Pets Make Our Lives Better: The Story of Carrot and Basant

By: | March 31, 2020

Pets make our lives better. They bring joy and smiles, and in rough times, they bring us comfort and give our spirits a boost. At the APA, we are fortunate to see the impact pets have on others each and every day.

Before coming to the United States, Basant was scared of cats and dogs. Growing up, she never had pets. In her second year of school in St. Louis, her depression symptoms returned and she started seeing a psychiatrist. Basant started to like dogs and her psychiatrist agreed having a pet would help her depression. However, she wasn’t ready for a pet of her own and also learned her lease would not allow dogs. So, in 2017, she started fostering kittens. Basant wasn’t sure about cats and felt nervous when they would climb on her, but quickly got over that feeling, and it turned into pure excitement. “I loved them so much,” Basant said.

Basant fostered another litter before she had to stop because it wasn’t feasible with her roommates and space. Basant explained, “It was very hard on me staying away from cats, that’s when I started volunteering in the cat room at the APA.” After a while, she decided she was ready to adopt her first pet. Basant noticed a little orange kitten, teasing another kitten in his kennel. He was shy when she reached for him and hid. Basant was patient, carrying and petting him, and after a while he started purring like a machine.  She adopted Carrot that day.

“He’s a very special boy, he has to greet me every morning and every afternoon when I get back home by jumping in my lap and licking my nose. He’s basically my family here,” said Basant. Carrot was found as a shy, stray kitten who was nervous of people. Both Basant and Carrot started out afraid of one another, but together have found love and family.

APA Statement on Spay and Neuter during COVID-19 Pandemic

By: | March 27, 2020

The APA has worked through numerous challenges during these unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our operations in ways we couldn’t have imagined just a few short weeks ago. Essential staff are caring for the animals and we continue to meet our mission of bringing people and pets together through creative ways such as curbside adoptions, emergency fostering, online humane education, and videos. We know we must continue to adapt as this situation evolves. Fortunately, we have an incredible team and have been able to respond to every challenge with well-informed, decisive action.

 

A recommendation to limit “non-essential” or “elective” surgical procedures has been made by the U.S. Surgeon General. All health care professionals, including veterinarians, are to adopt strategies that will allow them to conserve PPE (personal protective equipment) as much as possible. The AVMA recently stated that veterinary practices can and should defer elective procedures to preserve medical supplies. While spay and neuter is important, it is considered a non-emergency procedure. The recommendation from leaders in our industry, including the ASPCA, HSUS, The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement, University of Wisconsin’s School of Veterinary Medicine- Shelter Program, and the American Veterinary Medical Association is to temporarily suspend spay and neuter surgeries.

 

Based on this information, the APA has decided to temporarily suspend spay/neuter surgeries for our adoption center animals and outreach program. We will join a list of shelters, spay/neuter clinics, and veterinary practices around the country doing this to prioritize saving lives – both human and animal. This decision was not made lightly, but in doing so we:

  • Conserve PPE needed by medical professionals working on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Were able to donate some of our PPE to a local hospital already experiencing a shortage of necessary supplies;
  • Maintain only essential employees in the building and reduce exposing our staff to COVID-19;
  • And ensure we have surgery supplies available for emergency surgeries necessary to save the lives of animals in our care.

 

Our commitment to spay and neuter is unwavering. However, vulnerable animals continue to need sheltering and we must do what we can to get them into loving homes. We do not want to hold animals needing spay/neuter surgery for weeks to months, risking overcrowding. Even the best shelter environments are stressful and we have their emotional and physical well-being in mind, as well.

 

We will continue to do adoptions and will require each adopter to sign a spay/neuter agreement at the time of adoption. We will follow up with adopters as soon as we can resume non-essential surgeries, and have a number of options available to make post-adoption spay/neuter possible. The APA will prioritize specific surgery days for these pets for those who wish to have their pet spayed/neutered at the APA. We have also partnered with Carol House Quick Fix Clinic and will offer a voucher to have the surgery done at their clinic. Many adopters already have a relationship with a veterinarian, so an additional option is to have the pet spayed/neutered at their own vet. With medical records verifying the procedure, the APA will provide reimbursement to help cover the cost of the surgery.

 

We realize spay/neuter is a cornerstone of our success and, during normal times, it saves lives. We are not operating under normal circumstances and we must prioritize and continue helping as many animals as we can.

