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Spring 2017

You Make The Difference

The APA’s annual 5K run and 1 mile walk, Fast & The Furriest is coming up FAST!  😉

Hollywood Casino
Sunday, April 23
9:00 am start time
$30 registration fee through Saturday
Price increases to $35 on Sunday 4/16, so don’t delay!

As one of our largest fundraisers, Fast & The Furriest makes it possible for the APA to give many homeless pets their deserving second chance:

Gus was a stray with heartworms and major eye, ear and skin issues. His new family describes him as “perfection.”

Together, we can impact the lives of so many pets and their people. Together, we can create more second chances to bring them together. People and pets are better together. It’s as simple as that!

We look forward to seeing you at Fast & The Furriest and appreciate your help giving pets like Queen Bee and Gus a second chance!

The Impact of PetReach

Imagine losing your spouse, outliving your friends, being forced to move and having to give up your beloved pet.

That’s the reality for thousands of older adults like 95-year-old Fern, who has resided at the Mary Culver Home for Visually Impaired Women in Kirkwood for 3 years. Fern is a life-long dog lover. Her daughter Susie visits Fern every single day and says PetReach visits are the highlight of Fern’s week.

Since 1983, PetReach has sent APA Adoption Center staff, volunteers and their pets to senior care facilities, psychiatric units, convalescent centers and children’s hospitals. PetReach was the first no-fee, pet-assisted activity program in the St. Louis area. It is widely documented that pets have a therapeutic value for people in residential care facilities.

The APA’s PetReach volunteers and their well-behaved dogs visit two dozen communities, including the Mary Culver Home. Dr. Syliva Steiling visits Fern with her Newfoundlands: Java, Luna and Zia. Barb Gehringer is a regular with her APA adopted dog Maggie. Vinnie Warner and her bearded collie Angie are always a huge hit. And APA Humane Education Director Jennifer’s little dog, Pollyanna, loves to sit in residents’ lap.

PetReach volunteers offer the simple gift of friendship to older adults. Sometimes, we are their only visitors. The chance to chat and pet a dog are simple pleasures many of us take for granted. The men and women we visit remind us that these are gifts we should cherish and share. That’s just what our PetReach volunteers do, and they’re making a real difference.


Enrichment Does a Doggie Good

The APA has been busy the past six months developing three new enrichment programs: Doggie Dates, Group Play Sessions and Feline Enrichment.

These programs were all designed to enhance our pets’ lives while they’re waiting to find their forever homes.

Doggie Dates, our newest enrichment program, allows trained dog walkers to “check out” a dog from our Adoption Center to go on an offsite outing. Dogs that participate in this program get to spend two hours with their favorite volunteer. Most often the outings consist of hiking in a park, visiting local pet stores and sometimes they even get to enjoy a special lunch date at a local pet friendly patio.

Staff receive valuable feedback about the dog after each outing such as how the dog does during car rides and how well they walk on a leash while out enjoying nature. We have found that even our perkiest pup will be ready for a nap by the end of their Doggie Date.

Group Play Sessions are another way our dogs get to enjoy their stay at our Adoption Center. Staff will coordinate play groups based on style of play, age and energy level. Once a play group is established, volunteers are able to supervise the sessions which typically last around twenty minutes. These short play sessions are equal to two hours of being walked individually on a leash.

The APA also keeps our frisky feline friends in mind when it comes to enrichment. We have a cat program that was recently created to help keep our cool cats careless and stress free. During cat enrichment, volunteers participate in a number of activities to benefit the felines in our care. It could be something as simple as playing cat friendly music, interactive toys or even just giving out fresh catnip. Volunteers learn each cats’ likes and dislikes and then pass that information along to potential adopters.

If you are interested in becoming an APA volunteer, please visit our website to fill out a volunteer application. No time to volunteer but still interested in helping the pets in our care? No problem! Consider donating an enrichment toy. You can shop our Amazon wish list and have the toy shipped directly to us! The dogs and cats thank you in advance!


Consistent nutrition helps pets look and feel their best, which is why we’re a #ProudPurinaPartner.


Memories of Martin Schweig Jr.

The APA lost a longtime Leader and supporter with the death of Martin Schweig on March 23, 2017.

Martin served as Board Member and President for many years. As a third generation “Society Photographer,” he influenced many of his clients to support the APA with contributions and bequests. The APA grew as a result.

