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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.

Wise About Wildlife

posted March 25th, 2019 by
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Be Wise About Wildlife

Protect your pet—and wild animals—by preventing unwelcomed encounters

 

BY MARY LOGAN WOLF

 

 

On the kind of Oklahoma day that drives dogs to water, a web-footed lunk of a Lab named Goliath set out for his afternoon swim. Nothing unusual about that, says devoted dog-mom Jennifer Nguyen. Nguyen and her husband live east of Edmond. With a farm pond within a stone’s throw of their home, their amiable canine takes a dip as often as he can.

This time when he returned, he flopped down on the patio rather than barreling into the house as usual. The behavior threw a red flag, so Jennifer stepped out to check. She found Goliath obsessively licking his front foot. A closer inspection revealed something alarming. “I could see his foot was three times its normal size,” she recalls. “Because of where he’d been and what he’d been doing, I assumed he’d probably been bitten by a snake.”

Nguyen knew Goliath needed immediate medical attention. She loaded her dog into the car and headed straight to the veterinary hospital. What followed was a 24-hour, four-alarm snake bite emergency that forced the Nguyen’s to make difficult and expensive decisions to save the life of their dog.

“When they determined it was a snakebite, they asked me if I had seen the snake that had bitten him, but I didn’t,” she says. “We have three of the most common poisonous snakes out here, and they’re all bad.”

She would learn soon enough that Oklahoma’s native pit vipers—copperheads, cottonmouths, and five types of rattlesnakes—pack a powerful bite, but each one delivers a venom with varying effects on the victim, some worse than others. The size of the snake, the location of the wound and the victim’s size can also play a role. While it’s possible for a dog to survive a snake bite without professional care, it’s a tremendous gamble, one the dog-loving Nguyen’s weren’t willing to take.

“We knew if we didn’t do something pretty fast, there was a good chance our beloved fur baby would not be going home with us,” she says.

Goliath received the needed anti-venom that afternoon. At $500 per vial, it’s a costly but highly effective treatment administered for several hours via IV. The next afternoon, the Nguyen’s took Goliath home where he recovered without incident.

Feral Rendezvous

What happened to the Nguyens’ pet is not uncommon for Oklahoma pet owners. As the weather warms, people and pets find themselves whining for the great outdoors. At the same time, Oklahoma’s native wildlife become increasingly active, adding more opportunities for a curious dog or cat to meet with a less-than-friendly feral animal. When this happens, for one species or the other, the outcome is often negative, resulting in injury, disease and sometimes death.

An emergency veterinarian at Blue Pearl Emergency Pet Hospital in Oklahoma City, Dr. Jennifer Jaycox handles the aftermath of pet scuffles with wildlife, among other crises. While Jaycox says the majority of cases are bites and scratches received from rodents and squirrels, she sees her share of more severe injuries. Earlier this year, she treated a dog with deep gore wounds to his body—telltale signs of a brawl with an angry wild hog. While metro pet owners aren’t likely to bump into a feral pig while dog-jogging around Lake Hefner, rural residents with hunting dogs, or other dogs that are prone to exploring, should be aware of the danger.

            A problem more common for residents west of I-35 arrives on the prongs of the slow-moving porcupine. “I’ve seen four or five cases of dogs with porcupine quills in their faces,” says Jaycox. “Often, the dog tries to bite the animal and gets the quills in its throat, mouth and tongue.”

            With roughly 700 to 800 tiny barbs at the end of each tip, porcupine quills are nearly impossible to remove without anesthetizing the dog. Owners who attempt to remove them on their own inflict great pain on their pet and often end up breaking or cutting the quills off in the process, leaving the ends embedded.

            “When quills are embedded, they can continue to work their way inward. I’ve heard of cases where the quills worked their way into the chest cavity of a dog. When we extract the quills, we have to be sure we’re very thorough and get them all out,” Jaycox explains.

Protecting Your Pet

While most dogs and cats tend to receive injuries as they prey on wildlife, it’s not uncommon for smaller pets to find themselves on the menu of some wild predators—namely coyotes, bobcats, hawks, owls and bald eagles. All are proficient hunters who manage to survive and thrive in and around metropolitan and suburban neighborhoods. 

