Unleash New Possibilities in Your Life

bird-757222_960_720

Elaine likes to start her morning at the window and thinking about the possibilities of the day ahead. While her sight may be fading, Elaine’s search for the promise of each day is strong. The glimpse of a new flower in the garden or a bird sighting brings a smile to her face.

It is a philosophy that has served her well for more than eight decades. Elaine had two children and lost her husband in a war when both youngsters were still in diapers. She found new possibilities in the tragedy and went to work while earning a degree in nursing. Elaine went on working and helping people until her faltering sight took her independence and ability to drive. That is when Elaine moved to the senior community she now calls home.

fold-63623_960_720One of her favorite new friends is Clyde. Elaine sometimes forgets his name, and just calls him “Sweetheart”, but Clyde doesn’t ever seem to notice. Clyde always sits as close as possible to Elaine’s wheelchair. So close, some people stop and watch their sweet exchanges of affection in the lobby of the senior community.

Clyde and Elaine have a lot in common. She likes to share stories of her family and Clyde likes to listen. Both are avid birdwatchers. Elaine knows the names of the various species and Clyde seems eager to learn more about one of his favorite past times.

10494643_10207078779912157_3907921197852980798_n

Clyde is one of the few visitors Elaine ever has. She has outlived most of her family and friends. She looks forward to school and church groups who might visit the senior community on special occasions. But week after week, she knows she can count on her faithful friend Clyde to come see her. Elaine shares some of her favorite stories over and over again, and Clyde never tells her he’s heard that story before. He is the most patient and polite conversation companions one could ask for.

Clyde’s love of birdwatching comes naturally, but not his skills as a great companion. You see Clyde is a bird dog. He is a Pointer mix and a therapy dog, trained to visit hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and rehabilitation centers. Clyde’s intensive training equips him to work with all kinds of people in a variety of situations.

Clyde and wheelchairClyde and his owner enjoy volunteering in pet therapy. They are part of the Animal Protective Association of Missouri or APA Adoption Center PetReach Program. Since 1983, PetReach has sent APA staff, volunteers and their pets into senior care facilities and convalescent centers. PetReach was the first no-fee, pet-assisted activity program in the St. Louis area. You can get more information about volunteering, pet education, pet adoption and PetReach therapy dogs at the APA website: http://www.apamo.org/

Another nonprofit in the Saint Louis area with free dog therapy teams is C.H.A.M.P. Assistance Dogs, Inc. CHAMP provides free assistance dogs and also offers a disability awareness education program, facility dogs and a reading program utilizing dogs. These are just a few of the services CHAMP has offered since 1998. Learn more volunteering, pet therapy, assistance dogs and other services at their website:   http://www.champdogs.org/ Spring_CHAMP5

Both nonprofits are a great way to help someone else. Sometimes it’s the best thing you can do for yourself too! You never know what you’ll learn in the process. Think of the ‘pawsibilities’ of volunteering with or without a dog.

 

Doggie Dining Spots in Saint Louis

Image

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.

Champ chow Alvin

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

Include Your Pets in Your Safety Plans

61987_4733688904420_645967911_nSummer storms, fires, floods, or man-made disasters can strike at any time impacting your treasured pets. Don’t forget to include your pets’ unique needs in your emergency plans.

FF_Runner-Dog
“Every home should have an emergency supply kit and plans for how to stay safe when disaster strikes,” advises Illinois Emergency Management Director James K. Joseph. “Make sure your kit and emergency plans address the needs of every family member, including your pets.”

236506
Summer storms and extreme heat are frequent occurrences that can put pets at risk. Not only can severe storms make evacuation of your home a necessity; they can make pets so nervous they run away.

236504
Heat stroke is a common problem for pets in warm weather. Dogs with short noses or snouts, like the Boxer or Bulldog, are prone to heat stroke. This is also true for any obese pet, a pet with an extremely thick fur coat or any pet with upper respiratory problems such as laryngeal paralysis or collapsing trachea.

GM_25470_279040Never leave your pet alone in the car, even for a few minutes, and even with the windows cracked open. During warm weather, the inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees.2577628Pet owners also need to be aware animals may try to get out a home or apartment  window or door, which are more likely to be open as weather warms.

236505
Knowing CPR for pets is also a good way to be prepared. The Red Cross offers classes in pet CPR. The Red Cross also offers a first aid app for everyday emergencies. The app has videos and simple step-by-step advice on pet first aid. To find it text “GETPET” to 90999 or search “Red Cross Pets” in the Apple App Store, Google Play or Amazon Marketplace.m34240123_763x260-pet-first-aid
Are you ready to create an emergency kit for your pet? Check out this top 10 list for pet preparedness:

Food (your pet’s regular food)
Water
Leash and collar
Bowl(s)
Photo of your pet/ID and a photo of you with your pet
Medications your pet needs
Immunization/vet records (keep both updated)
Pet carrier
First Aid Kit
Contact list of pet-friendly hotels, veterinarians, American Red Cross, and out-of-town friends/family

Most Dogs Do Not Like Hugs Plus Other Communication and Bite Prevention Facts

Dogs are known as man’s best friend for a reason. They are great companions, emotional support, working dogs and much more. They deserve a kiss, hug and a pat on the head right?  Wrong. Most dogs don’t like hugs, kisses, or pats on the head according to animal behaviorists. There are some 70 million great dogs and any dog can bite.

