The Benefits of Pets in the Workplace

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Some of my dearest friends I met at work. So it was a natural fit when a couple of my employers opened the door to my best friend, my dog.dog-1134492_960_720

Eight percent of all U.S. pet owners are allowed to bring their pet to work according to a survey by the American Pet Products Association (APPA). The number of companies allowing pets in the workplace is on the rise.

“While this does not work for all companies, studies have shown that pets reduce stress which can ultimately increase productivity,” said APPA Executive Vice President & COO Andy Darmohraj. “We’ve had dogs, cats and fish at our office over the years and they have been a source of joy and a real morale booster.” 549978_10200513195216643_1431418705_n

Researchers found support among the American workforce for pets on the job:

55 million Americans believe having pets in the workplace leads to a more creative environment

50 million believe having pets in workplace helps co-workers get along better

38 million believe having pets in workplace creates a more productive work environment

37 million believe having pets in workplace helps improve relationships between managers and staff

236506There is evidence employees with pets at work are healthier. Studies show the presence of friendly animals can reduce heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol and regularly interacting with animals can reduce anxiety and promote calmness.

Need more proof pets would benefit your business? Check out this persuasive pet infographic.

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Benefits of a pet-friendly workplace Infographic

Benefits of a pet-friendly workplace Infographic by Petco

 

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.

13494787_10207056851919422_2885648887790078003_n-1 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 .A044044

The 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.

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Working 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.

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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.

Brady 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_3_medal

”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 2,534 pets who found homes at the APA Adoption Center in 2015. Providing services to more than 10,000 animals annually, the APA provides 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 or call 314-645-4610.

photo courtesy of Ryan Brady

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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Gardening for Wildlife Offers Many Benefits for Humans! Free Resources to Help You and Your Ecosystem

ic1dX3kBQjGNaPQb8Xel_1920 x 1280Have you seen many butterflies among your flowers? What about bees? Both groups of beneficial insect pollinators are on the decline. Whether you’re a gardening novice with a small balcony or gardening veteran with a few acres; you may be able to help wildlife in your area.

11143726_10206658936376331_7902897938553433236_nMay is National Garden for Wildlife Month. From bird watchers to bunny lovers, people are working to transform their gardens into havens for wildlife. One nonprofit in the Saint Louis area is working to provide a living landscape for birds and other wild animals. The Animal Protective Association of Missouri or APA is part of the growing trend to garden for wildlife. APA Executive Director Steve Kaufman is working with the Saint Louis Audubon Society to create landscaping to encourage wildlife and benefit the ecosystem surrounding the adoption center.

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Kaufman says Audubon volunteers are helping in two ways: “They are providing the expertise on what plants are good for native wildlife and also providing some of the plants needed for our landscaping.”
It is not unusual to see rabbits, birds and even the occasional wild turkey on the grounds of the APA Adoption Center located in a busy retail and business district. Using native plants and smart landscaping choices can have meaningful impact on populations of birds and wildlife in the area.

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“The APA cares for all animals, not just the ones brought into our facility for direct care. This is just a small way to do our part to help the native Missouri animals that live in our area (or fly through!)” explains Kaufman.

This type of gardening has benefits for humans too. The traditional suburban lawn, on average, has ten times more chemical pesticides per acre than farmland. By choosing native plants for your landscaping, you are creating a healthier place for your family and community.11078212_10204083286547347_1748544961633585133_n
The Missouri Botanical Gardens offers many free resources online to help with native gardens. You can find them by clicking on A Guide to Native Landscaping in Missouri or following this link: http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/visit/family-of-attractions/shaw-nature-reserve/gardens-gardening-at-shaw-nature-reserve/native-landscaping-for-the-home-gardener/native-landscaping-manual.aspx

A national native online plant guide can be accessed by clicking on American Beauty Native Plants or following this link: http://www.abnativeplants.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/plants.search/index.htm?announcementid8429382

The National Federation for Wildlife offers many free resources for gardening to benefit wildlife. There is also a program to certify your yard or outdoor space as Certified Wildlife Habitat®. You can learn more at http://www.nwf.org.

Vital pollinators on the decline

Vital pollinators on the decline

A Fun and Free Class for Youngsters ages 6 to 16 About Pets Monday, September 22, 2014

Youngsters can learn about pets and perform pretend animal surgery

Youngsters can learn about pets and perform pretend animal surgery

A wonderful opportunity for youngsters ages 6 to 16 is coming up Monday, September 22, 2014 at the Saint Louis County Library headquarters at 1640 South Lindbergh Boulevard across from Plaza Frontenac. The fun and interactive class entitled “Litter Patrol “allows students to learn they have the power and choice to make a difference. Participants will interact with humane educators including Jennifer Blome and Kelly Jackson. The free class shares information about pet overpopulation and includes the opportunity for youngsters to put on scrubs and perform spay surgery on stuffed animals.

This class is just one of more than two dozen education programs offered through the Animal Protective Association of Missouri for people of all ages to understand and care for animals by fostering responsibility, respect, compassion and empathy. through:
• increasing understanding of animals and their needs
• educating the public on the importance of animal issues and how they affect society
• emphasizing the connection between pets and people in our daily lives
• teaching the basics of safety around animals to ensure positive human-animal interactions

APA Director of Humane Education Jennifer Blome explains sessions in animal welfare and safety teach compassion and kindness to make in-roads to a more humane tomorrow, “As humane educators, we teach children respect, responsibility and kindness- for animals and people alike. We teach children they have a voice and a choice to make the world a better place.”

The APA can offer classes at their shelter or at your location. Programs at the shelter include a tour with animal petting. All presentations include take-home educational materials. Classes range from 20 minutes to two hours and can be tailored to suit your needs. The school age classes are aligned with Missouri Grade Level Expectations. The APA can also partner with you on a service learning project.

You can sign up your youngster for the September 22nd session at http://www.slcl.org/animal-safety.

If you would like to schedule humane education speaker or class at your civic group, church, school, daycare, scout troop, senior center or other event visit http://www.apamo.org and look for the “Education” tab at the top.

Humane educators Jennifer Blome,  Kelly Jackson and Lesa Davis prepare for Litter Patrol Class!

Humane educators Jennifer Blome, Kelly Jackson and Lesa Davis prepare for Litter Patrol Class!