Author Archives: Steve

Spring is Springing

posted March 29th, 2015 by
Ween Pic 21b
We want to give a shout-out to Fulfilled Coffee, 601 South Boulevard, Edmond. They have a great back patio that welcomes weens, and good coffee/sweets according to Mom and Pops. It is just a short jaunt away from Skinny Slims, which has quickly become one of our favorite ween-centric destinations.We have plans to visit many new, local places now that Mr. Sunshine has returned, so stay tuned! See the entire blog here!

Training 911 – Back to School

posted March 29th, 2015 by
20140915c

Training 911

Training 911

by Khara Criswell, MA, CPDT-KSA, CNWI

 

Back to School, Fall Activities

 

Since your kids have gone back to school, your pet might feel left out. Some pets experience anxiety and wander out of their yards to follow their little owners to school.

 

One helpful tip is to leave a T-shirt from your child in the bed where your pet sleeps at night. In the morning before you leave for work and kids leave for school, you can do some training with your pet. Practice waiting with the food bowl or at the door.

Wait at the Door

1.Stand in front of the door (any car door will work too) with your dog inside the house. Say, “Wait.”

  1. Start to slowly open the door. Whenyourdog moves forward, even just a tiny bit, quickly close the door, preventing him from going through it. You can use your body to block the dog from going farther .
  2. Good timing is important, so be sure to close the door the instant you seeyourdog start to move forward.
  3. If you close the door, start to slowly open the door again. Continue to quickly close the door whenyourdog moves forward until he stays put for a couple of seconds with the door open about a foot. When this happens, say, “yes!” and “good dog.” Then toss a treat in his direction.
  4. Next, say “free” or “ok” or whatever you wantyourrelease word to be to let your dog know his job is done. Open the door all the way and let your dog walk out of the door. (You want your verbal cue to release your dog from the wait position, not your body movement.)
  5. Restart the exercise from the beginning.

Also, provide plenty of enrichment activities, such as interactive toys you can place your pet’s kibble in—Kong, Nina Ottoman toys, Zane’s interactive toys, Squirrel Dude or Football Dude. Give your pet some chew toys because chewing reduces stress in a pet.

As fall parties begin, make sure to keep the human food away from your pet, especially candy and gum. Create a safe space for your pet to retreat to and relax when the house gets hectic. This is especially helpful during Halloween when the kids’ costumes can be scary to your pet. If your dog has a crate, make it into a fun place for him to hang out. You can teach your dog to go to his spot.

Mat Train

  1. With a treat in your hand, tell your pup, “Go to your mat,” in a cheerful tone of voice and point him toward the mat.
  2. Pause a second or two (one-one thousand, two-one thousand), then lure your dog onto his mat by putting the treat up to his nose and slowly moving it over the mat. If you move your hand too quickly or too far away from his mouth, he may give up and lose interest.
  3. As soon as your dog has four paws on the mat, give the treat.
  4. Tell your dog, “down/sit.” Give the hand signal or lure him if he needs helps. When he lies down, give him the treat. Continue to give treats to keep the dog on the mat. After a few seconds, tell your pup, “OK/free” and allow him to get up.

Repeat steps 1 through 4, gradually increasing the amount of time you ask him to stay on the mat.

Pick some time during the week that the family gets involved with your pet’s activities, like going for a walk during the evening, playing fetch, a game of “find it,” hide and seek (recall), or just getting petted on the couch will be enough to calm the dog and the kids down after a long day of school.

Two books/resources I recommend to my clients with kids or who are thinking of having kids are “Living with Kids and Dogs” by Colleen Pelar and “Happy Kids, Happy Dogs,” a paperback by Barbara Shumannfang.

With a little work, every family member including your pet will be adjusting well with the season’s change.

Savannah Station Therapeutic Riding Program

posted March 15th, 2015 by
20140915c

Savannah

Savannah Station Therapeutic Riding Program

 

By Brianna Broersma

 

“It’d be the best thing they’d done in their life,” advises Sparky Prudhome to parents considering equine therapy for their children.

Sparky and his wife Hazel are parents to 8-year-old Jason Prudhome who receives therapy through Savannah Station Therapeutic Riding Program (SSTRP) in El Reno.

