An Animal Adventure Can Be Found at Your Area Pet Adoption Center or Shelter

Pet Adoption Centers Offer Fun and Learning Activities for Families

 

You expect to see pets at your local animal adoption center, but often it seems there are as many smiling faces of people at some Saint Louis area adoption agencies as there are eager animals waiting for a home.

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Scouts cuddle puppies

Many animal agencies are also centers for learning and community events centered on animals. For example, the APA Adoption Center in suburban Saint Louis welcomes civic, community, school and scouting groups almost every day. There are tours of the facility, classes on pet care and training, and even pet themed parties where puppies, kittens, pigs and even miniature horses might show up.

No matter your age, there is always something new to learn about pets, animal legislation, safety and the therapeutic value of animal visits to hospitals and health care facilities. It is exciting how many animal lovers want to reach out and support animal programs and pet initiatives. Local animal centers and shelters are at the forefront of this community outreach and education.

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Another Saint Louis area animal rescue center also offers a variety of programs for all ages. One of Stray Rescue’s newer community initiatives uses certified therapy dogs to help young people between the ages of 6 and seventeen develop empathy, compassion and critical thinking skills. This program is aimed at young people from juvenile court system at this time. Stray Rescue’s Redirect Kids program includes one-on-one mentoring and focuses on helping at risk youth stay in school.

Across the country, adoption centers and shelters are putting the power of pets to work to connect with people on behalf of a number of community issues including education, anti-bullying and domestic violence initiatives

Animal adoption agencies and shelters are a great place for families to get involved in the community while learning and having fun. The Saint Louis County Adoption Center is a part of many events for families including an egg hunt for dogs scheduled for around Easter every year. The center brings adoptable pets out to meet the public at events year around.

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It doesn’t have to be a special event to be part of the mission to save a life. For example, during spring break and school vacation some families organize scavenger hunt competitions for things pet adoption agencies have on their wish lists. Or scouts who are learning about pet care and animal safety, get experience making pet toys and beds. Visit an animal adoption center near you soon, it’s a great way to get in some puppy play and cat cuddling and you never know who you’ll see!

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Abandoned Pup Becomes a High Flying Star on the Dock and at Home

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Flying is not something you usually associate with dogs, but a former APA Adoption Center rescue dog is changing that. A puppy was found abandoned in a rural area of Missouri. The Labrador mix named Serenity by her rescuers was transferred from the overcrowded rural St. Clair County Animal Control shelter to the APA Adoption Center.

A044044The former stray seemed to have springs in her legs and an eagerness to learn. APA matchmakers alerted a Purina trainer, Sara Brueske. Brueske is always looking for canine athletes in her work as an award winning trainer who frequently fosters dogs. Serenity became Kapow and began training with Brueske for a possible slot in a performing team at Purina Farms.

fb_img_1468286607277-1Working with the award winning trainer, Kapow was a stand-out in several competitive canine events including Frisbee play and dock diving. But she didn’t have everything Brueske was looking for, so a search was on for a new home.

Kapow’s wait for a new owner wasn’t long. An animal advocate added this high-flying pooch to his pack. An authority on flight as a professional avian ecologist, Ryan Brady knows a lot about active dogs.

12976913_10206166828074466_6712401224775644527_oBrady lives with a dock diving Yellow Labrador that is also an award winning sporting companion and a trained barn hunt dog. Rounding out the active Brady bunch is a sweet Puggle who embraces the hunting heritage of her Beagle ancestors and lap dog tendencies of her Pug lineage.

”Kapow is a great dog! She fit right in with my other two dogs from the first day I adopted her and is a member of the family,” said Brady who is committed to new stimuli and training for his canine companions who often accompany him on nature hikes and farm visits.Kapow_1

Kapow won a ribbon on her first jump in a dock diving competition with Brady. He is continuing training on the Frisbee and dock-diving while adding new pursuits like retrieving and putting out bird decoys.Spending a lot of time in nature where her owner works at a wildlife refuge, Kapow succeeds at a pursuit where many other dogs fail.

