Battle the Growing Tick Health Threat with Free TickTracker App

tick-482613_960_720_tick_handHealth officials are warning ticks and the diseases they carry are spreading across the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, report the number of tick-borne disease cases has more than doubled in the last 13 years.

The CDC describes tick-borne illnesses as a public health threat proving difficult to control. While these diseases occur across the United States, the Northeast, Midwest and southern areas of the nation seem to be most at risk.

detail-3370931_960_720+tick2Olivia Goodreau knows a lot about the health threat ticks pose. The teenager was bitten by a tick in Missouri in the summer between first and second grade and it took 51 doctors and 18 months to figure out she had Lyme disease.

Health professionals are seeing more cases of Lyme disease. The CDC estimates that roughly 300,000 Americans are infected with Lyme each year, which is eight to 10 times higher than the number of cases actually reported. Lyme disease has 6 times more new cases each year than HIV/AIDS, yet it receives less than 1% of the funding.

tick-1271763__340_ticerOWhile living with Lyme disease, Goodreau is working to raise money for kids that cannot afford their Lyme medication and for research to find a cure. As a twelve-year old, she started the LivLyme Foundation in 2017 after she was told that she would live with the debilitating symptoms of Lyme disease for the rest of her life, or until a cure is found. Her efforts to help others include developing an app to help track, report, and educate about ticks. TickTracker is free to the public to download via the Apple and Android App Stores.

Learn more about helping Olivia Goodreau’s battle on ticks, the LivLyme Foundation and TickTracker at http://livlymefoundation.org

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/

 

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:

Doggie Dining Spots in Saint Louis

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The weather is warm and it can be fun to take your furry friend along when dining out. Many restaurants with outdoor seating are dog-friendly.

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Chow ready to chow down!

This is a sampling of Saint Louis area dining spots to mix and mingle with the canine crowd.  This list is not comprehensive and you may want to call ahead to double-check your dining choice’s pet-friendliness.

Failoni’s in Dogtown welcomes dogs with treats on Tuesdays and Wednesdays on their large patio.

Anthonino’s on The Hill welcomes dogs with water bowls on their side patio.

The Boat House in Forest Park is a favorite for dog owners who enjoy lakeside outdoor dining.

The Forest Park Café also welcomes canine companions for outdoor dining.

Carl’s Delicatessen has outdoor pet friendly dining options.

Katie’s Pizza + Pasta has an outdoor patio where canine companions are welcome

Wild Flower Restaurant invites well behaved dogs and their owners to try their cuisine.

Park Avenue Coffee has dog friendly dining options.

Tamm Avenue Grill is a popular destination for pet families.

Pi Pizzeria welcomes dog dining where outdoor patios are available.

Most Starbucks with outdoor tables allow well behaved canine companions.

Many Panera Bread locations with patio facilities welcome doggie diners.

Piccadilly at Manhattan welcomes canine customers on their outdoor patio.

Cardwell’s at the Plaza has outdoor pet friendly dining options.

Kaldi’s Coffeehouse has dog friendly outdoor dining areas.

Biggie’s welcomes well behaved canine companions on their patio.

Many of these restaurants also offer special dog menus or special events for pet owners. Check the business social media pages to stay up on the latest canine cuisine news. 12006127_1199688976712863_1172305024498875031_n

Missing Cappy: An Extraordinary Healer and Volunteer

Why a Pint Sized Pup Means So Much to So Many

A remarkable volunteer for a Saint Louis nonprofit is being remembered. This big hearted go-giver was less than fifteen pounds and left a paw print on the hearts of thousands of people.

Cappy, a pint-sized pet of Jim and Diane Doyle worked with his “grandmother” Helen Doyle and her dog Lucky as therapy dogs. The trio served as PetReach volunteers with the Animal Protective Association of Missouri, or APA, visiting senior care facilities, convalescent centers and hospitals. It was a volunteer outreach they would perform for over ten years.

Helen, a pediatric nurse says Cappy was the right prescription for so many: “Cappy was calm and a great healer. I would put in in a lap or on the chest of someone in a bed and their face would light up. So many times, they would begin sharing stories of a childhood pet or their dog at home. Their pain and worries were eased.”Cappy

It was after such a visit to see patients at a Richmond Heights hospital, a vehicle struck Cappy. The truck never stopped. Even in the accident, Cappy brought out the best in people. Two onlookers rushed to help. The strangers gave mouth to muzzle CPR to Cappy. The dog that greeted everyone with enthusiasm and made life better for so many was gone.