Martin had been a nature and animal lover since childhood. Before his involvement with the APA, he was the first “Raptor Rehabilitator” in the area. Federal Wildlife agents brought him an injured Bald Eagle, which Martin cared for in his garage in the Central West End. A rehabilitated Horned Owl, Minerva, would often be seen perched on his shoulder in the backyard.

On his frequent vacations to Southern Mexico, Martin often brought back snakes and lizards, which he donated to the Zoo. He became good friends with General Curator, Moody Lentz, and Director, Marlin Perkins. He later donated snakes and lizards to my Reptile Exhibit at my Affton Pet Shop, 1954-63.

I was introduced to Martin by Dick Grossenheider, in the early 50’s. Dick was the Illustrator, for The Field Guide to the Mammals, by Burt & Grossenheider. At that time, Dick was State Naturalist at Rockwood Reservation. When visiting Martin at home, we were greeted by his pet Margay, Chockmoll (I think). Margays are small tropical cats, marked like an Ocelot, and are totally arboreal (Tree Dwellers). This cat jumped from Martin’s shoulder to the top of a cabinet, then from furniture to furniture, but never on the floor. Another souvenir of Mexico, kept in the basement, was a huge live Boa Constrictor in a glass showcase.

Martin was also famous for leading early morning Audubon Society Bird Study Tours in Forest Park. The Park was known for its great bird variety, especially during Spring and Fall Migration. Martin was on the Audubon Society Board, as well as the boards of Humane Society of Missouri and the St. Louis Zoo Friends.

When I sold my Pet Shop in 1963 and joined the Zoo as Reptile Keeper, Martin was instrumental in helping me establish an Education Program for the Zoo. Martin ultimately left the Zoo Friends Board, and immersed himself in APA operations and growth, in which he later enlisted me as a board member. Martin was the single best “Friend Raiser” and “Fundraiser” for the APA.

Martin is gone, but he will always be remembered for his longtime dedication and service to the APA and Humane Movement.

Charlie Hoessle

Animal Welfare in Our Community

Have you ever considered a career or volunteer position in animal welfare?

The Animal Welfare Assistant Program at St. Louis Community College is a great place to start! Presented by the APA, Humane Society of MO and St. Louis County Animal Control, this certificate program helps prepare you for the challenging, but very rewarding work of helping animals.

There are six courses to obtain the non-credit continuing education certificate: Career and Volunteer Opportunities in Animal Welfare Agencies, Animal Welfare and the Humane Movement, Getting to Know Us- St. Louis Animal Welfare Organizations, Investigations/Rescues/Legalities/Legislative Issues, The “People” Ingredient- Working in an Animal Welfare Organization and Animal Care Basics for Animal Welfare Workers. You can pick just one or take them all!

APA volunteer, Jen French, is currently enrolled in classes. She had an interest in animal welfare, started volunteering and fostering, and wanted to take it a step further. She found this great opportunity in her community and has already learned more than she even thought she would. “Helping animals will always be part of my life. This motivates and helps me continue to do more.”

If you’re interested in learning more or enrolling, click HERE or call 314-984-7777.

Happy Tail: Leila

An update from Leila’s new family:

We adopted a boxer/pit bull mix 14 years ago. Unfortunately she passed due to kidney failure at the age of 18. We miss her daily. We also missed the nails on the floor, the shaking of the collar and just the unconditional love they give 24/7, especially when they know you need them. When we felt we were ready, we began to search shelters again. Shelter animals have already been evaluated for behavior and medical conditions, plus they are already spayed or neutered. On top of that, they are more than deserving of love and a home!

We adopted Leila from the APA and she is doing great! She is a little stubborn about staying in her own yard though. She broke through twice and ran to the bar and grill across the street. They love her, but she can’t keep going to the bar! So, we decided for her safety to fence the whole yard this summer.

Leila is a very excited pup and loves to show that excitement. We are working on training her not to jump up on people or bolt out the front door. She now knows she must sit and stay on her rug before someone opens the door. She is one smart dog, but she is also young. She’s a work in progress but she is learning quickly! Time and patience is the best thing for her, and for us.

My advice to someone who is considering adopting: Do your research. If you are wanting a puppy, understand all that goes into puppy training and house training. Adopting from a shelter is a great option because the shelters really try to do their best to match you with an animal that best fits you and your lifestyle.

I want to give a big thank you to the APA for giving us our newest family member! We enjoy the kisses and snuggles and playtime with Leila. We just love her!