 

Sparky and Hazel adopted Jason when he was 4 years old. “He was behind,” says Sparky.  Jason had physical and cognitive delays and could barely walk. “He enjoys riding, and it helps him use his hands, arms and legs,” Prudhome adds. Jason is able to ride his horse, Tequila, about once a week during the riding season in order to receive these benefits.

SSTRP was founded in 2013 by a group of 16 individuals, including Dr. Velinda Baker. The purpose of SSTRP is to provide equine-assisted therapy for children with special challenges. Dr. Baker’s back-ground as a physical education teacher includes adapted physical education for students with special needs. She was first exposed to equine therapy through her work at      the University of Tulsa and the State Department of Education.

“When I was at the University of Tulsa, my students and I became volunteers for  Bit by Bit, a therapeutic riding program through Rogers State University,” Dr. Baker says. She eventually became the director of the program. After relocating to Yukon, Dr. Baker helped found SSTRP and is currently the program director.

SSTRP currently serves 16 children with a spectrum of special challenges, including muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, deaf-ness and brain damage.  “We work on cognitive, physical, behavioral and social needs of the child,” Dr. Baker says. “We don’t just ride; we do activities that challenge them mathematically and scientifically. We bring all types of things that you would see in a classroom in our classroom on horseback. Every single horse is matched to a child for their specific needs.”

For example, children with hyperactive tendencies need calm horses to help them quiet down.  Riding on the horses helps the children use muscles in their trunks, legs, arms and hands. Riding the horse in different positions, such as frontward vs. backward, can help the children engage different muscle groups. Riding also helps to improve the children’s focus.

One of these children is 9-year-old Savannah Davis. Savannah is non-verbal, non-mobile and shows symptoms of  spastic cerebral palsy, such as thrashing and biting. “Not only has the horse therapy allowed [Savannah] to learn how to sit up on her own, it has improved her trunk control beyond what her therapist thought she was capable of,” says Savannah’s mother,  Athena Captain, a founding member of the program.

“She’ll actually grab the reins of the horse and hold onto them without thrashing or putting them in her mouth, which takes enormous focus,” she  says. The therapy not only benefits the children, but also the parents. “There are a lot of sports I don’t get to watch her participate  in,” adds Captain “She’s up there, she’s moving around, interacting with other children.” For example, “They’ll put her on a horse and have another child blow bubbles, and she’ll try to grab the bubbles, so she’ll have social interaction, and I  get to watch all of that.”

While Savannah was the inspiration behind the name of the program, it also has a deeper meaning. “The word ‘savannah’ means an opening in the woods. We see this as symbolic of an opportunity for the kids who run into so many obstacles,” says Dr. Baker. “Also in Australia, a ‘station’ is where everyone meets.”

SSTRP operates out of Glenn Farm in El Reno.  Robin Glenn, owner and operator of Robin Glenn Pedigrees, was contacted by Dr. Baker and quickly offered use of her barn to house the program’s horses.  After watching the program’s horse show in June, Glenn made the following comments on their Facebook page:

“The program is a true non-profit. This    is the hardest-working bunch of people I have ever been around and not one person takes a salary, even the program director. They are utterly, unconditionally devoted  to both the children they teach and their horses. I saw how much more engaged these children are in their horseback learning experiences than they could ever be sitting in a chair in a classroom, and I saw how absolutely thrilled each one was to be on horseback. I saw their excitement when they were able to complete tasks like picking up a stuffed animal from a barrel top and throwing it into a bucket from the horses’ backs. I saw the pride in both the riders and their families when each was handed a trophy. And I saw tirelessly loving parents and family members smiling and cheering their kids on.”

SSTRP also runs satellite centers. “Instead of all the children coming to us, we haul our horses to specific centers” throughout the metro, says Dr. Baker. They currently have a three-horse trailer, which allows them to take three, out of the program’s nine total, horses to satellite centers. Dr. Baker hopes they can expand the availability of this program to more locations when the program is able to purchase a larger trailer.

