We’re getting all warm and fuzzy again for the holidays.
A couple of years ago, The Star first spotlighted “The 12 Strays of Christmas,” cuddly shelter animals that needed homes. Almost all were quickly adopted. So the next year we decided to tweak the tradition to give a holiday boost to the hard-luck cases, the animals who linger at shelters far too long, waiting for families to take them in.
Once again, Star photographer Allison Long has visited three area shelters to showcase a dozen lovable, pitiful pets. And this year, she brought along a helper, Elf on the Shelf, who gives his seal of approval to each animal.
One caveat: Pets can make fine holiday gifts, but don’t make this a surprise. Take family members, including a dog you may already own, to meet prospective pets. If you really want the surprise, consider a stuffed animal or gift certificate as a temporary stand-in. Then go pick out your new pet after the holiday hoopla dies down.
Kansas City Star photographer Allison Long has been doing an annual "12 Strays of Christmas" project of taking portraits of sheltered animals for three years. This year she got challenged by a monitor lizard at KC Pet Project. Watch behind the sce
Nine-year-old Millicent is calm and friendly and loves to meet new people. She is diabetic and requires a special diet and regular insulin injections. (Great Plains SPCA in Merriam, $22.50.)
Wilma is a spayed adult female Dutch rabbit found as a stray. She is sweet and likes to be held and is generally active, except in the evenings. (Great Plains SPCA in Independence, $25.)
Seven-year-old Alice was taken from the home of an animal hoarder in Arkansas. She is intimidated by quick movements and loud noises, so she would love a quiet home with no children and owners who understand her. (Great Plains SPCA for a fee of $63.)
Biggie, 19 months, would work best with someone who enjoys hikes, runs and other outdoor activities. Given his youth and rambunctious nature, he would benefit from some training. He needs to go to a home in a city that does not ban pit bulls or pit bull mixes. (Great Plains SPCA in Merriam, $62.50.)
Bizzy and Bellicose are female dwarf hamsters, the last of eight that came to Wayside Waifs shortly before Thanksgiving. They do well together, so you can adopt one or both for $10 each. They’ll need a safe place away from other family pets that may see them as prey. They also can be nippy when handled — not a good mix with small children.
Henri, a neutered hound/Great Dane mix, is 1 year old and a puppy at heart. He’s affectionate but will need help learning house training and basic obedience. He should learn quickly with praise, patience and treats and be a lifelong companion. (Wayside Waifs, $125.)
Kat is a 7-year-old domestic shorthair who was found as a stray. She is shy and needs time to warm up to new owners, but once comfortable, she affectionately doles out the head-butts and lap-sitting. (Wayside Waifs, no charge because she has been there more than 90 days.)
Scylla is a monitor lizard who ended up at a shelter because of neglect. Sorry, lizard lovers, she’s soon heading to her new home in Arkansas to live with another monitor lizard. But other reptiles are available for adoption at KC Pet Project.
Marnee, a 3-year-old pit bull mix, loves to fetch and, once she has had enough play time, will lie down, hang out and receive the affection she deserves. She should be the only pet in the household. (KC Pet Project, $100.)
Tahoe, a 4-year-old domestic shorthair, tends to follow people around, helping them at the computer or sitting in their laps. That said, he is pretty active and has previously lived with children and other animals. (Wayside Waifs, $25.)
Tanzie, a 4-year-old Labrador mix, is a joy to walk and loves to play with toys. She should go to a home with no cats or small children because she is known to jump. (KC Pet Project’s Petco Adoption Center in Overland Park, $150.)
OK, we couldn’t stop at 12. Here are two more …
Fifteen-year-old Tina is a great lap cat who was found as a stray and is very calm and quiet. (Great Plains SPCA in Merriam, $22.50.)
Romeo, a 2-year-old, is so sweet he was adopted soon after he was photographed at KC Pet Project. But many other cats like him are available.
We worked with three animal shelters for our photo shoots:
▪ Great Plains SPCA, two locations: 5424 Antioch Drive, Merriam (913-831-7722), and 21001 E. Missouri 78, Independence (816-621-7722). greatplainsspca.org
▪ KC Pet Project, 4400 Raytown Road, plus adoption centers at Zona Rosa and Petco on 95th Street in Overland Park. 816-513-9821, kcpetproject.org