General Interest

Rover to the Rescue at OSU

posted October 20th, 2014 by
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Pete's Pet Posse

Pete’s Pet Posse is bringing health to the OSU campus

by Kiley Roberson

College life can be full of ups and downs. The excitement of new adventures packed with the stress of exams and loneliness of missing home. But at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, four-legged ambassadors are saving the day one student at a time.

These rescue rovers are members of the University’s new pet therapy program called Pete’s Pet Posse, named after OSU’s infamous cowboy mascot Pistol Pete, of course. The goal of the program is to positively enhance physical and emotional health throughout the campus and is spearheaded by the University’s First Cowgirl, Ann Hargis.

“At OSU, wellness is a big priority, and we have very robust programs in physical activity and nutrition,” explains Ann. “Pete’s Pet Posse is part of an increased wellness focus on the emotional health of our campus population.”

OSU’s President Burns Hargis and his wife Ann are true animal lovers. So it made sense when Ann invited a famous therapy dog, Rossi the Approval Poodle, for a campus visit last year. Droves of students lined up to visit with Rossi.

The response was so positive that Ann decided to explore a pet therapy program at OSU. Oklahoma State University is known for its outstanding veterinary school, so the program seemed like a natural fit. After extensive planning, the program began to take shape, and today the University has accepted eight pups into the posse.

“I have already seen these animals make a difference on campus,” says Ann. “The way the dogs interact with students, faculty and staff leaves everyone with a smile.”

And on a busy college campus, a smile can go a long way toward positive mental health. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pets can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels and feelings of loneliness. They can also provide greater opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities.

Dr. Lara Sypniewski is an OSU veterinarian and helped develop the Pet Posse Program. She says the benefits of pet therapy are clear.

“Research into student retention, wellness and academic progress has repeatedly shown that interaction with therapy dogs has positive effects on these parameters during the college experience,” explains Sypniewski.

“With mounting pressure on students, staff and faculty for ever greater achievement with smaller budgets and less time, college campuses have developed a ‘culture of stress.’ This culture has created an epidemic of anxiety, relationship and family problems, substance abuse, suicide and violence.

“Research has demonstrated that programs like Pete’s Pet Posse have the potential to lessen this anxiety epidemic and improve the quality of life of our campus family.”

Sypniewski is one of the veterinarians that works directly with the Pet Posse. She says becoming a certified therapy animal isn’t just a walk in the dog park.   

Each member of Pete’s Pet Posse must go through a veterinary exam and interview, a trainer disposition and behavior evaluation, and the owner has to be interviewed by   the advisory committee. The pets also enter into a training program and can only be approved after they graduate.

All of the dogs involved in the program live with their owners full-time and are simply volunteers for the University. After they have completed their training and are accepted into the posse, the OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital (with the support of Merial and Purina) provides the pets’ food and wellness care, such as vaccinations, heartworm treatment and flea and tick preventative. The pets must also be reevaluated each year to stay in the program.

It’s a rigorous process, but owners like Kendria Cost say it’s worth it. Cost is the executive assistant to the First Lady and helped create the program. She’s also the proud owner of Pet Posse member Charlie, an 18-month-old German Shepherd rescue.

“The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Cost.” The Office of Campus Life has a treat drawer for the dogs that visit. Several of the dogs have been on campus long enough that people call them by name and run to greet them.”

One of those people is OSU student Alex Miller, a freshman from Fort Worth, Texas, double majoring in music education and clinical child psychology. Just a few weeks into her first semester, homesickness   struck. She missed her family back home, especially her two Labradors that always knew how to cheer her up. Feeling blue after class, Miller decided to stop by the Student Union for a coffee where she met Cost, and most importantly, Charlie.

“I stepped into the Student Union and right at the front desk was this big ball of fur, tongue out, tail wagging. I asked to pet him, and as I got down to his level to give him some love, I just started crying,” explains Miller. “All the stress of moving somewhere new and starting completely over   with friends and living and so on was removed, and I felt more at home than ever. I was able to vicariously love my dogs through him that day.”

Visiting with Charlie made a huge impact on Miller. Pete’s Pet Posse gave her an outlet in which to get involved, and now she promotes it to everyone.

