Monday, June 6, 2011

Joplin Tornado

The sign outside the Joplin Humane Society
It’s taken me a little while to sit and write this as I needed to get some rest and wanted to think about the experience before putting it on paper. I spent eight days (the Tuesday after the tornado through the following Tuesday night) working in Joplin at the temporary emergency shelter run by the ASPCA with help from HSUS and AHA.

The week was exhausting---physically, mentally and emotionally, but also exhilarating and meaningful. Most days, I worked with a group of amazing volunteers doing the intakes and RTO’s (return to owners). There were lots of tears from people who had lost everything and found their animals to people who had lost everything and hadn’t found their animals to people who lost everything and had to bring their animals in to the shelter for boarding. There were also the tears from volunteers while working with all of the above people.
Two of the warehouses used for shelter. The third one (for cats) was just past these two.
During the eight days, we took in over 800 animals (dogs, cats, chickens, birds, snakes, ferrets, turtles) and over 200 animals were claimed by their human companions. Hundreds (if not thousands) of volunteers from all over the country spent time helping these animals. Many of these volunteers were driving over an hour each way to stay at a motel or were sleeping on cots at the Joplin Humane Society. These volunteers were happy to work long hours in hot and humid conditions to make sure the animals were shown the love they deserve.

Everyone who volunteered has an animal (or animals) they can tell you about; ones who touched their heart and soul. For me, he was a little dog who came in during the middle of the night. I won’t get in to the whole story here, but needless to say, he caused me a severe lack of sleep (due to getting up multiple times throughout the night), but in hindsight, the only thing I would have done differently is spend more time with him during that night.

One of the shelters...this one is for stray dogs.
We all worked long, hard days while we were volunteering, but no one seemed to think twice about doing it. The weather never really wanted to cooperate--cold and rainy one day followed by hot and humid the next. There were hiccups along the way and things that probably could have run a bit more smoothly, but this was a disaster situation and things had to come together as quickly as possible. Many of the staff from the ASPCA came in from other disasters, the tornadoes down South and the floods in the boot heel of Missouri. I met tons of amazing people (I consider many of them close friends) and helped take care of people’s cherished animal companions, for some, this companion is all they have left. I laughed and cried and worked my butt off, but I have an experience I will not soon forget. 
The intake area of the shelter.
A woman I worked with in the shelter, who has responded to many disasters and who has become a dear friend said it best: "I walk away in awe of the strength of the people of Joplin, the size of their hearts and their love for their animals. An amazing community. We are always touched by the animals, but to be brought to tears over and over again by the people of Joplin was a powerful lesson in humanity." 
A map of the actual area struck by the tornado.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Disaster Response with the ASPCA

I spent last week in the “boot heel” of Missouri helping at a temporary animal shelter being run by the ASPCA. Because of the Mississippi River floods, many people were being forced to evacuate their homes and the ASPCA opened a temporary animal shelter to help with the displaced family companions.
Pam in the cat area.

HSUS had staff and volunteers helping with the shelter as well. I was greatly impressed with how well staff from the ASPCA and HSUS worked together while helping the animals. Many of the volunteers spent their days helping to take care of the animals. We cleaned and interacted with cats, walked dogs and cleaned their kennels, took care of the pocket pets (rabbits and guinea pigs), and helped to take care of the horses and goat.

Judy in front of some of the supplies.

This is the coolest goat you could ever meet.

We had all sizes of dogs.

Some of the horses. Luckily, it stopped raining mid-week.

These were long, physically demanding days, but no one complained. We knew why we were there and what needed to be done. These animals needed our help and we had the responsibility to help them. Personally, I loved the work. I woke up each morning more sore than the morning before, but I knew I was doing good work, making some great, new friends and helping out animals and people in need.

My thoughts continue to be drawn to the people and animals still there and I hope they will be able to soon find their way back home.    