            “People mistakenly assume their busy suburban neighborhood makes it safe for their dog or cat to roam loose,” says Jaycox. “They don’t realize there are some wild animals that adjust very well to city life.”

            She recently treated a puppy with bite wounds received from a mysterious animal that entered the owner’s yard at dusk and tried to drag the puppy away. “The owner couldn’t make a positive identification, but from the description of the animal’s behavior and the wounds, we’re pretty sure it was a coyote,” Jaycox recalls.

            Coyotes and bobcats typically snatch their prey and take off with it, leaving few, if any clues for the despondent owner. Rather than demonizing wild animals for doing what comes naturally, pet owners are better served by taking precautions to ensure their pet’s safety. Install adequate fencing but be aware that bobcats and coyotes can clear a standard chain-link barrier. To ensure the safety of smaller animals, keep a close eye on them outside, particularly at night or early morning when wildlife tend to be more active. Maintaining your yard will provide less attractive places for snakes, rodents and other food sources preferred by predators to hide, and remember that pet food, food bowls and bird feeders may attract unwelcomed visitors.

Unfriendly Skies

Pet owners tend to focus on earth-bound dangers such as marauding dogs, speeding cars and infighting with yard companions, but attacks from on high are not unheard of for animals of 15 pounds or less. Two dogs treated at Blue Pearl this year suffered injuries after riding the unfriendly skies in the talons of a predatory raptor. The birds dropped the dogs in-flight, Jaycox says, but left identifiable wounds in their flesh. Some might say the dogs were saved by the skin of their teeth; as Jaycox relates, the blessing is their canine epidermis.

            “Dogs have very loose skin, which can make it difficult for the bird to carry them. The talons slip through their skin, especially while the bird is flying. They were lucky they survived,” she says.

Don’t Eat That!

While a tussle with a wild critter isn’t something your dog is likely to forget, the greater risk may lie in what wildlife leave behind. Scat of all kinds holds a special allure for domestic pets, primarily dogs, and especially puppies, who enjoy smelling, eating and sometimes rolling in it. The natural inclinations typically elicit a negative reaction from the owner and rightly so. Animal feces carries nasty parasites; one of the nastiest is raccoon roundworm.

            Named for the masked bandit that serves as its most prolific host, the disease has little effect on raccoons. Thankfully, dogs that contract it typically remain symptom free, but the eggs shed in affected animals’ droppings can release an assemblage of horrors—confusion, loss of coordination, seizures and even blindness— on other animals, particularly humans who ingest it. As Jaycox explains, the microscopic spawn takes two to four weeks to become infectious but may remain so for months, putting people and animals who dig in the dirt at serious risk of ingesting it.

            “The big danger is the fact that it can infect humans and children and cause serious neurologic or ocular problems,” says Jaycox. “Young children playing may put dirt or sand in their mouths that is potentially contaminated with eggs.”

            The eggs also remain viable in an animal’s carcass. The best prevention? Dispose of pet waste daily, keep your dog on monthly heartworm and parasite prevention and away from dung and dead animals. 

Vaccination: Just Do It

Thanks to advances in veterinary medicine, pets appreciate substantial protection from several zoonotic diseases, meaning those that pass from animals to humans. The presence of rabies, leptospirosis, raccoon roundworm and other ailments reinforce the importance of routine vaccinations and other preventive medications. The Oklahoma Centers for Disease Control reports 30 known cases of in-state rabies last year. The disease occurred in domestic and wild animals, with skunks claiming the highest number of cases by far. While rabies can affect any mammal, in the U.S. it prevails in wild species by some 92.4 percent. Notably, animals most likely to carry rabies are those known to thrive in and around the Oklahoma City metro—bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes.   

            “A lot of people think they don’t need rabies vaccine because their pet stays inside all the time, but it only takes a second for them to wander outside or a bat gets in their garage, and suddenly they’re face to face with a potentially rabid animal,” Jaycox stresses. “Vaccinate your pet, even if you think there is no way they could ever be exposed.”

