My Experience As A KC Pet Project Volunteer

Bridgette and her family’s search for a pet of their own led them to volunteering with the KC Pet Project.  Here, Bridgette tells us all about their experience!

My KC Pet Project Experience

Over the past several months, it seems like the only thing my family talks about is puppies or getting a pet.  So, it wasn’t a shock to me when my husband agreed that we would start looking for a dog that we can welcome into our family! I knew that having a pet was sort of a rite of passage for a child so this was something that I have been preparing myself to deal with.

When we first got married, my husband and I had a young dog and a puppy, and they were amazing, but we had to give them away when we moved to a new state. But as I got older and had kids, a dog seemed to drop lower and lower on my list of wants and needs. It just didn’t seem that important anymore.

Well, last weekend, we decided to start our search for a family dog and after a lot of talking and research, we found out that my husband and I could volunteer at the pound (KCPP) and even bring our children along too. This would give us and our kids time to practice walking the dogs and really just being around them so they could start to feel at ease. But when we walked in the KC Pet Project, my whole entire outlook changed. We NEEDED a dog! Not just for my kids’ sake or my husbands, but for theirs as well.

As we walked through the aisles of a wide variety of dogs, my heart was of two minds. It started to ache because there were so many abandoned, abused and lost dogs. It also started to fill with joy when I saw how anxious they were to interact with us. I wanted to take all of them right then and there! Fighting back the tears of overwhelming emotions, I knew that this was something we had to do!

The KC Pet Project is an amazing organization. They are a no kill organization and they are paving the way in Kansas City to create a No- Kill Kansas City. They are striving to care for all healthy and treatable pets that have been abandoned, lost or abused.

Seeing all of those dogs so sad in their cages really made me think about what it would mean to adopt them. An animal is an innocent living creature and they have no control where they end up or how they get treated, so adopting one and saving its life is now one of the most important things my family could do. Showing concern, compassion and genuine love for these amazing animals is sure to have a major positive impact on all our lives!

While we continue our search for the right pet and begin to make room, we will proudly be volunteering to help make these animals feel the love and comfort they need and deserve.

If you are looking for a pet, I strongly urge you to check out https://kcpetproject.org/ for more information as well as www.KCPets.com for resources on adoption and other valuable information.

What to Do When the Puppy Comes Home

We have a great post for you today from our guest poster, Sarah. Sometimes, the best way to prepare for a puppy is to get advice from those that have done it before you. Sarah shares her experience in bringing home a puppy to her family and has a few tidbits to hopefully help you!

 

What to Do When the Puppy Comes Home!

What to Do When the Puppy Comes Home

Our silver lab, Ammo, is now 6 months old. When we brought him home my girls were instantly in love. They had wanted a puppy for a long time and when my husband and I decided to get one, it all seemed to move quickly. I did preparation around the house but the big things; I couldn’t do because we were keeping this a secret from the girls. So my normal planning of talking to my girls about responsibility of having a pet and how we treat our pet happened very shortly after the euphoria of getting him and bringing him home. First thing my kids want to do is hold him and love on him; first thing Ammo wanted to do was run away!

