets in the year 2012!
That, of course, meant I had to fill in the days with posts about other things, including other people’s awesome dog projects, including:
- Missouri’s Puppies for Parole program
- How Rose Brooks Center helps battered women, children and their pets
- How Conservation Canines are helping to save the whales (my other favorite animal)
- The Yellow Dog Project
Then, there was the KC Pittie Pack…
Emily from Our Waldo Bungie and I came together in 2012 to create a co-project of our own.
We founded KC Pittie Pack & Friends, a walking group designed to help people socialize their pets in a structured environment. In its first year, KC Pittie Pack:
- Gained almost 100 members through our Meetup group
- Held 27 Meetups around Kansas City
- Was recognized by local newspaper The Pitch as Kansas City’s “Best Way to Tame Your Wild-ass Dog”
- Brought out a whole bunch of bully breed dogs for National Pit Bull Awareness Day
- Outfitted our supporters in awesome hoodies and T-shirts
In 2012, I also used this blog as a platform to generate support for local animal welfare organizations.
My awesome blog readers helped me:
- Run my first 5K and raise $250 for Wayside Waifs
- Raise over $300 through a raffle and shopping event benefiting Midwest Adopt-a-Bull
And the year was not totally devoid of “wayward dogs.”
Of the handful of lost dogs I encountered, the three I was able to assist appeared when I was en route to work:
- Malakai – A gorgeous and sweet husky dog who was stopping traffic on a very busy Kansas City street.
- Tara – I knew my neighbor’s elderbull was never supposed to run around the ‘hood by herself.
- Cotton – A hunting dog I totally failed to blog about. Rather than taking him with me, I turned back toward home. Cotton’s ID tag had a phone number, so I left a message on his owner’s voicemail that his dog was safe and how to reach me. Then, I went on to work. Within 20 minutes, Cotton’s uber-relieved-sounding dad called him, so I told him where to go pick up his pup.
The fact that very few stray doggies followed me home in 2012 was actually a really good thing, considering at the beginning of the year we still had two formerly wayward dogs under our roof – Minnie and Charlie Machete – in addition to our two forever dogs.
No kidding – four was too much for our little house and the humans inside it.
Fortunately, by May, both fosters were adopted. But the reprieve did not last long.
Less than a year after he originally arrived in our lives, Charlie Machete came back – by way of a shelter in Omaha.
We still don’t know exactly why he ended up behind bars, but we are grateful Charlie Machete’s adopters never changed the contact information on his microchip. Because they didn’t, the shelter called me, and Zach was able to make the three-hour drive to bail out our big black foster dog, who was otherwise on the list to be euthanized.
Although I haven’t proven to be a very successful dog foster mom, I’m proud to say that, through networking, I was able to help some other dogs find forever homes in 2012.
Sometimes I feel funny about the fact that I am the girl who almost daily posts sad pictures of dogs desperate to be adopted. I know this habit annoys some of my friends, but I keep doing it for a good reason: Sometimes the sharing pays off.
Because I helped my friend and fellow Kansas City pet advocate Nicole get the word out, these two dogs landed in forever homes in 2012:
- Mia, a beagle/husky mix was adopted by my coworker
- A black lab puppy was taken into a foster home that adopted him
My constant fretting about wayward dogs also seems to have had an effect on Zach’s and my mothers.
In 2012, both of them made successful efforts to apprehend and return home lost dogs in their own neighborhoods.
I have also noticed that generally in life I am becoming the person others turn to when they have questions about dogs. That sure feels good, and I always try to help if I can.
Here’s hoping for more successful efforts on behalf of dogs in 2013!
What was your biggest accomplishment for dogs last year?
This post is the continuation of yesterday’s Q&A with Nicole, an animal advocate in Kansas City.
How many pets total do you have of your own?
We currently have four cats and two dogs. Two of the cats, Dirk and Frankie, we’ve had since they were kittens, and really were the first and only pets we ever ‘sought’ out. One of the cats, Lucy, was a foster that we were only supposed to be responsible for for a short time, but her owner never reclaimed her. Kingsley we found on Cliff Drive, and never even tried to find a home for.
As for the dogs, Butters and Max Powers, I’ve told you how Butters came into our lives. Max Power is really the luckiest of all of our rescues. I found him in a tennis court in Valentine Park. I was walking Chester Sauce and we came across these two dogs. I stopped to see if they had tags. One of them did. The other, Max Power, bit me when I stretched my hand out for him to sniff. After that, I began to walk away, and he snapped at me again. Even though he didn’t want me to touch him, they both followed Chester and I. He’s been by my side since then. He has also stopped biting people, but remains suspicious of most new comers. He’s completely food and disc golf driven.
Tell me about Butters.
Oh, Butters. Butters was a dog that showed up one day roaming our block. I had seen him following a younger couple, and they kept throwing sticks at him saying, “Get away” He just followed along with his tail wagging desperate for some love. One day I was sitting on the front porch when he passed, and I hollered out to him. He came immediately over and melted my heart. His tail and back hips wiggle with such an intense rhythm, that made him impossible to turn away. He is a big dog, and the husband and I were really trying not to take in any more animals, so we advertised the shit out of him. We asked everyone we knew, we made him his own Facebook page, and would post cute pictures of him and describe the things he likes to do…and still couldn’t find him a willing companion. Then, eventually we stopped trying. I couldn’t imagine him living anywhere else now. He’s so incredibly in love with my husband.
Butters did have to spend some time at a training camp though. He was horrible on a leash, and loved to jump up on everyone. He’s better at both, but will never be trusted to hang out off of his leash. He’s also so protective of us, that when we come across other dogs on a walk, he freaks out. He’ll lunge and bark and, act a fool, embarrassing us. We hope this will continue to get better with age, but it seems unlikely. He loves to play with other dogs, and is very social, but once you leash him, he thinks it’s his job to make sure no one gets near.
Do you think your pets are ready for the baby?
It’s hard to say. They seem to be more glued to me than ever. Here at 40 weeks pregnant, I never have any personal space, there is always at least one animal guarding me. Often times my husband will come home from work and find all six animals on the couch with me. The dogs I don’t really worry about at all. Only the juggling act that walking them and the baby will create. However, there are two of the cats that are a little less friendly. And one cat who no matter what we rig up, is capable of climbing over the baby gate and getting into the baby’s crib. This is a pattern we are trying hard to break. I think everyone will be fine once the initial dust settles. After all, with all the different animals that have come and gone through our pack, and all the times we’ve moved, our animals are actually quite flexible and willing to give strangers a chance.
What is the most important thing about animals you want your child to know?
For me, it’s to respect them and to have empathy. I don’t think of any of the animals that live with us to be our ‘pets’. They’re our companions and they are here because of a mutual respect and trust. We don’t own them. I think he’ll pick this up just from what he sees around our house, and those of our friends and families.
However, I know it’ll be hard to explain why the five cats that live on or under the porch live outside, while the inside cats live inside. One day, I know we’ll have our hands full when he starts bringing home animals too.