Bobcat Fever

Bobcats found along the margins of the metro may prey on small pets and birds when the opportunity presents itself, but they play host to a far greater threat to domestic cats. According to Jaycox, bobcats carry a disease known as bobcat fever that is present throughout the southeastern U.S. In Oklahoma, it is particularly prevalent in the outlying areas surrounding Oklahoma City. Caused by a blood-borne parasite, domestic housecats contract the ailment when bitten by a tick that has fed on a disease-carrying bobcat.

            Stressing the importance of tick control for cats year-round, she adds the disease is fast acting and obstructs blood flow, causing acute respiratory distress and eventually organ failure. “We have a particularly virulent strain here, and the vast majority of cats die from it,” says Jaycox. “Treatment is supportive care. Really, there’s not much else we can do.”

            From bobcats to opossums, wild animals living free in un-wild places are a call to greater awareness for pet owners. As suburbia swells into areas previously claimed by wildlife, and wild animals adapt to survive, taking sensible precautions will ensure a more peaceful coexistence, better health and broader appreciation for all species, domestic and untamed.

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.

Pet-Vet Supply

posted March 24th, 2019 by
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The Evolution of Pet-Vet Supply

36 years of service to the OKC pet community

 

By Heide Brandes

 

Thirty-six years ago, a tiny large-animal supply store opened in Midwest City. What started out as a store catering to owners of horses, cattle and other livestock quickly turned into the largest locally-owned pet and veterinary supply store in the state. Now with more than three decades of loyal customers and an ever-expanding menu of services, Pet-Vet Supply in Midwest City just keeps on growing.

 

Beyond its duties as a retail pet store, pet grooming salon and veterinary practice, Pet-Vet Supply is also a champion for animal rescue and adoption as well.

 

“We started off as large animal retail and kind of morphed into a small animal, dog and cat retail,” said Manager Becky Keupen. “We got our customer base up with that, and then people started asking for vet services, vaccinations and things like that, so we added the clinic.”

 

The evolution of Pet-Vet Supply reads like an almanac of growth. In 1983, it opened as Midwest Farm and Home Supply, which doubled its square footage in 1987. The company changed the name to Pet-Vet Supply and began focusing on small animals in 1991, moving to its present location at 1215 E. Lockheed Drive in Midwest City.

 

By 2002, the Pet-Vet Animal Clinic opened, and the practice expanded its vet services by hiring Kim Mudroch, DVM, in 2004. Once again, Pet-Vet Supply expanded its services by opening the Pet-Vet Grooming Salon in 2009 and adding a second veterinarian, Dr. Denise Fruitt, in 2010. In 2017, training classes were being offered at Pet-Vet.

 

“People come mostly from the Oklahoma City metro area, but we have customers who come from all over,” said Keupen. “We do special shot clinics twice a year and offer half-price vaccinations. When that happens, we get people in from Tulsa and Lawton and from all over.”

 

In addition to pet food, toys and other pet-centric items, Pet-Vet Supply’s most popular draw is the “treat bar,” where customers and their canines can pick and choose from a multitude of treats ranging from biscuits to pigs’ ears.

 

“We added that treat bar about a year and a half ago. It offers a variety of treats that people can pick and choose from, and that’s gone really well,” said Keupen.

 

But a big part of Pet-Vet Supply’s mission is helping animal rescues in the area. The store partners with Underdogs Rescue, the Heartland Husky Rescue and the Animal Rescue Center of Shawnee. Heartland Husky Rescue Foundation is a foster-based rescue group that helps rescue, adopt, save, vet and network Huskies, Malamutes and other Northern Breed dogs in Oklahoma, particularly in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and surrounding areas.

 

The Animal Rescue Center of Shawnee works with the Shawnee Animal Shelter, which is a kill shelter, to adopt out as many pets as possible. The Underdogs Rescue in Choctaw takes in and adopts out “the underdogs of our society, the animals that nobody else wants who would have a slim to zero chance of being adopted at a shelter.”

