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Public Bathies

Right in the middle of the sidewalk, between a coffee shop and a restaurant in the Waldo neighborhood of Kansas City, this happened last Sunday:

chihuahua gets a bath

Gizmo is horrified.

That’s right – bathies!

Bathies for all the world – or at least all of Washington Street – to see.

The dogs who unknowingly arrived for a scrub-down all seemed humiliated.

flat-coated retriever in kiddie pool

Waldo wonders when this will be over.

But afterwards, the dogs seemed as happy as their people.

husky shepherd mix

Sonny – so fresh ‘n’ so clean.

All of the sudsin’ was part of a donation drive for Unleashed Pet Rescue & Adoption, a local organization that moves homeless pets from kill shelters to a no-kill shelter or foster homes until they can be adopted.

During the dog wash, I talked to passersby, offered free homemade beer biscuits and sold Beer Paws bottle openers.


The turnout wasn’t huge for the event, but lots of people gave donations to Unleashed.

Ten percent of all Beer Paws proceeds from that day are also going to the rescue.

If you could not attend the dog wash but would still like to contribute, make a donation to Unleashed. If you would like to buy something from Beer Paws and have the charity portion of your purchase donated to Unleashed, just let me know when you place your order.

Has your dog ever had a public bath?

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

Neighbor’s Garden: Mike’s little lettuces

The Wayward House has a frontyard garden, which means the whole neighborhood can see what we’re growing. In fact, passersby often pause to inspect our growth and ask about what we have in the ground. (Some of them have even thanked us.)

That’s cool.

We also like to look at other people’s gardens. Like our friend and neighbor Mike.
Recently, Mike and his girlfriend Berry joined me for a little environmentally-minded community cleanup.

We joined a crew organized by the Waldo Homes Association to help remove the honeysuckle, a prolific and invasive species that chokes out native woods and greenery in this area.


After a couple hours of hauling honeysuckle branches into a giant pile the city would remove from nearby South Oak Park and enjoying a complimentary lunch for our efforts, Mike showed me his backyard lettuce garden.


Mike is growing several types of leaf lettuce and kale. Most of them he started from seedlings he purchased, but a couple of plants shown here actually lived through our creepily mild winter.

Rabbits run rampant in our neighborhood, so you can see that Mike has fenced his raised beds with chicken wire.

Later in the season, Mike plans to add some more vegetables to his pair of raised beds. He says he might even try sprouting some seeds from an heirloom melon I gave him and Berry last summer.

Although I offered him some of my extra pepper seedlings, I confess that I just planted all of them. And they actually aren’t that big or healthy-looking, anyway.

Do a lot of your neighbors have gardens? Do they grow different things than you do?

#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!

Does Jerusalem stone make good fertilizer?


Last week, I wrote about the awesome, local, upcycled art available on most Second Saturdays at Jerusalem Stone, a local shop in the Waldo neighborhood where I live.

As I noted before, Jerusalem Stone doesn’t look like much from the outside. In fact, located on a dead-end street, it’s easy to miss. The shop specializes in beautiful dolomitic limestone imported from the Middle East for use in decoration and design projects for homes and businesses.

Currently, I’m not in the market for a slab of the ancient stone, but one of the shop owners informed me that the material known as Jerusalem stone serves another purpose: enriching soil.

Composed of calcium and magnesium, dolomitic limestone can be used as an organic supplement in soils lacking those minerals. In conversation with me, the shop owner credited the vitality of the peach and cherry trees planted at her store’s entrance to the Jerusalem stone in the surrounding soil. She said that she and her husband also use the stone in their home orchard and sell it to other local farmers.

Through some perfunctory research online, I discovered a lot of support for the helpful properties of carefully applied dolomitic lime in the garden, as well as some debate over its benefits. Considering we last spring we planted a mini orchard of our own, consisting of seven fruit and nut trees plus various berry bushes, I am very curious to learn more.

Fellow gardeners: Have you used dolomitic limestone to enrich your soil?

Awesome local, upcycled art

Are you ready for the holidays? I’m not.

I have accomplished very little shopping so far. Some of what I have gotten done occured within a tiny Waldo neighborhood shop that I recently visited for the first time.

Jerusalem Stone doesn’t look like much from the outside. In fact, located on a dead-end Waldo street, it’s easy to miss.

The shop specializes in beautiful, imported stone for use in decoration and design projects for homes and businesses. A few times a year, though, the shop turns into the site of a market for beautiful and unique handmade and vintage items.

Many of the artists incorporate found and recycled objects into their creations. When I was there last Saturday, I saw baby angels with real moth wings, jewelry made with reclaimed copper, gorgeous hand bags constructed of discarded upholstery and fabric scraps, and Boulevard beer caps dangling from earrings.

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The slideshow above includes some of the items I saw. I especially love the sturdy and reusable totes upcycled from old rice, kitty litter and dog food bags. Those are the creations of the Green Bag Ladies and also available on Etsy.

I bought a tote made from an Ol’ Roy dog food bag for Zach’s mother’s birthday last week, a bolt of handmade fabric from Jerusalem and four fragrant bars of handcrafted goat’s milk soap. She loved it all.

Typically, the market happens on the second Saturday of the month, but it stretched over three Saturdays in December for the holidays and now won’t resume again until March. You can learn more about the artists and market at the Second Saturdays at Jerusalem Stone page on Facebook.

Who is left on your holiday shopping list?

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