Why a Rock Star’s Snoring Brings Joy

DEYVTHFARFI’m up early because I’ve been trying to start each day with meditation and some stretching before reaching for the phone or leaving the bedroom. This morning is different. Snoring is disrupting meditative concentration. It is very quiet as the neighborhood seems to be sleeping along with my room-mate.

This intermittent snoring is prompting me to wonder if I should be changing the air filter. It is easier to consider allergies as the reason for the snoring than reflect on the fact my dear friend is aging.

As I am writing this, I’m calculating our years together and recalling our first meeting. It has been 11 years since I saw an adorable three-year-old with a long shag cut an observer compared to the ‘Rod Stewart’ look. He is a rock star no matter his hair cut.

Coconut 2.7.07

A rock star’s adoption photo at the APA Adoption Center

I’m finding joy today in snoring because of his magic. Turning routine errands into adventures and introducing me to new people are effortless for him. He elicits waves from strangers and requests for selfie photos from a ‘rescue’ who rescues me from loneliness.

He is sleeping more. Maybe it is because of the medication for arthritis pain. I’ve read many aging rock stars need medication to keep touring and performing for their audiences. My Rod Stewart needs his rest to be at his best for his public.

We will head out for coffee soon and sit outside even though it is lightly raining. He won’t disappoint his public. It is part of his magic to radiate joy on the darkest days and transform ordinary tasks into extraordinary fun.

I’m grateful for all the animal rescue agencies and groups like the APA Adoption Center where I met this rock star. Rock On!

 

 

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.

74XTZRXTEL

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/

 

Want to Pamper Your Pet? Tips to Use to Find the Right Groomer

Pets are not just our best friends, for many people, their animals are family. The proper grooming is important to keeping pets healthy.226839_206959559337335_5114370_n

Pet owners will spend more than $6 billion dollars on pet grooming services and products in the United States in 2018 according to the American Pet Products Association.

Although it’s rare, recent deaths of pets in the care of groomers have many animal lovers concerned. Some animal advocates and lawmakers are considering ways to protect pets.

There are some steps pet owners should take before you make an appointment at a groomer according to animal experts.

I’m fortunate to have a long relationship with an animal advocate with more than 25 years in animal care and twenty plus years of grooming experience.  Betty Pettey-Schlereth has groomed three of my pets at Bow Wows Unlimited in Saint Louis. She recommends pet owners ask questions and make visits before booking an appointment.

“I would suggest making a list of questions when looking for a groomer for your pet. The first question I would recommend would be, may I come and look at your facility? Then follow up with asking how long they’ve been grooming pets and where they got the training.” adds Pettey-Schlereth.

After your phone calls, follow-up and make an appointment with prospective groomers. Pettey-Schlereth says groomers should be willing to show people around and answer questions about the type of equipment they use and what procedures they follow.

QF4PV5HB1E

Experience and training are not the only factors to consider.  Spend some time in the grooming shop, observing and talking with other pet owners. This can be as informative as a tour of the facility.

On the tour you can check the facility’s cleanliness and inquire about any safety procedures in place or special requirements your pet may require.

My dogs have been rescues and initially after adoption they had special needs. Pettey-Schlereth works with many animals who have medical issues including anxiety. It is vital animal owners discuss medical concerns or behavioral issues with prospective groomers.

Several times, Pettey-Schlereth has noticed a different behavior with one of my pets and suggested there might be a medical concern to be checked out. It is this attention to wellness, as well as grooming, I appreciate.

Nut tongue“I compare it to being a nurse caring for a baby. They can’t talk, and you have to look at behavior and physical cues while grooming. No one wants to tell pet parents their pets were not behaving normally because you don’t want to upset them. But we get to know pets and we can spot potential health issues that need attention.” explains Pettey-Schlereth .

Asking other pet owners about their favorite groomer is one way to find the right fit for your pet. Another is the National Dog Groomers Association working with pet groomers since 1969 to promote education and professional standards. They offer an online groomer locator at  https://www.nationaldoggroomers.com/locator/index.html

 

165117_175437619156196_5053101_n

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.

10440678_796489223779881_6550008399635534847_n

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.

pETREACH_CROP

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.

FF3

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!

FF%

 

 

Tips to Make July a Fun Time for Pets

 

205382_4461940550881_1160270335_nThe beginning of July can be a very tough time for pets. Many people get an early start on Independence Day celebrations with their own fireworks and even gunfire! In my neighborhood the backyard fireworks began as soon as the local fireworks stands went up.DSCN1632BucaneerStatePark

These loud noises can send cats and dogs into a state of panic that often lead them to crash through screens, jump a fence or find another method of escape. There are ways to make July 4th safer and less stressful for pets. It starts with keeping your pet inside as much as possible before and after the holiday. In some extreme cases, check with your veterinarian about tranquilizers to help your pet.

It is smart to take pets out on a leash in the in the early evening, well before nightfall, to avoid noisy fireworks. Please do not take a dog to watch a large community or commercial firework display. This only increases the chances of a pet becoming lost in an unfamiliar area. Keep furry family members safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.236504

The Fourth of July and grilling go hand and hand. It may seem like a great idea to reward pets with scraps from the grill. In reality, some festive 4th foods and products can be hazardous to your pets. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pet severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals that have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. And foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals. Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them! Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets.

Champ chow Alvin

Chow ready to chow down!

July 4th trips or any summer outing with your dog may tempt you to help them by sharing your outdoor products. This can be dangerous! Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems. Have a fun and safe summer with your furry friends.

236506

Tips for Take Your Dog to Work Day

Friday, June 23, 2017 is Take Your Dog to Work Day. For some animal lovers, it is the one day of the year they are permitted to bring their dogs into the workplace. It is a daily ritual for a growing number of Americans.

2010_tyd_southern_star_central_gas_pipeline

Take Your Dog to Work Day Tips

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. 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

Are you planning on taking your dog to work for the first time? 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 reach.09_tydtwday_hitachi_data_systems___staff3

Make sure your dog 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.

Have 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.

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.

Champ chow Alvin

Chow ready to chow down!

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.11169932_10153285246389184_5258844094715746244_n

Have an exit strategy. Although most dogs enjoy being with owners at work, 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!09_tydtwday_hitachi_data_systems___staff

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

Featured

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 .

13494787_10207056851919422_2885648887790078003_n-1