 

“We have adoption events once a month for them, and while they’re here, all of the proceeds of our toys and treat sales go back to that rescue,” said Keupen. “I think the adoption events bring a lot of awareness. Some of the rescues don’t adopt the day of the event because people need to fill out an application and have a home-check done. So, sometimes we don’t have a lot of adoptions that happen on that day, but the organizations make a lot of contacts and raise a lot of awareness.”

 

Pet-Vet Supply also offers “yappy hour,” which features half-price goodies from the treat bar as well as two big sale events in June and December.

 

“June is our anniversary sale, and this year we’ll celebrate our 36th year. In December, we do a customer appreciation sale,” said Keupen. “In 2019, we’d like to get our training classes really going and expand our boarding capabilities. We’d like to offer more services for existing and new customers and more specialized services, like our allergy testing.”

 

Going up against national retail pet stores is always a challenge, but according to Keupen, the personalized service is what keeps Pet-Vet Supply customers so loyal.

 

“When everyone walks in the door, we just don’t ask them what we can help with. We ask specific questions to help them. And we know everyone’s name—or at least their pets’ names,” she said. “We just try to offer more services to those customers that come in and make it really personal.”

 

For more information on Pet-Vet Supply, call (405) 733-4648 or visit http://pet-vetsupply.com.

Dr. Deepan Kishore

posted March 23rd, 2019 by
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Dr. Deepan Kishore

By Shauna Lawyer Struby

 

Photos by Linda Earley

 

 

Local vet becomes one of a handful of board-certified Diplomate veterinary specialists in Oklahoma

 

By the time Dr. Deepan Kishore was 5 years old, he was already thinking about becoming a vet. His father raised racing homing pigeons and show dogs as a hobby, and that played a role in influencing Kishore’s eventual career choice. Kishore found the pigeons fascinating because of their ability to be released miles from home and find their way back.

 

“Having my dad raise racing homing pigeons and my granddad and then his father too, that’s generations doing this as a hobby,” said Kishore.

 

Little did Kishore know that his childhood interest in animals would turn into a career, or that years later his drive to provide the best possible care to his patients would compel him to undertake a rigorous and extensive specialty certification process completed by only a handful of vets in Oklahoma. Kishore’s journey from childhood interest to alignment with the best practitioners in his field is a fascinating one.

 

Born in India, Kishore completed his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Madras Veterinary College in Vepery, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. Kishore came to the United States in 2008 to work on a master’s degree in stress physiology and immunology at the University of Missouri, Columbia. While working on his master’s, Kishore spent much of his time conducting research, and during that time decided to switch his focus to veterinary practice while still maintaining an interest in research.

 

“That’s when I came to Oklahoma State University (OSU) for a one-year clinical training in 2011, so I could get my license in the United States,” said Kishore.

 

As part of that licensing process, Kishore came to work at Neel Veterinary Hospital (NVH) in Oklahoma City in a preceptorship, which is a period of study for students under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. NVH is where Kishore now practices veterinary medicine. Dr. Tina Neel, chief of staff and owner of NVH, reflects on her impressions of Kishore during that time.

 

“That is where I got to know Dr. Kishore and came to realize his abilities then as a young veterinarian. I could see that he was going to excel in the care of pets as well as having great communication skills to provide compassion to concerned pet parents,” Neel said.

 

Kishore also spent a year working as a vet with a small veterinary practice in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, before returning to Oklahoma and NVH to continue working, but now as a licensed veterinarian. Kishore had always planned to pursue board certification through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP). According to the ABVP website, veterinarians holding the certification are known as ABVP Diplomates and are not only aligned with the best practitioners in the field but have demonstrated they are capable of providing specialized clinical practice.

 

When Kishore began looking at the requirements, he’d realized he’d already satisfied one of the requirements—six years of clinical veterinary practice. In addition to his six years of experience, according to a press release from NVH announcing Kishore’s certification, the rigorous certification process also included submitting two case reports, references, descriptions of practice procedures and professional education records for review. Once the candidate’s papers, records and other materials pass that review process, the candidate is then qualified to sit for, and must pass, an extensive, two-day examination. The entire process from beginning to end requires adherence to high standards of practice, continuing education and a commitment to the well-being of animals. One of the things that Kishore appreciated about the certification was an emphasis on evidence-based medicine.

