Fast and Furriest Is Much More Than a Timed 5K Run & 1M Walk With Your Dog

Most Dogs Are Natural Networkers 

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Your neighborhood is filled with dog lovers. In the United States, nearly half of all households, 44 percent, include at least one dog according to the American Pet Products Association. Not only are dogs great companions, they help connect their owners to their communities and people who enjoy being outdoors with their pets.

Just visit a park to see what I mean. Pets are natural networkers introducing their owners to a variety of possibilities. FF-group-336x223I recall a dog park visit where I met a woman and her pet visiting for the first time. Hank was met with wagging tails. Hank’s owner had 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 job promotion to Saint Louis. Hank helps her meet people, network and explore their new neighborhood.

You see, Hank loves to exercise with his owner. I mean serious running. Hank is a Whippet, a superb athlete as well as a gentle companion. Several of us made sure Hank can stretch his legs in an upcoming event to help homeless pets. I want to make sure you know about it too whether you have a pet or not! ffThe 9th Annual Fast and the Furriest 5K Run and 1-Mile Walk will be Sunday, April 23, 2017 at Hollywood Casino in Maryland Heights. The run is the Saint Louis original dog-owner professionally-timed race. Others with or without pets will take part in the walk at a leisurely pace or activities on the grounds. This is an event not only for athletes, but the entire family! There will be food trucks, vendors in addition to the activities. This major fundraiser for homeless pets in the Saint Louis area is sponsored by Purina.

Great FFYou can take a gamble on the 1 mile Pooch Poker Walk, which offers a more leisurely pace with the added fun of creating your best possible poker hand along the way. Both the 5K and 1M come complete with a race t-shirt and the best goody bag in town. There are special awards for fastest runners in each age group and for the fastest overall male and female dogs. But you don’t have to have a dog to get in on the fun.

FF%Collecting pledges for your participation with your pooch is another way to involve your friends and family while increasing your impact to help pets. A generous donor is matching all the pledges at the Fast and Furriest to raise double the amount for homeless pets at the APA Adoption Center. The top fundraiser will lead the race and gets a grand prize

It is easy to get registered and be a part of this fun mission to help pets. This is the link to learn more, register and invite pledges or visit the APA’s website at apamo.org.

Don’t miss this great opportunity to spend some quality time with your pup, get some exercise, help homeless pets and meet great people who love dogs. I’ll be there and I hope you will too!

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

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Flying is not something you usually associate with dogs, but a former APA Adoption Center rescue dog is changing that.

13494787_10207056851919422_2885648887790078003_n-1 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 .A044044

The 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.

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Working 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.

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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.

Brady 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_3_medal

”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 .

photo courtesy of Ryan Brady

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

Say My Name

There is a song stuck in my head: “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child. I know when it got stuck there and why.

It was a cold and wet start to my morning. Gusty winds made it impossible to use an umbrella as the rain rapidly turned to snow. It was a grey day outside but a bright spot for me. It was to be the first day of a new way to help some of my neighbors. I’d done some research and was full of ideas I hoped could make a positive impact. As I drove along slushy side streets, it began to snow harder and 30-mile-per-hour winds whipped the flakes around limiting visibility. I arrived early and was dismayed to discover there was no place to park! I was driving around the lot looking for an empty parking space when the call came not to come in to work as scheduled. A computer crash was putting my plans for a new bigger mission on hold.

The snow was falling faster. I turned up the radio to hear it would not continue at the rapid pace much longer. The radio meteorologist called it a ‘fast-moving clipper’ with big, sloppy flakes. In a short time driving would be easier according to his forecast. So rather than return home, I headed to a coffee shop in my favorite shopping area to wait for the snow to pass.

The coffee shop was packed as many other customers were taking a java break and waiting for the snow to slow. The line was long. Some of the coffee shop’s employees were delayed due to winter’s latest blast. Just one person was working to handle the customers at the counter and the window. I was waiting in the long line when, someone asked me if the folded newspaper on a table was mine. After I said it was not, the person behind me tapped me on my shoulder. I turned around to see a neatly dressed young man with a smile as bright as the sun. He exclaimed, “I thought it was you, but I could not see your face. When I heard your voice I was sure.”

I stammered, “Hello, how are you?” I attempted to place the friendly, engaging face before me. I did not have a clue. I decided to come clean and attempted to frame my inability to place him in our shared quest for caffeine; “Please forgive me, I don’t recall your name. I can’t even remember my own name until I get some coffee,” I sheepishly explained.

The smile grew bigger, “Oh sure you do. Every time you come into my line at the store, you say, Hello, Steve. You have two white dogs who like Purina dog food. I helped take it to your car. I saw them in their back-seat dog house. You remember me.”

And he was right. Now, I did remember him. I recalled he found amusement in my dog’s frantic barking as he placed groceries beside their car-crate in the back seat. Believe me, very few people find the charm in their expressive nature right away. No, I had not recalled his name; but I did not forget his delight and wonder in how such small dogs could produce major vocal eruptions.

I always try to use people’s names when I see them on uniforms, tags or receipts. It is a practice I learned in my high-school and college retail jobs. When checking out customers I would use their names from checks or credit cards as I thanked them for their business and asked them to come again. So without his name tag on, I did not remember Steve’s name. But I recalled his enthusiasm for bagging groceries and his courteous regard for my pets.

I told him I did remember him loading the dog food into the car. Nodding, he replied, “I have a good memory. I like your dogs and I like it when you say hello.”

I asked Steve how long he had worked at the neighborhood supermarket. I learned he began at Schnucks Markets through Paraquad, a St. Louis nonprofit that assists disabled individuals to live independently. 

It was finally my turn at the counter and I ordered my coffee and hot chocolate for Steven. He took his cup to go as he walked next door to work at Schnucks. I sat down to drink my coffee and waited for the weather to clear.

It wasn’t just the coffee or the clearing skies improving my mood. I was happy to connect with Steve and be reminded of the power of a person’s name. A name used correctly can convey respect and appreciation. The moment we hear our name our ears perk up. It doesn’t take extra time to make an effort to recognize the other person as an individual. Such a simple part of social interaction; greeting someone with their name. Make an impression: say their name.Image