SSTRP is a member of the Professional Association of Horsemanship International (PATH; www.pathintl.org). “They have very specific guidelines about how much horses can be used and how often,” says Dr. Baker. The program takes a six-week break during the summer to allow the horses rest and shelter from the summer heat. All horses are thoroughly vetted to ensure they are a good match for children with special needs. A horse must be with the program for at least 30 days, during which time its temperament is assessed, before it can be used in a therapy session.

SSTRP does not charge individuals or their families to participate in the program. “Raising a child is expensive,” Dr. Baker says. “The cost of raising a special needs child is huge.” In order to provide no- cost therapy to the families, SSTRP relies  on private, tax-deductible donations and fundraising. Their big yearly fundraiser is The Roundup, which will take place on Friday, October 3, at the Oklahoma City Farmers Public Market, 311 South Klein Avenue.

The event will feature a live country band, dancing, a live auction and a silent auction. Swadley’s will also cater a barbecue dinner. Doors open at 6 p.m., and tickets are $30. Companies and organizations can also sponsor a table, seating up to 10 people for $500; “event sponsors” receive two tables for a $1,000 donation.

Program operations and fundraising are coordinated by a board of directors, including Robert Reed, David Pletcher, John Branscum, Russ Nation and Dr. Kimberly Quigley. The board is already at work planning future fundraising events. Possible spring fundraisers might include a trail ride or pasture golf (golf on horseback.)

SSTRP also relies on a roster of 65 volunteers to make the program successful.  Of these, 36 are trained to be in the arena with the horses, helping to ensure the safety of the horses and the riders. A therapeutic riding session requires the volunteers to assist each child; the horse is led by one volunteer, with the other two flanking each side.

“Working with the horses is my therapy. I marvel at their understanding, intuition and patience,” Jonnie Booth, volunteer, says. No experience with horses is necessary to volunteer for the program. One-day training sessions are offered for interested parties.

For more information on participation as a volunteer or therapy student, or to purchase fundraiser tickets, contact Dr. Baker at (405) 651-2324.

You can also learn more via Facebook at

www.facebook.com/SavannahStationTherapeuticRidingProgram. The program website, savannahstation.org, will be available soon.

March / April OKC Pets Magazine

posted March 11th, 2015 by
20150315

Publisher – Marilyn King

Creative Director – Debra Fite

Advertising Sales – Marilyn King, Steve Kirkpatrick, Nancy Harrison, Cheryl Steckler, Susan Hills, Tina Collie

Web Manager – Steve Kirkpatrick

Editor – Anna Holton-Dean

Contributing Writers – Marilyn King, Holly Brady Clay, Emily Cefalo, Pat Becker, Lauren Cavagnolo, Camille Hulen, Sherri Goodall, Nancy Haddock, Bria Bolton Moore, Dolores Probasta, Nancy Gallimore

PO Box 14128 Tulsa, OK 74159-1128

Prickly Pets

posted March 8th, 2015 by
20140915c

Hedgehogs

Prickly Pets

 

From hedges to households, hedgehogs reign as the latest pet trend.

 

By Bria Bolton Moore

 

When he was 9 years old, Mary Dickey’s son Ryan didn’t beg for a rowdy puppy or a purring kitten like most kids. He wanted a palm-sized prickly playmate, a hedgehog.

Mary granted Ryan’s wish, and they got their first hedgehog, Tiggy, in 1995. The Dickeys began breeding and caring for hedgehogs at their home in Stillwater, Okla.

 

“We went from having them in my son’s bedroom to the bedroom being overtaken by being the ‘animal room’,” Mary Dickey said.

Today, 20 years after Tiggy became part of their family, Dickey has eight hedgehogs, three females and five males, and operates Atlantis Hedgehogs.

It seems more and more people are interested in welcoming a quill-covered animal into their homes. Due to exotic animal ownership restrictions, keeping a hedgehog as a pet is banned or restricted in at least     six states. However, their popularity as American pets grows.

Dickey said she has seen sparked interest at Atlantis Hedgehogs with an influx of calls as more people question if a hedgehog is the right pet for them. Similarly, Kimber Knight, who owns Parkplase Heggies in Ramona, Okla., has also experienced more inquiries.

“I have gotten more emails and calls in the last six months than I ever have,” said Knight, who has owned hedgehogs since 1999 when her family got their first heggie, Sonic.

