General Interest

Facial Recognition Tech

posted May 31st, 2019 by
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Oklahoma Humane Society

OKLAHOMA HUMANE SOCIETY USING NEW FACIAL RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY FOR LOST PETS

Partnering with Finding Rover using revolutionary technology to identify lost pets in Oklahoma

 

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – May 2, 2019 – Oklahoma Humane Society joins the ranks of shelters and rescues across the nation in using facial recognition technology to identify lost dogs and cats.

Now every dog and cat that enters the Oklahoma Humane Society system becomes registered on Finding Rover. Users of Finding Rover can search OK Humane and surrounding areas right from their smartphone or computer in efforts to find their missing pet, a neighbor’s missing pet, or the family of a found pet.

Every dog and cat that leaves Oklahoma Humane Society, through a reunion or an adoption, can remain protected on Finding Rover when the pet parent registers on Finding Rover with the same email address that OK Humane has on file. If that dog or cat ever gets lost, their record will already be in the system, and identifying that pet will be a snap.

Registration of your pet is FREE and as simple as 1, 2, 3! Just go to www.FindingRover.com and:

  1. Upload your pet’s photo
  2. Enter a few details about your pet
  3. Enter your name, email address, and zip code

That’s it! Once your pets are registered, they’re protected for life.

“Dogs and cats are beloved family members, and if he or she goes missing, it can be devastating to everyone involved. We want to do everything we can to safeguard our pets from being lost forever. Registering on Finding Rover is another step all pet parents should take to further protect their furry family members.” — John Polimeno, CEO and Founder of Finding Rover.

You can view search for lost pets with just a click on our Finding Rover website widget on our “Lost A Pet” page at okhumane.org!

Helpful links:

Finding Rover is online at www.FindingRover.com

Finding Rover is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FindingRover/

Finding Rover is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/findingrover

Together our community can become the NUMBER ONE user of this new technology. Register for FREE on Finding Rover today and help spread the word! The more people that are registered on Finding Rover, the more we can all help reunite lost dogs and cats with their families and place adoptable pets in now homes. In doing this we can all help to save more lives!

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About Oklahoma Humane Society

The Oklahoma Humane Society is the largest animal-related charity in the state of Oklahoma with the goal of eliminating euthanasia in our community through pet adoption, spay and neuter, out-of-state pet relocation, community cats, and saving infants through our neonate nursery.  We are an independent 501(c) 3 non-profit unaffiliated with the Humane Society of the United States and receive no government funding or tax dollars. Visit www.okhumane.org to learn more.

Willie the Crow

posted May 26th, 2019 by
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Willie the Crow

Willie the Crow – Certified Great Read!

Linda Harkey just won the RWYK (Reading With Your Kids) award – Certified Great Read Status for her picture book “The Remarkable Story of Willie the Crow” (A Hickory Doc’s Tale).

Here is the link of the video that was created and published on their YouTube Channel to announce the achievement of her book.

The Remarkable Story Of Willie The Crow” by Linda Harkey | RWYK Certified Great Read

Willie the Crow

Conscientious Dog Owner

posted April 22nd, 2019 by
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Conscienteous b

How to be a Conscientious Dog Owner

by   Nick Burton

Conscienteous

 

As a dog owner, it may be a shock to learn that not everyone shares your love for man’s best friend. You see Spot as more than a companion; he is an essential member of your family. You accept his flaws, laugh when he tracks mud in your kitchen and love when he answers your hugs with sloppy face licks.

Others, like those you run into during a walk and your neighbors,  probably won’t share your enthusiasm, so here are a few tips to make sure that your dog isn’t a disturbance.

 

You are the master — be in control

A courteous dog owner values the importance of obedience. Some people shun training because they believe it requires a certain amount of meanness toward the dog, but it is, in fact, a crucial element to your dog’s happiness. Think about what happens in the absolute absence of obedience training. An untrained dog will likely be aggressive, destroy property and possibly hurt someone. This undesirable behavior is not because the dog is “bad,” but because he doesn’t know any better. Dogs are pack animals that look to a pack leader for guidance on correct behavior. And for your dog, you are the pack leader.

 

Train for courtesy, and your sanity

Obedience training will accomplish several goals. People appreciate a friendly, well-trained dog. It’s easier than you think to instill good behavior in your dog because your canine companion naturally wants to be led.