Friday, April 29, 2011

Kitten Season is Here

It’s getting warmer outside, the days are getting longer and you all know what that means…It’s kitten season! Area shelters and NMHPKC have already started seeing the kittens come through our doors. Last week, NMHPKC pulled eight kittens from Halfway Home to put in foster. This is only the beginning, but here on some tips to help make it through the season:
1)      If come across kittens without a mom, don’t handle them! Back away from the area and keep an eye to see if mom is just off finding food, hiding from you or is just out of sight for the moment. You’ll want to watch for a couple of hours to see if she comes back. It is very important for young kittens to receive their mom’s milk during the first few weeks of life.
2)      If mom doesn’t return, you need to decide if the kittens are young enough to bring in or if they need to be trapped/neutered/returned.
3)      If they are young enough to bring in, you should gather them in a kennel to start taking care of them. If they are not weaned (younger than 5-6 weeks) they will need to be bottle-fed. If you aren’t sure what you are doing, please contact us at 816-333-PETS and we will be able to help!
4)      If the mother does come back, try to judge to see if she is friendly. If she is, you can bring the whole family inside while the babies are nursing. If she is not, you can set up shelter, food and water for the family. Once the kittens are weaned, they can be removed and placed in to a foster home or local No-Kill Shelter.
5)      The best thing you can do is practice TNR for all feral and free-roaming cats. We are here to help!
6)      If you want to become a foster home for cats and/or kittens, please contact us at 816-333-PETS and we will work to set you up as one. We are always looking for new foster homes…the more homes we have, the more animals we can help!
7)      If you decide to find the kittens homes on your own, please be sure to contact our spay/neuter clinic to have them altered before adoption!
Kitten season is always full of lots of adorable faces and wonderful stories, but is also a lot of work. By putting in some hard work and having a little fun, we can come though another kitten season together.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Aidan is looking for a loving home
Aidan was picked up by the HERO program late last week. He had been abandoned in a house in KCK when the owner just up and left. No one is sure how long Aidan and his siblings (who were not seen or trapped) were left before anyone noticed the house had been abandoned. The first call HERO received described a house full of debris and at least one dead cat and many dead hamsters in cages. When we arrived, the house had been partially cleaned and there were no dead animals to be seen. Whatever had actually happened, Aidan had been left in bad place.
Aidan was pretty wild when he first came in (he had to be trapped before anyone could get close to him). He had surgery last week and went home with a wonderful NMHPKC staff person for the weekend. She reports that he got along very well with her cats and dog and seems to really be a people cat. All he wanted to do was sit in her lap.

Aidan is available for adoption through NMHPKC until a rescue or No-Kill shelter has an opening to take him in. He is young (probably still under a year), fully vaccinated, altered, FELV negative and FIV negative. If you are interested in meeting Aidan, please contact Joe Hinkle at 913-742-7311. If you are looking to save a life and get some unconditional love in return, please look no further...Aidan is just the guy for you!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

UPDATE: The Plattsburg Seven (Originally The Plattsburg Thirteen; now the Plattsburg Two)

On Tuesday, Al's Animals in Need and Kitty Cat Connection volunteered to take some of the cats in to their programs! Al has Patchy (the FIV positive girl) and Garfield (the really, really shy one) and both are doing really well! Kitty Cat Connection took Shadow, Silvertip and Sunshine (a little alliteration for you). We still have two cats, Boots and Socks, looking for home. Both of these guys are altered and could leave today (though they both may need a follow-up appointment for some minor issues they have going on).

These two guys are very loving and want nothing more than to be near people. Coming from the situation they were in, I am amazed at how resilient and trusting they are. Please contact Joe at 913-742-7311 is you are interested in foster, adopting or even just seeing if they would work out in your home!


Monday, April 4, 2011

The Plattsburg Seven (Originally The Plattsburg Thirteen)

I know things have been a little quiet on the blog lately--hopefully the posts will begin to come on a more regular basis. I wanted to let you know about a group of cats I picked up in Plattsburg, MO.

On Monday, March 21st, the HERO program responded to a call for help in Plattsburg, MO. Social services had contacted a volunteer with NMHPKC about a family who was caring for thirteen cats. The family was in over their heads and it had come to the point that they had to find homes for the cats or they were going to lose their children.

The neighbors had been abusing these cats, shooting some with pellet guns, and the cats were in danger if they stayed where they were. We brought back nine on Monday and set them up at NMHPKC. We returned Tuesday morning to get the other four cats who we were unable to get on Monday.

Luckily, many of the cats are incredibly social, but a few had some issues that needed to be corrected. Boots has a large neck wound that had been untreated for quite some time, Socks had been shot in the eye with a pellet gun, Shadow has ears issues probably caused by untreated ear mites and Samantha has a deformed leg caused by a broken femur that had fused improperly. All of these cats were immediately seen by our vet staff and are on the road to recovery.