“I think this program is a perfect asset to have at a University, especially for the students who    are living a long way away from their homes, like I am. You’re really able to have that kind of connection, and it helps with settling down in a place that is brand new,” says Miller. “Now I’m involved in the program and also volunteer at the Stillwater Humane Society. I feel more at home than ever at OSU, and I see Charlie every chance I get.”

Changing lives like Miller’s is what Pete’s Pet Posse is all about. But it helps that the pets benefit too.

“I am especially proud that most of these animals are rescues, and in true Cowboy spirit are giving back to others,” says Ann. “This program reaches across all campus boundaries and is truly multidisciplinary in the approach to wellness. I look forward to continued successes and can’t wait to see where these pups take us on our journey of becoming America’s healthiest campus.” 

Ask The Doc

posted October 14th, 2014 by
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Tracei Holder, DVM/Medical Director, VCA Kickingbird Animal Hospital

Doc

Q: Why do dogs lick their feet?

 

 

A: Dogs most commonly lick their feet secondary to allergies. The inciting cause can vary, from a sensitivity to grass to the wool fabric from carpets. Inhaled molds and pollens can result in the skin on their feet becoming inflamed and then itchy.

The dog begins to lick and secondary bacterial and yeast infections may arise, which leads to more licking of the feet. Management of the allergy, as well as secondary infections that develop, is necessary to control the foot licking.

If a dog suddenly begins to lick at one foot in particular, we look for something stuck on the foot or between the foot pads, an acute injury to a toe or nail, development of arthritis in a joint in the foot or the presence of a growth. Growths can be either malignant or benign and should be evaluated by your veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment.

We do on occasion see dogs that have an obsessive compulsive disorder, and they may lick at their feet in order to soothe themselves. It may involve one foot or more and may be managed by use of anti-anxiety medications.

 

Q: Why do some dogs’ feet smell like Fritos?

 

A: This is commonly reported by owners, and most times a yeast infection is found as the underlying cause. If there is no obvious redness of skin or sores on the feet, the smell can be managed by washing the feet in a shampoo containing ketoconazole or 2 percent chlorhexidine.

 

 

Q: What is bloat?

 

A: Bloat is a very serious, potentially life-threatening situation that can develop without much warning. The term refers to a medical condition—gastric dilatation and volvulus/GDV—where the stomach becomes filled with gas and/or food and stretches to many times its normal size. It then twists, blocking outflow and the normal blood supply. This results in an extreme amount of pain and can be fatal within hours.

Large, deep-chested breeds, such as Great Danes, St. Bernards and Weimaraners, are at increased risk. Some factors that can reduce the risks are eating two or more meals per day including some canned food in the diet and  feeding a dry food containing a calcium-rich meat meal listed in the first four ingredients—such as lamb meat meal, fish meal, chicken by-product meal or bone meal. Dogs that have a more relaxed or happy temperament are less likely to bloat.

Reporting Dog Abuse – Citizens Taking Action

posted October 7th, 2014 by
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Citizens

By Wilhelm Murg

 

A few weeks ago, I played a small but important part in an animal abuse investigation;

I brought a gruesome web video to the attention of KOTV News, which broadcast a report about it on local television, and more importantly, put the original uncut video on their website.

 

The KOTV page received over 850 comments, three petitions were started online with one getting over 10,000 signatures, a Facebook community was started over the incident, and the Wagoner County Sherriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office were inundated with calls from concerned citizens.

What I realized from this experience is a tiny amount of effort can get a snowball rolling. I’m a professional journalist and that helped a little in choosing the right words, but ultimately, I was calling people and simply describing a video I witnessed—something anyone can do.

It all started on the morning of Monday, February 3. A disturbing video had been linked on the Joe Station Bark Park Facebook page of three dogs mauling another dog to death in the snow. Whoever filmed it did not seem to try to stop the fight at any point.

Of course, the first thing that comes to mind when you see dogs killing one another is that you are witnessing dog fighting, which is illegal in Oklahoma. The video was originally incorrectly identified as coming from Coweta; it turned out it came from neighboring Bixby.

