Hinkley Got Adopted!

 

Today my prayers were answered….Hinkley found her forever home! Today was not an ordinary daimg_20191002_185313-1y. Everything about it felt like a miracle was taking place. I think it was actually taking place all week for me. You see all week up until that moment, I had already started missing her. I knew the day was coming when I would have to say goodbye and for some reason all week long, I seemed to be practicing with my tears. Every time I left the shelter, I would say good-bye to her and tell her I loved her and that I was so proud of her. Getting adopted was the best thing in the world to happen to her and it was my greatest desire but it also meant I would never see her again, never get kisses, no more hugs and no more walks together. I would talk about her to my husband and daughter-in-law and tears would flow. It was almost as if I knew she was leaving.

The day of her adoption, I got there around 3:45 and saw another volunteer who loved Hinkley too and we decided to take Hinkley together on a hike up the hill so she could run and roll around in the grass but halfway up she was looking pretty tired and it was hot, so we decided to go back down the hill. Meanwhile another volunteer was showing a family of four a dog and all of a sudden she thought of Hinkley and started asking around trying to locate Hinkley. I keep thinking if we hadn’t walked back down the hill when we did, Hinkley might have missed her opportunity.

I brought Hinkley inside the main shelter area and put her back in her kennel. As I rounded the corner to get another dog to walk, the volunteer who was looking for Hinkley said to me, “Is Hinkley good with kids?” Hinkley had met my two grandchildren and a boy at the park when I took her out for a doggie day out and seemed to like the kids. She also allowed the boys mom to come over and pet her. So I said, ” I think so.” She also told me the woman was looking for a mellow dog and THAT I could say for sure, she was!

Stacey took the woman and her three kids down to the play yard, and I went back to get Hinkley. I stopped one of the staff to ask her to check Hinkley’s file to see if there was anything behavior issues the family needed to know. I knew there wouldn’t be but I had to go through the motions of doing everything right. True to my thoughts the only thing listed about Hinkley was her shyness and they would need to have a consult about how to help Hinkley adjust. To read about our first encounter.  Funny thing was just two days ago I went to a class to become a matchmaker. (Matching dogs to potential adopters)Who would have thought my first attempt would be with my Hinkley. Stacey could have done the meet but she was gracious enough to let me

I then headed down to the play yard for introductions. We always ask that potential adopters let the dogs come to them when the dog is ready.  I opened the gate and took Hinkley in and much to my great surprise, Hinkley went right up to the kids waiting for them to pet her. My eyes filled up with tears. I was watching my little girl growing up and ready to have her forever family. When they said, “We want her!”, my tears couldn’t help but start falling. My sweet sweet Hinkley was going to get her forever home. The truth of the matter was they didn’t choose her; she chose them. 

The family then headed to the office to start the adoption procedures. While they were doing that, me and my hiking partner that day Cindy and I headed to the blue bench in front of the shelter to take goodbye pics.

 

 

It was about 7:15 when I look through the main office door and saw the family with Hinkley on leash headed out the door. I had a dog with me and I took her back to the kennel and just hoped I made it in time to say one last good-bye. They were loading her up in the car and I went over to say thank you again and to take a final pic of my baby leaving.

 

She looked so right! This was her family now. She was my baby until she became somebody else’s.

I headed back inside the shelter and grabbed me another dog to walk. I headed outside and as I was walking down the sidewalk, I turned around to see the car leaving and Hinkley was watching me watching her go. I will never forget that moment. It is forever etched in my memories. Happy life sweet baby girl!

Doggie Day Out

img_20190914_133356At the animal shelter people who get approval can take a dog out for the day. Some of us are not able to foster because of rental agreements, other dogs, young children, etc….The  next best thing to fostering is taking a dog out of the sheltered environment for a break. This could be for 30 minutes to a weekend overnighter.

I did my first DDO last Saturday and I’m addicted! Of coarse for my first adventure, I took Hinkley whom you can read about in my former blogs. I really wish I could bring her to my home but they ask us not to bring them into an environment with other dogs. Since I have two beautiful boxers living with me, I could not bring her to a home environment but we had a beautiful day together.

Our day out consisted of cheeseburgers, two park visits, a hike, and a leisurely roll in the grass and nap, well for Hinkley, that is. I just watched her enjoy herself and my heart was doing cartwheels.

