Returning the Favor: Supporting Our Pets as We Go Back to Work

By: | June 12, 2020

For many households with pets, the stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 outbreak meant one thing for the animals: more time and attention from humans.  Maybe it meant more cuddle time on the couch, or regular sessions of fetch in the backyard. For some families, frequent dog walks around the neighborhood became a necessary respite.  Some families used this time to welcome new furry friends into their homes, and these animals have only known the “quarantine life.” For many animals, these routines and activities became their new “normal”.  But as businesses start reopening and families begin leaving the house to go back to work and school, another new “normal” will soon come into being.  Companion animals will find themselves spending more time without their humans.  What can we do to help make this transition less stressful for our friends?

First, begin preparing for a change in your routine as soon as possible, even if you are unsure when you will be returning to work. When faced with more time alone, dogs and cats can find destructive ways to pass the time.  Plan for ways to keep them safe and entertained.  Continue engaging in the positive changes you made in your pet’s exercise and enrichment routine – even if it means modifying your routine to fit around your work schedule.  If possible, consider hiring someone or asking for help, or even utilizing technology like a pet camera or remote treat dispenser, to give your best buddy the attention they have grown accustom to.  Next, practice spending more time away from your pets. Start taking more walks alone or go for a drive.  Begin with short intervals away, then gradually work up to longer periods. The key is to make these moments of alone time as pleasant as possible for your pet.

When surrounded by their favorite people, dogs and cats may not feel the need to chew on toys, shoes, or clothes laying on the floor. But when faced with alone time, chewing up those items can help alleviate boredom and anxiety. Get your family in the habit of putting these things away. Provide toys that are safe for dogs and cats to chew on and scratching posts to keep your cats from clawing on furniture. Puppies and younger dogs innately chew when they are bored. Consider crate training to keep them safe.

If you got into the healthy habit of taking a daily walk with your dog, try to work in a walk around your new schedule. For some dogs, a short walk in the morning can help stave off anxious feelings during the day. If a walk is not feasible, think about hiring a dog walker or check into dog daycare facilities near you.  Cats may enjoy watching videos of birds and other creatures or try hanging a bird feeder in a nearby window to give them something to watch. Some cats find pheromone diffusers helpful. Both cats and dogs can benefit from soothing music streaming while you are away. Pet sitters will make home visits to play with cats but, if hiring someone to help is not possible, ask a trusted neighbor or family member to stop in for a visit during the day.

Technology kept humans connected during times of social distancing, so why not use it to stay connected to your pets? There are affordable cameras available that are easy to set up that will allow you to keep an eye on your furry friend while you are away. Some of these cameras even allow you to talk to your pet!  If you are unsure how your pet will react to the new change in routine, this is one way to keep a socially distanced eye on them.

Even with planning and practice, certain animals will experience severe anxiety when separated from the humans with whom they have bonded. If panting, drooling, pacing, excessive barking, inappropriate elimination, destruction of property or attempts to escape occur, be sure to seek professional help from your veterinarian. Veterinary professionals can help assess if there are any underlying medical conditions that need attention, prescribe anxiety medication, and refer you to a trainer experienced in helping separation anxiety.

Our companion animals have supported us through the COVID-19 pandemic by giving us a reason to get out and exercise, by providing us with non-stop comic relief, and reduced our anxiety by warming our hearts with endless affection during such an uncertain time. They made life bearable for us, we must be sure to return the favor.

Download our fun APA Zoom backgrounds!

By: | June 3, 2020

Want to add a little furry fun to you next Zoom meeting and help bring people and pets together at the same time? You can by downloading one of our fun APA Zoom backgrounds! Whenever you use one of our custom backgrounds during a meeting, you’ll be spreading awareness about our mission and helping pets in need.

Don’t attend virtual meetings? These images make great desktop backgrounds as well.

To get started, click the download button below to download all 12 backgrounds at once.

Instructions for changing your Zoom background can be found here.

Once you’ve changed your background, take a screenshot from your meeting to share on your social pages, and be sure to tag us at @apaofmo on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We can’t wait to see your photos!

Your generosity makes it possible for the APA to bring thousands of people and pets together each year. If you would like to support our mission by making secure, online donation as well, click here.

2019 Impact Report

By: | May 6, 2020

2019 was a pet-tacular year for us! Not only did we surpass our 2018 adoption number (3,765), but for the first time in our organization’s history, we surpassed 4,000 adoptions last year!

