Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

13th Annual Putt for Mutts

Written by  June 30, 2005

Another successful Putt for Mutts ride is history, and Wayside Waifs Humane Society raised more than $28,000 thanks to more than 700 generous motorcyclists who participated. Wayside Waifs, Inc. is an independent, not-for-profit animal shelter that takes in nearly 12,000 pets annually. This organization depends solely on donations for support.

The event took place on May 21, and the weather couldn’t have been better. Registration began at 9 a.m. at Gail’s Harley-Davidson in Grandview, Missouri. For a $20 donation, riders received dice run sheets, ride pins, goodie bags, and a meal. For an additional $15, a commemorative T-shirt was included. Special incentives were given for various levels of donations collected.

Participants went on a nice 80-mile ride through Belton, Peculiar, Freeman, Cleveland, and Martin City, ending at Wayside Waifs. Volunteers from the American Heartland-Kansas City H.O.G. Chapter staffed several dice roll stops along the way. At the Petco stop, riders enjoyed refreshments and had the opportunity to visit with representatives of Kansas City REGAP (Retired Greyhounds As Pets). At Wayside, participants enjoyed delicious food catered by Famous Dave’s Barbeque while listening to the music of The Benders.

Prior to presenting awards, Gail Worth expressed her appreciation to all who contributed to the success of the event. She thanked the sponsors including Petco, Famous Dave’s, 99.7 KY, Armfield Tent Company, and K.C. Fiesta. She also recognized Laurie Finley who coordinates events for Gail’s Harley-Davidson and the American Heartland-Kansas City H.O.G. Chapter volunteers. Gail pointed out the small building that originally housed Wayside Waifs and contrasted it with the current huge state-of-the art facility.

Dice roll winners were Jessica Earnshaw who received a $200 Gail’s gift card for the highest total and Leonard Timm who won a $100 Gail’s gift card for the lowest. Jim Vaughn and Boyd Metz tied for bringing in the most donations, and Gail generously awarded duplicate prizes, his and hers leather jackets, to both.

The event concluded with a presentation by the Lenexa, Kansas, Police Department K-9 Unit. Officer Eric Schmitz and his four-legged partner named Broathor demonstrated how a police dog assists in apprehending a felony suspect; in this case, Officer Jared Marshall, who was dressed in heavily-padded protective clothing. Officer Schmitz spoke to the audience about the role of the K-9 unit and answered questions. Unfortunately, I was not in a position close to one of the public address system’s speakers. As a result, I was unable to hear Eric’s remarks clearly. Thankfully, he was kind enough to repeat some of the information for the benefit of our readers after the demonstration concluded.

CC: Please tell us about your partner.
Officer Schmitz: He’s a six-year-old German Shepherd named Broathor. We’ve been working together for four years. He came from the Czech Republic. He is a dual-purpose dog trained in narcotics and patrol/apprehension work.

CC: Please talk about the training process.
Officer Schmitz: Police dogs are trained in various locations. My dog was trained in San Antonio, Texas. We were there for about five weeks. Training is a continuing process once a dog is on the job.

CC: How many dogs does your unit have and how often do they perform each of the tasks you mentioned?
Officer Schmitz: Our unit consists of three dogs. My dog and I worked about 140 deployments last year. Roughly 90 involved drugs and the rest involved searches and apprehension of felony suspects.

CC: With regard to drug searches, you mentioned something about two different approaches.
Officer Schmitz: Dogs demonstrate either a passive or aggressive response to narcotics. Broathor is a passive response dog. When he detects drugs, he will sit down or lie down and become very still. An aggressive-alert dog gets excited and scratches at the location where it detects the odor of narcotics.

CC: Does each dog always work with the same police officer?
Officer Schmitz: Yes, each dog is assigned to a specific handler. Broathor is with me whether I’m on patrol duty or working a deployment with him.

CC: I understand he lives with you as well.
Officer Schmitz: Yes, he lives in our home. We’re together 24 hours a day.

CC: Is that typical?
Officer Schmitz: Yes, most departments do that.

CC: I assume Broathor gets along well with your family.
Officer Schmitz: He’s a very sociable dog, very good with my family. You can see the difference in his demeanor at home versus at work. He knows when he’s on duty.

CC: How long does a dog’s police career typically last?
Officer Schmitz: Probably an average of six to eight years, depending on their health. Some go a bit longer, especially single-purpose drug dogs.

CC: What happens when a dog retires from police work?
Officer Schmitz: The handler gets first option to adopt the dog, then other officers in the department.

CC: How many demonstrations such as this one do you put on for public events annually?
Officer Schmitz: Our department does about eight to ten demonstrations each year. We visit schools and large events such as this one, usually animal-oriented events.

CC: Thanks a lot for the information and the demonstration.

I also visited with Jenny Brown, Special Events Manager for Wayside Waifs.

CC: Please comment on Putt for Mutts.
Jenny: We always appreciate the support that Gail Worth of Gail’s Harley-Davidson gives to Wayside Waifs. Over 13 years, Putt for Mutts has raised over a million dollars for Wayside. It’s a great event! Everyone enjoys visiting our facility. We have 44 acres, so we have a lot of room to roam. There is plenty of room to park all of the bikes. We always have great bands and great food. It’s been a wonderful event every year!

CC: It seems that there are different added attractions each year. This year there was a police dog demonstration. Last year, there was a dog agility course. Another year, there was a competition for Frisbee-catching dogs.
Jenny: Yes, we try to keep it different for the bikers since many of them are repeat participants year after year. Some of the bikers even have their dogs ride with them.

CC: Many of the bikers tour your facility each year. Do many of them adopt pets?
Jenny: In addition to the funds raised, this event results in a lot of adoptions as well.

CC: What other special events do you have besides Putt for Mutts?
Jenny: We have many events. We have a pet telethon that we do in March. We also do a large adoption event for the Kansas City Home Show both in the Fall and Spring. We have a Pet Expo. Our largest event is called the Fur Ball, a casual gala at the Downtown Marriot that’s coming up in two weeks.

CC: Good luck with all of your events. We appreciate what you do here at Wayside Waifs.
'Ask of the beasts and they will teach you the beauty of this earth.'
St. Francis of Assisi
“Wisdom usually does not fall from high places. The mighty and the splendid have taught me little. I have learned more from my dog than from all the great books I have read. The wisdom of my dog is the product of his inability to conceal his wants. When he yearns to be loved, there is no pouting in the corner. There are no games entitled 'Guess what is the matter with me.' He puts his head on my lap, wags his tail and looks up at me with kind eyes, waiting to be petted. No professor or sage ever told me I might live a more successful life if I simply asked for love when I needed it.”
Gerry Spence
How to Argue and Win Every Time
Story and Photos by Stripe