The video link was posted by a woman justifiably upset by the content. It was going around Facebook, and she posted it on the dog park page to notify someone, anyone, who might know what to do about it.

I called my friend, animal advocate and TulsaPets contributor Ruth Steinberger, who is involved in an ongoing case where someone had dumped dog carcasses in North Tulsa. She was booked solid that day, so she told me to report it to the police, call the animal control officers at the Tulsa Animal Shelter and call the media.

The video was originally posted on the Facebook page of Taylor Given. Given’s girlfriend, Amy Kaye Jacobsen, had commented on the post that the three attacking dogs belonged to her. In the comments section, she had gotten into a series of arguments with outraged people who had seen the video, which was     going viral.

When calling the media or the authorities, it’s important to have a simple narrative; clarity is essential in your description. My narrative was: (a.) I saw this video and in the accompanying comments a woman claimed the three attacking dogs were hers; (b.) Whoever filmed the incident did not seem to attempt to stop it; (c.) I know there are ongoing investigations about dog fighting, and this could be connected to it; (d.) I grew up in the country with a pack of dogs; I’ve owned dogs my whole life, and this never happened. Dogs are survivors by nature; they don’t normally attempt one-against-three suicidal attacks.

You can call the newsroom and sell a reporter on a story, but if the editor doesn’t like it, it gets thrown in the trash. The more media outlets you call, the better chance you have that one of them will be interested in your story.

I called the Tulsa Police Department (thinking the video was made in Tulsa County). They had received other calls, but they were trying to figure out if this was in their jurisdiction. Animal Control and the various news outlets had also received multiple calls. After calling all of the TV stations (except KTUL as I got sidetracked), The Tulsa World and KRMG, I sat back and let them mull it over.

I knew the video would be a double-edged sword; it would get the reporters’ attention because the video is so brutal, but at the same time the content was so violent that it could not be broadcast.

That afternoon I got a call from KOTV reporter Ashlei King. Earlier this year, King had also reported on the dumped dog carcasses (mentioned above). Given gave her an interview, so she wanted me to give my side of the story on-camera for the broadcast.

When I met King, she told me that Given and Jacobsen were now saying that all four dogs were strays and that, for some reason, they only feed three of the four. In the original post, Jacobsen claimed they were her dogs, and contradictions like that, coupled with the video, added fuel to the upcoming fire.

KOTV put the story on their 9 p.m. newscast that evening and posted the entire unedited video on their website. That’s when interest exploded with the petitions and the Facebook page, where they posthumously named the deceased dog “Spirit,” so he would have a name.

It also started an unofficial online investigation by people who were digging through Given’s and Jacobsen’s Facebook and Instagram pages, which were still open for the public. They wisely changed their profiles to private the next day.

While all of this was going on, there were virtual screaming matches going on between Jacobsen and complete strangers via Facebook while people claiming to be friends of the couple were defending their actions on the KOTV commentary section. Obviously the video was going viral, as people from other countries signed the petitions.

Of all the comments, my favorite was from a woman who was very upset with the video, but at the same time she questioned KOTV’s labeling of me as an “animal advocate.”  I “liked” her comment because she hit the nail on the head; I am not a professional “animal advocate.”

I am just a normal citizen who made six or seven telephone calls one morning,  which may have taken 30 minutes out of my day. I saw something that might be criminal and, as my Grandmother taught me when I was a child, I reported it.

I became a member of the Facebook   page, which had to become private due to supporters of Given and Jacobsen trolling the group. People posted questions, asking permission to call the Wagoner Sheriff and the District Attorney about the case. I kept restating that, as citizens, it is their right to call and inquire; they do not need anyone’s permission. Everyone should remember that.

As I look back at the story, I feel the real reason it took off was because there were two videos: the news story and the gruesome original video. The news story promoted the video, so people could read the story and then decide if they wanted to see the original video.

I was amazed that a video as gruesome as this, with footage that many animal rights advocates have attempted to get disseminated, was published by a main-stream TV station on the web before a general audience.

Sadly, for all this effort and attention, no charges were ever brought up. As of this writing, nearly two months since the video was posted, the investigation has gone back and forth between the Wagoner County Sheriff’s Department and the D.A.’s Office, but nothing has happened.

