Looking Beyond a Label

By: | January 19, 2018

At the APA Adoption Center, we believe that visual breed identification is unreliable and unscientific, at best. Studies have shown it isn’t possible to accurately distinguish which breeds make up a single dog purely based on their appearance, so we believe it is best to emphasize the qualities that we are able to confidently and accurately identify, such as personality, behaviors and energy level. These are the traits that make our dogs the wonderful companions they are, so these are the things that deserve to be the focus.

We understand that removing breed labels can be difficult, especially in a world where we are so conditioned to name what we see. But we have decided that it is far more important for our adopters to know about the dog itself rather than guessing at what may – or may not – be its genetic makeup. Unless a dog has come to us with papers to prove its family history, there is no possible way for us to honestly state the breed of a pet. Besides, it isn’t an individual’s family history that makes them who they are – it is who they are as an individual. This holds true for dogs, too.

It is important to us to be honest with our adopters and ourselves. The last thing we want to do is predispose an amazing dog to an unfair and negative stereotype which may limit their opportunities for adoption based only on the way they look. At the same time, we do not want to give an adopter who has their heart set on a particular breed the impression that a dog is the breed they are after when we do not know for certain that this is the case.

At the APA Adoption Center, we will no longer be identifying dogs as a specific breed or a mix of breeds if we have no valid evidence to suggest it. Instead, we will be focused on the character, behavior, quirks, and all of the other great things that makes them who they are. We believe that, by removing breed labels from the animals in our care, we will be giving each and every dog a better chance at finding their perfect family. Rather than an adopter focusing on their breed, an adopter will focus on who they are as a companion. And isn’t this how each of us wants to be known?

Why We Do This Work

By: | January 16, 2018

The work we do at the APA is not for the faint of heart. It is difficult, heartbreaking, and messy at times. We give our best to every animal who comes through our doors, and when we see the difference it makes, it is easy to see why we do this work.

Have You Ever Wondered What It’s Like to Work In a Shelter?

By: | September 27, 2017

Each year, the APA helps nearly 3,000 pets find safe, loving homes of their very own. In addition, we take care of several thousand more  pets through our low-cost veterinary wellness clinic and community outreach programming. To accomplish this, it takes a team of talented and extraordinarily dedicated individuals. We love what we do. People often ask, “what is it like to work in an animal shelter?” Thanks to our partner, Purina, now we can show you.

APA Hosts 27th Annual Canine Carnival

By: | September 27, 2017

Family and pet friendly event raises funds to assist homeless pets in the St. Louis area

St. Louis (Sept. 19, 2017)  – The Animal Protective Association Adoption Center (APA) is hosting its 27th annual Canine Carnival in Tilles Park (9551 Litzsinger Road), Sunday, Oct. 1, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The carnival celebrates the bond between people and their pets, while raising funds for homeless pets in and around the St. Louis metropolitan area.

“This year’s Canine Carnival will be bigger and better than ever,” said Sarah Javier, president and executive director of the APA. “There’s something for every one and every dog. We look forward to welcoming both new and familiar faces to one of the most-unique, pet-friendly events in St. Louis.”

The family-friendly event will feature games for humans and dogs, food trucks, a beer garden, music, children’s activities and games, and on-site dog adoptions. Tickets are required for the event and can be purchased in advance and the day of the event. Details of the event and tickets sales are available on the APA’s website at www.apamo.com.

Dogs who are well-behaved, up-to-date on vaccinations and on a leash, are invited to share in the fun and are encouraged to come in costume. The event culminates with the crowing of the Canine Carnival King and Queen. Other awards for dogs will be presented for Best Trick, Best Kisser and Best Costume.

Ticket Information:

  • $15 per dog (dogs can bring their humans at no additional charge)
  • $5 per human (if not accompanying a dog)
  • $10 punch cards for full access to kid games and activities
  • Tickets available online at apamo.org or the day of the event.

“It’s one of the best days of the year for the dog-loving community,” said Javier. “We wouldn’t be able to host such a terrific event without our generous sponsors, and the funds raised go toward helping local adoptable pets find their forever home.”

Sharing the Love

By: | July 18, 2017

Last month, the residents of Stonecrest at Clayton View received a very special delivery—three tiny cattle dog pups and three tabby kittens. “I had dogs as a child,” says resident Darlene Murray, shutting her eyes, stroking a 5-week-old foster puppy brought by the Animal Protective Association of Missouri (APA).

The APA’s FosterCare program was launched earlier this year and places animals still too young for permanent families into temporary foster homes. These animals, explains Ashton Keenan, FosterCare coordinator, include kittens and puppies anywhere from a few days to 8 weeks old. After that, they can be spayed or neutered and given to their ‘forever homes.’ Placing very young animals in foster homes also reduces exposure to illness during the early weeks of life and provides critical socialization. “This arrangement is a win-win situation for all involved,” Keenan says.

Stonecrest, an assisted living and memory care facility, has hardly been without an animal since the program began. “Our residents love, love, love these pets,” says Erika Holmes, Stonecrest’s Vibrant Life director. “Not only do they make them happy, but if they are walking the puppies, they are getting exercise as well. The program is therapeutic for both body and soul.”

Laclede Groves, a Lutheran Senior Services community, also is an avid participant in the foster program. “It is so wonderful to see the pure joy on the residents’ faces,” says Kristina Wille, director of resident services. “Pets provide instant comfort and security, and for seniors who may have had pets all their lives, it makes a huge difference in their well-being.” Wille adds that Laclede Groves already had a partnership with APA through the organization’s PetReach initiative. That program—in existence for more than 30 years—has sent APA staff, volunteers and their pets (mostly dogs) into senior care facilities, psychiatric units, convalescent centers and children’s hospitals. Each dog is evaluated to make sure it is friendly and adaptable to new people and surroundings. “The heart of our mission is to bring people and pets together,” says Kim Brown, APA director of operations. “Life is so much richer for having an animal in it.”

Creve Coeur Assisted Living & Memory Care has participated in PetReach since it opened two years ago, and hosts a volunteer and their dog once a month. “Sometimes, it can be hard to engage [memory care residents],” says Tracy Hickman of the senior community’s activities department. “But they make a connection with the animals instantly. It’s amazing to see.”

Brown adds, “Not only is it comforting for seniors to pet the animals, but it also gives them an outlet to talk about the past and the pets they’ve owned. Everyone gathers around and it becomes the highlight of their day.” Brown says the APA is hoping to expand the PetReach program to include domestic violence shelters. The nonprofit already partners with area agencies to provide temporary care for pets of domestic violence victims.

Pictured at top: Resident Phil Likes with his new friend

Photo: Bill Barrett