All of the cats, minus Boots who also had a URI and a heart murmur, were spayed/neutered, vaccinated, treated for fleas and dewormed. Luckily, Wayside Waifs was able to take four of the cats on Monday, March 28th. On Thursday, March 31st, a volunteer has taken another one in to her home to see if he will work with her four-legged family. Today, she filled out the forms and adopted him! A woman who saw the cats on Facebook fell in love with Samantha and has taken her to her vet for X-rays and is now fostering her until the day when the vet is going to try to fix Samantha’s leg.

This leaves seven cats who currently call NMHPKC home. We are looking for foster homes or adoptive families for these seven cats. We have had an outpouring of support from volunteers who come in twice a day to help clean their kennels and give them some much needed TLC. If you, or anyone you know, is interested in fostering or adopting one of these cats, please contact Joe Hinkle and he will be able to set up a time for you to meet them. These cats have had a rough life and are looking for homes where they can be part of a family and get the love they deserve.
Boots-He is the only cat not currently altered as he had 
a neck wound, URI and heart murmur when he came in.
He will be altered this week and is a very loving cat! 
Garfield-He is, by far, the most timid of all the cats. He is
having a harder time adjusting, but should do well in a home 
that is patient, loving and willing to go slow with him. 
Patchy-She is a very sweet girl, but is FIV positive. She
is a very sweet cat and is just looking for a loving home. 
 Shadow-Don't let this guys ears fool you; he is one
super-sweet man! He wants to be near people and will
end up being a great lap cat!
Socks-He started out being a bit timid, probably from being
shot in the eye with a pellet gun. His eye is looking a lot
better and he is really starting to come out of his shell. 
Silvertip-She is very outgoing and inquisitive. She would 
love to find a home where she can explore and search
and play to her hearts content! 
Sunshine--She is a little shy, but is coming around more and more
each day. He would do well in a patient home, but with a
little love and tenderness, he is going to be a loving, friendly cat!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Transport Days Are Always Fun

Today was a transport day at No More Homeless Pets KC. We picked up animals from the Leavenworth County Humane Society and brought them to NMHPKC for surgery. Thirty one animals were transported today and will be returned tomorrow morning. All of these dogs and cats come to us for spay/neuter surgery and vaccinations. These days are always busy (as they are just now finishing with surgery at 5:00pm), but we all know how very important they are to the communities we help serve! 
The transports

This transport was mostly cats

 Some of the cats after surgery

 More of the cats after surgery

 The feral traps are prepared and awaiting the cats

The dogs after surgery

Mattie, wrapped in her purple frilly blanket, slowly waking up after surgery

This is the true joy in life - being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.  ~George Bernard Shaw

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Busy Week

While love is in the air this Valentine's Day, all of us at No More Homeless Pets KC are gearing up for what is looking to be a very busy week. Including yesterday's Sunday Cat Clinic, nearly 250 animals are scheduled to be altered this week. Let's just imagine if each of these animals were not getting altered and were responsible for one litter of five, there would be another 1,250 animals looking for homes. Because of the work being done just this week, we are helping to stop this from happening.

This Valentine's Day is being spent working hard, gearing up for a long week and helping to save the lives of countless animals in our local shelter. To me, that sounds like the best Valentine's Day possible!

How do you plan to spend your Valentine's Day?

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Great Start to the Week

On this cold and gray Monday morning, I came in early to grab the van and head just north of the Plaza in Kansas City. In the slight drizzle, I picked up 21 feral cats and transported them for surgery to No More Homeless Pets KC. As I am writing this, a couple of these kitties are being spayed and neutered. This is a great way to start the week!

Some people may view this as barely a drop in the bucket when it comes to the feral cat population of Kansas City, but I view this as just another small step towards making Kansas City a No-Kill community.

“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.”

