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/

 

Bee a Nature Hero: 3 Easy Ways to Help Pollinators + Free Online Garden Resources

Bees and other pollinators are in trouble. Join the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge

Have you spotted many butterflies this year? What about bees? Unfortunately, these pollinators are in trouble. Pollinators move from plant to plant while searching for protein-rich pollen or high-energy nectar to eat. As they go, they are dusted by pollen and move it to the next flower, fertilizing the plant and allowing it to reproduce and form seeds, berries, fruits and other plant foods that form the foundation of the food chain. Pollination is vital to the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink.Bees  are on the decline

Bees are the most obvious and recognized pollinators in nature. It came as a surprise to me that over 100,000 invertebrates also pollinate. These include butterflies, moths, wasps, beetles and even flies! Hummingbirds are among a thousand birds, mammals and reptiles also helping pollinate.

Vital pollinators on the decline

You can be a pollinator hero in many ways. Here are three easy ways to start.

  1. First, and perhaps the most obvious is through plants. 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. It is easy to plant varieties that will attract pollinators. For example, start with native plants. Native plants form the foundation of habitat for pollinators by providing them with pollen and nectar for food, cover from the elements and predators, and places where their young can grow. The best way to attract beautiful butterflies, busy bees, speedy hummingbirds and other pollinators is to fill your yard with native plants. There are some free resources to help at the end of this post.DB85E1D0CC
  2. Avoiding pesticides is not only good for your family and pets, it is the second great way to help pollinators.  Using insecticides will kill many pollinators. Herbicides will kill important native plants such as milkweed that pollinators rely upon as a food source and a place to raise young. Make the commitment to avoid using chemicals and to maintain your garden in a natural, organic way. 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.10494643_10207078779912157_3907921197852980798_n
  3. The third easy step is to help protect our grasslands to aid pollinators. America’s native grasslands are critically important for pollinators such as bees and monarch butterflies. Our grasslands are filled with native plants that offer nectar and pollen for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and a wide variety of pollinators. They also provide milkweed, the only host plant for monarch caterpillars. Today, more than 90 percent of native grasslands have been converted to cropland and development. Grasslands are disappearing faster than any other ecosystem in North America, and that’s a big problem for pollinators. Planting milkweed to attract butterflies will give you enjoyment as you help pollinators.

Businesses and community groups can get involved in this effort to help pollinators. One non-profit in Saint Louis is working to provide a living landscape for birds and other wild animals. The Animal Protective Association of Missouri or APA Adoption Center is part of the growing trend to garden for wildlife in landscaping as a way to care for wildlife as well as the pets brought to the facility.

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 11078212_10204083286547347_1748544961633585133_n
A national native online plant guide can be accessed by clicking on American Beauty Native Plants. 

The National Federation for Wildlife or NWF offers many free resources for gardening to benefit pollinators and wildlife. The NWF is joining with dozens of conservation and gardening organizations as well as seed groups to form the National Pollinator Garden Network. Spreading the word through social media and helping educate others is a great way to be a pollinator hero too.

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Prepare Your Workplace for Take Your Dog To Work Day

Businesses looking to increase productivity and profitability; while reducing workplace stress and boosting morale may want to check out the benefits of pets in the workplace. Research by Virginia Commonwealth University touts the benefits of dogs on the job, citing reduced perceived stress and increased job satisfaction for employees with their pets at work.

Pets in the workplace can improve productivity

Pets in the workplace can improve productivity

A survey by the American Pet Products Association found that nearly one in five U.S. companies allow pets in the workplace. In fact, the survey found that:

  • 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

2010_tyd_photowinner_louise_thmbAn upcoming event hopes to increase the number of firms with pets on the job! The 17th observation of Pet Sitter International’s Take Your Dog To Work Day®  (TYDTWDay®) is on Friday, June 26, 2015. Many businesses—even those not traditionally pet friendly—are opening their doors to employees’ dogs for this day to celebrate the great companions dogs make and promote pet adoptions.

