By: Savannah Rigley | December 23, 2019
The APA team is passionate about animals and their dedication is inspirational. Just as I write this I’ve witnessed happy adoptions, animals coming in who need us, staff excited about a new program, volunteers walking dogs, and fosters taking animals into their home. So, it came as no surprise when an employee asked if she could help an animal while on vacation.
When Megan, a part-time adoption counselor, planned her trip to Puerto Rico she knew she could combine her love of travel and rescue pets. Puerto Rico has thousands of street dogs and is challenged by pet overpopulation. The shelters are full and there are not enough adoptive homes. Megan learned about people bringing adoptable dogs off the island and contacted a rescue there. She learned about a puppy named Hope who had been thrown in the trash. Another small dog named Homer was also ready for transfer.
After a few days of fun in the sun, hiking, and sightseeing, Megan and her friend loaded up the best possible souvenirs and headed home. Hope and Homer did great on their flight to St. Louis and in their foster home. They are happy dogs and have been given an amazing second chance.
The APA prioritizes animals in our community and Missouri, but were happy to help these two dogs and support one of our employees.
By: Savannah Rigley | December 13, 2019
While the holiday season is a time for joy and celebration, it can be a dangerous and stressful time of year for our pets. Here are some tips to help keep your furry loved ones safe, happy and healthy this holiday season.
Foods to avoid:
- Chocolate – This sweet treat is poisonous to dogs and cats, so make sure to keep all treats and gifts containing chocolate out of reach.
- Rich and fattening meat scraps, like turkey and ham – These meats can lead to inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) and cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain for dogs. Some breeds, such as Miniature Schnauzers, Shetland Sheepdogs and Yorkshire Terriers are predisposed to pancreatitis, so keeping fatty meats away from them is very important.
- Sugar free sweets containing xylitol, a natural sweetener – When consumed by dogs, sweets containing xylitol causes severe low blood sugar, which can lead to liver failure and death.
- Yeast dough – Consuming yeast dough can cause a painful, bad bout of gas, as well as dangerous bloating. If yeast dough is ingested, secondary alcohol poisoning is also a risk, as a dog’s stomach is warm and moist, providing the perfect environment for the yeast to rise and for the sugars to be converted into carbon dioxide and alcohol.
- Alcohol – Be careful to keep cocktails where your pets cannot get into them. Alcohol can make your pet very weak and sick and can even send them into a coma which can lead to death from respiratory failure.
- Grapes and raisins – Keep the fruitcake, chicken salad and any other foods containing raisins or grapes away from Fido, because these toxic fruits can lead to kidney damage or failure.
- Onions – All onions, cooked or raw, are poisonous for dogs and cats. The ingestion of onions can cause damage to the red blood cells and can even cause the red blood cells to burst.
Holiday Plants to Watch Out For:
- Lilies – These flowers are extremely toxic to cats and can cause kidney failure.
- Mistletoe – American Mistletoe is mildly toxic to pets, while European Mistletoe is very toxic. Make sure to hang it high and out of reach of pets.
- Holly – If consumed, Holly can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
Potentially Dangerous Holiday Decorations:
- Christmas trees – To avoid any injuries from a tipped over Christmas tree, consider securing your tree by tying it to the ceiling or a doorframe using fishing line.
- Tinsel – Cats find shiny tinsel very appealing, and may be tempted to chew and swallow it, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract that can require surgery to correct as well as vomiting and dehydration.
- Ornaments – Hang ornaments out of reach of pets to avoid injuries from broken ornaments and to keep pets from ingesting them, which can cause intestinal blockage.
- Electric Lights – Always unplug holiday lights when you are not in the room to keep pets safe from burns and electrocution.
- Potpourris – Liquid potpourris contain essential oils and detergents that can cause injury to your pet’s mouth, eyes and skin.
Holiday Parties and Visitors:
- The commotion of holiday gatherings can make many pets upset or nervous. Make sure that your pets have a quite and comfortable place in your home where they are able to get away from the noise and excitement of holiday parties if they want to.
- If you have guests who would like to bring their pets along with them, and you don’t know how your pets will get along with each other, it’s always a good idea to have the pets spend time together while monitoring their interactions before they get together for the first time at a gathering.
- If you have a pet who gets nervous when people come by to visit, keeping them in another room or in a crate with a toy that they love can help ease their nerves.
- Always pay close attention to your pets when people are entering or leaving your home to make sure that they don’t slip out of the door and get loose. It’s always a good idea to make sure that your pet is microchipped and that your information is up to date just in case your pet does get out.
- Make sure to clear the food from your tables and counters once you are done serving it and to keep your trash out of your pet’s reach to avoid them getting into foods or waste that could make them sick or injure them.
By: Savannah Rigley | November 13, 2019
Ollie, an 11-year old blonde tabby cat, came to the APA with his brother, Henry, whose health was rapidly declining due to feline leukemia. Heartbreakingly, staff noticed that Ollie would wrap himself around Henry, as if holding onto hope that he could somehow protect and save his brother from the disease. After losing Henry, Ollie became very depressed and refused to eat, his hope fading away. Our dedicated staff would not give up on him, so instead cuddled him close and provided nourishment through syringe feedings until Ollie could once again eat on his own. After he emerged from his depression, his social personality impressed even the hard-core dog-lovers of the APA staff.
