It’s Raining Cats and Dogs

Wayside Waifs staff shares details of animal shelter

Tymber Moody and Chloe Browning

Wayside Waifs is an animal shelter with more than 300 animals available for adoption. These animals that come to the shelter aren’t public pets — they’ve all been either homeless, their owner was no longer able to take care of them or they have endured other similar situations to these. 

Believe it or not, this year marks the 75th year that Wayside Waifs has been open. They have grown throughout those 75 years — not just in size, but in their reputation and care for their animals. 

This care is seen in their staff who works with the animals day-in and day-out to make sure all the animals are happy and healthy. The many volunteers that help out with the animals also show how dedicated Wayside Waifs’ staff is to their animals’ happiness.

“We have a volunteer pool of about 1,300 volunteers,” Wayside Waifs employee Casey Waugh said. “They get the animals in and out of their kennel, they read stories to them, they play with their toys and sit in their kennel with them so they don’t feel like they’re institutionalized.”

A big part of keeping the dogs happy is having volunteers there to hangout and play with them. Some dogs are able to go out to foster families who take the dogs in and take care of them until someone wants to adopt the dog. These foster families also help socialize the dogs, keep them happy and into a temporary home so they’re not cooped up in a kennel all the time.

Even with the help of the foster families, Wayside Waifs only has a limited amount of space to house all of the animals. They have about 250 kennels in the building for dogs, cats and other animals they have at the shelter. 

That’s actually a very small amount of places to put all of the animals, but Wayside Waifs is a no kill shelter. This means that they do not kill their animals if they are not adopted after a certain amount of time. Even if they were beginning to run out of room to put their animals, they would not euthanize for space. Luckily, many of their dogs are adopted, so they don’t have to worry about that. 

“We have a 92 percent live release rate,” Waugh said. “[That] means 92 percent of the animals are actually adopted or return to their owners. The other percent of animals may have a chronic illness or an illness that makes their quality of life not good.”

Although those illnesses could be unfixable, many of the other animals that come through Wayside Waifs are treated and are able to be adopted, starting a new life with a new family. At the shelter, they have three full-time vets who perform surgeries and check-ups every day to these animals. 

Wayside is on a mission to make sure they can get their animals into happy homes with loving owners. This means they make sure the owner and furry friend get along.

Each potential adopter gets to play with the animal they are interested in to make sure they have personalities that mesh well. Most of the animals in the shelter have not had the best start to life so Wayside’s main goal has always been to make them adoptable.

“We want them to be happy and healthy, in order to find them a forever home and somebody who wants that animal who’s happy and healthy,” Waugh said. “We owe it to them.”

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