The other purpose of a Doggie Day Out is to help the dogs get exposure so they can get adopted. When people come into the shelter, they have no idea what jewels are hidden in those kennels. All they see is the outside of the dog: not it’s personality. A lot of dogs get overlooked or passed by and for the staff and volunteers who work with these dogs every day, it breaks our hearts.

Some dogs are so stressed out inside the kennel but once out and away from the strangers coming through and the dogs passing by, they become a whole new dog. On Doggie Day Outs you see a dramatically different dog. They become relaxed, playful, and more loving.

My beautiful, shy Hinkley rolled in the grass and took a wonderful nap. I got to see another side of her personality and it was beautiful.

Today when I went to the shelter, I saw this adorable girl get excited to see me.

Sometimes right after a DDO a dog will get immediately adopted. But sometimes they don’t. Fostering and DDO’s give people a chance to get to know a dog and many dogs end up getting adopted by their fosters but even if they don’t they get “seen”.

Dog shelters really need YOU! Why not take a dog out for a few hours or a few days. This is an awesome opportunity for you to help give a dog hope! I recently hit my 200th hour of volunteering. If something ever happens where I can’t walk anymore, I still plan of doing Doggie Day Outs. I hope those reading this will consider brightening up the day of one special dog.

If you would like to know more about Hinkley click on this  web address Hinkley’s Adoption Info

 

 

Never Underestimate Your Love

Hinkley. When I first met her she was so timid and afraid. I had to have help getting her back into her kennel on our first walk together because she was so scared and I wasn’t sure if in her fear, she would bite me. She was even ducking when a staff member tried to help her. We got her back in her cage ..It took two of our staff.I quit walking her for about 4 or 5 days. Instead I would come up and talk to her and bring her treats. I wanted to win her over. I noticed she wasn’t getting afternoon walks and my heart started hurting for her. So one day I said,” The heck with this I’m gonna try again with you sweet girl.”I have watched her go from timid and fearful to becoming more and more brave every day. She greets you at her cage with tail wags now and doesn’t flinch any more when I reach down and pet her. With her tail wagging, she tries to go up to others to say hi now.She was so loved by the Dog Squad (volunteers that help walk and care for sick dogs) when she was in ISO (Isolation) with an upper respitory infection and now by several volunteers since back in our main kennels and is such a different dog today.The day before she went into ISO, I had taken Hinkley for a walk. She didn’t flinch one time. As we were walking to her kennel, she went up to 3 of our staff wagging her tail. I wanted to cry. I was watching Hinkley blossom right before my eyes. And not only that but this slow moving, shy dog had pep in her step as we walked.When she was in ISO the first few days, I would sit in her kennel with her sometimes for 20 or 30 minutes at a time trying to coax her out for a walk. When we would come back, I would join her once again in her kennel until she fell asleep while I petted her.Hinkley is back in the main shelter now and feeling good . She stands at her kennel door waiting for someone to walk her.On Sat I was chatting with a fellow volunteer and Hinkley jumped up on me and just stayed there for a few. That was so huge!!!! And in the play yard, I got my first kisses from her. She even sticks her nose in my treat bag with great confidence that her temporary momma is gonna feed her.I wish I could adopt her so badly but it just isn’t possible for me at this time but if we can keep showing her ( and all those shy hurt ones) it’s ok to be loved and love back then just maybe one day that special person will walk in and see this wonderfully happy dog that was meant just for them and a beautiful adoption will happen. That’s my prayer for Hinkley……………and well, for Channing and Roo and Tiny Dancer, Denim and Bella Brown and Daphne and and and and……Every volunteer no matter how often they show up, makes a difference in these precious babies lives. Every time a dog is walked or fed a treat or played with, they get love. Love they wouldn’t have on the streets or in an abusive home. Every time a dog gets adopted, we all do dances in our heart and celebrate online. Love always makes a difference!!!Hinkly is available for adoption at the KC Pet Project at 4400 Raytown Rd in KC. MO.