As they are cornering him in the kitchen, I hear the familiar scream of pain from my youngest. Yep! Those puppy teeth chomped down a little too hard. Poor little girl didn’t know why her puppy did that and little puppy didn’t know what he did. It’s hard with kids to get them to understand that this little thing is fragile—they are used to the dogs at their grandparents’ house—a big Labrador that lets them run and play and lay on him. So what did I do as the concerned I-am-going-to-use-this-as-a-teaching-moment Mom? I sat her down and explained that puppies are just playing and they only know how to play with other puppies. You know what I learned—you can’t teach anything about puppy basics to a 2 year old! It was in this moment that I knew my “Hallmark” moment of everything going perfect with new puppy was falling apart right in front of me.
Please don’t get me started on picking up the toys, we told the girls they had to keep everything picked up, that he won’t know that he can’t play with it or chew it up. I am cooking dinner one night when I hear a scream—one of those moments where you are pretty sure no one is hurt but you want to run up and give support but then again what if you really don’t want to see what happened– moments. My oldest beat me to the top of the stairs with tears in her eyes and her Tinkerbell doll—correction, I think it was her Tinkerbell doll, you see Tink was now an armless, one leg, one wing shell of herself—there is no amount of clapping that will bring her back. We had a nice service and nice words were said and then we buried her in the only fitting place—the trashcan in the garage so the carnage wouldn’t be a constant reminder. My daughter got sat down and I tried to redeem myself in a teaching moment. All I heard was that she wanted to get another dog, one that wouldn’t chew up her toys.
Potty training actually went well. We had some accidents but sooner than I expected he learned to go outside. The worst part? As he got bigger so did his well, excrement. And we now have it all over our yard! Oh and our dog does this weird walking thing while he goes so the piles are actually spread around– EVERYWHERE! I always questioned why we needed to pick up after our dog if it was in our own yard. If he goes in relatively the same spot of the yard that part, although green and lush, is always off limits. Well I get it now! I actually passed one of those signs for doggie scooping for $20 bucks a month—I wrote down the number thinking that kid is going to earn his money in our yard! We have become that house which makes you take off your shoes at the door and I have become that mom that sniffs out anything that may be on your shoes. I didn’t think anything to could make me more crazy—never question these things!
We love our Ammo. He is especially loved when my husband is traveling and the girls and I need another set of ears to vet out any unwanted intruders. He does a great job too when it is someone we know at the door; his bark lets them know there is a dog ready to protect his family in this house. The pizza delivery boy has had wide eyes a couple times when Ammo runs at the door. That is until a month or so ago. My husband was gone; it was a beautiful night so I had the window open in the bedroom. I was just getting ready to doze off when I heard the door to the bedroom rattle. Ammo perked his ears up and noticed I was sitting up in bed. I grabbed the closest thing to a weapon that I could find (the bedside lamp) and slowly walked to the door. It rattled again, Ammo stopped then ran to the closet with his tail between his legs. Don’t worry it was just the wind rattling the door, and the lamp is back where it belongs, and the dog– let’s just be glad he has a big bark!
Would I get the dog again? Of course I would! Our house feels complete and he really is a great protector of all of us. My girls still love him even with a few dismemberments of their dolls, the way I see it—survival of the fittest! Ammo sleeps with the girls. I know how gross this is with everything that he has on him, but they love it and I find that with him in there they tend to sleep better (meaning I sleep better) except when he moves off the bed to get in the bathtub where it is cool. My youngest loves to help with feeding him and my oldest is waiting when she can take him on a walk instead of the other way around. So although we hit a few snags it was worth it to remember those smiles on their faces when we first brought him in the door! Hold tight to those Hallmark moments—they make the trying times so much easier!

4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting a Pet

We’re obvious pet lovers here at iPetsKC, but with all that love, also comes responsibility. Our friend Darcy gives us a few quick questions to ask yourself before getting your first (or even fifth!) pet. Take a look!

4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting a Pet

4 Questions to Ask Yourself
Before Getting a Pet

 

Once your family has the idea to get a pet, it can be tempting to run out and immediately adopt one. The temptation is everywhere- KC Pet Project’s instagram has me constantly falling in love. But before you commit to your first pet, or your fifth, you need to give this some serious thought. Here are some things to consider.

#1 How much of a responsibility is it?

I’m not just talking about the initial purchase price of the pet. In fact, there are many times of year you can get a dog or cat possibly for free. You may also know someone who is trying to rehome an animal. But you have to consider the food and the care. Vet appointments, groomers, flea and heartworm medication, boarding during travel… costs can add up quickly. And of course that is assuming your pet doesn’t get injured or sick. Over the years, we have had many ill pet visits and they average to about $200 per instance. And it can get much more expensive. It was over $500 to x-ray our little dog when he had kidney stones.

#2 How much time will the pet need?

Time requirements. I always think especially of families with this one. If you are always on the run with kids’ practices and functions, you may want to rethink a pet. Dogs, especially, are highly social creatures that need your attention and time. If you like to travel or spend weekends out of town, again- a dog is probably not a good choice. Cats are a bit more independent, though they still require care. Even fish can be difficult if you are gone for multiple days. Also, you need to consider length of time you will have the pet. Many dogs and cats can live to around 20 years. There are birds and reptiles that can last 50+ years. You need to consider the longevity of the pet you want to get and ask will I still be able to care for this animal in ‘x’ years. If you don’t want that long of a commitment, consider adopting an elderly pet.

#3 What is your current living situation?