 

“I’ve always wanted to diagnose and treat pets, not just do symptomatic care. I wanted to practice good evidence-based medicine,” said Kishore.

 

Kishore began working on the two required papers while also juggling his veterinary practice and family life. Kishore is married with one child, and because Neel Veterinary Hospital is open 24 hours a day, his work schedule is demanding. Kishore works 15-hour shifts three days a week.

 

“That’s been the hardest part. My wife and child have been very supportive of me, and it definitely would not have been possible without them. On my days off, I focused on reading, writing the papers, researching and that type of stuff and was able to do that because my wife really supported me,” said Kishore.

 

Kishore estimates it took about two years to complete the two lengthy papers, which require in-depth coverage of specialty level cases where the certification candidate provides treatment and said treatment is successful. Each of Kishore’s papers were approximately 100 to 110 pages. Summaries of Kishore’s two papers are as follows and give the length of the papers and help illustrate the level of care and attention to detail that were required in order for Kishore to write the papers:

 

  • “Septic Peritonitis in a Canine.” A female dog presented with an abdomen filled with pus. Exploratory surgery was done to resect perforated intestines and she was treated in intensive care for five days in post op. She recovered well with surgery and intensive care.
  • “Urethral Obstruction and Occult Hypoadrenocorticism in a Canine.” A male dog presented with a stone obstructing the urethra. Emergency surgery was done to help him urinate. He was also diagnosed with an adrenocortical insufficiency (steroid deficiency). Management was successful for both conditions.

 

“The papers are the hardest part to get through. You do all this work; you submit your credentials and papers to the certification committee,” said Kishore. “The committee decides if you have the correct credentials for being a specialist; they read your two papers and decide if they are approved. If they approve your credentials and your papers, then you’re allowed to sit for the test.”

 

Kishore passed all elements of the process in one try, and in November of 2018 Kishore received notice he had obtained Diplomate status. He was officially an ABVP board-certified specialist in canine/feline practice and one of only a few ABVP board-certified vets in the state of Oklahoma.

 

“I’m very grateful and satisfied that I did the certification. It makes me very happy. It tells us that we practice good medicine in this hospital. If we didn’t practice good medicine, we wouldn’t have had the cases approved at the specialty level,” said Kishore.

 

For Kishore’s furry patients and their humans, the certification brings an added level of confidence for treatment and care.

 

“Our clients can be assured their pets are getting the most up-to-date care. Also, with the speed at which science changes—because the certification requires ongoing continuing education—they can be assured we are practicing the latest up-to-date, evidence-based medicine,” said Kishore.

 

“I have been a strong supporter of Dr. Kishore’s quest to become a boarded specialist in canine and feline practice. He has worked very hard to provide the necessary case reports as well as studying for the examination,” said Neel. “This knowledge allows Dr. Kishore to provide the best care possible to our patients.”

 

Dr. Chris Logan, one of Kishore’s colleagues at NVH, notes Kishore’s demeanor and dedication to his patients even in the face of long hours.

 

“You never know what a day will be like at NVH. Our shifts can vary from 10 hours to 18 hours, just depends on the day of the week and the time of the day. However, I can certainly count on the days that I work with Dr Kishore to be fun/enjoyable and a learning experience,” said Logan. “He seeks to learn and gain as much knowledge and experience as he can attain. You can count on him not going home until all the pets have been seen and treated regardless of when his shift ended.”

 

Kishore’s specialty certification has also broadened and deepened the care NVH can provide.

 

“Dr. Kishore is extremely bright and never takes a day off mentally. He thinks about and plans his surgeries to provide the best outcome possible. In addition to his surgical skills, he is an excellent diagnostician, by being able to work through even the most difficult cases,” said Neel. “He strives to do his very best with every pet, every time. He is not satisfied with ordinary practice. He wants to provide the best care possible, and he studies, reads and goes across the country taking classes to hone his skills.”

 

For Kishore, it all boils down to an abiding compassion for animals and a deep passion for science.

 

“This is something that I’ve always wanted to do,” Kishore said. “I love working with animals, and I have this very, very deep interest in science and veterinary medicine.”

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