My Greatest Joy/My Greatest Sorrow

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Going to the shelter to walk dogs is my happy place…..my greatest joy but it can also be my sad place….my greatest sorrow. A couple of days ago I had to say good-bye to my beautiful sweet girl Farah. Farah’s quality of life was getting worse the longer she was in the shelter. She couldn’t get placed into a home with another dog because she didn’t like or get along with them. The staff tried so hard to help her adjust but she couldn’t get past being reactive. If there was any way possible, I would have taken her home but that door just wasn’t open for me.

But with me, she was my little love bunny. I started volunteering at the end of May but didn’t start walking dogs til June. Farah was on of my first dogs. She nearly pulled me on the ground the first time I walked her. She was so strong. But I instantly bonded with her.

I don’t know much about her history only that she was brought in as a stray after being hit by a car but I would always kiss her little facial scars and tell her how beautiful she was and how much I loved her.

The day before she crossed the rainbow bridge, I went down to the play yard where another volunteer had her. As soon as she saw me, she got so excited and was jumping on the fence to see me. The volunteer was surprised and said, ” Wow! She never does that for me!” Farah loved me and she knew I loved her. A staff member also knew I had a relationship with the dog and made sure I was alerted to her crossing over. I asked to be with her when it happened and they let me. I will forever be grateful.

Farah’s’ last day was spent eating 5 cheeseburgers, cookies and ice cream coated cookies. We spent it together in one of the play yards in the back. It was so hard and my heart was just breaking but I wanted her to know how much she was loved and just wanted to spoil her with food and affection. One of the staff members joined me and we just talked. It was nice to have the company and have someone to talk to about her.

When I would walk Farah, we didn’t walk too far because she was so strong and pulled me. I always just gave her extended love time in the yard and grabbed peanut butter treats as we entered the kennel area. This day I decided she could pull me all she wanted and we went for a very long walk. She was pretty tired when we got done and was given two more sausage burgers.

Farah went to sleep on my legs and right before she took her last breath I leaned over and kissed her good-bye. My tears are falling as I write this and my heart is hurting so badly but I know she isn’t suffering any more and I really hope there are dogs in heaven and that she will be there to greet me when I get there along with my Jill, Jack and Jericho.

 

My Sheltered Routine

Update first: Patron and Malcolm have been adopted!!!!!! (See my previous blog posts for their stories. Hinkley is in isolation with an upper respiratory infection. I stop in to visit her every day I’m there. Will share more on her in my next blog post. 

I seem to be drawn to a certain personality in a dog at the shelter. The seniors are my heart string pullers but I also am hopelessly drawn to the shy, timid and afraid. It’s like I want to be their mommy until their forever mommy or daddy shows up. I want them to overcome their shyness and fear and know it’s ok to be loved and give love back. Sometimes I swear I feel their sadness. Some of them shake in their kennels when you talk to them and I just want to scoop them up in my arms and smother them with hugs and kisses. Some of them are staff only dogs which means volunteers can’t take them out. I wait and watch for what seems like forever for them to become volunteer dogs and some never do so the only thing I can do is give them treats and pets through their cages and just talk to them in a soothing loving way. The staff are wonderful with them though so they are definitely getting great love and care.

When I get to the shelter, I love to go up and down the first row and say hi and give some love pets to the babies. No matter how old they are they are still babies to me. When they are not in their cages or out for walks, I try to find out where they are hoping they got adopted. The thing is they could be missing for several reasons such as transferred to a rescue, transferred to one of our other shelters or just another shelter altogether, adopted, or on a medical hold because they got sick or worse………have passed away. I always arrive hoping especially to see the seniors adopted.

I then go to the boards and look for the dogs labeled priority walks or holds it. After walking the priorities and holds it dogs, I start on row one and then just walk till the staff is ready to go home. I have a routine that I usually follow with the dogs. I take them through “poo poo” alley first.  It’s a wooded path that usually encourages the dogs to do their business. After that I take them to the play yards and just love on them, give them treats and play with them. If the play yards are full, I walk around the front of the building past the medical trailers, up the hill and sit on what I call the love bench. The dogs don’t get to run free here but they get loved on, fed treats and I will brush them if they allow me to.  I love to walk around the front to show them off. When people see them, they will comment on how cute they are. I tell them the dog’s name, how wonderful they are and tell them if they are interested, they can talk to a staff member about meeting them. Once we as me and my dog get inside, I grab a peanut butter treat out of the refrigerator and take them back to their kennels.

