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.

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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.

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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/

 

Join the ‘Big Wheels’ at Tons of Transportation for Free Fun

A lot of big wheels are converging in Saint Louis County Saturday, May 5th for a unique event. It is a fun way to get a close-up view of some of the biggest vehicles working in our community.

Tons of Transportation brings together backhoes, dump trucks, fire engines, police cars and much more for kids of all ages to inspect and explore. This is a free, fun “hands on” opportunity to climb up, touch them and even get into the cab and take a seat!

474520_v2_dumptruckThe Brentwood Recreation Complex at 2505 S Brentwood Boulevard is the new location for Tons of Transportation 2018. The complex is centrally located in Saint Louis County with easy access to two interstates and lots of free parking. Hours for the free event are 10am- 1pm.

For more information head to richmondheights.org

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Pet Cancer Awareness

My sweet sixteen year old had slowed down, was a bit pickier about her food and didn’t like to get up early, but she never seemed in pain as far as I had noticed. I held my dog tighter and prayed our veterinarian was mistaken.

Our long time veterinarian wasn’t wrong on her diagnosis. My dog was suffering from lymphoma.

Navigating a cancer diagnosis can be a frightening time for a pet owner. It is important to have access to information if you should ever face the issue with your pet. That is why May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month.

Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of ten years. Cancer in cats is less common than cancer in dogs but it tends to be a more aggressive form. If caught early, about half of all cancers are curable.

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Cancer in dogs is often treatable.

“Cancer in pets is painfully common, frequently treatable, and among the most manageable chronic diseases of old age” explains Jeffrey N. Bryan, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVIM. The Director of the Scott Endowed Program in Veterinary Oncology and Comparative Oncology and Epigenetics Laboratory at the University Of Missouri College Of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Bryan has front line experience in amazing advances in pet cancer treatment.

Many cats and dogs diagnosed with cancer can be treated by their veterinarian. Some cancers can be removed surgically and the pet is cured. For others, there are many of the same options available to human cancer patients; radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

“Cancer treatment involves a lot of communication between what we refer to as the ‘triad of care’ – the pet parent, the primary care veterinarian, and the specialist,” says Gerald Post, DVM, MEM, DACVIM (Oncology), practice owner of The Veterinary Cancer Center located in Connecticut which is one of the organizations sponsoring Pet Cancer Awareness Month. “For example, the pet parent needs to be aware of any unusual lumps or bumps a pet may have, the primary care veterinarian will aspirate those bumps to find out if they are cancerous or benign, and the specialist will develop a tailored treatment plan for that individual pet patient.”

The warning signs of cancer in pets can be similar to those in people. If an animal is not feeling quite right, a swelling or lameness can be a sign to check with your veterinarian explains Dr. Bryan, “Clients should report new lumps or changes in health to their veterinarians immediately. The vets should investigate promptly.”

Unfortunately, sometimes there are few or no warning signs of cancer, at least early on. The point of Pet Cancer Awareness Month is to empower pet parents with knowledge, so that they realize that cancer is not automatically a death sentence for pets.

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Many cats and dogs diagnosed with cancer can be treated

Pet parents can find specialists across the country through location searches on the VetSpecialists.com directory. VetSpecialists.com was developed in 2015 as a partnership between the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the American College of Veterinary Surgeons to provide education about diseases and conditions affecting animals and to increase awareness of veterinary specialty medicine.

If you are interested in learning more about pet cancer check out the University of Missouri’s Veterinary Oncology website. There are a number of resources on cancer and animals on their website.

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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.

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Experience and training is not the only factor. 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

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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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