Adoption can save the life of an animal in need

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Adoption can save the life of an animal in need

Madisyn Degen

Madisyn Degen

Madisyn Degen

Skylar Britt, Editor

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With the holidays fast approaching, many people have a new pet at the top of their wish list. While it is no secret animals provide love and happiness to a family, as well as a lesson in responsibility for children, they tend to get expensive, especially if one choses to buy from a pet store or breeder. However, many shelters provide affordable adoption options that also help decrease the overpopulation shelters sometimes face.

There are many shelters in the Kansas City area that are full of animals looking for a home. They include KC Pet Project, the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City and Wayside Waifs. Many different breeds, ages and sizes are represented in the cats and dogs at the shelters. People can get to know these animals by either going to the shelter to spend time with them or viewing them from the comfort of their own home by visiting the shelter’s website. Shelters are typically full, therefore the need to adopt is exceptionally high to make room for more animals who need homes.

Casey Waugh, communications and annual giving manager at Wayside Waifs, explained the importance of adopting rather than buying from a pet store. 

“Many animals in pet stores are from horrible living situations, such as puppy mills, where they haven’t been treated well, have no socialization and have been kept in small quarters, many times not being allowed outside to see the sun or be on grass,” said Waugh. “Animals from these bad situations haven’t received the medical or behavioral care that all animals at Wayside Waifs receive. The adoption fee includes age appropriate vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery and more. These things are not included in the price of animals purchased at stores.”

It is not uncommon for pet stores to charge upward of $400, and for breeders who specialize in purebred pets, the price tag is often in the thousands of dollars. 

While all animals deserve a home, purchasing a pet from a store may have unintended consequences. Their animals are bred specifically for the stores, often times in a puppy mill. Unfortunately, buying from the stores can add to the puppy mill problem because it shows there is a market and high demand for puppies. The animals are bought very quickly with the next animal to take its place filled in just as fast.

“Unfortunately, there are always homeless animals. It’s very serious, and yes, shelters are always full,” said Waugh. “Wayside Waifs provides comprehensive care to the homeless animals here through our medical and behavioral care. Sadly, there are kill shelters in the country who euthanize for space. Wayside works with many of these shelters – in fact, we have 62 transfer partners nation-wide – to help the animals who are in overcrowded shelters that still euthanize. Those animals can be transferred here and saved. We also help animals locally by caring for stray animals, working with Animal Controls, and taking in owner surrenders.”

Fortunately, Kansas City is a no kill community with many shelters and, in turn, many helpful volunteers. 

Madisyn Degen, a junior psychology major, volunteers as a cat socializer at the Grandview Wayside Waifs. This means she pets, plays and cares for the cats in order to aid in them being comfortable around humans, as many were previously homeless or even abused. 

“I am an animal lover so I thought it would be a great way to help the community,” said Degen. “These animals have been through so much and need a loving home.”

To help ensure the animals will be treated correctly by even the youngest visitors, they offer a Humane Education Program which teaches children how to properly care for the animals. 

“A lot of people come in not looking for a pet but fall in love and adopt them,” said Degen. “Anyone can come to just play with the animals, and you can even put one on hold if you’d like. The shelter is very accommodating to help in any way they need to.”

For those wanting to help the animals but not looking to adopt, there are many other ways to get involved. Volunteers are always needed and even simply walking the dogs and playing with the cats is a great help to the shelters. Wayside Waifs’ website explains all the ways a person can donate through either a one-time gift, becoming a monthly donor, or many other options to fit any budget. Becoming a foster home greatly helps in minimizing the overcrowding problem.

If someone does want to adopt, it can be done in as little as one day from the time the new family member is chosen to when they are later brought to their new home.

“Wayside witnesses the special bond that pets and people have,” said Waugh. “Currently, the special we have planned is our Holiday Open House on Saturday, December 8. All animals’ adoption fees are only $50.”

When considering adding an animal to the family, Waugh encourages families to adopt, don’t shop, as shelters truly allow for a person to save an animals life.

“When you adopt, you’re not only saving the life of that animal but also of another homeless animal that can take its place in the kennel,” said Waugh. “You’re happier, your new family member is happier, and the newly saved animal at the shelter is happier too.” 

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