Meet Shayla, one of our amazing transporters!

By: | April 9, 2020

Shayla is one of the many amazing people that we work with through our Transfer Program, which helps needy pets from across the state and country get a chance to be adopted. Last year, with the help of people like Shayla, we were able to transfer in 1,937 pets from other shelters, providing each of them with the second chance they needed. Below, Shayla explains in her own words how she became involved in animal rescue and the kinds of issues that pets in her community face:

“I grew up in the Rolla, MO area and it was apparent from the start that I loved animals more than the average kid. My family took in many pets in need over the years, including dogs that a neighbor abandoned, a momma cat who showed up and had kittens, and a couple of rescue horses. So when I got old enough to drive and happened upon a litter of puppies that had been dumped, it was just natural to bring them home and take care of them.

In 2015, after working 15+ years in retail, I decided it was time for a change. I found out about an animal shelter and dog boarding facility in Houston, MO about 45 minutes from me, began volunteering and was later employed there (at TASTC – The Animal Shelter of Texas County and Bark Plaza Pet Boarding). Sadly, due to financial problems, TASTC closed leaving an enormous void of services for homeless pets in need. Shortly after that, Diana’s Grove Dog Rescue (located in the same county) closed as well. There were zero animal rescues or shelters remaining to serve the largest county in Missouri. During my time at TASTC, I had helped transport the overflow of dogs and puppies in need to the APA. They were the lifeline (and still are) that allowed us to help so many pets in need – as such a rural and low populated area had few adopters and was too far from major cities to be convenient for many people to travel to for adoption. Despite being sparsely populated with people, the rural areas of Texas County, MO and the surrounding areas are very densely populated with unwanted dogs and cats due to so many of the residents living below the poverty line and a lack of animal welfare resources such as low-cost spay and neuter.
 

Shortly after both organizations closed at the beginning of 2017, a group of concerned people came together to form The Barking Bridge Project, which is the organization that I am part of. Two of the major services that we provide to the communities we serve are low-cost spay/neuter and rescue coordination/transport. The APA has been a vital part of both of those programs – allowing us to help more animals than we otherwise could have. Part of our low-cost spay/neuter program involves working with the Carol House Quick Fix Pet Clinic and the APA and these partnerships have been vital in helping to spay and neuter dogs in those communities who otherwise would not have had the opportunity and would have continued to procreate in the already overpopulated region.

The APA’s transfer program has always been vital to the homeless and unwanted animals in the areas we serve as well. Not including the animals I transported to the APA during my time at TASTC, I have driven more than 1,500 at-risk animals to the APA. They’ve ranged from tiny kittens, cats, rabbits, birds and numerous dogs and puppies. Among all the different circumstances, there were pets whose owners could no longer care for them, animals who were found as strays, those whose time was up in a rural pound and companion animals whose owners moved away and cruelly left them behind. Each one of them was important, every one of them had feelings, and all of them were desperate for a second chance at a good life. The APA provided that and even more for them. The vast majority of the animals we have transported to the APA had never received any veterinary care prior to their arrival. Some suffered from heartworms and the APA provided the life-saving treatment they needed. Many had bullet wounds and infected bite wounds from the harrowing lives they once had. Several were pregnant and sought refuge at the APA and in the homes of so many kind fosters who provided them with the safety and care they needed to nurse their babies under veterinary guidance and away from predators and parasites that they would have otherwise (and many had previously) endured. Dogs with broken limbs were doctored and able to run again, and formerly mistreated animals learned to trust again under the love that the staff and volunteer. Not only did the APA save the lives of hundreds of these animals, but they provided them with quality lives – enriched by humans who love them and spoil them. Many of these pets who once struggled to survive, now live a life of leisure – hopefully forgetting the pasts they were able to escape from. I was asked what my favorite thing about being a transporter was. It’s not the driving all those miles or even seeing so many cute puppies – it’s that after knowing what they’ve been through – I can do my part to help make sure that their tomorrows are so much better than their yesterdays. I am grateful to the APA for being a safe haven to so many pets in need – healing them both physically and emotionally and providing them with loving homes.”

We’re so grateful that we’re able to help pets in the communities where it’s most needed, thanks to wonderful people like Shayla.

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 11 am-5pm. 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.
  • Effective May 11th our wellness clinic will reopen. We are operating curbside for the health of our employees and customers, so you will not come inside with your pet.
    1. You can get in line for your pet’s visit here.
    2. When you arrive at the APA call 314-645-4611 to let us know you’ve arrived.
    3. Secure your pet in your car (dogs should be on leash and cats in a carrier) and our technician will come out to your car to get them.
    4. Please wait in your car at the APA during your pet’s wellness visit.
    5. Please note we are only taking credit card payment over the phone. We will call you when your pet’s visit is complete and bring them back out to your car.
  • 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