Author Archives: Kristi Eaton

Buckle ‘em Up

posted August 4th, 2010 by
Backyard 2008 066B

Story by Kristi Eaton

Buckling up a friend or loved one is a no-brainer when going for a car ride. But some may forget the importance of strapping in the four-legged friend when getting behind the wheel. Forgetting, or merely skipping, to buckle your dog could have deadly consequences for both you and your pet. For example, when driving 35 mph, a 60-pound unrestrained dog can cause an impact of 2,700 pounds, slamming into a car seat, windshield or passenger, according to Bark Buckle UP, a national pet safety campaign.
The campaign travels around the country educating pet owners and first responders about the importance of properly restraining animals in vehicles. The campaign’s website,, lists products that have been tested and found to be safe to use by your dog. Examples of products include a safety vest, a flotation vest, a first aid kit and an oxygen mask.
And to help every pet and owner remain safe, the Bark Buckle UP campaign offers free safety kits in case your pet is in an accident. First responders will locate the pet safety kit in your glove box and call your contacts to come get your pet, in addition to informing them you have been in an accident. The safety kit includes emergency contact information, shots and other records, and vet information, in addition to safety tips for traveling with your pet. To receive your own kit, fill out the information requested at

– Kristi Eaton

Even the Dogs Are Going Green

posted July 22nd, 2010 by
Pet paper bag

Story by Kristi Eaton

Green living isn’t just for humans anymore. From organic food to hemp collars and hemp blankets, several companies offer eco-friendly pet products, allowing your pet to do their part in helping the environment and stay healthy.
Earthdog is a company that creates pet supplies out of hemp, the soft fiber made out of cannabis that is increasingly being used to make products. For about $30, Earthdog sells hemp collars, harnesses and leashes. In addition, the company makes hemp blankets, pillows and beds for dogs. The company admits that the hemp toys for canines are not as attractive as their counterparts, but your dog will enjoy chewing on the stuffed toys and rope. Visit the Earthdog website at
Not to be outdone, your feline friend can have her own hemp collar for $10 from the Only Natural Pet Store.
For food, organic can be the way to go. Jake’s Dog House ( sells Gourmet Carrot Crunch Organic Dog Biscuits. A case of 24 runs $19.95. Made out of all organic ingredients, the treats are high in protein and low in fat. And there’s no reason to not stay healthy for your dog’s birthday. Thanks to, your four-legged friend can enjoy an organic birthday cake for $27.

Tulsa Community College’s Veterinary Technology Program

posted July 15th, 2010 by

By Kristi Eaton

Your veterinarian isn’t the only person needed to help keep your canine healthy. Veterinary technicians, or vet techs for short, play an integral part in the animal medical team.

A vet tech is similar to other allied health care professionals, like a nurse, occupational therapist or dental hygienist, according to Jan Weaver, DVM, the coordinator for the Veterinary Technology program at Tulsa Community College.

“All those rolled into one is a veterinary technician,” she says. “They work on a lot of different species of animals. Vet techs are there to provide the clinical and hospital and administrative work for the veterinarian.” Before you or your pet even sees a veterinarian, you will most likely work with a vet tech that will admit the animal, take the patient to the exam room to perform the initial examination, and take its history. The veterinarian would then come in to the room and perform a physical examination, review the information from the technician and create a diagnostic plan that may include lab tests and X-rays, Weaver says.

“That allows [the vet] to do what [they] need to do: the diagnosis and surgery and prescribing medications, and the technicians can provide all those supportive, very important nursing procedures. It’s really a teamwork,” she adds.

For those hoping to become a vet tech, Tulsa Community College offers a two-year associates degree in applied science. And located on TCC’s West Campus, the vet tech program sports a 20,000 squarefoot teaching facility with classrooms, clinical laboratories, a treatment area for large animals with stalls for cattle restraint, and a small animal treatment area with six wet tables to examine and treat small animals like dogs and cats, and lab animals like rabbits, rats and mice. In addition, there are also surgical suites for both large and small animals;animal wards for various species: dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs, to name a few; and a grooming ward to provide medicated bathing and hygiene.

“The vet tech program started as a group of area veterinarians who were interested in having a technician school and came to TCC, because we have so many workforce development programs,” Weaver explains, “so it was a perfect fit.” Suzann Dunkerley, DVM, MS, an associate professor of the program, calls the campus a “hidden jewel.” “It is a large campus with all the services, but it is located in a pleasant location near Berryhill. This provides some open land, with minimal concrete and cars. We enjoy watching some of the wildlife, and the view of downtown Tulsa from the West Campus can be beautiful on clear days,” she says.

