A Virtual Waiting Room Added to Services at the APA Adoption Center

IMG_20180417_004229 (1)Some visitors first stop is to see the dogs and cats looking for homes at the APA Adoption Center. It is fun, rivaling the birthday parties, pet showers, or some of the educational classes and workshops at the center.

My first stop at the center in Brentwood, Missouri near Saint Louis is usually the wellness clinic. One of the busiest areas of the adoption center, it serves over 10,000 pets each year.

IMG_20180214_123057The wellness clinic is where veterinary staff perform health screenings, vaccinate against disease and spay or neuter each pet prior to adoption. The APA wellness clinic is open to the public offering low-cost exams and vaccinations for pets.

I’ve found it to be a great place to meet adorable animals and great pet parents while they wait to see the veterinarian or pick up medication. The clinic reception area is a favorite hunting ground in my search for interesting stories about animal adoptions and the role pets play in their daily lives. Many owners like to share what makes their pet special. No matter how hectic life gets, our pets are there for us.

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I’ve seen fewer people and pets in the APA Wellness Clinic reception and intake area. It isn’t that there are fewer pets and people visiting, they just aren’t sitting and waiting as long anymore.

Technology is helping to take the wait and crowded waiting room out of the APA Wellness Clinic. Anyone can get in a virtual line to see a veterinarian.

It is easy to join the virtual queue from home, the office, or on the run using your phone. You’ll receive text updates and notifications on forecast wait times so you and your pet can wait where you want.photo-1423666639041-f56000c27a9a

The QLess platform in use now at the APA clinic helps people around the world every day to avoid wasting time in line at license offices, hospitals, and businesses.

“We give time back to millions of people who otherwise would have to waste time standing in line,” explains Dr. Alex Bäcker, CEO of Qless.

This technology makes it simple to get in line at the APA Wellness Clinic from home, the office or even on-the-go using your phone. The text notifications allow pet parents to stay updated about estimated wait times and when they are next in line.

“With the QLess App we’re always looking for ways to incorporate technology and improve customer service. By reducing time spent in our waiting room we can better serve people and their pets,” says Kim Brown, APA Director of Operations and Vice President.

unnamedIt is easy to join the line, just send a text message “APA Clinic” to 417-720-2235. APA clinic clients will receive a text confirming your place in the queue.

Or pet owners may join the line via a computer by visiting APA website and the virtual waiting room at https://apamo.org/pet-services/virtual-waiting-room/.

The QLess notification is not an appointment time or reservation, but a way to give APA Wellness Clinic clients freedom and flexibility to wait wherever they want.DrD

The clinic’s hours are 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday – Saturday. The APA is centrally located in Saint Louis County at 1705 South Hanley Road with easy access to interstates 64 and 40.

Learn more about the many community programs at the APA Adoption Center or how to bring home a furry friend at https://apamo.org/

 

Join the ‘Big Wheels’ at Tons of Transportation for Free Fun

A lot of big wheels are converging in Saint Louis County Saturday, May 5th for a unique event. It is a fun way to get a close-up view of some of the biggest vehicles working in our community.

Tons of Transportation brings together backhoes, dump trucks, fire engines, police cars and much more for kids of all ages to inspect and explore. This is a free, fun “hands on” opportunity to climb up, touch them and even get into the cab and take a seat!

474520_v2_dumptruckThe Brentwood Recreation Complex at 2505 S Brentwood Boulevard is the new location for Tons of Transportation 2018. The complex is centrally located in Saint Louis County with easy access to two interstates and lots of free parking. Hours for the free event are 10am- 1pm.

For more information head to richmondheights.org

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A Smart Car Window Displays View to Blind Passengers

gateway-arch-426492__340I live in a city filled with reminders of epic travelers from the historic journeys of Lewis and Clark to the cross country treks in automobiles along Route 66. There are still many icons around Saint Louis and across Missouri modern travelers can visit today.