Interested in being part of the fun? Check out the 2015 TYDTWDay Action Pack. It is an online planning guide for participants and provides step-by-step instructions for executing an office event. It even addresses common management concerns and includes a sample “dogs at work” policy and event participation forms.

09_tydtwday_hitachi_data_systems___staff3Event creator Pet Sitters International offers these tips for participating dog owners to help ensure management, employees and pets are all comfortable on TYDTWDay:

1. Do an office check. No one will mind your dog being in the office, right? Well, maybe. Check with management and co-workers to see if anyone is allergic, afraid of or opposed to you bringing your dog to work on this special day. Be respectful of those you work with and plan an alternate celebration, if necessary.

2. Puppy-proof your work space. If you plan on working with your dog, make sure your office environment is safe. Remove poisonous plants and pesticides, hide electrical cords and wires and secure toxic items such as permanent markers. Any office items in question should be placed out of paw’s reach.

3. Make sure Fido is fit for work. Even dogs don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Be sure your dog’s shots are current. Make plans to have your dog bathed and groomed before accompanying you to work. Be mindful of your dog’s “work readiness.” You know your dog’s demeanor, so if he is aggressive or overly shy, it’s best to leave him at home. Consider how your dog has behaved in the past around strangers before making the decision to bring him. If your dog has shown fear, irritability or aggression, or if your dog has never met strangers, the workplace is not the best place for him.

4. Prepare a doggie bag. Include food, treats, bowls, toys, leash, paper towels, clean-up bags and pet-safe disinfectant. If you are routinely in and out of your work space, consider bringing a baby gate for your doorway or a portable kennel for your dog’s comfort and your peace of mind.

5. Plan your pet’s feeding times carefully. During an important sales call is probably not the best time for a bathroom break. Plan your dog’s feeding time around your work schedule and be sure to choose an appropriate area for your dog to relieve himself afterward.

6. Avoid forcing co-workers to interact with your dog. Dog lovers will make themselves known. Sally from accounting and Joe in human resources may not want to play fetch or offer belly rubs, so be mindful of fellow employees’ time and space. To avoid pet accidents, monitor the amount of treats your pet is being given from your co-workers. Remember that chocolate, candy and other people food should not be shared with dogs and that not all non-dog owners will be aware that these items can be very toxic to your pooch.

7. Have an exit strategy. Although most dogs enjoy TYDTWDay, your pet may not. Should your dog become overly boisterous, agitated or withdrawn, consider taking him home or plan in advance for your professional pet sitter to offer a midday check-in visit. Never, under any circumstance, leave your pet alone in a vehicle while you work.

Are you interested in planning a TYDTWDay event at your office? There is a free downloadable TYDTWDay Action Pack on the event website, http://www.takeyourdog.com.

Businesses unable to participate on Friday, June 26, or that wish to incorporate other pets in the celebration are encouraged to pick any day during Take Your Pet To Work Week™, June 22-26, to plan an event.

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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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A Simple Secret 1 in 4 Americans Use to Feel Better and Improve their Lifestyle

Would you like to feel better and perhaps get a professional boost too? It is not a new juice cleanse or exercise regime I want to share; it can be as easy as walking a dog or reading to a toddler. It is an opportunity to grow personally and professionally as a volunteer. Health and lifestyle research finds there are many benefits for volunteers.11084281_825868887478501_532518496970130019_n

Here are just a few:

Volunteering connects you to others
Volunteering increases your social and relationship skills
Volunteering increases self-confidence
Volunteering combats depression
Volunteering with animals has been shown to improve mood and reduce stress
Volunteering can reduce anxiety
Volunteering can provide career experience or allow you to practice work skills

Many of your neighbors are enjoying these benefits. More than 62 million people give their time according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. It works out to one in four Americans volunteering their time.

Do you have a story about a volunteer experience to share? I would like to hear your tips and experiences as a volunteer. I volunteer in a couple of ways, but my favorite is the adoption center where I found my pets, the Animal Protective Association of Missouri (APAofMO).