Your home. Before bringing a pet home, remember that this is a family member and will be sharing your home. If you live in a rental, save yourself the heartache of getting a pet if you aren’t allowed. And if you can’t tolerate the idea of a pet in your house for allergy reasons or otherwise- again reconsider what kind of pet will work for you. Some breeds shed, some do not. Some are hypoallergenic and some have no hair. Research your options so you know what to expect and what will work for you.

#4 How will this effect other people in your home?

Your family (fur and otherwise). When we rescued our cat this summer, we thought it would make our existing cat happy to have a playmate. This was not the case. We worked for months with the cats and our vet and have finally found a happy balance. If not all members are on board for a new addition, it may not work out.

Pro Tips

If you get through this list and you still think you’re game- feel free to do a test run! Ask to watch a friend’s pet for a few days and see how things go. (They would probably love it!) You can also sign up as a foster. It is a great way to get experience with different types and breeds of animals without the pressure of commitment. You can also volunteer at a shelter. Maybe you’ll meet your canine soul mate on a stroll.

Animals are wonderful and loving additions to any family. I think there are countless reasons they are invaluable family members. They lower stress, provide companionship and teach responsibility. But it’s up to the humans to be good family members too and that begins before you ever pick your new buddy up. If you have any questions, or think of something I missed, feel free to comment. And good luck!

Is A New Dog The Right Fit? Holiday Advice From KISS Dog Training

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is already upon us here in the metro area. Along with the hustle and bustle (and hopefully lots of holiday cheer), many of you are probably still considering that perfect gift for a loved one. If you’re considering bringing a new puppy home for the holidays, this post is for you. Mike over at KISS Dog Training provides some insight to things you should consider when bringing home an animal for the holidays, and provides some helpful advice for alternatives. Take a look…
KISS Dog Training Dogs as Christmas Gifts

Bringing Pets Home For The Holidays   Insight From KISS Dog Training

#1 Puppies Need Training

Puppies do not come potty trained. During the holidays (in between family, eggnog, toy assembly and traveling “over the hills and through the woods to grandma’s house) you will have to make sure to let the dog out at least every 2 to 3 hours. You will have to watch the pup like a hawk when he/she is loose and running around with the kids. Keep in mind this does not mean the dog can be put in the crate while you are gone and left in solitary confinement.

#2 Puppies Need Socialization

Puppies have a very short and critical developmental period that lasts from about week 3 to only about week 20. During that time they need to be exposed to all the things life will throw at them for the rest of their lives, and all of these experiences must be positive and properly conditioned. This will require meeting new people while at the same time having positive associations with them.
My rule of thumb for clients is the puppy must meet and experience 50 new things a week.  Remember, if you get your pup at 12 weeks you only have 8 weeks to properly socialize the pup.
Ask yourself: Are the holidays the right time to take on this important task?

#3 Puppies Need Regular Vet Visits

Puppies need a lot of visits early on to the vet, and just as many to the pet supply store. Boosters, physical checkups, chew toys, crates; the list is in some cases is never ending. Plus, all of these medical visits and shopping trips have to be done on a pretty strict time table.
It’s important to remember that during the Holidays, many vets and pet supply stores might very well be closed several days in each week for staff and crew to spend time with their family. Ask yourself again…are the Holidays really the best time to get a new pet, especially a puppy?

#4 Puppies Are A Long Term Commitment

A new puppy is a huge responsibility and even though cute and cuddly at the moment of gifting, they can and will change the way that person will need to live their life, forever. If that person is not ready for this responsibility, this will become a pup that ends up in a shelter! Please remember, never buy someone a pet unless that person is involved in the decision making process, period.
Now giving dogs/puppies as gifts to kids is a totally different ball game. In my opinion, the age a child should get their first dog is at least 9 or 10 and no younger. Why you ask? Because with those children younger than 9 or 10, it will be you taking care of the puppy on during the Holidays as well as on a day-to-day basis going forward! This is because younger children typically can’t handle the responsibility of taking care of a puppy.

Alternative Option Pro Tip:

The Holidays are already a high stress, busy and chaotic time, and in most cases, really not conducive to introducing a new pet to the family. So please take this article for what it’s worth. From this dog trainer’s point of view a gift certificate to your special person for a puppy in February is a far better choice, not only for you and that special person but also for the dog! Happy Holidays!