From Missouri’s rolling hills and natural wonders explored by Lewis and Clark to the kitschy man-made attractions that helped make Route 66 a favorite for family road trips, the unique views make a Missouri road trip memorable.

For blind travelers, this is a part of the trip they miss. A new prototype smart car window aims to change the experience by enabling blind or partially-sighted people to visualize passing scenery through touch.

The smart car window named Feel the View takes pictures that are turned into high-contrast monochrome images. These images are then reproduced on the glass using special LEDs.

By touching the image, different shades of grey vibrate with a range of 255 intensities, allowing passengers to touch the scene and rebuild in their mind the landscape in front of them.

Feel the View was conceived and developed by Ford in Italy in collaboration with Aedo, a start-up that specializes in devices for the visually impaired.

“We seek to make people’s lives better and this was a fantastic opportunity to help blind passengers experience a great aspect of driving. The technology is advanced, but the concept is simple – and could turn mundane journeys into truly memorable ones,” explained Ford representative Mac Alù Saffi in a written statement.

See how Feel the View may give visually impaired travelers epic journeys in the future in this video:

Pets in the Workplace: The Employee Benefit That Gets Tails Wagging

QF4PV5HB1EIt’s often tough to grab the phone and look into a beloved pet’s eyes as you are about to close the door on them to head to work. More than half of all households in the United States include a pet. About 84.6 million households or 68% of all American homes include at least one pet according to the latest data from the American Pet Product Association’s National Pet Owner Survey.

Fortunately for pet owners more companies are adopting pet-friendly workplace programs, allowing pets to tag along when their best friend leaves for work each day.

cropped-img_20180205_011823-1.jpgThere are business building reasons why companies are increasingly allowing their employees to bring their pets to work. Research reveals pet-friendly workplaces can reduce stress, increase productivity, build collaboration, decrease absenteeism and boost recruiting and more.

2010_tyd_photowinner_louise_thmbSome of the best known brands on the business landscape offer pet-friendly workplaces and other pet-related perks including Google, Mars, Salesforce, Build-A-Bear Workshop and Purina. I’ve been fortunate to work in two business workplaces where pets were encouraged to be part of the team.

An estimated 7 to 11 percent of U.S. pet owners are allowed to bring their pets to the job. Many more have an opportunity one week a year every June. The entire week leading up to Take Your Dog To Work Day® is Take Your Pet To Work Week® which is June 18-21, 2018.  Businesses interested in participating in Take Your Pet To Work Week® can download a free toolkit at petsit.com/toolkit.  

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The Expanding World of Robotics

More manufacturing operations have robots working on the line today. The army of robots is growing rapidly as 1.7 million new industrial robots are projected to be in operation by 2020.

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The automation of production is accelerating around the world: 74 robot units per 10,000 employees is the new average of global robot density in the manufacturing industries.

Robotics are no longer reserved for a few manufacturing applications. The International Federation of Robotics says between 2015 and 2016, the average number of robot workers globally increased from 66 units per 10,000 human workers to 74.

Robots are at work in a wide range of industries including transportation, retail, medicine, agriculture and much more. The nation with the most robots at work is South Korea with 631 robots per 10,000 human workers. The International Federation of Robotics says this is due to the large number of robots at work in automotive and electronics manufacturing.

Singapore follows, with 488 installed robots for every 10,000 people. About 90% of robots in Singapore are installed in the electronics industry according to the International Federation of Robotics.

Germany is Europe’s most automated country, ranking third worldwide. It has 309 robot workers per 10,000 people.

The newest robots and automation manufacturers from all over the world will be on display at automatica 2018 June 19th through the 22nd in Munich. You can delve into the world of automation and learn more about automatica 2018 online at https://automatica-munich.com/index-2.html

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Pet Cancer Awareness

My sweet sixteen year old had slowed down, was a bit pickier about her food and didn’t like to get up early, but she never seemed in pain as far as I had noticed. I held my dog tighter and prayed our veterinarian was mistaken.

