Furry Companions


Adopting a dog invites you to deal with the struggle of everything you own being chewed on, but also receiving love to add to your entire household.

+Cadie Elder

Unleashed Pet RescueChihuahuas, Scottish terriers, and Lhasa Poos jump and bark in their kennels  anxiously waiting for a visitor to become a familiar face.

“I’ve had 3rd and 4th generations come in and say, ‘My grandparents bought dogs from here!’” Pet Stop owner Greg Smith said.

This family-owned store has slowly become known as “Kansas City’s Indoor Zoo Store.” Walking in Frankie, their capuchin monkey, is the first one to say hello. While the puppies yip and yap to distract your attention, reptiles, birds, fish, chinchillas, and many other animals are roaming in the back. What many people keep coming back for is a new addition to the family, a man’s best friend.

“The beauty of getting a young puppy is you can train them however you want,” Smith said. “We seldom have old dogs. We buy them at 8 weeks and usually sell them by 13 weeks.”

Heather Brzon, a worker at Unleashed Pet Rescue, also works with dogs everyday. Specifically, she rescues dogs from kill shelters, when their owners surrender, or if they are picked up by animal control.

“On average, we have 5-15 people a day coming in to adopt,” Brzon said. “Our best week was a 105.”Pet StopPuppies at Pet Stop are pure breeds or a mixture of the two. A Lhasa Poo is a mixture between a Lhasa Apso and a Poodle, which usually they range from $600-$900. On the other hand, Unleashed is a non-profit shelter led by donations, adopters and fosters. Fostering is very common. 200 dogs are currently fostered while 100 of all ages and breeds are on site.

“Getting a young animal that you can socialize and grows up in your family is a huge difference,” Smith said. “It’s easier than taking a dog that hasn’t been trained, or has already created some bad habits that you will have to work with.”

Both Pet Stop and Unleashed have never put a dog down, and Unleashed has kept a dog as long as 3 years before being adopted. Both Pet Stop and Unleashed microchip their dogs and keep them up-to-date on vaccinations, while Unleashed specifically spays and neuters their animals.

“A lot of times pet stores will buy the cutest little puppies out there, but the parents that had those puppies live in horrible conditions,” Brzon said.

Two dogs stay in one small room with food and bedding, unlike Pet Stores where dogs are kept in smaller kennels. Unleashed is not a walk-through facility. It is set up this way because there are 4 play yards the dogs are rotated in daily. Brzon said that it would create a lot of chaos in the halls with dogs and people walking through.

“I would honestly rather have a dog that I have rescued and saved its life,” Brzon said.

Unleashed’s wall are splattered with bright colors. A few wandering dogs lick your hands as you enter or sit comfortably behind the desk. Barking dogs plays on repeat from the beginning of the day till the end. Adopting a dog invites you to deal with the struggle of everything you own being chewed on, but also receiving love to add to your entire household.