We try to get each dog out for a walk twice a day but it takes a lot of volunteers showing up. I get so excited when we can give a dog three walks because we have a great turnout of volunteers. The hardest days are when I have to leave and there are several dogs that only got one walk that day. I would probably stay all night if they let me til every last dog got walked. Volunteers are so important!!!

The burden I feel for these dogs is my passion. I look forward to every day I get to go there. At first I was so overwhelmed with the amount of dogs not getting there second walk but I had to learn to be grateful for the opportunity I and the other volunteers got with the animals we were able to get to. You have to make a difference with one dog at a time. If you stay in an overwhelmed state of mind, you will quit. I know in my heart that this is where God has lead me and I am open to where ever this leads me and to learn from it whatever He wants me to learn. I have a lot of love to give and a lot of learning yet to do!!!

This is Marigold. She is just as sweet as can be. She’s very friendly and outgoing and is a great leash walker and loves exploring. She waiting for her forever family at the KC Pet Project on Raytown Rd.

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When Poop Flies: Malcolm

Walking the dogs at the shelter is not all sunshine and roses and good feelings especially when the poop starts flying. I mean literally; poop flies! When I get to the shelter, I start looking for the priority walks and dogs that hold it and walk them first. I start with row one and work my way to the back.

There was this one dog that needed walking but his kennel was full of poop. I didn’t see anyone around inside to clean his cage so I thought I will walk him last so when I put him back, his cage will be clean. The staff were really busy that day with walking, introductions and all the amazing things they do to keep the shelter running. It was almost time to head home and this sweet dog was still needing a walk. Seriously if you had seen his cage, his body and his paws, you may have walked by thinking someone else will walk him. I really felt bad for this little “holds it” guy who didn’t hold it this time.

I walked around until I found a staff  person and asked him should I wait a little longer  or could someone clean his cage while I was walking him. Fortunately, he told me he would clean it and to go ahead and walk him. Nice to meet you Malcolm!

I knew I would get poop on me from lifting him out of his cage and prepared myself but holy cow I didn’t expect what was to come next. I opened his cage and the poop went flying….in my mouth ( It is what it is people. Don’t judge me), on my face, my neck, my shoulders, my shirt, and my hair. Another staff member was standing near and came over and helped me get him out and off we went. Once I got outside this same staff person brought me lots of wet and dry towels to wipe off with directing me to the spots I couldn’t see. Forever grateful!!

We then proceeded to give Malcolm a much needed bath. He was quite the trooper and patiently endured shampoo and being hosed down. Poor guy!! He was just so desperate to get out of his kennel that his paws were going in every direction. Once his bath was over, we went on our walk so he could dry off. Let me tell you that boy knows how to clean up and is a very handsome dude.

When I got home from my Malcolm experience, my dogs refused to greet me, my daughter-in-law was laughing her butt of while I shared my story and my husband was pointing me to the shower…..sigh.

I haven’t had  a chance to walk him again. Usually someone has gotten to him before me or I am so busy walking rows 1 and 2. Would I do it again? Of course! It’s just another day at the shelter.

Malcolm is 5 years old and 11 months and just a sweet loving boy who loves to give kisses and available for adoption at the KC Pet Project in Missouri. I sure hope someone sweeps him up soon. These aren’t my pics but they are awesome!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Heart Strings Get Pulled: Patron

There are times when walking dogs at the Shelter that a certain dog comes along that pulls your heart strings. For me that comes often. I wrote about Hinkley in my last blog and she is my current heart string puller but there’s another little man (actually he’s an 81 pound Pitbull mix) that came along the first week in July. His name is Patron.

When I first met Patron, he was a grumpy, old man. He would come out of his kennel and we would head out for our walk and he would just stop and refuse to move. I would let him stay for a few and then give him a little tug and get him to move a few more feet. He wanted to be in charge and he just seemed mad to me.

I took him out to the kennel yard to try and get acquainted a little but he was so indifferent to me. It was almost like he was doing me a favor by allowing me to pet him. As I was stroking his head, I started praying he would find a special home with special people who would love him and make his last days more special then his first. And of course the tears started flowing. I just thought how unfair it was that a 10 year dog who was accustomed to living in a home was now possibly spending his last years in a shelter.

