Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Even the Best Shelter...

Even the best shelter is not a home, or home, or the place of a loyal human-animal bond.

Even the best shelter can have problems with disease, or be a stressful place for a particular animal, or just not be able to bring the resources and conditions of home to bear on a problem.  Both shelters I am involved with have fallen short in the ability to care for one or more animals with the result that the animal died.  Not in the sense of wrong doing, bad practice or neglect--in fact, many of these cases the shelter went above and beyond--but in the sense of just being a crowded, busy, germy, noisy place that is not home, no matter how nice it looks.

I was looking for pictures but I am just going to name names for now.
Brick--for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Jasmine--for getting too sick
Onyx--stressed too much in the kennel
Maria--got too sick and stopped eating
Three little kittens--for coming to the shelter too young, and in PanLeuk season
Kittens too small to vaccinate, born of unattended mom cats, etc--fading away for so many reasons.
and finally, even though it isn't officially common knowledge...
Evelyn--undone by the continuous change presented by being in an animal shelter. Even the best behavior mod program has trouble overcoming the simple fact that it is not home, with a consistent human cast and physical environment.

Rest in Peace all you cat souls.  For me, at least, you did not pass away without notice.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I went to hear No Kill advocate Nathan Winograd.  I thought his ideas were very good about the things that need to be done so that community shelters do not kill adoptable cats and dogs but rather find them good homes.  However, looking around the kennels of the open admission Kansas City Pet Project and seeing cats and dogs everywhere, I was a bit stunned.  Especially the cats.

How in the world do we do this?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Something a Little More Cheerful

A nice afternoon in kitty adoptions at Wayside Waifs: Seven kitties found new homes, including this attractive Torbie. I think it clinched the deal when she came out of her kennel and sat on my lap.

Narrow Escape

The two dogs above were at risk of euthanasia at the KCMO Animal Shelter...I am not sure if they were saved or not.

The problem with taking something over that is a service and is ongoing is you don't have start up time. It's go time from the time you take the keys. So the KC Pet Project people walk into a shelter that is an open admission shelter that is already overcrowded, especially with dogs. Then some of the dogs get sick, and in the shelter, there is no quarantine area. Since space is already tight, which is a risk factor for the spread of disease, the shelter is faced with the possibility of having to kill sick but adoptable animals.

Facebook was used to put out the names and pics of animals at risk this morning and, while I cannot confirm that all of the at risk animals were pulled out of the shelter by individuals or organizations, I can tell you that at least a few of the animals were saved. The group included a St. Bernard boy. It was a great example of how social networking can work to communicate a need quickly.

KC Pet Project would like to euthanize rarely, if at all. They do not have that opportunity at this time. To get there is going to require many things: improved facilities, communication and cooperation with other rescues and shelters, more foster homes, more adoptions faster, and a general reduction in the production of companion animals in the metro. It would be nice to get beyond having to deal with individual emergency situations concerning the number and/or health of animals at the shelter that require that the hard choice of euthanasia be considered and be able to work proactively rather than reactively.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Nothing But Animals

We're going to see if we like the way this works out. (Above, Gracie, adoptable kitty at Wayside Waifs...have to have an adorable photo!)

The Observer has been working as a volunteer at Wayside Waifs and so many of the animals have such compelling stories about them. Not to mention all the cute pictures I take of the animals. I also hope to make it a more regular occurance to visit the Kansas City Missouri shelter on Raytown Road. Adopting from there saves lives, literally.

Facebook has become one of the biggest and best tools for getting the word out about animals, but there are sometimes that it is just too much for that outlet--too many animals, too many links, too many photos. A blog post coupled with a Facebook link is often just the ticket, and since so many links get shared, the word gets out about animals available for adoption.

It's pretty hard to make a city a "no-kill" city--a lot of things have to fall into place. Kansas City can do better. Perhaps this blog can help a little bit.