Volunteers and educators from APA of MO Adoption Center work with children

Volunteers and educators from APA of MO Adoption Center work with children

Love a Party Animal? Check Out Purina Farms Pooch Parties

Valentine’s week is not just chocolates and flowers at my house. It is also time to stock up on special pet treats and toys. It was the second week in February eight years ago my heart was forever changed by the adoption of my dog Coconut. 
I am among many pet owners who observe the day my furry friend came to be a part of our family. The adoption days for both dogs are reason for celebration. The folks at Purina are offering a new way to make the day even more special with Pooch Parties.
A Purina Farms Pooch party is $75 and includes:
A 16 x 18 party room with a convenient prep room next door
An adjacent off-leash fenced-in exercise area
Two hours of party time for dogs
Max of 10 people with their dogs
Printed or electronic invitations
Goody bags with Beggin’ treats and a collapsible water bowl
A dog-appropriate cake and cupcakes for human guests
There are extras that can be added like a sandwich platter for human guests for an  additional $45 people and includes sandwiches, chips and soda to feed 10 people.
Call 314-982-3232 Monday through Friday between 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., or email purinafarms@purina.nestle.com to book your party.
Purina Farms is offering Pooch Parties for Your Furry Friends

Purina Farms is offering Pooch Parties for Your Furry Friends

Pets are a Powerful Prescription for Healthier, Happier Lives: Starting with Health Benefits for Babies!

I saw a bumper sticker in the shape of a dog’s head that read: “Wag more –Bark less.” Great advice but it seems man’s best friend has a lot of lessons to teach us which can make us healthier and happier. In one of the hottest videos online, canine crawling coach, Buddy, helps his family’s baby learn how to get moving. Mom and Buddy’s owner, Valerie Stevens-Scott posted the video on YouTube with the caption: “Bear Bear hasn’t gotten the hang of crawling, so Buddy decided to show her how it’s done.”

This little baby girl just hasn’t figured out how to crawl on her own, so her loyal terrier pal, Buddy, decides to give baby Allie multiple demonstrations and a helping paw. As you can see in the video, Buddy is a good teacher and Allie soon is crawling.

Crawling help and companionship are not the only benefit dogs may offer to babies. Youngsters with pets may have added protection against allergies. Researchers found children under the age of 1 who had two or more dogs or cats as family pets saw a reduction in allergy development by the time they were 6 or 7. Additional medical research produced similar results, finding children with early cat exposure showed reduced the development of allergies later in life.

Pet ownership continues to provide health benefits as children move from toddling to adulthood. Youngsters and adults taking their dog out for a walk get more than heart smart exercise. Researchers and smart parents believe it may benefit social skills in an era of text messages and online chats. New research indicates walking with a dog leads to more conversations with neighbors, other dog owners, and helps people of all ages stay socially connected.

A 2014 study in the Journal Applied Developmental Science found that young adults with a strong attachment to cats and dogs also reported feeling more connected to their relationships and communities. And studies have shown those that have a pet live more fulfilled and busy social life live longer, happier lives.

The medical community believes companion animals are a good prescription in many cases. Pets are being used to help our nation’s war veterans heal from post-traumatic stress disorder. Our pets innately know when we need them most, which gives us a feeling of belonging and a self-esteem boost. Researchers in a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that pet owners had hearts that adapted better to stressful situations than non-pet owners. The American Heart Association cites a number of studies that found pet ownership may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Some data even indicates that pets help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and that owners with heart issues are more likely to survive heart attacks.

541030_10200807370730847_356137719_nI believe my two Maltese dogs, adopted from the Animal Protective Association of Missouri, are powerful and playful prescriptions against loneliness. The APA is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing people and pets together, advancing humane education and creating programs beneficial to the human-animal bond. They offer many services and programs for all ages. In fact, kids of all ages and community groups can take a guided tour of the APA and get a health boost by petting some of the awesome animals available for adoption. Check them out at http://www.apamo.org

How do you think your pets help you? I would like to know, please leave a comment with stories about your furry friends.
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