When I took him back inside the shelter, he reluctantly walked in with me and planted his bottom in the doorway. I had to get help from a staff person to get him to his kennel and get him back in. He just broke my heart.

I took out again another time he was a much more compliant boy but still didn’t want go back into the building. I had to have a little help this time but once we got through the door he actually moved a little quicker to his kennel but I still had to coax him in and give him a little push.

The third time I walked him he walked with me with out stopping, ate my treats and when we stopped at the love bench, he put his paws on my legs and let me totally love on him. When we got back inside the building and in front of his cage, he walked right in. I was smitten!! I saw a young puppy coming out of him..

Every day after that was just amazing. He had a spark in his eye and seemed genuinely happy to see me. I would be so bummed when I came in and someone else had walked him but I made sure to stop by to tell him how awesome he was and give him treats.

The last day I walked him, we were walking up the hill and he stopped and dropped in the bushes and just began rolling around. My boy was frolicking. My old man was acting like a puppy who had found his happy place. He even played tug of war with me. I was so happy that I just wanted to shout, “Hey everyone! Look at this beautiful boy playing and being a puppy again!”

When I came back the next day, he was gone. He had been moved to a different location. Where he went, could have given him a better chance of being adopted. I kept checking his profile on our website and then one day I saw he was in a foster home. I was so happy, someone was loving on him and he was in a home again. Just recently I saw he was once again at our other shelter.

If I didn’t have my two precious boxer girls, I would adopt him in a heartbeat. So now I just continue praying that my precious boy will get to live out his last days in a home with some amazing people loving all over him. I’m hoping that I can take a trip to the Zona Rosa Adoption Center at 8721 N Stoddard Ave, Kansas City and maybe walk and visit him some time.

It’s a good thing my heart has a lot of strings that can be pulled cause……..I’m hoping to be here for a long time.

I walked Hinkley again today! This time I took her to the play yard and she let me pet her and feed her hot dogs. She didn’t flinch one time. Progress!!!!

No Shelter for the Heart.

I’ve been walking dogs at the KC Pet Project in Mo for two and a half months now. It is both the most rewarding and painful thing I have ever done. I laugh and cry and sometimes both at the same time. I’m the person who watches all the animal videos on Facebook and balls her eyes out so actually living it out in person makes for a very emotional experience.

The reward comes in knowing you are making a difference in this dogs life. He’s getting walks, treats, love and comfort he wouldn’t be getting in an abusive home or on the streets. My favorite thing to do when I get to the shelter is to walk up and down the rows and just talk to them and pet them through their cages. I also say goodnight to them and tell them to have a restful sleep and pleasant dreams as I walk out the door. I hope they feel my love and that it restores their hope. I genuinely love them all.

Sometimes as I near their cages they will put their body up against the cage and just wait for me to touch them. A few of them will roll on their backs and you can feel and see the love they are so desiring and desperate for. I like to take them out for a walk so they can relieve themselves then find an empty play yard and just love the heck out of them. If the play yards are full, I have this bench I go to that I call the love bench and we just sit and talk, enjoy treats and I brush their hair.

Their personalities are so different. Some will walk right by your side and never leave your side. Others will play tug of war or with balls and some will just walk around the kennel yard not interested in you at all but they all are interested in the treats you offer them.

I pray for each of them to find good homes and for God to heal them or keep them in good health. And sometimes as I’m praying, I break down and cry. My heart breaks for the seniors the most. It takes a very special person to adopt a senior. My hats off to them knowing they may only have a short time with them or health issues may come up that can put a huge dent in their finances. It breaks my heart that seniors are even in the shelter. Most of these sweet babies are used to the comforts of a home and all of a sudden it’s ripped apart from them and most people looking for dogs are looking for certain breeds or puppies. We do have amazing people in the shelter network who foster seniors and I just love and respect them so much. That is my future dream when my two boxer girls pass on. I was only going to foster boxers until I started falling in love with shelter dogs.