”She catches and kills squirrels frequently,” explains Brady. “Her speed and agility are amazing.”

Kapow may not have wings, but it isn’t keeping her from flying on the ground or in the air.

photo by Ryan Brady

Kapow is one of thousands of pets who find homes at the APA Adoption Center  every year. Providing services to more than 10,000 animals annually, the APA is a humane option for those surrendering unwanted or abandoned companion animals, provides education and outreach programs, reunites lost animals with their owners, provides pet adoption and foster care services and offers veterinary clinic services at a reduced rate. The APA Adoption center is open 7 days a week. For more information about the APA of Missouri, visit www.apamo.org .

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Follow Hank to the Fun of Fast and Furriest to Help Homeless Pets

It’s said some of our most precious gifts we place in museums or vaults; others we take for walks. It is a very unique walk and run for dogs and people I want to share with you.

I think most dogs and pet people find ways to make friends. Just visit your local dog park to see how pets and owners mix and mingle.

BucaneerstateparkwldogsonbeachI recall a dog park visit where I met a woman and her pooch visiting the facility for the first time. Hank was met with wagging tails. Hank’s mom just moved from Atlanta. Other pet parents learned Hank came into her life in college and has been a constant companion through moves, break-ups and celebrations including the job promotion to Saint Louis. Hank is more than a great companion; he helps his owner meet new people and learn about their neighborhood.

Hank and his owner exercise together. I mean serious running. Hank is a Whippet, a superb athlete as well as a gentle companion. Several of us want to make sure Hank can stretch his legs in an upcoming event to help homeless pets.

The 8th Annual Fast and the Furriest 5K Run and 1-Mile Walk will be Sunday, April 24th at Hollywood Casino in Maryland Heights from 9am to 11am. The run is the Saint Louis original dog-owner professionally-timed race. Others with or without pets will take part in the walk at a leisurely pace or activities on the grounds. This is an event not only for athletes, but the entire family. Fast and Furriest also offers children’s face painting, vendor booths and food trucks.

Another fun element of the event to help homeless pets is Pooch Poker where walkers will be dealt playing cards at stations along the 1-Mile Walk route. Players with a winning hand receive a prize at the end of the walk!

Animal lovers don’t have to walk or run to participate to help pets and be a winner.  There are online options to take part in the Fast and Furriest. Plus for first time contributions are matched! A generous donor is matching participant pledges for Fast and the Furriest. $25 turns into $50; $100 turns into $200. Think of the possibilities for homeless pets!  There is also a social media component, share your online fundraising page with your family, friends, coworkers and neighbors. It is easy to share your passion for the APA on Facebook and other social media outlets. By getting the word out, you could win fundraiser prizes!

All proceeds from this event will benefit the APA’ s mission of bringing people and pets together, advancing humane education, and creating programs beneficial to the human-animal bond.

You can learn more about the event and register at https://apamo.org/event/apas-fast-and-the-furriest/

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Fast and the Furriest 5K Run and 1-Mile Walk

There is Help Dealing with the Loss of a Pet

236506 I can find little good to say about losing a pet. Our pets bestow unconditional love, companionship and purpose in our lives. Even our best friends and family sometimes fail to understand the emotional pain and void the loss of a pet can leave.

For me, poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning said it best, “His ears were often the first thing to catch my tears.”

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So what do you do when those ears and your beloved friend is gone? The Animal Protective Association of Missouri or APA is offering a pet loss support group to help. The new pet loss support initiative allows participants to share feelings in a compassionate environment.


“Understanding how we grieve and exploring ways to cope with loss can bring you closer to the day when memories of your pet prompt smiles instead of tears,” explains APA Humane Educator Jennifer Blome.

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Jennifer Blome has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Washington University. She joins three volunteer facilitators trained in counseling and grief therapy in leading the sessions.

Each APA Pet Loss Support Group session will last 75 minutes and take place in a private meeting room at the adoption center. You can find more information on the free sessions and many other community programs at the APA: http://www.apamo.org.

Not in the Saint Louis area? Check local adoption facilities and mental health centers in your area for similar pet loss groups.

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