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Cute Cat Lady Style

I met so many wonderful people at the slew of rescue-related events I attended last weekend.

But when I saw this girl, I had to get her picture. Check out her awesome kitty print dress!

girl in cat print dress

Even cat girls love Beer Paws products.

We chatted for a while when she visited my booth at Tunes for TARA, the concert and fundraiser for The Animal Rescue Alliance.

She was there in part because she had fostered (and kept) a cat from TARA, one of a few felines she had at home.

Although the Beer Paws brand does cater more to dog lovers, my new young cat lady friend found something she liked at my merch table.

She bought one of the Wine Paws wine stoppers (“when it’s time to take wine pause, get our your Wine Paw”) and even inquired about the Beer Paws baseball t-shirt I was rocking that day.

Beer Paws baseball tee

Here’s me with Ashley, one of the event organizers.

I am proud to say that thanks to cat girl and many other TARA supporters that day, Beer Paws raised over $60 for the rescue group.

We are trying to drive that number up even more throughout the week. 10% of all proceeds from online sales through Sunday, September 1, 2013, will benefit TARA.

Click here to shop: http://waywarddogs.storenvy.com/

To see more photos from Tunes for TARA, check out the photo album on Facebook!

 

Celebrating Pet Rescuers in Kansas City

This weekend has been so inspiring.

I have spent most of it in the company of other animal lovers.

There has been dancing.

Line dancing at Unleashed Pet Rescue & Adoption's Wag & Swag Paw-ty

Line dancing at Unleashed Pet Rescue & Adoption’s Wag & Swag Paw-ty

There has been drinking.

Best. Shirt. Ever.

Best. Shirt. Ever.

There has been puppy-handling.

KC Pet Project's 8-week-old Shar pei mix pups

KC Pet Project’s 8-week-old Shar pei mix pups

To see more pictures from the weekend, head the photos section of the Beer Paws Facebook page.

In just a little while, I’m heading out again, this time to help The Animal Rescue Alliance celebrate another year of helping homeless pets.

This particular organization, founded by the friends and family of a young woman who passed away unexpectedly, is very special to the residents of Wayward House.

Here’s why:

golden retriever in camo scarf

Credit: Fido Fetch Photography

Luke is a TARA dog, adopted by Zach following a chance meeting in the streets of Kansas City more than four years ago.

Our big golden boy is part of the reason I wanted to participate in today’s Tunes for TARA event in Kansas City. At least 10% of proceeds from all Beer Paws products sold at the event will go back to TARA.

Please come see us if you are in this area.

If you cannot make it to the event, make an online Beer Paws purchase anytime this week, and part of the sale will benefit TARA.

Hitchhiker dog on I-435

Back in September, while Zach and I vacationed in Portland, our friend Karen sent me the photo above. Unfortunately, I never got around to posting the awesome story, until now.

First: Here’s a bit you should know about Karen. She has fostered many dogs over the years, including our very own Luke and Meatball (later re-named Charlie). She typically fosters through The Animal Rescue Alliance and always offers to help however she can whenever I stumble across a wayward dog.

So, it did not surprise me at all when Karen told me she picked up a hitchhiker dog on Interstate 435 one morning on her way to work. Instinctively, upon spotting the dog, Karen pulled over and opened her car door. Obviously desperate for help, the dog hopped right in. “He was so close to getting into rush hour, 435 traffic, I can’t imagine what might have happened if my timing had been any later,” she says.

Because she was headed to work, Karen didn’t have time to take the dog directly to a vet or shelter. Fortunately, the weather that day was mild, so she drove the dog to the office, parked her car beneath a shady tree, within view of her desk, and cracked the windows. “He just stared out the passenger side back window the whole time,” she recalls.

Over her lunch hour, Karen took the wayward dog to a vet to be scanned for a microchip. As it turned out, he had one, and a call to his frantic owners revealed that he’d been gone for about 18 hours. Sadly, they were also missing an elderly dog with whom he’d run off.

“The story ended well for my guy, though,” Karen says. “Within a few hours of finding him, he was back in the arms of his grateful and loving owner. His whole demeanor changed when he saw them. He was full of kisses for ‘his’ kids.”

I consider this happy-ish ending a tribute both to my friend’s kind spirit and the importance of considering a microchip for your pet. Check back tomorrow to see how Karen inspired my latest wayward dog rescue.

Has a microchip ever helped you get your pet back — or return someone else’s?

We saved 6 dogs in 2011

While brushing Minnie on Friday afternoon, I spotted one of our old wayward dog friends sniffing her way down the trail. I knew it wouldn’t be easy to catch fleet-footed Stella, the boxer/pit bull/greyhound mix that we helped home more than once over the summer.

True to form, Stella zagged toward me when I called her name, but zigged in another direction before I could get close enough to grab her collar. Luke and I tailed her for a couple of blocks, and another young couple, dressed in formalwear, pulled over and tried to catch her, too, but Stella wasn’t having it. When we gave up, she appeared to be running toward home.

While I wasn’t able to ensure Stella’s safe return this time, six months into the Wayward Dogs project, and at the beginning of a brand new year, I would like to review the results of my attempt to help lost dogs get home. Since June 11, 2011:

  • Zach and I have helped “save” — by returning, rehoming or fostering – a total of six dogs (including Stella).
  • We also spotted or unsuccessfully pursued seven wayward dogs (including Stella).
  • Nearly half of all loose dogs we encountered appeared to be bully mixes (including Stella).
  • The vast majority of the dogs we spotted or caught had collars or were otherwise recognizable to us as neighborhood dogs (including Stella).