 

Animal welfare has made great strides by reducing pet overpopulation through spay/neuter efforts and, post-COVID-19 pandemic, we will continue those efforts. As soon as we can, we will ramp up our existing programs for shelter surgeries, free spay/neuter services for our outreach community (63136 zip code), and TNR efforts. Until then we need your support either through adoption, fostering, donating, or sharing what we do.

 

Temporary Foster Volunteers Needed

By: | March 21, 2020

Dear friends,

I hope this finds you and your family well. During this difficult time, pets are bringing comfort and companionship to people everywhere. We are so glad that the APA has played a big role in helping this happen right here in our community.

Although our building is closed to the public, we are grateful that we have been able to continue bringing people and pets together through fostering and adoption by appointment. While we have been able to help nearly 50 pets leave the shelter through these methods over the last few days, several more remain. We would like to see all of our available pets adopted, on trial adoption, or in loving foster homes.

We need your help. We just learned that stay-at-home orders have been issued to take effect on Monday, which means that we will no longer have the opportunity to get pets into homes during this time. While our dedicated and caring animal care staff will continue to care for the animals at the APA, we know that a home environment is so much better. If you are able, we are asking you to consider fostering a pet for the APA. With the extra time at home right now, fostering a pet us such a great way to help.

If you are interested in temporarily fostering a pet, we make it easy. First, view all of our available pets on our website. After choosing the pet you are interested in fostering, simply call us between 12-5 p.m. at 314-645-4610 to schedule a time to pick up the pet. We provide everything you need – food, bowls, crates, leashes, even toys. All pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations.

If you aren’t able to foster but would like to help, I encourage you to make a donation. As a private, non-profit organization, we receive no government funding and rely on the generosity of the community to continue serving animals. Like so many others, our revenue streams have been completely disrupted, so support from the community is critical. To make an online donation, please click HERE.

Thanks to your support, the APA has been helping pets in need for 98 years. While this pandemic is a first for all of us, it has reinforced our mission of bringing people and pets together.

With gratitude,

Sarah Javier

President/Executive Director

Animal Protective Association of Missouri (APA)

 

 

APA Temporarily Closing to Public

By: | March 17, 2020

Effective at 6 p.m. on March 17, the APA is closed to the public until further notice.

 

Dear friends,

As an organization, our primary responsibility is to care for homeless animals – however, that also means caring for the employees and volunteers who care for the animals, as well as members of the public who support our mission and provide safe, loving homes to pets in our care.

In an effort to keep people and pets as healthy and safe as possible, as well as to slow the transmission of COVID-19, we have decided to close the APA to the public effective at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17. Given the rapidly evolving situation, we do not yet know how long this closure will last, but will continue to reassess based on the most current information and recommendations from local, state and federal health authorities. We hope to reopen as soon as possible.

What this public closure means:

  • Adoption services will continue by appointment only between the hours of 12-3pm. To view our adoptable pets, please visit the adoptable pets page on our website at apamo.org. To schedule an adoption appointment, please call 314-645-4610.
  • The APA Wellness Clinic is closed. If you have recently adopted and have an urgent need, please call us at 314-645-4610 for assistance.
  • Volunteer services is closed and all volunteers are asked to remain at home. We are asking volunteers to consider fostering during this time in order to reduce the number of pets requiring care in the shelter.
  • Public and in-shelter education classes, tours/visits, and events have been canceled or postponed.
  • If someone has a found stray animal, we are encouraging them to take that animal to the Animal Control facility in the city where they found the animal.
  • If someone needs to surrender their personal pet, we are asking them to delay surrendering if possible. Our staff can provide assistance and guidance needed to help pets remain in their home. If this is not possible and the situation is an emergency, we will be able to help by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, please call 314-645-4610.
  • All events scheduled to occur in March, April and early May have been canceled or postponed. If you have rsvp’d for an event or purchased a ticket, a member of our team will be reaching out to you directly.

Please do not worry about the pets at the APA. Our highly skilled and dedicated team will be ensuring that every animal entrusted to us has all the care, enrichment, and belly rubs needed to keep them healthy and happy.

If you’d like to help, I encourage you to make a donation in honor of the incredible APA staff who will continue to work tirelessly to help animals in our care during this time. You can make a secure, online gift at apamo.org. All gift amounts are welcomed and make a difference!

Thank you for your understanding and continued support.