While all of our staff members came to know and love Ollie, there was one person, Jenn, who had an especially soft spot in her heart for this very special cat. She had already been considering adding a senior cat to her “small army”…was Ollie the one? He spent the next 30 days in Jenn’s office getting special attention while he recovered from losing his sibling, regained his appetite (tuna!), and awaited test results to determine if the feline leukemia virus had developed in his own body. Jenn formed a special bond with her new office mate and soon let everyone know that, if Ollie was healthy enough to be around her current pets, she wanted him to join her family. Hope! Ollie soon began to flourish and regained a healthy weight. Each day Ollie greeted Jenn at her office door, his demanding meow growing stronger (and more endearing) each day. He also started what Jenn referred to as an “intense cuddle routine.” Once she was settled at her desk, he would curl up in her lap and snuggle the entire day. He loved Jenn as much as she loved him—she knew he would fit in perfectly with her two cats.
The day after he tested negative for feline leukemia, Jenn took Ollie home – a new family and a new name: Omelette! Alongside his other feline and canine friends, Omelette can often be found snuggling or looking dreamily out the window. We imagine he is fondly remembering his brother, Henry. He continues to greet Jenn at the door each time she arrives, but now it’s at the door of his own home. Hope for Ollie…by way of the APA.
He seemed like the perfect fit. -Jenn
By: Savannah Rigley | November 13, 2019
Darla knows that hope comes in many forms. Clinging to life, Darla and her two puppies were discovered in a rural Missouri ditch. Hope first arrived in the form of a kind-hearted man who rescued the trio and brought them to the safety of his home while he began searching for shelters to give them a second chance. Through our collaborative transfer program, in which the APA works with over 100 animal rescues and shelters throughout the Midwest, Darla and her pups, who may not have survived outside much longer, made their way to the APA.
After their arrival, Darla’s puppies were nursed back to health and quickly found wonderful adoptive families. Darla’s journey, however, became a bit more complicated after APA staff noticed a lump on her chin. An x-ray determined that Darla had osteosarcoma, an aggressive, terminal bone cancer in her jaw. Despite her bleak prognosis, Darla was eating well, in good spirits, and her pain was being managed—it was clear she was thriving from the love and care received at the APA. That wasn’t enough though. We wanted Darla to experience the comforts of a warm, loving home for the rest of her life, however long that may be. So, the APA reached out to our dedicated foster volunteers to search for a twilight foster—someone to provide love, care and hope for Darla, as she, too, had so much love left to give.
Little did we know, Darla was destined for hope of a different kind.
Isabella had just moved into her own apartment with her dog, Ginger. She had been considering an addition to her furry family and one day decided to visit the APA. Not knowing exactly who she was looking for, she started by visiting with kittens…but then asked about animals that nobody wanted or had special needs. An APA staff member told her about Darla and her condition, and Isabella asked to meet her. Darla was brought out and placed in Isabella’s arms—Darla’s sweet disposition, gentle spirit, and soulful eyes, full of hope, captured Isabella’s heart. Though uncertain of handling the responsibility and heartache of adopting a dog with declining health, Isabella instantly fell in love. She knew Darla would be her new family member.
Over a month post-adoption, Darla is still wagging her tail, eating “like a queen,” and running with more energy and speed than Isabella’s other dog. Isabella and Darla are living each day to the fullest together—creating a life full of hope and happiness. Hope for Darla…by way of the APA.
Once she placed Darla in my arms, I melted—my heart became full. -Isabella
By: Savannah Rigley | November 4, 2019
One is the loneliest number doesn’t apply to everything, but the song rings true with kittens. Every cat owner wants a happy, healthy, well-adjusted, “good citizen” cat. Kittenhood is a time of growth and development. A kitten’s ability to learn appropriate behaviors is amplified when adopted with another kitten because, absent their mother, interactions between the kittens provide each kitten with important feedback information. They learn from each other when play or biting is too rough and how to share space. They also observe each other’s actions and consequences. Bonded kittens get a head start on their learning track because they already trust and are paying close attention to each other.
Kittens require a lot of attention, and one kitten requires even more. Kittens are curious, energetic, and playful. They are testing their environment, their abilities, and their boundaries all the time. They are also establishing their daily routine. A playmate helps a kitten to focus and burn off some of this energy, resulting in less attention-seeking behavior and potential destructive behaviors. They can also wear each other out, resulting in a much more peaceful night of sleep. It can be difficult for a person to provide a kitten with all of the needs a kitten has to play. If there is an older cat already in the home, adopting two kittens means they will most likely focus on each other, and leave the more senior, lower energy cat alone. Two kittens can actually make an owner’s life easier!
Cats are not solitary animals. Without companionship, a kitten can get lonely, bored, or anxious. Growing up with another kitten means having a companion when the human parents are away and having a companion for life–something that can help create lifelong comfort and security for your cat. If you’re thinking about adopting a kitten, consider two kittens. We look forward to adorable photos of your kittens cuddling!
Pam Hill, Local Cat Behavior Counselor