Consider two typical problem dog behaviors: pulling on leashes during walks and excessive barking. Simple repetition of expected actions during walks can nip lousy leash habits. Take steps to calm a dog as part of the walking process, such as slowly pulling on the leash, then stopping to do a few household tasks. This doesn’t confuse your dog, it reinforces the need for restraint and cements your position as the one in control.

Dog barking is similarly best curtailed as a process of establishing acceptable behavior, but also requires some common-sense tactics on your part. Ignoring barking, refraining from yelling (to your dog, it’s like you’re barking along with him), teaching the “quiet” command and asking for incompatible behavior such as giving a treat for going to his bed when another dog passes the house – are all training-based ways to limit barking.

If you need additional weapons in your training arsenal, look to training accessories. For example, some people opt for clicker training, others like to use training collars. The latter can be particularly effective at behavior modification, especially if your dog has a tendency to bark at the mailman or ignores commands. Whatever method you choose, remember that you’re helping your dog be a model animal citizen.

 

Wear him out

A tired dog is usually a well-behaved dog. And remember, by keeping your dog active, you’re not only helping him to expend pent-up energy, but you’re also contributing to his health and fitness. Avoid missing walks and play time to ensure your dog’s behavior doesn’t falter. If you need the extra help, look into hiring a regular pet sitter to help your dog get in his daily steps when you’re stuck at work.

 

Protect the planet from pooch poop

A courteous, well-behaved dog owner, of course, picks up after their pet. Make sure dog waste is bagged and properly disposed of during a walk – every time. And, since dog feces contain numerous nasty pathogens, it’s essential to remove it from your yard quickly, too. A yard full of dog poop is not just your problem – it can be a neighborhood eyesore, foul-smelling and unhealthy for your dog.

 

Accept others’ opinions

Not everyone is going to love your dog. Your pet could sit quietly and happily in his poop-free yard, and your neighbor across the street may still complain. Some just aren’t dog people. You may think non-dog lovers are missing out on a joy of life, but they disagree. And research suggests that the benefits of dog ownership may be exaggerated. Resist the need as a die-hard dog lover to defend the species. Accept their opinion, and do your best to prove them wrong through training and proper dog ownership practices.

 

Photo credit: Unsplash

Luna the Therapy Dog

posted March 26th, 2019 by
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THE LOVE AND LIFE OF LUNA THE THERAPY DOG

By Heide Brandes

 

Nacole Schopfer’s mother was unable to speak or walk. When Nacole visited her mother in hospice care, the only way they could communicate was through hand signals. It was a depressing and hard time for them both.

 

But when Nacole started bringing her new snow-white Husky pup named Luna to the nursing home on visits, she noticed a change in her mom’s attitude.

 

“I just saw the huge impact that Luna had on my mom and how much happier my mom became. Luna was really good at it. She would always walk up to the bed and say hi to mom,” said Nacole. “My mom was unable to walk or speak, but when Luna would come and visit, it would just make her day. She’d be smiling and happy, and that was a huge thing. And the other residents, they loved Luna too.”

 

Although Nacole already had two other dogs, she had an idea that Luna could be more than just a pet and a companion. She had an impact on people. She had a calming influence on people. She could help people.

 

“Once I realized that she was a really good fit for therapy work, I started looking more into it,” Nacole said.

 

Thanks to training and an eager spirit, Luna is now known as “Luna The Therapy Dog.” Every month, she and Nacole visit hospitals, nursing homes, schools and more to help others deal with stress and other life challenges.

 

For the white dog with the fluffy tail and bright pink booties on, helping others seems to come naturally.

 

THE LIFE OF LUNA

Nacole found Luna as a puppy through a Craigslist ad in December 2014. She had two other dogs already, but she had always wanted a Husky. Knowing that Huskies are a high-energy and intelligent breed, she also knew Luna would need training.

 

“Luna went through training with Kira Schultz Area Pet Trainer. We took six- to eight-week classes at PetSmart—beginner, intermediate, advanced and therapy. And before her therapy class started, we took our Canine Good Citizen test and passed that,” Nacole said. “Kira is able to do the testing for therapy and Canine Good Citizen, but not every PetSmart trainer is. After all of those classes and training, we tested with Alliance of Therapy Dogs and became certified in June.”

 

Training Luna early and daily was the secret to her becoming a natural for therapy work. Exposing the young hound to the nursing home environment to visit Nacole’s mother also helped.