The two truly wayward dogs we caught — whose owners, if they existed, we were never able to track down — left special paw prints on our hearts.

One of those dogs is, of course, Charlie Machete, who remains with us as our foster dog.

We knew from the moment Zach slipped a leash on this big, black dog with a pitty head would have little hope at Kansas City’s high-kill shelter. And so, with some initial vet care assistance from Friends of KC Animals, we embarked on a mission to find this dog a home. Fostering him hasn’t been easy or fun all of the time. But this gorgeous, mischievous, whipsmart and cuddly creature has taught us so much and shown us more love than we ever could have expected. We truly hope that early 2012 brings Machete face to face with someone or some people who will appreciate him, farts and all, as much as we do.

Ironically, the other traildog who captured our hearts in 2011 also went on to become a Charlie.

This handsome Boston Terrier started out with us as Meatball. Had we not already been caring for Charlie Machete at the time, we no doubt would have fostered this snuggly and polite hunk. Instead, we passed him to a friend, Luke’s foster mom, who enrolled Meatball with The Animal Rescue Alliance when his owners could not be located. A true charmer, Meatball immediately bewitched a forever family, who changed his name and are, reportedly, massively in love with him to this day.

I honestly don’t know what the past six months of wayward dog experiences mean. Do I just notice more loose dogs because I keep an eye out for them? Do we actually encounter more because we happen to live on the Trolley Trail, a jogging path frequented by dog owners and therefore a mecca of scents that naturally attracts wayward dogs?

Or do I have some kind of pheremone only noticeable to dogs that means “total sucker”?

Regardless, I plan to continue keeping track of the wayward dogs we run into on the Stats page. Maybe over time we will begin to see more patterns.

What are your experiences with wayward dogs? Do you know how many you tend to see in a year?

Why heartworms are now harder to treat

Had I cast a vote in the recent Wayward Dogs Magnet Contest, it probably would have been for handsome Berkley. I’m a real sucker for black and white photography, and he’s just gorgeous.

Berkley is a rescue dog. At the time his owner submitted his photo to the contest, he was on the waiting list for heartworm treatment.

Heartworms are always an issue for the rescue community because so many surrendered and stray dogs come into shelters and rescue organizations already infected. Our golden retriever, Luke, is a prime example. He was undergoing treatment for heartworms as Zach applied to adopt him through The Animal Rescue Alliance a couple of years ago.

Luke was “cured” with the help of Immiticide, which kills adult heartworms. According to the American Heartworm Society, Immiticide is the only “approved” drug for this purpose. Without it, Luke probably wouldn’t be alive today.

This August,  Merial, the manufacturer of Immiticide, announced a shortage of the the drug. A link to an ”urgent” message about how to treat infected dogs during the shortage remains on the American Heartworm Society’s homepage.

This means that it is more important than ever to ensure that dogs take a monthly heartworm preventative, such as Heartgard or Interceptor. Because our dogs recently switched from the former to the latter, I was able to donate about two and a half packages of Heartgard to Missouri Pit Bull Rescue last week.

I urge anyone else who can to support their favorite rescue organization or shelter in this way, too. Heartworms suck.

Two new tales of wayward dogs


In the interest of being fair, I did not include the stories of the dogs whose photos were submitted for the Wayward Dogs Photo Contest. Not everyone submitted a story, and that’s OK. The stories that did come in almost universally brought tears to my eyes. Most of them concern formerly wayward dogs.

I reserve the right to bring tears to your eyes with those stories at a later date — after the contest ends. (That’s Friday, by the way — don’t forget to vote.)

Instead, allow me to explain this little spook:

Spooky Chihuahua

Scruffy and scared, the little long-haired Chihuahua was patrolling a Waldo street on Halloween night, running up to trick-or-treaters and other pedestrians, teeth-bared, just before dusk. From a distance I thought he must be with someone, but as Luke, Machete and I neared, I noticed that everyone who passed the little guy just kept walking. As we neared, he took a few growly steps toward us, and I could see that his fur was patchy and scraggly. He truly resembled a little Halloween demon.

Unable to safely attempt catching him with my big boys in tow, I took them home and returned to the spot with a pair of thick gloves, a leash and a doggy treat, but the Chihuahua was gone. None of the neighbors on nearby porches seemed to have noticed where he’d gone.

I felt bad. The night was chilly, and that little guy reminded me so much of Scooby. I hope he wasn’t really a stray, and that he got home somehow that evening.

Although I haven’t seen that poor devil again, I am glad I was able to help the last wayward dog I ran into get back to him owners. Last Friday night, a medium-sized yellow dog named Carter greeted me in the middle of the street. He was dragging a ten-foot tether behind him, but seemed otherwise healthy and happy. The address on his tag indicated that he’d wandered about 10 blocks. I called the number, and his frantic owners met me in less than five minutes.

Dogs like these are the reason I started this blog:

Meatball the Boston Terrier

Loose dogs — be they stray, dumped or neighborhood wanderers — are common in my part of town. Fortunately, we are not to the point of roving packs of feral dogs, but unattended roamers like those above (Spot, Stella and Meatball) aren’t unusual at all. I stumble upon lost dogs often enough to be grateful that organizations like Friends of KC Animals and The Animal Rescue Alliance exist to help deal with them.

It’s not laid out too nicely right now, but I have been keeping track of these incidents on the Stats page. I look forward to presenting a nice round-up of the data for you at the end of the year.

Is this the project of a crazy dog lady? Maybe. Are there bigger problems in the world? Definitely.

But I think I’m in good company. A third of people say their pet dogs started out as strays, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

So, tell me: What’s your wayward dog story?

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