With gratitude,

Sarah Javier

President and Executive Director

 

Socially Conscious Animal Sheltering at the APA

By: | October 3, 2019

Based on respectful and compassionate care of animals, the APA is committed to a socially conscious framework, which allows us to more fully understand and define our role in creating the best, most appropriate outcomes for all pets in our community, not just those who enter our doors. It is finding a place for every healthy, treatable and community compatible animal. It is supporting pets throughout our community by providing access to high quality, affordable veterinary care. It is transparency. It is collaboration. It is thoughtful policy making. It is creating a safe community for all who live here.

Everything we do, every decision made, supports this framework.

 

There are eight core tenets of a socially conscious animal community. They are:

1. Place every healthy and community-compatible animal. Every single one. At the APA, this means the needs of each animal are assessed individually. Healthy animals are defined as either having no signs of disease, or if disease is present, that it will not prevent the animal from having a comfortable life, as determined by our veterinarians. Community-compatible means that the animal has not shown signs of behavior that will likely result in severe injury or death to another animal or person. Community-compatibility is determined through multiple best-practice assessment methods.

2. Ensure every unwanted or homeless pet has a safe place to go for shelter and care. We believe that every animal should have the opportunity to be nurtured, healed, and placed in a loving home. This is why our doors are open to every animal, no matter their age or condition. We believe it is unacceptable to turn animals away because they are old, sick, or lack of space.

3. Assess the medical and behavioral needs of homeless animals to ensure these needs are thoughtfully addressed. When an animal arrives at the APA, we individually assess for disease, injury, and other treatable medical conditions and provide the appropriate care required. We never allow an animal to suffer. Each animal also receives a behavior assessment, which helps determine how we meet their behavior and emotional needs through enrichment and socialization.

4. Align shelter policy with the needs of the community. At the APA, we continually assess and align our work to meet the needs of animals in our community. This can be seen in the launch of our trap-neuter-release program for community cats, our Pet Partners program which provides resources for pets in low-income communities, our SafeCare program which provides temporary care for pets of victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking, as well as our Heads-to-Tails Hope Fund which provides needs-based veterinary care assistance to pets of individuals in our community.

5. Alleviate suffering and make appropriate euthanasia decisions. Compassionate euthanasia is a gift. We do not believe it is ever appropriate to let an animal suffer when a compassionate euthanasia decision can ease their pain. We also do not believe it is acceptable to warehouse a dangerous animal when it is known that they cannot be safely placed in the community. Animals need human connection and enrichment to thrive, which cannot be provided when limited to living in a cage for years with little interaction. To do this creates suffering. Each euthanasia decision is difficult and involves multiple professionals who consider the welfare of each individual animal and unanimously agree that euthanasia is the only humane option available.

6. Enhance the human-animal bond through safe placements and post-adoption support. We understand that integrating a new pet into a home is both exciting and challenging. At the APA, we believe we have a responsibility to support each new family after adoption. To do this, we follow up each adoption with a phone call to see how the pet is adjusting, answer questions, provide training resources and referrals, address shelter-related medical needs, and always offer the option to bring an animal back to the APA if the pet and family are not a good fit. This also means we do not place animals who are not community-compatible into homes where they may cause severe injury to children, other pets, or other people. When we can address behavior issues through adoption requirements (e.g., requiring that the pet be placed in a home with no young children), we do.

7. Consider the health, wellness and safety of animals for each community when transferring animals. Each year, we save over 2,000 lives by transferring dogs and cats to the APA from communities that do not have people actively seeking to adopt them. This life-saving program brings with it a tremendous amount of responsibility. It is a responsibility to the animals already living in our community, as we do not want to bring in disease or illness that may make them sick. It is a responsibility to our community, as we want to ensure we are only bringing in pets who are safe. And, finally, there is a responsibility to the community from which we are transferring to understand and support the efforts they are making in animal welfare, often with limited resources.

8. Foster a culture of transparency, ethical decision-making, mutual respect, continual learning and collaboration. At the APA, we are fully committed to transparency. We report and openly share accurate statistics and policies. We open our doors to those who want to learn more, providing tours and explaining our protocols to anyone who asks, at any time. We take accountability when mistakes are made and work quickly to correct them. Integrity is at the root of every decision. We are innovative and forward-thinking, and work collaboratively with animal welfare partners across the industry to solve common problems. We understand that no matter how an organization defines themselves, we are ultimately working towards the same goal – the best outcome for all animals.

As you can see, there is a lot that goes into the socially conscious framework. It can be challenging – but it’s worth it for the people and pets in the communities we serve.

Thanks for your reading, and for your interest in the APA.