 

“Luna was able to visit my mom without being certified because my mom was a resident, and Luna was so well behaved,” she said. “I saw the huge positive impact it had not just on my mom but on other residents as well, so we decided to become a certified therapy team.”

 

After her PetSmart training, Luna didn’t have to go through all of the training to pass the test with ATD, but Nacole wanted her to be the best therapy dog possible, and with that comes lots of training.

 

“But I thoroughly enjoy it; it’s such a bonding experience,” Nacole said.

 

A DOG’S LIFE

Once Luna received her therapy dog certification, the requests for her came quickly. Within that same month, Luna and Nacole made their first site visit to the First Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City.

 

“I’m not sure if it was a preschool or daycare type of facility, but this school found Luna’s page on Facebook and messaged us to come out during the summer for an animal camp,” Nacole said. “We got to go and visit the kids, and we loved it. We had snow cones and the little kids got to read to her. Luna loved it. She loved all the kids hugging on her and all the attention that she got from the kids and the teachers.”

 

Seeing the success of Luna’s first visit, Nacole looked into other places to bring her. She emailed organizations throughout the metro, offering the pair’s services.

 

“We started visiting [the Academy of Contemporary Music] at UCO once a month to visit all the students and teachers there,” Nacole said. “They loved it, and seeing Luna was definitely stress relief for them. They call it their ‘Stress Paws’ event.”

 

Soon, Luna was in high demand. The team visited the University of Oklahoma Medical Center patients and staff, specifically patients who requested therapy dogs. Next, the two partnered with Good Shepherd Hospice and The Fountains at Canterbury (assisted living) to make visits as well.

 

While Luna and Nacole took the month of January off in remembrance of Nacole’s mother’s passing, the months fill up quickly for Luna.

 

“I can see how she gives stress relief. I love seeing the smiles on people’s faces, and they love interacting with her,” said Nacole. “We also do education. We did an education seminar at Dogtopia where I worked on the differences between service dogs, therapy dogs and emotional support animals because not many people know the differences among the three. We have another one planned for sometime in the spring.”

 

Nacole said Luna’s personality is what makes her so good with other people.

 

“She’s very curious, and she’s a character. She’s my most vocal dog, and she loves doing anything and everything,” said Nacole. “She’s also very courteous. She likes to know what’s going on all the time.”

 

Nacole also knows the responsibility and impact therapy dogs can have. It’s a responsibility she takes seriously.

 

“I know personally what it feels like to be a family member of a hospice patient. I was really, really close with my mom. So I understand how much having a therapy dog visit can brighten your day because you don’t always have people to come and visit,” she said. “I definitely wouldn’t be able to volunteer at hospice with a different dog or on my own. Luna is definitely my support, and I just want to spread her love and her joy to other people.”

 

The need for more therapy dogs in the area is growing. Many times, Luna and Nacole may be the only visitors residents and patients have every month.

 

“If you are interested, contact us. I can answer any questions,” Nacole said. “You should start training early because the dogs have to be OK with wheelchairs and noises and food and just a variety of situations.”

 

Luna now has her own following on Facebook and Instagram as well. You, too, can follow on Facebook @LunaTheTherapyHusky and on Instagram @luna.thetherapydog.

 

And when people see Luna, they also notice her hot pink and black booties.

 

“Everyone asks about the boots. Not only does it help to keep her feet sanitary and protect people from accidental scratches, it’s also how she knows she is working,” Nacole said. “It’s just so rewarding for both of us to help other people.”

Welcome Home to Travis Brorsen

posted March 26th, 2019 by
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Say Hello and Welcome Home to Travis Brorsen

World Famous Dog Trainer and Oklahoma Native

 

By Anna Holton-Dean

 

Growing up in Perry, Travis Brorsen was a typical Oklahoma kid. Elected a state FFA officer his senior year in high school, his interests in pets, education and public speaking were piqued—areas that would all meld together and later culminate into his passion and dream career as a highly sought after, world-known dog trainer and educator. He just didn’t know it yet.

After graduating from Oklahoma State University in 2001, Travis packed his bags and headed for Los Angeles where he attended acting school and pursued an acting career. “My parents thought I would just be heading home at any time, but I’m a very competitive person. So, I was driven to do it,” Travis says. “I did four years of acting school until I got my first job as a guest star on ‘JAG.’”