Monday, January 24, 2011

Millie and Her Munchkins

Last Friday, I was asked to help a family who had taken in a stray dog who had just given birth. It seems the dog followed the oldest son home from school for a couple of days in a row and they decided to keep her and name her Millie. Because his mom and younger brother were allergic, as happens a lot in our community and communities everywhere, she was kept outside on a chain. She became pregnant and six weeks ago she gave birth to five little munchkins.
The family tried to take care of them, but they barely had enough money to put food on their own table and they were quickly running short of dog food since they now had six mouths to feed instead of just one. They called No More Homeless Pets KC to see if we would be able to help them.
I made a few phone calls and sent some e-mails as I really wanted to get them out of the cold and snow as soon as possible, especially with more snow in the forecast. Knowing they had been living outside for six weeks with nothing more than an Igloo and a tarp, I really wanted to find them a warm place to stay. Luckily, I convinced Wayside Waifs to take them in and put the puppies in to foster.  
Since the people who called weren't sure what breed Millie was, I really had no clue what to expect. In cases like this, I have found all sorts of dogs in all sorts of conditions. I have found dogs who were skinny, parasite infested, aggressive, injured, etc. Rarely do I find dogs who are happy, healthy and friendly. When I arrived at the home, I quickly realized Millie and her munchkins were all of these!
After catching all the pups and loading them in to the van, I transported them to Wayside. Millie and all the pups seemed really happy to be in a nice warm building. The pups were loaded in a "puppy bus", instantly got comfortable and made themselves at home. After being medically checked over and once they are of age, all the pups will be made available for adoption. Millie will be made available for adoption once she has been deemed medically and behaviorally ready.
Keep an eye out on their website for Millie and her pups---Joe, Barbie, Sheree, Markee and Tye. They are adorable and are going to make some people very, very happy. Contact Wayside or respond here if you are interested in adopting Millie or one of her Munchkins or if you are interested in fostering them.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Feral Cats

Did you know there are an estimated 82 million free roaming cats in the United States and more than 250,000 in Kansas City?

Did you know 82% of cats in households are altered, whereas 2.9% of stray and feral cats are altered?

Did you know 81% of Americans would rather see a cat stay where he/she is outside over having the cat euthanized?

Did you know more than 70% of cats entering shelters in the United States are euthanized? Did you also know this is the number one documented cause of death for cats in this country?

Did you know Trap and Euthanize (which has been utilized for decades by many, many animal control organizations) does NOT work?

Did you know Trap and Euthanize only helps to cause the vacuum effect (documented worldwide) which sees the number of feral cats reduce temporarily after the trapping, but the intact survivors continue to breed and more cats move in to the area (which must have been good territory or the other cats wouldn't have stayed)?

Did you know TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) is the only proven, effective method of controlling the population of free roaming cats?

Did you know No More Homeless Pets KC operates the largest TNR program in Kansas City, with over 100 traps to loan to citizens who practice TNR?

Did you know the HERO program is more than happy to help with TNR and to offer advice for any one who wants to try out their hand at TNR?

Did you know NMHPKC has feral cat packages for $15 and $25?
($15 includes spay or neuter, rabies vaccine, pain medication, an antibiotic injection and an eartip; $25 includes all of the above plus an FVRCP vaccine, flea treatment and dewormer)

For more information on what you can do to help the feral cats in our community, please visit or contact us at (816)333-PETS.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I received a call about Barkley from the woman who has been taking care of him for the past couple of months. It seems, a "friend" dropped him off at her house as she could no longer take care of Barkley or really do anything with him. Barkley is very anti-social with people. He does well with other dogs, but is terrified (and I mean terrified in the-I am going to run from you and scream any time you come near me-sort of way) of people. 

I went over to get Barkley to bring him to No More Homeless Pets KC for neutering and shots. He had been in the backyard as he wouldn't come back in to the house. He had access to a dog house with straw, but would not go in to it. With it being so cold and snowy, I felt the sooner we could get him inside and altered, the better it would be.

I went over on a cold and snowy day and found Barkley hanging out in the backyard. As soon as I would get anywhere near him, he would yelp and run as far away as possible. I grabbed the snappy snare out of my van and went to work following him around the snow-covered yard until I could get close enough to get him. After a few failed attempts and about 15 minutes, I finally got control of him and got him in to a carrier.

Once at No More Homeless Pets KC, we got him set up in a kennel with some blankets. The following morning, he had surgery, was vaccinated and heart worm tested. He went home that night and is staying in a pen set up in the house. This allows him to stay warm and begins to allow him to get used to being around people. If you work with dogs like Barkley or know someone who would be able to work with him, please let me know and I can pass along your information to the woman taking care of him.

With a little work and a lot of love, Barkley has the opportunity to make someone very happy. I am very happy I got to meet Barkley and only hope everything works out for him. I am just thankful that he has a warm spot to sleep each night and someone who cares enough to try to help him find a forever home! 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I know, not the best picture in the world, but Pesky was a little nervous when he first arrived at Wayside Waifs. HERO received a phone call from a woman in Independence who is taking care of the feral cats in her neighborhood. She also mentioned she had one cat hanging around her house who wasn't feral, but she didn't have the money to take him in and adopt him herself.

