Community Partner Spotlight: Wayside Waifs

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Did you know that for every child born in the world, there are 45 cats and 15 dogs born?!

We are incredibly honored to work with 100+ Community Partners to enhance the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. One of those partners is Wayside Waifs, Kansas City’s largest no-kill animal shelter and pet adoption campus!

Wayside Waifs has been working with Girl Scout troops for years, long before the Community Partner program officially began! Amanda Smasal, Community Involvement Coordinator at Wayside estimates 1,000 Girl Scouts lend their time to Wayside annually, the largest group they work with (yay Girl Scouts)!

The Girl Scout/Wayside Waif partnership goes all the way back to 1944! This is a Brownie Girl Scout troop after they completed some activities and service at Wayside Waifs!

The Girl Scout/Wayside Waif partnership goes all the way back to 1944! This is a Brownie Girl Scout troop after they completed some activities and service at Wayside Waifs!

Girl Scout troops of all levels can visit the shelter and receive a tour of their facility. From animal intake and rescue to the state-of-the-art Veterinary Medical Center, the Adoption Center and adoptable pets, the 5-acre Bark Park and Memorial Gardens  – Girl Scouts (and accompanying adults) will see it all! Troops can make it an extra special trip and spend an hour after the tour helping with projects at the shelter such as making animal treats and toys!

The newest program at Wayside Waifs is called “Paw-ettiquette for Pooches & People: Dog Safety.  In this program, a Humane Educator with the shelter brings his or her dog out to troop meetings to teach girls the proper way to interact with a new or unfamiliar dog! Humane Educator, Ashley Stanley has been taking her dog Maisy to Girl Scout troops as part of this program. She teaches them  7 “Never -Evers” about interacting with new or unfamiliar dogs in Paw-etticquette!

You should never ever:

  1. Pet a dog while it is eating or drinking
  2. Take a puppy from mama dog
  3. Pet a dog while its sleeping
  4. Tease it
  5. Put your fingers in fences or windows where a dog is
  6. Put your face in the dogs face
  7. Take a toy out of its mouth

Ashley and Maisy teach the girls that while you may be able to do these things with your own dog, it’s because it knows you. Each dog has its own personality, like each of us, and they will tolerate certain things from certain people!

Maisy, and the other dogs in this program have been through extensive animal temperament tests, ensuring the safety of all those engaged in the program!

In 2014, one group took their involvement with Wayside Waifs to the next level and worked with the shelter for their Silver Award project! A few Girl Scouts in Troop 990 from Overland Park, Kansas created nearly 1,000 cat scratch posts out of blocks of wood and sisal fabric!

Troop 990 assembling and delivering nearly 1,000 cat scratchers!

Troop 990 assembling and delivering nearly 1,000 cat scratchers!

For Amanda and Ashley, they are seeing the long-term impact that Wayside Waifs’ programming has on the girls and the adults. While some Girl Scouts end up leaving with a new four-legged family member(!), girls and adults are coming back to the shelter, sharing their experience with other troops and sponsoring the adoption of a pet, just to name a few. Other Girl Scouts like Troop 990 are continuing their support of the shelter, making supplies, holding item drives and coming back to volunteer.

“Not everyone knows why we have animal shelters. Having Girl Scouts and their parents come to Wayside and learn, see the lightbulb click for them, is the best,” Amanda said.

As for Ashley, her favorite part about working with Girl Scouts and Wayside is seeing people get more comfortable with animals. “Sometimes I see the kids and adults who are scared, aren’t familiar or have had a negative experience with animals get educated and see animals in a different light, that’s amazing to me.”

Daisy Girl Scout Troop 256 from Lenexa, Kansas visited Wayside Waifs and learned all about the responsibility it takes to be a good pet owner in February!

Daisy Girl Scout Troop 256 from Lenexa, Kansas visited Wayside Waifs and learned all about the responsibility it takes to be a good pet owner in February!

To learn more about Wayside Waifs visit their Community Partner Page! Has your troop or Girl Scout been involved with Wayside Waifs?! Share your story in the comments below!

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