The part was for a guy in his 20’s, a Marine from Oklahoma. His agent told him if he couldn’t land this job, he should consider a different line of work. Fortunately, he got the part and went on to star in other shows like “Desperate Housewives” and “Bones,” along with other pilots and movies.

In the down time of the 2008 writers’ strike, Travis noticed almost everyone had a dog except him; with all of the great parks in L.A., a four-legged companion was exactly what he needed. So, on a visit home to Oklahoma, he adopted his first pet Presley, an unruly Boxer. “I did not know what I was doing at all. It felt like a nightmare; I was a bad (pet) parent,” Travis remembers. “I did everything wrong from putting him in the crate when he was in trouble to yelling his name when he did something wrong. All of the things I teach now, I was doing them wrong at the time.”

He could never have anticipated all the ways Presley would impact his life.

“Presley was an unruly pup, and it was all my fault. After a little guidance and pet education, Presley truly changed the course of my life,” Travis says. “That’s why I got into behavior and training, to help other pet owners bridge the gap before it is too late.”

It was the Boxer’s misbehavior—running off during a hike at Runyon Canyon—that led to the pair’s appearance on CBS’s “Greatest American Dog.”

“A lady ran up to me and said, ‘Is that your dog?’ I thought, ‘Oh no, what did he do?’ She said, ‘Oh no, he’s great,’ and she asked if we were interested in auditioning for a reality show called ‘Greatest American Dog,’ all about building relationships between the owner and the pet. I thought that’s great because we don’t have one.”

While Travis’ first impression was that reality shows are not a respectable thing for an actor to be a part of, he decided to give it a shot and went to the interview.

“Halfway through the interview process, they asked, ‘Is your dog even trained?’ I was like ‘No, I thought that was why we’re here’… We were cast, and each week we barely made it, but I was soaking it all in.”

No one expected Travis and Presley to come out on top, but the pair came from behind and won the entire competition including $250,000—the most money ever won by a dog and human, but it was the knowledge Travis gained that would eventually prove invaluable. Through the experience he found a passion to help other dogs and their owners create similar positive learning and relationship building experiences. “I learned the best ways of training a dog, keeping it short and turning it into a game. I learned patience, mutual respect and unconditional love,” he says.

Meanwhile, everyone assured him a big break was sure to follow as an actor or T.V. host. But after a year and a half with no offers and the winnings depleted, Travis knew he needed to do “something worth something” with the money he had left. He and Presley moved back to Oklahoma where he created “Adventures with Travis & Presley,” an early childhood education program focusing on bully prevention and character building, which is now being used in thousands of elementary schools across the country. He and Presley would go to conferences and speak at any venue where people needed to be empowered.

Travis also apprenticed under Victoria Stilwell who was a judge on “Greatest American Dog.” Stilwell is a world-renowned dog trainer from Animal Planet’s show, “It’s Me or the Dog,” known for her positive reinforcement. The two trainers worked on many projects together including an updated version of “Rin Tin Tin.”

After winning “Greatest American Dog,” Travis built a highly successful dog training business in Los Angeles. In 2012, he married his sweetheart—also an Oklahoma native—Broadway singer Heather Jones. That same year the couple adopted another Boxer, Pete, from the Boxer Rescue of Oklahoma, and the family moved to New York where he founded Greatest American Dog Trainers, proving himself to be a successful trainer on both coasts.

Dubbed “the Animal Guru” by the New York Post, he was also approached by a production company to host and produce a show, “My Big Fat Pet Makeover,” which went on to air on Animal Planet, can be streamed on Hulu and at animalplanet.com, and viewed on many Southwest Airlines flights.

With the successful training business still thriving in New York, and the addition of their son, Bleu, in 2017, the Brorsens decided to move back to Oklahoma in 2018 (while Travis maintains his NYC clientele and travels there frequently) to prioritize family life and a new project benefitting Oklahomans with disabilities.

“Part of moving back to Oklahoma was to create healthy, ‘Made In Oklahoma’ dog treats. Our first line is a single ingredient, all natural, premium beef jerky treat. We partnered with Enid’s 4RKids, a nonprofit that provides jobs for adults with disabilities. [Individuals at] 4RKids hand cut, pack, label, seal and ship all of our treats. Each bag purchased helps provide jobs for their organization. ‘Pete’s Mesquites Beef Jerky Treats’ can be found online and at all A1 Pet Emporium locations.”