I set up a time to bring her some food for the feral cats and check in on the cat she named Pesky (due to the fact that every time she came out of her house, Pesky would weave in and out of her legs non-stop while she was outside). When I arrived, Pesky was on her front porch and welcomed me by rolling on to his back and begging for a belly rub. After seeing this, I made a few phone calls and convinced Wayside Waifs to take him in for adoption!

Pesky is available at Wayside Waifs and is just waiting for that new home where he can weave in and out of the legs of someone new. Stop by and meet him...hopefully he won't be around long enough to need a new photo!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Winter Tips for Pets

Today in Kansas City, it is cold and snowy. I know many people were upset with the length of time it took them to get to work, having to shovel the driveway and how cold it feels. Think about all the dogs and cats who are stuck outside today...some without food, water or shelter.

The best place for pets to be is inside with you! If this isn't possible and they have to remain outside during the bitter cold, please follow these recommendations:
  • Please make sure they have shelter from the weather. Dog/cat houses should be elevated two inches off the ground, and a plastic flap installed at the opening to cut down on wind from reaching the pet.
  • Dog/cat houses should be heavily lined with straw. Do not use blankets or towels to line housing, as once these items become wet/damp they will freeze. I have seen this happen and the blankets and towels will become solid sheets of ice.
  • Animals require higher caloric intake when housed outside during winter months. Feed them more! In addition, it is critical pets always have access to clean, fresh water. Pets cannot obtain adequate hydration by eating or licking snow.
  • Antifreeze can be fatal if ingested by pets. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you think your pet has been exposed to antifreeze.
  • Make sure your pets have ID tags on them at all times. According to the ASPCA, more pets are lost during winter months than any other time of the year.
  • Knock on your car’s hood and honk your horn before driving in the event a cat has climbed inside the engine compartment seeking warmth and shelter.
  • Remember, the law requires pet owners to provide their animals with proper protection from the elements. For pet owners who don’t have the resources to provide their pets proper protection, No More Homeless Pets KC can help.
The HERO program is here to offer assistance with dog and cat food, doghouses, straw and assistance for feral cat issues. No More Homeless Pets KC can also help pet owners with spay/neuter and affordable veterinary care. Please contact NMHPKC at 816-333-PETS if you have or know of any animals in need of help.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Nine White Huskies

In mid-December, HERO was called to Mound City, KS, to pick up some puppies from a mobile home community. The owner of these dogs had decided that he wanted to breed and sell white Huskies. The night before the call, he had been arrested. His family stated he was going to be in jail for a long time and they couldn't take care of all the dogs he had.

Upon arrival, I found the community to contain five mobile homes and in the center, there were three dogs chained to trees with dog houses next to them. It seems the owner had bred the mama dog twice. He couldn't sell most of the first litter and her 10-month-old puppies were still there. Apparently, he decided to breed her again and there was a litter of 6-week-old puppies living under the trailer.

The older dogs were easy to get...I unchained one, took two out of pens in the back of the mobile home and one who was running the neighborhood came back to see what was going on. All of these dogs were quickly loaded into the van and I went to work trying to get my hands on the little pups who were under the mobile home. These puppies had never been handled by people and were obviously a bit nervous when my head showed up underneath the mobile home and started reaching for them. The first two came quick enough and were placed in a carrier. The other three took more time.

After spending an hour crawling around underneath the mobile home (I couldn't quite reach them) and trying to lure the puppies out in to the open, the previous owner's cousin squeezed underneath the mobile home and was able to get to the area where the pups were hiding. She handed them to me and we were done! Two hours after arriving, I was headed back to Kansas City with four ten-month-old dogs and five six-week-old pups. Each one was all white with blue eyes or bi-colored eyes. Wayside Waifs was willing to take the young pups and get them in to foster and luckily, they had room for the older pups as well!

The younger pups are still in foster and should be available for adoption within the next week or two. One has an eye injury and the vets are waiting to see if it heals or if the eye needs to be removed. Three of the older pups have been adopted. One is still available for adoption at Wayside and is on their website. Her name is Snowball and she is a beautiful dog looking for a forever home with a new friend who knows about huskies!

Days like this are the great days with the HERO program and No More Homeless Pets KC. When we all work together, we can help more animals and get dogs like this off chains and in to loving homes!
Photo Credit: Josh Solar