There are times that I am so overwhelmed that I will get into my car and cry all the way home. There was this one dog named Hinkley that I took out for a walk two weeks ago. She got out of her kennel great but as we were walking, the sound of someone closing the dumpster freaked her out. She jumped and ducked. I got her calm and we walked this path that I like to call PooPoo Alley cause it’s just a perfect place for the dogs to pee and poo. When we got on the path, I went to pet her and she went down on the ground terrified. Her eyes became like saucers. I felt so bad for her but it scared me. I took her over to the play yard and just let her walk around but those eyes. She let me pet her a couple of the times very gently on the head but she was just so fearful. I started wondering if she had been abused and maybe I looked like the person who had hurt her. I left the kennel and asked a staff member to help me and she jumped when he tried to pet her. He was amazing with her and we walked her back into the shelter and he and another staff member got her back in her kennel even though she didn’t want to go in. My heart was broken. She was my last dog to walk for the day. As I climbed into my car the tears started rolling and I sobbed all the way home. This poor baby just needs to have a home where she feels safe and totally loved. I keep her in my prayers daily. I haven’t’ taken her out again but I stop by and talk to her and feed her treats. I want her to trust me and know that I love her so much.

I love volunteering! I’ve had a passion for animals all my life, especially the abandoned and hurt. I see this path I’m on as a great privilege that I don’t take lightly. I’m just so glad to be a part of this great work.

Update: I noticed Hinkley hadn’t been getting afternoon walks and I would see her standing there always waiting and I couldn’t stand to see her like that. So, I decided this day was the day I was going to resume our walks. I didn’t try to pet her. We just walked and I sang to her and told her how wonderful she is. She still flinched a little if I moved my hand too fast but we made it all the way around the building and she went peacefully into her cage. I made a decision yesterday that as long as she is there, she’s gonna be my sweet baby who is always going to get her afternoon walk and a tremendous amount of love. I’m not going to give up on her!

Passion for Pups!

As far back as I can remember I have been an animal lover. I knew all the cats on the block especially the roamers. I brought home all the dogs I found in the desert, including snakes, horned toads, rabbits and hurt birds. I drove my parents insane. But animals got healed or returned to owners. I cried every time I had to give an animal up but my parents always assured me, it was for the best.

I decided I was going to become at a vet at around age 15 until my dad told the vet we were taking my dog to with a broken jaw.  The vet let me hold Beau’s head while he stitched him up and my dad had to catch me as my head almost hit the floor. So much for that dream.

In my 30’s I started working for a vet again and was doing very well. The vet sent me into the room with a couple putting down their dog and I think I was crying harder then them. It was my first euthanasia. I think he had high hopes for me becoming a vet tech but I was having physical problems at the time and didn’t agree with his bedside manner so I moved on.

In 2013 after the death of my son’s boxer/lab, we started looking for another dog for our living boxer girl. I got a notification of a male boxer on Pet Harbor but by t he time I contacted them, he was gone. There was another boxer that popped up, a little girl. Everyone told me not to get a girl but one gentleman who was a boxer lover as well. I called the Stockton Shelter for three weeks checking to see if she was still there. I really wanted a full bred boxer but I could tell by her pic she was a mix.

But something was drawing me to her. Finally I  called my daughter Meghan and said, ” I’m going to the shelter. I want you to meet me there and talk me out of adopting this girl.” I called my husband and told him I was going to “just” go look at her and I was off. Now my husband knew at that moment, we were getting a new member of our family.

I got to the shelter and Meg and I started looking for this girl boxer named Sandra. Sandra immediately stretchered her legs through the bars of her kennel and tried to wrap them around me. We asked if we could take her out to the yard and as soon as that door opened she was running around playing with every toy and jumping in the pool. I was so touched but it was all over when she came over to where I was sitting and put both paws on my shoulders and laid her head on my chest. You see Sandra chose me! I told the lady I would bring my husband back the beginning of the week and my daughter cries out, ” No Mom! You have to take her now!” So Sandra became Jewels at that moment and a part of our family. I always say she is the best gift I ever gave myself.

When we left California in November of this year and moved to Missouri, I started seeing pics and hearing about this shelter on the lost pets sites on Facebook. I  looked them up and thought, “I have to be a part of this.” Meghan and I went driving around site seeing one day and I said, “Hey let’s go check out that animal shelter. I want to get info about volunteering, That’s me in the purple appropriately standing in front of the dogs!

Shelter Tour 05.08.19