Andouille, a female Labrador Retriever, is ready for adoption at Wayside Waifs. Photo credit: Sandy Bretz-Stanley

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog month

“There’s a breed for everybody”

By Shana Siren Kempton

There is no doubt that Kansas Citians love their Chiefs, their Royals, and their pets.  In Missouri, over 63 percent of households own a pet and nearly 5 out of 10 own a dog according to an American Veterinary Medical Association Survey.  Pet ownership continues to rise yet record numbers of cats and dogs are maxing out local shelters.  The Kansas City Pet Project (KCPP) alone is projected to take in 13,000 new pets in 2021 compared to 10,565 in 2020.  Shelters are nearly full.

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog month.  Local no-kill animal shelters include KCPP, Wayside Waifs, and rescue centers such as Chain of Hope.  Their websites feature animals in search of loving homes and counselors on site to guide individuals through the process so that humans are perfectly matched with a canine or feline companion.  “There’s a breed for everybody,” says KCPP’s Chief Communications Officer Tori Fugate.  

Debunking stereotypes

Lucy Wooden with Daisy (left) and Rocky (right) adopted from Chain of Hope.

Discrimination through breed specific bans has been unfairly punitive to dogs like pit bulls even though they are popular dogs. “The long-timers we see here are more of the pit bull breeds,” says Fugate. “There are fewer homes available to them in Kansas City.”  In September, Overland Park repealed a 30-year-old ban on pit bulls, matching a nationwide trend to declassify the dogs as dangerous animals.  In Kansas City,  pit bulls are legal but must be sterilized.  Teri Koenig, House Manager at Chain of Hope Animal Outreach, wants pet owners to know, “We spay and neuter any pit bull for free.”

Pit bull advocates describe them as social, sweet, and loyal dogs that want to please their owners.  Koenig says, “Pitbulls were forever ago the ‘babysitter dog,’ and then people were breeding them to fight.  It’s definitely how they’re brought up.  You just have to meet them.” 

Chain of Hope was instrumental in connecting Daisy, an American bull dog/pit bull mix, with Kansas City resident Lucy Wooden, 15.  As a child, Lucy was traumatically bit by a dog. As she grew older, she didn’t want to harbor that fear.  She convinced her family to adopt a dog in order to overcome her phobia.  “We are not dog people,” her mom told her, but they welcomed Daisy into the family.  Described as a gentle and friendly dog, she defied all of the negative pit bull stereotypes. “We will only adopt dogs like Daisy from now on,” said Wooden.

Black animals also take longer to adopt.  Wayside Waifs has had three black puppies up for adoption for one month – an extremely long time for a puppy.  “It’s unfortunate because these are absolutely amazing dogs,” says Casey Waugh, Wayside Waif’s Communications Manager.  “People like to see the facial expressions and it’s hard to always capture in a photograph how the personality comes out on a black dog.”  


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Ways to help

People who cannot adopt a pet at this time but still want to help can donate, volunteer, or foster.  Fostering is critical to the success of all shelters.  “It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my entire life,” Koenig says on being a full time foster to dogs.

KCPP’s Home Away from Home Program is meant to alleviate the unfortunate surrender of animals when people are in between residences.   Fosters fill this need. “Housing is one of the biggest issues we’re seeing right now,” says Fugate.  “There’s not enough affordable housing for people who have pets.”

Pet owners who are struggling to afford food for their animals can contact Chain of Hope who delivers 1,000 pounds of food each week to animals in need.  Koenig says they turn no one in need away.  Donations of food and supplies can be left at several drop-off locations.

Wayside Waifs is offering half price adoptions for the month of October and like all shelters mentioned, animals go home spayed or neutered, chipped, and eager to be part of their forever homes.

For more information on adoption, donations, fundraising events, or becoming a foster home please visit,, or .



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