Our long time veterinarian wasn’t wrong on her diagnosis. My dog was suffering from lymphoma.

Navigating a cancer diagnosis can be a frightening time for a pet owner. It is important to have access to information if you should ever face the issue with your pet. That is why May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month.

Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of ten years. Cancer in cats is less common than cancer in dogs but it tends to be a more aggressive form. If caught early, about half of all cancers are curable.

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Cancer in dogs is often treatable.

“Cancer in pets is painfully common, frequently treatable, and among the most manageable chronic diseases of old age” explains Jeffrey N. Bryan, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVIM. The Director of the Scott Endowed Program in Veterinary Oncology and Comparative Oncology and Epigenetics Laboratory at the University Of Missouri College Of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Bryan has front line experience in amazing advances in pet cancer treatment.

Many cats and dogs diagnosed with cancer can be treated by their veterinarian. Some cancers can be removed surgically and the pet is cured. For others, there are many of the same options available to human cancer patients; radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

“Cancer treatment involves a lot of communication between what we refer to as the ‘triad of care’ – the pet parent, the primary care veterinarian, and the specialist,” says Gerald Post, DVM, MEM, DACVIM (Oncology), practice owner of The Veterinary Cancer Center located in Connecticut which is one of the organizations sponsoring Pet Cancer Awareness Month. “For example, the pet parent needs to be aware of any unusual lumps or bumps a pet may have, the primary care veterinarian will aspirate those bumps to find out if they are cancerous or benign, and the specialist will develop a tailored treatment plan for that individual pet patient.”

The warning signs of cancer in pets can be similar to those in people. If an animal is not feeling quite right, a swelling or lameness can be a sign to check with your veterinarian explains Dr. Bryan, “Clients should report new lumps or changes in health to their veterinarians immediately. The vets should investigate promptly.”

Unfortunately, sometimes there are few or no warning signs of cancer, at least early on. The point of Pet Cancer Awareness Month is to empower pet parents with knowledge, so that they realize that cancer is not automatically a death sentence for pets.

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Many cats and dogs diagnosed with cancer can be treated

Pet parents can find specialists across the country through location searches on the VetSpecialists.com directory. VetSpecialists.com was developed in 2015 as a partnership between the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the American College of Veterinary Surgeons to provide education about diseases and conditions affecting animals and to increase awareness of veterinary specialty medicine.

If you are interested in learning more about pet cancer check out the University of Missouri’s Veterinary Oncology website. There are a number of resources on cancer and animals on their website.

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Yesterday’s Science Fiction is Today’s Reality – Human Robot Collaboration at automatica 2018

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The way we work is rapidly changing. When I started working in television, there was an operator on every camera in the studio. That soon changed as robots moved into local television stations. Automation improved efficiency with one employee operating multiple robotic studio cameras. The technology rapidly spread into even small television operations. Broadcasters have been working aside robots for decades.

The interaction between humans and machines is on the rise in a wide array of industries. The future smart workplace will combine human dexterity with digital assistant systems to achieve a new level of performance.507552_Robot

“The combination of man and machine is particularly powerful. As a result, jobs become more ergonomic and more interesting than ever before,” explains Patrick Schwarzkopf, Managing Director, VDMA Robotics + Automation.

One event, automatica 2018, focuses on how people should be integrated into an ever-changing digital environment, what challenges have to be tackled and what opportunities this development will offer for current and future jobs.

The newest robots and automation manufacturers from all over the world will be on display at automatica 2018 June 19th through the 22nd in Munich. But you can get a preview now in this video with a father and son discovering some of the intelligent technology to be on display. After all, the upcoming generation will use smart machines intuitively. For these “digital natives,” robots are a matter of course, and operating them is child’s play.

You can delve into the world of automation and learn more about automatica 2018 online at https://automatica-munich.com/index-2.html

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