You Think You Want a Cat? 5 Adoption Tips To Help You Along The Way

I’ve been a pet lover my entire life. Having grown up with two cats (Snowy, a turkish-van and Smokey, a grey tabby), I found myself missing that part of my life when I moved to Kansas City several years ago. Somewhere between the start of college and the start of my family, I’d convinced myself that I wasn’t the “cat person” (I think it was right around the time that I got my dog – more on her in a later blog post) I’d once claimed to be. Like all true animal lovers, however, I couldn’t escape the call for very long and I found myself longing for that unbreakable bond between woman and cat once more.

So I started spending time at the Great Plains SPCA near my house at first with the intention of simply getting some snuggle time in and giving the cats some love and attention and after several visits I began warming up to the idea of bringing a new pet into the fold at home. My daughter, who was three at the time, was all aboard the Bring Home a New Furry Critter To Love On express and it seemed to be moving full steam ahead. Fast forward nearly three years and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the decision we made to adopt. Bringing Catniss (I did, indeed, re-name my feline family member Catniss) home was one of the best choices we’ve made and I learned a lot throughout our experience that I want to share with you today. Take a look…

Adoption Tips For Cats

Five Adoption Tips For Finding Your Next Cat

#1 Don’t Give Yourself a Deadline

Tip1DontGiveYourselfADeadline

Once we made the decision to go ahead and adopt an animal, we knew we needed to take the time to find the right cat for our family. You might be tempted to give yourself a deadline for finding the right pet for your family. Whether that’s today, next Monday, or two months from now – don’t. Adopting an animal is a lifetime commitment and your job is to make sure that your decision is the right one and that it’s mutually beneficial for both the animal as well as for your family. Giving yourself the freedom of time means that you’re more likely to find an animal that’s the ideal fit for your home.

#2 Involve The Whole Family

Adopting A Pet

It took several trips to the shelter before we connected with Catniss and it was really important to us to have the entire family involved when we ultimately made the decision to adopt her. If you’re venturing out solo on your quest for a new pet pal, be sure to ask the staff at the shelter about placing a hold on an animal that you’re interested in. That will give you the time to get your entire family together to come back for a visit before you make the choice to take your new cat or dog home forever. BC (Before Catniss), I thought I’d found a cat that would be a good fit for our family but when we brought my daughter in for a visit, we discovered that they weren’t a good fit for each other (and that’s okay).

#3 Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

Adoption Tips For Cats

I am constantly amazed by the wealth of knowledge over at the SPCA. From the staff to the volunteers, they’re well trained and well equipped to answer your questions on pet care and adoption. One of the things I appreciated most was that our adoption counselor was so patient with us as we asked questions during our visit. We asked questions about her history at the shelter (where she was found, how she got along with other pets, her temperment, etc) and each question was met with a detailed answer that put us at ease as we made the decision to give Catniss a forever home.

I encourage you to do the same. Not all animals are the same and what you see on one single visit to the shelter may not necessarily be indicative that pet’s normal response. The caretakers at the shelter have, more than likely, spent time with the cat and will have a fairly good picture of what you can expect from your new pet.

#4 Go In Prepared  

iPetsKC Tips For Adoption

Once you make the decision to adopt, go ahead and prepare your house and family for the impending arrival of your new pet. Stock up on the essentials to make your new cat’s transition as smooth and streamlined as possible. The last thing you’re going to want to do is make an emergency trip to the store for supplies while your cat explores her new environment. Here’s what we had on hand for Catniss:

  • Litter box (We went ahead and set up the litter box before we ever came home so that we could immediately show Catniss her space in the house.)
  • Fresh food and water in an easily accessible place (It’s important for your new pet to associate you with comfort and safety so we made sure that we had already filled our cat’s water and food bowls before arriving home.)
  • Toys (Cats do best when they’re challenged and have the opportunity to burn off energy. Make sure you have toys on hand for your new pet’s arrival.)
  • Cat treats
  • Carrier

#5 Be Prepared For A World Of Joy

Tips For Adopting A Cat

It goes without saying that your life is going to change once you make the decision to adopt from a shelter and that was definitely true in our situation. Catniss has been an amazing addition to our family and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the decision we made to bring her into our family. Once you do the same – you’re in for a world of joy yourself and we can’t wait to hear about it.

Share your pet adoption stories with us right here on iPetsKC.com.

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