Every year, almost 5 million people are bitten by dogs and most of those bitten are children. Strange dogs are not the most common offenders, 77% of bites come from a family or friend’s dog!

Preventing dog bites is everyone’s responsibility. Simple measures can be very effective. Being aware of the risk and active supervision is important. For example, a calm and gentle dog surprised or startled can react uncharacteristically if a toddler crawls up and kisses a sleeping dog.
10440678_796489223779881_6550008399635534847_nIt is obvious a child poking or pulling a dog tail or ear could provoke a bite. Animal behaviorists find dogs guarding resources including food, toys, or even its owner is the cause for most bites.

Many animal organizations and adoption centers offer fun classes on safe interaction with animals to prevent bites. For example, in Saint Louis the APA Adoption Center (Animal Protective Association of Missouri) offers a variety of classes for kids and adults. You can learn the ways dogs and cats communicate, the proper way to approach a dog and what to do if approached by a stray animal.

11025160_807130716029148_5874756013793407181_nYou can attend a class at the APA Adoption Center or instructors and trained pets can come to you. To check out some of the programs and classes available to all age groups check out the APA website or follow this link: http://www.apamo.org/education/group-programs/group-programs-list/

If you are outside the Saint Louis area, check with local adoption agencies or visit https://www.avma.org for more information on dog bite prevention.
Nicole-and-dog-1

Attend a Furry Friendly Event: Action-Packed Fun + Exercise with or without your Pup!

7th Annual Fast and Furriest 5K Run + 1-Mile Walk is Ahead for Your Best Friends

236504It’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. This observation is based on a recent dog park visit when I met a pet owner and her pooch visiting for the first time. Her dog, 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 recent job promotion to Saint Louis. Hank is helping her meet new people and learn about their new home.

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 7th Annual Fast and the Furriest 5K Run and 1-Mile Walk will be Sunday, April 26th at Tower Grove Park. The run is unique because it offers Hank and his owner the opportunity to take part in a professionally-timed race together. There are not many across the nation. Others will take part in the walk at a leisurely pace with our dogs. This is an event not only for athletes, but the entire family. Fast and Furriest also offers a children’s fun area, vendor booths and food trucks.

FF_Runner-Dog‘Pooch Poker’ is new to the annual fun-fest. Event organizer Robin Wood of the Animal Protective Association of Missouri (APA) says the game is open to anyone registered for the one mile walk: “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!” Hank and his mom are planning to run and walk with some members of the dog park community.

Animal lovers and APA supporters who can’t participate in the walk or race can still pitch in by fundraising with individual fundraising campaigns. 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 this non-profit event and many other exciting community programs underway at the APA Adoption center at http://www.apamo.org/donate/fast-

and-the-furriest/ FF-group-336x223

Civic and Community Connections at APA Adoption Center Improve Lives of People and Pets

10440678_796489223779881_6550008399635534847_n You expect to see pets at the APA Adoption Center. But often it seems there are as many smiling faces of people there as eager animals waiting for a home. The APA welcomes civic, community, school and scouting groups almost every day. 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.10860847_10153132346084184_3833746411222779365_o

Many visitors to the APA adoption facility not only take away new experiences and knowledge they leave contributions behind. For example, scouts take classes to learn about animal care and safety and get experience making pet beds and toys. Civic and school groups who come for tours and classes often bring collected donations of household items and craft supplies needed by the APA. In the APA education room where parties, craft classes and safety education sessions are held you will find “sit-upons” and pet toys made by local scouts.

1962588_796617773767026_3786104654545183798_n“Our community and civic partners are crucial to bringing people and pets together. From our toddler classes and scouting programs to the senior adults we depend on; age is not a barrier in making a difference for pets and the people who love them, “explains Jennifer Blome, Director of APA Humane Education.

IMG_4335If you are coming to the APA you will find another community connection in the lobby. April Showers, the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri’s community service program has a collection bin near the front door. The Girl Scouts largest community service project, April Showers, provides personal care items to those in need and teaches scouts the importance of giving back.

11054375_796617727100364_6108358309687484906_nItems needed for the April Showers Collection Drive include soap, shampoo, toilet paper, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, feminine hygiene products, facial tissue, disposable diapers, baby wipes and first aid supplies.
The APA also has a donation wish list you can find online at http://www.apamo.org/donate/wish-list/volunteers at carnival

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!