At Wayside, volunteers and staff strive to meet each individual Waif’s needs. With up to 800 animals in the shelter at any given time, tailoring our care to the unique qualities of each Waif is made easier through our Waif Watchers program. Our Waif Watcher volunteers give Waifs more opportunities for specialized attention, training, and exposure to potential adopters.

These seasoned volunteers work hands-on with their Waifs on a weekly basis, offering enrichment activities, field trips, and behavior training with help from others in the program and throughout the Wayside village.

With the reach of social media, Waif Watchers are also encouraged to create marketing programs for their Waifs. This might include decorating their Waif’s kennel, taking them in “Adopt Me” vests to parks, dog-friendly areas of the city, hiking trails, or festivals, and posting fun photos and videos of their Waif on social media. However they choose to tailor their care, Waif Watchers work hard to give their Waifs well-deserved moments in the spotlight.

Waif Watcher Carrie loves allowing her Waifs to spend some time outside of the shelter environment, especially when it comes to dogs with medical or behavioral issues. Carrie enjoys the program just as much as her Waifs do: “Longer term or special needs dogs do much more for me than I could ever give back, but to get to know them best, show them off on social media…to help find them a great home is wonderful!”

Carrie’s staple Waif Watching activities are taking her waifs for field trips and car rides, bonding with them in the volunteer room, and going on calm walks throughout Wayside’s campus.

Ellie & Knox

Waif Watcher Ellie’s favorite part of participating in the program is getting creative with how she promotes her Waifs. She knows that sometimes her Waifs “need to find the right family to take them home, and it may take a little extra effort from a Waif Watcher.”

Ellie’s favorite Waif so far has been Knox, a sweet senior cat who is FIV positive. Knox was in and out of the shelter and foster homes for a while before he was adopted, but Ellie’s familiar presence helped him to be more open to finding the perfect family, no matter how long it took.


Waif Watcher Dee enjoys the freedom of the program. She loves takings her waifs on outings and even took her last waif, Rocky, home for a couple of days to hang out with her family and help him de-stress. She thinks that “extra time spent one-on-one with a Waif can make a world of difference” and prepare Waifs for life in their forever homes.

Billie & Bailey

Waif Watcher Billie loves the autonomy of the program and thinks it makes a great alternative to fostering. Like Dee, Billie knows that a regular commitment to her Waifs can help them find the perfect family: “I tried to spend at least one hour a day with my last Waif helping train her so she would be more adoptable. Without someone in her corner, she may not have found her home.”

Billie also likes creating marketing programs for her Waifs and made a Facebook page for two of her past Waifs, giving them more exposure and landing them a video with Scott Poore of Mission Driven Goods.

There is no additional volunteer training required to participate in the program. If you’re interested in becoming a Waif Watcher, contact Lauren Stumbo or Becky Mathia in the volunteer department. Happy Waif Watching!

Pet Adoption Hours:

Tuesday – Friday: Noon – 8 PM

Saturday: 10 AM – 5 PM

Sunday: 10 AM – 5 PM

Written by Annie B.