To read about all of the milestones we hit last year, and how we’re continuing to grow and expand the ways we help people and their pets, view our 2019 Impact Report here.

Want to read Lambchop’s and Toast’s full stories? Click here to read about Lambchop or here to read about Toast.

For more information on what it  means to be a Socially Conscious Shelter click here.

Lambchop’s Story

By: | May 5, 2020

Lambchop had a rough start in life. He arrived at the APA sick with parvo, flea-infested, and suffering from an extremely itchy skin condition called sarcoptic mange that caused him to lose most of his fur. But the APA didn’t give up on Lambchop, and he didn’t give up either!  After receiving the medical care that he needed and lots of love from APA staff and volunteers, Lambchop made a full, albeit slow, recovery and soon found a wonderful new family to give him all of the love and happiness in life that he deserves.

Lambchop fits right in with his new family! They have three sons, so adding a furry BOY to the crew was an easy decision. The family fell in love with Lambchop’s sweet and friendly disposition. Knowing the obstacles he had to overcome before adoption was difficult for the family to comprehend, but they feel so lucky to get to love, play, and care for him as he grows.

Lambchop loves his humans and enjoyed snuggling from day one! His favorite spot in the house is by the fire. He also loves to curl up on a bean bag or his dog bed. His favorite position to sleep is on his back. During his playful times, he enjoys going after his giant stuffed Lambchop or pretending to drink from his Starbucks toy. Any chance he gets, he loves a good car ride, especially if he can sit in the front seat.

As the family has watched Lambchop grow, they have been pleased to see his fur come back thick and soft. They have also learned that he is very smart and easy to train. He knew in one day which door to go to for potty outside! He now knows how to sit, go down, climb, and come. His favorite time of the day? Meal time! When his food bowl is being brought to him, he runs in circles and hops around with excitement.

“We feel so fortunate to have found Lambchop. He is our first family dog, and he has brought us so much joy!”   -The Thompson Family

To make a secure donation to help pets like Lambchop, click here.

Toast’s Story

By: | May 5, 2020

Toast was brought to the APA, after hours, by a kind woman and her young her son who had found him in their yard when he was just a tiny kitten. APA staff were still here for an evening event, so they were able to make sure he got signed in and settled in safely for the night. Toast had a hole in his leg that was full of litter and debris, but APA vet techs were able to clean it out and make sure Toast was comfortable. Had he not been brought to the APA, a deadly infection could have set in, and Toast may not have survived…but Toast received his second chance at the APA!

During his stay at the APA, recovering from his injury, Toast became a favorite at the clinic, helping Kaitlin, the clinic manager, with various duties at her desk, including playing with pen caps and paper clips, playing hide and seek, and watching all of the clinic activity. One could usually find him resting near the printer or computer monitor (where it’s nice and warm) or right on a cozy stack of papers that Kaitlin needed to access.

Toast’s family visited the APA in early September, searching for a kitten to add to their family.  Elliot (age 8) and Theo (age 4) picked Toast (now Oskar) immediately, and they didn’t need to see any others!  According to parents Erin & Brian, it seemed destined that Toast would join their family!  The APA adoption counselor who assisted them mentioned how much Toast had been through, but she thought his resilience and overall tolerance would be the perfect fit for the two young boys. As it turns out, she was right! Toast has been almost comically tolerant in the way he lets Theo carry him around the house like a baby, hugging and squeezing him. His leg injury hasn’t affected him as he has grown. He’s become a strong jumper/runner, galloping around the house and up and down the stairs. According to his family, since his first few days in his new home, he has been nothing short of a perfect little kitty, very sweet and snuggly. Most nights he cuddles with Elliot in bed or snoozes on the couch while the family watches TV.

“He’s our first family pet, and we couldn’t imagine our lives without him!”

Toast loves sleeping in the morning sun on his stairway perch or gazing out the window at the squirrels and trees in the backyard. His favorite activity is batting around his fish taco, as if he is playing kitty soccer trying to score a goal. He’s very fast, darting across the floors in an attempt to surprise toy mice and the boys. He also loves to curl up in the “Kit car” that Theo made for him out of a cardboard box. He’s always ready for a snack and positions himself under the action in the kitchen during meal prep and dinner time, waiting for anything to fall on the floor. He’s always very vocal about his love of fish and meat!

We are so grateful to Toast/Oskar’s new family for adopting him and giving him a second chance at love and life!

To make a secure donation to help pets like Toast, click here.