Dr. Rachael Davis, DVM, is a small and exotic animal veterinarian at VCA Woodland South Animal Hospital in Tulsa. She said she has cared for more hedgehogs recently, three in the last few months, and has about five in her client base.

People are fascinated by the small, cute creatures. Social media celebrity Biddy the Hedgehog has an Instagram account with more than 480,000 followers featuring snapshots of Biddy at the beach, on road trips and hanging out with a fellow pet, Charlie the Mini Mutt. The April 2014 cover of National Geographic highlighted Jade, a female hedgehog from South Carolina, who attracted attention to the magazine’s piece on owning exotic animals.

While there are 15 hedgehog species, most domestic hedgehogs in the United States are African Pygmy hedgehogs. They generally have white bellies, of course fur, with more than 5,000 spines covering their crown of the head and back. Male hedgehogs weigh about 1.5 to 2.5 pounds, while the females weigh half a pound to 1 pound. Hedgehogs live about four to six years.

The right pet for you?

Kristen Zorbini Bongard is a board member of the Hedgehog Welfare Society, a 501(c)(3) committed to the health and welfare of hedgehogs through rescue, education and research. The society has more than 1,600 members who reside in 31 countries.

“I originally became interested in hedge-hogs because I was allergic to many of the more traditional furry pets,” Bongard said. “I read a couple of books about them and then adopted an unwanted hedgehog from a friend of a friend.”

As a rescuer, Bongard said she sees “many, many instances of buyer’s remorse” because people don’t know a lot about hedgehogs before they bring them home. She encourages people to do their research, talk to someone who owns a hedgehog and meet a hedgehog before deciding to get one as a pet.

“They’re really interesting pets, but they’re not for everyone,” Bongard said.

She said she has spent thousands of dollars in vet bills through the years.

“They are exotic animals and require a knowledgeable vet and frequently require anesthesia just to be examined—the downside of a pet that can enclose its body in sharp quills,” Bongard said. “For all you put in, you will still not have an animal that will miss you when you’re gone or greet you at the door with a wagging tail. Make sure it’s worth it to you before you commit to owning a hedgehog.”

Hedgehogs can be interactive pets, but they’re naturally shy, rolling up into a ball when they feel threatened or uncomfortable.

“They require a little bit of effort, but they can be a lot of fun,” Dickey said. “They’re not social like a dog or a cat that seeks to be friends with you. You have to handle them a lot. So, if you’re not willing to handle your hedgehog, you may end up with a little pet that sits in the corner, and you never see it. And it’s prickly,” she said between laughs.

Dr. Davis echoed Dickey’s comments on hedgehog temperament.

“Some aren’t really interested in being handled,” Dr. Davis said. “They want to just roll up into a ball. But, most of the time, that can be overcome with gentle handling and getting them used to people. Then, I see some that are just out, walking around and aren’t even phased by coming in to see me (in the veterinarian’s office).”

Dr. Davis said some hedgehogs are stressed by new people, small children, or dogs and cats that may be perceived as predators.

Another unique characteristic is anointing. When hedgehogs encounter a new smell or object, they pick it up or chew at it until they begin drooling excessively. Then, they rub the saliva all over their quills and body in a process called self-anointing. No one knows why the animals anoint, but it’s a common behavior.

Hedgehogs can be purchased from a breeder or a pet store that offers exotics. A hedgehog from Atlantis Hedgehogs costs $125 while a hedgehog from Parkplase Heggies costs $150.

Caring for a hedgehog

“They’re easy to care for,” Dickey said. “They’re not rodents, so they don’t have     any odor.”

A hedgehog should be housed alone in a large cage with a solid base, at least 2 feet by 3 feet with shredded newspaper or Aspen shavings. A hiding place or shelter as well   as an exercise wheel are recommended. The cage should be cleaned weekly.

In the wild, a hedgehog diet consists mostly of insects. However, pet hedgehogs usually eat two to three teaspoons a day of commercial hedgehog food or low-calorie cat food. Their diet should be supplemented with one to two teaspoons of mixed vegetables or fruit as well as insects, such as crickets or mealworms.

“The most common issue I see with [hedgehogs] is obesity,” Dr. Davis said. “It’s hard, because there’s not a readily-available hedgehog diet.”

