An Imperfect Beauty – Bartholomew’s Story

By: | June 14, 2018

“No amount of physical beauty will ever be as valuable as a beautiful heart.” – Ustadh Saad Tasleem

Wabi-sabi is an Eastern philosophy most easily described as discovering the hidden beauty in imperfection. When working with animals, we find that almost every pet has outward beauty and an adorable way about them that is hard to resist, however, sometimes we need to look a little bit deeper, to practice wabi-sabi, in order to find the beauty within. That is the case with Bartholomew, or as he is affectionately referred to by our team, Pup-pup.

Pup-pup came to us when his owner’s family, who had more than 20 dogs in the home, realized that they were unable to properly care for him. With help from our transfer volunteers, Pup-pup and 14 other small dogs made their way to the APA.

Upon first look, Pup-pup isn’t what one would define as ‘beautiful.’ His splotchy face is bare in spots and his tongue consistently protrudes from the front of his mouth. His body has several large patches where hair no longer grows, including his tail, which looks long, scaly and rough.  Unfortunately, Pup-pup’s demeanor wasn’t much prettier when we initially met him. It was quickly apparent that during his life he was not very well socialized and was uncomfortable with new people and surroundings. He was fearful of anyone who attempted to touch him and met their attempts at affection with quick snips.

It is possible, and even probable, that many would have given up on Pup-pup, but through the course of working with tens of thousands of animals over the years, we have learned that sometimes the beauty within an animal surfaces over time. Every pet wants to be loved, but allowing oneself to be loved is sometimes hard. At the same time, understanding and patience can do amazing things.

Understanding that Pup-pup needed socialization, one of our team members took Pup-pup in as an office foster. Each day, she gently greeted Pup-pup, carefully removed him from his kennel and let him spend the day in her office. She didn’t push him to interact, but slowly he realized that he was safe and could trust her. As time passed, he began to move to the front of his kennel and greet her in the mornings. Eventually, he even approached her and waited for her to lift him into her lap, which soon after became his favorite place.

Today, Pup-pup was adopted. He is still shy and slow to warm up, but his heart has softened and it is clear that he, like everyone, simply wants to be loved. He isn’t perfect. Outwardly, he looks much the same, although he seems to be just a bit more relaxed (or at least we can tell he is trying). What is important is that he has a good heart, wants to accept the love of others and is willing to give those around him a chance. With a little wabi-sabi, we can see his beautiful heart and the dog he is destined to be. It seems he has also been able to see the beauty within humans. And that is a beautiful thing for everyone.

Odin’s Story

By: | June 7, 2018

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” – Helen Keller

Odin was a stray. Young and homeless, he came to the APA through our transfer program. As a result of this network, which includes over 40 rescue partners and countless volunteers, the APA helps over 1,500 homeless pets every year get a second (and sometimes a third or fourth) chance at adoption. Each pet has their own story, but they all have one thing in common — each is looking for hope.

When Odin arrived, his sweet disposition made him beyond lovable. The APA staff showered him with attention and he quickly became a staff favorite. In addition to needing love, this sweet puppy also needed surgery for an existing injury to his eye. Thanks to the APA’s Heads to Tails Hope Fund, Odin got the medical care he needed. While his left eye ended up needing to be removed, he is now pain free and happy.

While recovering from surgery, Odin spent time in a foster home.  His foster family fell in love and Odin found his forever home! He’s adjusted well to seeing with only one eye. Despite a likely rough start to life, Odin and his family have many happy memories ahead!

Mr. Kitty and Mrs. M.

By: | May 22, 2018

Stories like these warm our hearts…

Mr. Kitty, along with two littermates, arrived at The APA Adoption Center on May 12, 2017 by way of our transfer program. The three kittens appeared to be only a couple of weeks old and were in need of some TLC.  This is where our Senior Saviors came to the rescue!

Mr. Kitty and his siblings were fostered by the residents of Stonecrest Senior Living.  The kittens brought joy and smiles to the residents for the next 2 months while they grew strong enough to be spayed/neutered and placed for adoption.

On July 14, 2017, one of our adoption counselors knew that her grandmother was searching for a four legged companion and thought Mr. Kitty would be the perfect fit!  Abby surprised her grandma with the kitten and now they are inseparable!

When asked about Mr. Kitty, Mrs. M. happily shared, “He is my constant companion and I would not trade him for anything.  What the APA does is amazing and brings joy to many people!”  Knowing the companionship Mr. Kitty has brought to her life, she now knits blankets for the cats at The APA Adoption Center to sleep with while they are waiting to be adopted.


The APA Senior Saviors foster program is near and dear to our hearts, just like Mrs. M and Mr. Kitty. To learn more about this innovative program, please visit our Senior Saviors page.

2017 Impact Report

By: | April 30, 2018

Wow, 2017 was purrtty great! The APA found loving, safe homes for 3,463 pets – our biggest year yet! This exciting feat would not have been possible without support from the community. Every furry, feathered and scale-y friend at the APA is beyond grateful for each adopter, donor and volunteer who helped us achieve success over the past year.

So, what did we accomplish? The answer is A LOT!

In 2017, our adoption program continued to grow thanks to our transfer program, which helps needy pets from across the state and country get a chance to be adopted.

Our education program also expanded its reach, engaging nearly 7,000 adults and children through our education and community programs, both inside and outside the adoption center.

Our wellness program continues to offer low-cost veterinary care to families that need it and our Hope Fund underwrote the medical expenses of 65 special needs pets.

The claws and effect of support from the community can be seen across our pillar programs, but also in the innovative approach to our mission. From launching the Senior Saviors foster program, which brings foster puppies and kittens to senior living communities to our “pop-up” playdates across the St. Louis region, we brought people and pets together in some unexpected and exciting new ways this year. We also piloted a new anti-bullying program for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders in two local elementary schools, which garnered rave reviews. For our adult friends, we welcomed Yoga+Cats, which provided opportunities for people to enhance their wellness efforts with the help of our feline yoga assistants.

Whether it is adopting a pet, volunteering time or making a donation, the St. Louis community and the support they provide are pawsitively wonderful. This support makes an impact not only on the lives of pets, but people too.

To learn more about the successes of 2017, please check out our full impact report.

Toby (formerly known as Houston)

By: | April 22, 2018

Toby and his six litter mates were transferred to The APA on 2/11/17 from a small, rural area in southeast Missouri, just a few miles from the Arkansas border.  They received a medical exam upon arrival and were dewormed and vaccinated.  Since they were too young and small for surgery, they were sent to a foster home for a little while to give them time to grow big and strong.

As luck would have it, the Brown Family crossed paths with Toby while he was in his foster home and immediately fell in love!  Toby remained in his foster home until March 14, 2017 when he was finally big enough to be neutered.  On March 15, 2017, the Brown Family was anxiously waiting at our front doors when we opened to adopt Toby and take him home.

Just a little over a year later, the Brown family says that deciding to make Toby a part of their family was one of the best decisions they have made.  He settled into their home right away and was completely housetrained within one month.  Not only has he brought a tremendous amount of joy to their family, but they have made him a pretty happy pup, as well.