Most recently, he appeared on “The Rachel Ray Show,” was nominated for TV’s Best Dynamic Duo for the Fox Reality Awards and was honored with the Humanitarian of the Year at the New York Pet Fashion Show in 2018.

And here at OKC Pets, we’re excited about his newest role in 2019 as a contributor to our publication. You can check out his first article in this issue on teaching children responsible pet ownership. It may just be the information you need to quell quarrels, relieve parents and ensure the pet’s forever home.

And If you see him out and about around the OKC metro, be sure to welcome Travis home.

Hudiburg Subaru

posted March 25th, 2019 by
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Hudiburg Subaru

Drives Adoptions for Homeless Pets

Steers Animal Welfare in OKC

By Heide Brandes

 

Brad Smicklas, general manager of the Hudiburg Subaru dealership in Oklahoma City’s metro area, grew up helping homeless dogs and cats in a car dealership setting.

 

He and his father, who owned the Smicklas Chevrolet dealership, created an organization at Smicklas Chevrolet called Friends for Life, a nonprofit dedicated to finding forever homes for stray animals.

 

“We took in strays. People would drop stray animals off at the dealership where we had kennels, and we found forever homes for them,” Smicklas said. “We’d hold adoption events.”

 

Today, that tradition continues. Although Friends for Life is a separately-run nonprofit now, Hudiburg Subaru is still active in the mission to help pets and animal welfare causes.

 

However, the Oklahoma-based dealership isn’t an exception for the Subaru company. Nationally, Subaru has been an active and outspoken advocate for pets, shelter animals and stray animals. Vehicles and animal welfare working together? Smicklas says, “Why not?”

 

HUMANE HUDIBURG

For several years, Hudiburg Subaru partnered with the Central Oklahoma Humane Society to host pet adoption events at the dealership.

 

“We did several adoption events with them and with PetSmart. We also had local veterinarians come in and do free vaccinations, and we also made it possible to lower the adoption fees for animals to $25,” Smicklas said. “I have four dogs that I got from the adoptions. Every time we host one, it seems I come home with a new dog.”

 

The Midwest City-based dealership also donates food, cat litter, bowls and other necessary items to local shelters but also welcomes customers’ pets into the store. Pets can go along for test drives and are allowed throughout the dealership.

 

“Animal welfare is something Subaru strongly believes in. They are big on animals, but also on the idea of doing the right thing,” Smicklas said. “It’s the right thing to do to take care of animals, because they can’t take care of themselves. But it’s also the right thing to do to take care of the earth, our teachers, the elderly and our community. Subaru has always been big on making sure each dealership gives back to their communities.”

 

Nationally, the Subaru company is also passionate about animal causes. With more than 6.5 million animals entering shelters each year, according to the ASPCA, Subaru made it their mission to keep all animals—including those in shelters—safe and healthy.

 

Every October, through the Subaru Loves Pets initiative, Subaru retailers ask citizens to donate new pet supplies at their partner stores to give to local animal organizations within their communities. It also provides shelter supply kits for animals awaiting adoption and starter kits for new pet-adopting families.

 

Since 2015, Subaru retailers have partnered with local animal welfare organizations through the Subaru Loves Pets initiative to impact over 109,000 animals in need across the country. Since 2008, Subaru has also donated nearly $22 million to the ASPCA, helped support more than1,500 animal welfare-related events and was instrumental in the rescue, transport and adoption of more than 50,000 animals nationwide.

 

Subaru also sponsored two studies conducted by the Center for Pet Safety, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization dedicated to companion animal and consumer safety.

Hudiburg Subaru has hosted pet adoption events for the past three to four years, and in that time, the dealership has adopted out “several hundred” pets, Smicklas said.

 

“Like most people, I wish we could control the stray animal population. I wish people would spay and neuter their pets,” he said. “I hope to do more adoption events this year.”

 

Hudiburg Subaru will also be a sponsor for the American Heart Walk’s Doggie Hydration Station this summer. Because many participants walk with their dogs at the fundraiser, Hudiburg Subaru will have a tent with water, doggie bowls, leashes and other items to give away.

 

“We also host other community events, but animal welfare is something we believe in,” he said.

 

Hudiburg Subaru is located at 210 East Interstate 240 Service Road in Oklahoma City.

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