Dr. Davis said other common health problems are mites and dental disease.

Hedgehogs are also nocturnal, sleeping during most of the day, so Dr. Davis advises owners to house their pets in a non-sleeping room.

“A lot of people will get [hedgehogs] for their children, put the cage in the child’s bedroom, and then the hedgehog’s up, running around all night long.”

Dr. Davis also recommends that owners take their hedgehogs to see an exotic veterinarian at least once a year for a check-up.

Bongard has cared for more than a dozen hedgehogs since getting to know her first hedgehog in 2004.

“Hedgehogs are really fascinating creatures,” Bongard said. “They are independent and sometimes standoffish,  but that’s part of their charm. There’s something magical about earning their trust over many, many days and watching them splat out, unafraid, on your lap. They have adorable little faces, too.”

“Petworking” Pays Off With Petpav.com, Your Pet’s Best Social Network

posted February 16th, 2015 by
Cat

Think of it as Facebook for the furry. Social media, a communications mainstay for humans, has now found a way to welcome the four-footed companions that are so integral to our lives, thanks to Petpav.com (short for Pet Pavilion).  It was only a matter of time that pets started networking too or rather, make that “petworking.”

On Petpav.com, pets aren’t just welcome, they’re the main attraction.  And there’s no danger of their profile being taken down by Facebook’s pet police. Founder Lisa Fimberg launched the site because she wanted to create a social network where people and pets could connect with one another. “Petpav is all about our pets,” Fimberg explains. “It’s a safe and friendly place to talk about your pet(s) and the pet owners love and embrace it.”

Petpav came into existence because Fimberg found that other sites didn’t provide the mix of information and coziness that she was looking for in her Internet quest. Fimberg was visiting websites to get advice on what to do about her cat’s unruly night-time habits. She found sites that answered her questions, but realized that people who love their pets don’t just want information, they want a “petwork”…one that is fun, user friendly and pet-centric. And that’s how Petpav.com started.

After signing onto petpav.com and filling out your pets’ profile, Sammy the site administrator, who also happens to be Fimberg’s cat, will welcome you. Sammy is an orange tabby with a bit of a sassy nature, but what else can you expect from the feline genius who’s responsible for the creation of petpav.com? You’ll navigate to the petworking wall and introduce your pet and meet other pets and the people they own. The site is populated by pet lovers who are passionate about their animals. No naysayers here!

You know that your pet is the smartest thing on four paws. Now you have a place where you can brag to others, and listen in return as they praise their pets and everyone gets it. The site also provides articles that give advice on pet health issues, local pet events, and news on pets. The pet forum answers questions on subjects as varied as feline leukemia, keeping pets healthy during the winter season, what you need to know before you adopt a guinea pig or a rabbit, and many other topics of interest.  They also have a resident veterinarian who can answer general questions.

Pet businesses can also become members, where they have the opportunity to become Pet Business of the Week. This includes being featured in PetPav.com’s weekly newsletter, as well as being promoted on social media sites Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  Pet businesses can check out Petpav for the advertising it provides with the opportunity to directly target pet owners.

A special feature of Petpav is the contests that run throughout the year where you can win prizes. There’s the friendliest pet contest, the most social pet contest, favorite pet celebrities, and other fun ways to share your pet’s star quality and win valuable items for your pet. The first contest of this year is the Petpav Popularity Contest. Pets that make the most friends and share the contest on social media will be eligible to win prizes. Learn more about the contest which will run until March 3rd, http://www.petpav.com/pet-events/773-petpav-s-popularity-contest-is-your-pet-popular

You know how much you love your pet. Isn’t it time you connected with other pet owners who feel the same way?

About Petpav
Petpav founder Lisa Fimberg established petpav.com so that pet lovers can have a social media site specifically designed for what she calls “petworking.” Members set up profiles for their pets, share news and information, and take part in contests and forums. The site also welcomes pet businesses who benefit from the direct connection to pet lovers. Learn more at www.petpav.com

Connect Socially:

Twitter https://twitter.com/PetPavPets

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/petpav

Media Contact:

Lisa Fimberg

[email protected]

424-244-1738