A call to the Wagoner County District Attorney’s Office was not immediately returned. One can only hope that there will be some movement in the near future on  this case.

No matter the outcome of this particular case, it proves everyday citizens’ voices can be heard when they work together. Change must begin somewhere, and simply speaking up is a good starting point.

A Cat Tale – Livin’ the Good Life

posted September 30th, 2014 by
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Cat Tale

by Camille Hulen

 

 

“Hi there! It’s Rio here. That’s me in the first picture, basking under the sunlamp in my ‘beach house’.  At least that’s what Mom calls it. You see, I moved here with my roommate, Oso, last winter when it was very cold outside. Mom set up double adjoining crates on a table in the barn and furnished them with nice, warm beds and heating pads. Sure is lots better than life on the street!”

 

 

“I was found in a shed at an apartment complex where people moved away and left me. I was a pregnant teenage mom when some nice lady found me. She took care of me and found homes for my babies, then got me ‘fixed’ so that wouldn’t happen again.”

 

 

“Oso tells me that another nice lady helped her even more because her situation was worse. She was found with four babies behind a vacant house and was so young that she didn’t know how to care for them. The lady helped feed them and gave her assurance; so much, in fact, that she was able to nurse another orphan.”

 

Unfortunately, this happens all too often. People get a cute little kitten, but care little about it when the novelty wears off. Then circumstances change, so they simply move away and leave it because they cannot afford the pet deposit at the new apartment. Every apartment manager could repeat this story verbatim.

 

Others fail to get veterinary care and let their cat outside because it is crying to get out. Chances are that the cat wants outside because it is a female “in heat.” Many do not realize that a female cat can become pregnant as young as four months of age. Since they didn’t care properly for one cat, they certainly do not care for a litter of kittens either. Hence they are abandoned.

Now back to our story. Rio and Oso were found in different neighborhoods but under similar circumstances. Their plights became known through a network of emails. (Email through personal contacts is the most effective way to rehome rescue cats because shelters are usually full.) Ideally, all of these cats would be placed in loving indoor homes. However, many now prefer life outside, and therefore, make ideal barn cats.

It so happened that Nancy, one person in this network, was looking for barn cats to control the mice in her husband’s shop. She had barn cats in other outbuildings on the ranch, but the cat guardian of this building had died recently. She sought two cats, so they could have the companionship of each other. Rio and Oso should fill the bill.

“Hi! Oso speaking now. I’m the sleek, black little girl with big eyes. The lady who found me called me ‘Hooter’ because my eyes were as big as an owl’s, but Nancy renamed me the minute she saw me. She said that I was ‘oh, so beautiful.’ Hence my name became ‘Oso.’

“I met Rio, formerly called ‘Stripes,’ at Camille’s Cathouse where we were introduced. We were both recovering from our spaying and bunked together in a double cage. I wasn’t sure about Rio at first because she seemed a little rowdy. However, we decided that we were now starting our lives anew, so we might as well be friends. Nancy came to visit us regularly and spoke to us gently, using our new names. Plus, she brought us treats!

“When we first came to our home in the shop, we stayed in our cage (aka: beach house). After we were here for a couple of weeks, Nancy opened the cages at night, so we could explore. What fun!  There are lots of nooks and crannies for mice. Rio is the best hunter, but I help her; we usually bring our prizes to show the people. Mom still feeds us morning and evening, ’cause the cat food has a lot more nutrients than just mice.

“Rio has told you a little about life here. Let me tell you more. When Mom Nancy introduced us to her husband, he talked to us and petted us, and then he went to work. Oh, the noise! He ran these big machines that made a lot of noise, but we knew we were safe. Sometimes he stops work and fires up the grill. Yummy! It has become a tradition to share his lunch with us. Now we just hang out during the day up high, away from the noise, but always come when called.”

This illustrates several things:

 

1. When cats are introduced to the barn, they must be confined in order to learn that this is their new home;

 

2. Give them a comfortable bed to keep them warm;

 

3. Introduce yourself to them gently;

 

4.  Feed them daily, so they know that you are their food source. Cats cannot live healthy lives by mice alone;

 

5. Give them food in small quantities, so they look forward to your next visit;

 

6. Call them by name, so they learn to come when called.

 

“It’s spring now, and Mom opens the door to let us outside during the day. The sun is glorious!  We really don’t need the sunlamps now, but still appreciate our nice soft beds. We stay close to the shop, ’cause that’s our home, but we have gotten to meet some other cats and even horses and dogs.

