Author Archives: Steve

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

Pet Insurance: Better Health for Pets, Peace of Mind for Pet Owners

posted February 16th, 2015 by
Pet Ins

As pet ownership in the United States increases, pet owners are turning to www.petinsurancequotes.com to find out their options. Pet insurance keeps pets healthier while letting pet owners choose the coverage that suits their needs—and their budgets.

The 21st century has seen the rise of two dynamic movements in social consciousness: a heightened awareness of the importance of having health insurance and the increase of the number of American households with pets. True, the health care issue has so far focused on people, not pets, but a quick look at pet math reveals that the latest trends in pet care point the way to a new level of understanding about the level of care we should provide for the four-legged members of our families.

According to the American Pet Products Association, 68% of households responding to a 2013-2014 survey owned a pet. The APPA estimated that, in 2014, those 82.5 million households spent $58.51 billion on their pets. The number one expense, logically enough, was for food; our pets get hungry and we spent $22.62 billion to keep their bellies filled. The second highest expense? $15.25 billion in veterinary care.

With numbers like that, it’s easy to see that pet insurance is destined to become a standard feature of pet ownership, But that doesn’t explain why only one percent of American pets are insured, compared to 30% in the United Kingdom and more than 50% in Sweden.

Concern about the diagnosis for pet health inspired the launch of PetInsuranceQuotes.com so that as many American dogs and cats as possible can be insured. Since that time, the company has generated over two million quotes for insuring cats and dogs all across the country. They’ve built a reputation for being America’s most trusted pet insurance comparison website. Not only that, but they’re the only licensed pet insurance agency in the United States.

Animals share some health issues with their owners. Just like humans who have a hard time saying “no” to second helpings and failing to get enough exercise, excess pounds are becoming a problem for our pets. Maybe you’ve already had an episode of pet illness and you’re concerned about future incidents because you know that you want to keep your pet healthy. You know that the average office call runs $45-$55. But it doesn’t stop there. Animals are like us, and when they get sick, tests are called for to determine what’s causing the problem. Geriatric screening for older pets can cost as much as $110, and surgery can cost thousands.

Anyone who doubts that pet insurance makes a difference just needs to listen to the experience of one couple who purchased insurance for their Labrador retriever, Magruff. When he ended up needing hip replacement surgery, they were glad—not to mention relieved—when their pet insurance carrier paid $4300 of the $5200 cost of the operation. They were so impressed by the friendly and professional service they received for Magruff’s care that they felt as if they had their own personal concierge. “The service was so good I wish they owned an airline and some restaurants because they’re setting a new standard for service!”

That’s why you want to provide the insurance that allows you to give your family pet the best health coverage possible. Choosing a pet insurance plan is the first step in keeping the furry, four-footed members of your family around for a long time. Oh, and maybe you and your pet might want to keep an eye on those meal portions , , ,

About PetInsuranceQuotes.com
PetInsuranceQuotes (www.petinsurancequotes.com)  is dedicated to helping pet owners find the best insurance plan for their pets. The only licensed pet insurance agency in the United States has been selling insurance plans for dogs and cats for over seven years. The website offers free quotes, coverage comparisons, and guidance to steer pet owners to the plan that’s right for them. For more information, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDI9-lbRLaE

Connect Socially:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/PetInsuranceQuotescom/199156640134800

Twitter – https://twitter.com/PetInsQuotes

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/petinsurance/

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOVHW2BpoxqocaYW3fsigxQ

Google + – https://plus.google.com/u/0/106248626777029593285/posts

Blog – http://blog.petinsurancequotes.com/

 

Contact:

Nick Braun

[email protected]

1-800-928-6168

PAWSitively “Collaring” Cancer in Pets to Find a Cure

posted February 16th, 2015 by
Collar

You never forget the loss of a pet. For the Benbaset brothers, the death of their dog inspired them to try to find a cure for cancer in pets and the formation of their own non-profit, PAWSitively Curing Cancer, Inc.

The Benbasat boys have made a stand against the disease that brought suffering to the two-legged and four-legged members of their family. Brothers Josh and Bryce, now 15 and 12, decided that they’d had enough after the dreaded disease claimed the life of their dog, Sashi, five years ago. Having a grandmother who is a breast and lung cancer survivor made the brothers aware of the disease’s power to cause pain within a family. So the boys decided that it was time to think pink for pets.

The brothers did their research and what they learned about the prevalence of cancer among pets was an eye-opener: 50% of pets over the age of ten develop cancer. “Cancer is the number one disease-related killer of dogs and cats,” notes Josh Benbasat. With the memory of Sashi in mind, the brothers knew that other pet owners would want to do whatever they could to protect the pets they love. But they couldn’t find any organization whose mission focused on pets and cancer. That’s when they formed PAWSitively Curing Cancer, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for pet cancer research.

“The goal of PAWSitively Curing Cancer is to raise funds from caring businesses and families to find a cure for this deadly disease affecting the dogs and cats who add so much joy to our lives.”

But the boys recognized that finding a cure needs more than money. It needs partners. They first reached out to the president of Trimline Manufacturing. The company president—also known as Dad—Steve Benbasat became the founding corporate sponsor for PAWSitively Curing Cancer. Seeing how committed they were to this goal, he decided to teach his boys how to start a business. “Everything from filing the paperwork to dealing with the application to the IRS.”

The Benbaset picked the right mentor, from both a business and a veterinary perspective. The Trimline soft collar is designed with compassion in mind, effectively replacing annoying hard plastic collars so that pets recovering from surgery can recuperate in complete comfort.   The soft collars are machine washable, durable, water repellant, and affordable.  Made in the United States, the collars are available in six sizes to accommodate all dogs and cats. The newly designed collars are trimmed in pink to raise cancer awareness and include a special label encouraging donations to PAWSitively Curing Cancer. A portion of the profits from the sale of every collar is donated to benefit pet cancer research.

Once they had their dad on board, the search for partners continued. They enlisted the University Of Florida College Of Veterinary Medicine and pledged that every dollar donated goes directly to the College of Veterinary Medicine. Dean James W. Lloyd endorsed his school’s connection to PAWSitively Curing Cancer. “We are proud to partner with PAWSitively Curing Cancer as the recipient of this vital funding. It will be a valued asset to continuing our cancer research program.”

About PAWSitively Curing Cancer, Inc.

The 501(c) (3) non-profit organization is dedicated to raising funds for pet cancer research. One hundred percent of all donations and corporate sponsorships goes to the University Of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine’s pet cancer research programs. Started by the Benbaset brothers after losing their pet dog to cancer, the mission of the organization is to fund cancer research so that pet owners can be spared the pain of losing pets to the deadly disease. You can learn more at www.cureforpets.org.

About Trimline Manufacturing Co. Inc.

Trimline manufactures a soft and flexible collar for dogs and cats experiencing injury, surgery and trauma-restraint conditions. The collars are manufactured in the U.S. from a specially designed washable, non-toxic, non-allergenic and water-repellant fabric. A percentage of the money from each collar sold benefits pet cancer research. Learn more at www.trimlineinc.com.

 

Contact:

Steve Benbaset

[email protected]

954-374-8637