Cappy exemplified the meaning of service as he helped so many people as an APA PetReach volunteer. So many feel fortunate to have known this wonderful soul and witness how Cappy put his training, loving nature, and small size to work to make the world a better place. His life leads many of us to believe angels are often disguised as dogs.

If you would like to learn more about the APA’s PetReach program, contact Laura Jones at volunteer@amamo.org or 314-645-4610.

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How Jimmy Kimmel Took Me Back to Mornings with Captain Kangaroo

The introduction of Peeps flavored milk by Prairie Farms Dairy got a lot of attention on television and online. Local news and national late night talk shows alike conducted taste tests with anchors and celebrities. For example, Jimmy Kimmel and the American Idol Judges all tried the three flavors of Peeps Milk and offered their reviews. You can view it here:

It was with a hint of regret that Kimmel explained the Peeps milk flavors are not available in California, so the show had to have them flown in from the Midwest. I chuckled and thought of my dear mother.
CaptainKangarooYou see, I grew up on Captain Kangaroo, a children’s television show that went off the air in 1984. It was a weekday ritual in our family. In between the cartoons and the skits, Captain Kangaroo advertised Wonder bread. He said so many wonderful things about Wonder bread all the children in our large family would beg for Wonder bread. The problem was that in the area of the country where I grew up, they didn’t sell Wonder bread. I remember her taking us to the bread aisle again and again, to show us there WAS NO Wonder bread to be bought there.

Decades later, a better job prompted my relocation to Saint Louis, Missouri. I was sharing the good news with one of my siblings. I recall he informed me with a lilt of excitement in his voice; I would finally be in Wonder bread country. Funny how you remember things like that.

So when Jimmy Kimmel advised the milk wasn’t available on the coasts, I was taken back to Wonder bread. I felt the disappointment of some youngster seeing the Peeps milk and getting excited only to discover it isn’t in local stores.

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I am fortunate to be able to buy Prairie Farms products where I live. It is well known here representing more than 700 farm families. Prairie Farms also helps families in need and non-profit organizations. The Prairie Farms charitable giving program, Our Caps, Your Cause, supports a variety of non-profit organizations ranging from food banks to animal groups and zoos. The dairy’s program also gives consumers a voice in helping local causes.

Perhaps the Peeps flavored milk will help spread the word about this way Prairie Farms customers can give back to their communities.10329194_651448261626775_6185995284465362652_n

A Smart Spring Break Stay-Cation Idea: Fun With Furry Friends at APA Adoption Center

ttttttumblr_n2r4gqdeib1r3zbhoo3_1280Spring break may prompt thoughts of a beach getaway or an exotic trip but family fun and adventures don’t have to include travel. A “stay-cation” in Saint Louis is filled with wonderful possibilities.

One creative and fun option is the Animal Protective Association of Missouri or APA. The APA Adoption Center offers many choices of activities and interactive sessions for kids of all ages.

Parents often get together and plan a joint outing for several families during spring break. This is easily done because the options at APA‘s Adoption Center are customizable and cost effective. There are a variety of classes about animal care, safety, center tours, pet related crafts and interaction with animals mixed with fun and games.

Not all lessons during spring break take place at the Adoption Center. For some youngsters, anticipation of the animal adventure begins days before as they join forces to collect supplies to help homeless pets. These collection efforts can take on the air of a scavenger hunt involving extended family and neighbors. It is a great opportunity to share the joy of volunteering and practice the lesson of selflessness with children. There is a wish list of easy to find items for homeless pets on the APA website.

APA Director of Humane Education Jennifer Blome works with educators and volunteers to deliver fun and meaningful opportunities; “It is more than learning to love and play with animals in the right way. We have a curriculum of age appropriate lessons and activities to engage minds and hearts.”

It doesn’t have to be spring break to take a class. The APA offers birthday parties and other special events customizable for your group. Some of the party details can be found here. 

The APA works year around to educate on the importance of treating each other and animals with compassion and respect. APA presentations are held in the community along with group classes for scout, school and community groups. You can see a list of some program options by clicking here or on the website: http://www.apamo.org/education/group-programs/group-programs-list/

You can sign up for a public class as an individual adult, or bring your child to a family event. For information on upcoming classes and programs through community organizations, email jennifer@apamo.org.

Scheduling a class or event at the APA Adoption Center can be such a rewarding and unforgettable experience; it may become a favorite family tradition. Remember to bring a camera to capture the learning and play of your APA day.

Personalize your visit to the APA of MO for fun, crafts, safety, and more!

Personalize your visit to the APA of MO for fun, crafts, safety, and more!