“We have a special cat door up off the ground that only we can access, so we can come and go during the day, but Mom locks us in at night after she feeds us to keep us safe from all the wild things. Yes, we’re livin’ the good life as barn cats!”

Pet-Friendly Patios in Oklahoma City

posted September 27th, 2014 by
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Pet Friendly Patios

 

These local restaurants welcome your well-behaved pooch on their patios. Enjoy drinks, dinner and the warm spring weather with your pet by your side, but please be a courteous, responsible pet owner, both to your host and other diners.

Be sure to snap a photo of your furry dining companion or even someone else’s and share it with us. We may feature it in an upcoming issue.

S&B Burger Joints
5929 N May – Near North
14020 N May – Far North
20 NW 9th – Midtown
102 W Main St. – Norman
7745 S Walker – Southwest

Jazmo’z Bourbon Street Café
Bricktown
100 E California Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
(405) 232-6666

Earl’s Rib Palace
Bricktown
216 Johnny Bench Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
(405) 272-9898

Café Do Brasil
Midtown
440 NW 11th St
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
(405) 525-9779

Deep Deuce Grill
Deep Deuce
307 NE 2nd Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
(405) 235-9100

Pizza 23
Uptown
600 NW 23rd
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
(405) 601-6161

Urban Wine Works
The Plaza District
1749 NW 16th St
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
(405) 525-9463

Captain Norm’s Dockside Bar
Bricktown
103 E California
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
(405) 600-6092

In the Raw Sushi
Bricktown
200 S Oklahoma #130
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
(405) 702-1325

Rally Around the Pits Motorcycle Rally and Adoption Event

posted September 27th, 2014 by
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Rally Around the Pits, Inc. is a small non-profit organization organized for charitable, humane, and educational purposes, including to educate the public about animal welfare and pet adoption. Our primary fundraising event is a family-friendly motorcycle rally meant to bring people together for the love of motorcycles and dogs, specifically pit bull type dogs. The term “pit bull” is often associated with the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Pit bull type dogs are often vilified in the media. Our goal is to educate the public about these type dogs by creating a family and pet friendly event to show they are just dogs and need a home like any other, while raising awareness and funds for local non-profit animal rescue organizations that specialize in the bully breeds.

Rally Around the Pits Motorcycle Rally and Adoption event is scheduled for Sunday, October 5, 2014 from 10 am to 4 pm at Iron Nation Harley Davidson. Iron Nation Harley Davidson is located at 3433 S. Broadway in Edmond, OK. We have two local animal rescue organizations signed up to be beneficiaries of this year’s event, PitEssentials Rescue, Inc. and Bald and Bully, Inc. We use a mix of vendors, displays, and live music by Mudflap Nichols and the Twisted Spokes to keep people having fun and raising money for dogs in need.

Numerous national and local companies have donated items to our organization for raffle and silent auction. National sponsors include Lowbrow Customs, VNM, Thundershirt, Stella and Chewy’s, and Forever the Chaos Life, while local sponsors include Carey Pet and Home Care, Monster Graphx, Raise Hail, LLC, Quail Tag Agency, SB Body Arts, K9 Konfections, Best Friends Total Pet Care, and Interurban Restaurants. All net proceeds from Rally Around the Pits Motorcycle Rally and Adoption event will be split equally between the participating animal rescue organizations. The money raised goes directly towards the care of the animals in the rescue’s possession while they wait for their forever homes.

Rally Around the Pits, Inc. recognizes all sponsors large or small with several sponsorship levels. For more information, please visit our website, www.rallyaroundthepits.com or Facebook page, www.facebook.com/PitRally. Anyone interested in being involved with this year’s event or future events can call Kelli or Erik White at 405-463-0552 or send us an email at [email protected].

Thank you for your time and consideration. You will find our current flyer attached to this email.

Sincerely,

Kelli White