The Vet Tech degree program began in January 1999, in a strip shopping center. The new school facility was completed in 2001, after a bond issue to fund higher education in Tulsa County was passed.
Twenty students graduated from the school with an associates degree for the 2009-2010 school year, Weaver says, and 24 more students are returning for their second, and final, year in the fall. Weaver and others are conducting interviews for the newest class, which they expect will reach 30 students.

The curriculum for the degree requires 23 to 25 hours of general education courses, like Chemistry and English Composition. Students must complete a college-level biology for major’s course, and an intermediate level of algebra is recommended.

After those initial courses are completed, students undergo 58 hours of vet tech courses spread out over two years. Courses include Principles of Large Animal Care, Veterinary Hospital Technology and Veterinary Pharmacology. In between the first and second years, students complete an internship at a local vet, Weaver says.
“My philosophy about the program is to be very hands on. We provide a strong academic foundation, but we also make sure students have ample opportunity for hands on work, whether it’s large animal, small animal or exotic,” she adds.

The program, which also has three-year tracks for those students with no college or few college credits, or those attending part time, is generalized, Weaver says, meaning the students study all the major species. “Once the students graduate and are licensed they have the opportunity to specialize,” she says, adding that there are a series of certifications for vet techs that are “very intense and very involved.”
Specialty areas include dental hygiene, internal medicine, anesthesiology and office management Weaver says most of the students enrolled in the vet tech program come from Oklahoma or surrounding states like Texas, Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri.
“Most will probably stay within a 50-mile radius of Tulsa (after graduating), but we have students that do go back to their home in various states,” she says.

Dunkerley, who mainly focuses on large animals, says the quality of care for animals in the community has improved because of TCC’s Veterinary Technician program. “TCC has provided a much-needed workforce degree for our community,” she says.

Despite what some people may think, there are career paths and options for vet techs outside of the traditional veterinarian’s office.
One path includes working with lab animals like rats and mice in a company setting.

“They need to be familiar with the proper restraint and handling, the behavior, the medicine, and of course, in order to support a research-type organization like a medical hospital or pet food companies – any industry that involves animals – they will need to have a vet tech to support them. The vet techs are really the animal advocates,” Weaver says.

In addition, other career paths include working in the industry as an equipment representative, in office management, government work through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and education. “It’s just really anything you can think of. Vet techs can have a rewarding career,” Weaver says.
But, she notes, people interested in the profession need to keep in mind that a career in veterinary technology does not mean only dealing with four-legged creatures.

“First off, you must love animals. You must have a heart for animals, but at the same time a desire to improve their circumstance,” Weaver says. “A lot of people come into vet medicine believing they don’t have to deal with people. That’s not true. Animals don’t walk into the door themselves. If you have a desire to work with animals, this is a great career for you.”

Big Dogs, Small Yard? You need a POWERLOO!

posted July 10th, 2010 by

Story by Kristi Eaton

No longer does disposing of your four-legged friend’s waste have to be unsanitary, time consuming or messy.

World's first outdoor flushable dog toilet

 PowerLoo is an outdoor toilet that flushes to get rid of pet waste. Installed in the ground, the product connects to an existing sewer or septic line, where it then travels to a treatment facility or septic tank.
The PowerLoo eliminates one of the most common methods of poop removal: picking it up with a plastic bag, placing in the trash bin and waiting for the city to pick it up with the other trash, as well as the most unsanitary: leaving it in the ground for the soil to absorb it or let the rain carry it away. The problem with the latter method is that the waste contains a high level of disease-causing pathogens that can seep into the rain sewers, therefore entering lakes, rivers and other bodies of water.  Moreover, burying the waste or composting it can spread E. coli, Salmonella, Giardia and other diseases.

Just raise the lid with your foot on the pedal...

 Flushing the waste down a toilet has been found to be the safest and most sanitary way to get rid of dog poop, but many people do not want to carry their dog’s waste through the house to the bathroom toilet. Enter the PowerLoo, which has been featured on CNN and MSNBC. It comes in five different colors and two different packages. The standard package is $997 and the premium package is $1,197. For more information, visit

Push down further and flush your problem away!

 – Kristi Eaton

Photos courtesy of Tulsa homeowner.


Friday is National Take Your Dog to Work Day

posted June 24th, 2010 by

Story by Kristi Eaton

You won’t have to leave Fido at home tomorrow when you head to work. Friday is National Take Your Dog to Work Day. First started in 1999, the day celebrates dogs as companions and promotes adoption from animal shelters, humane societies and breed rescue clubs. An estimated 300 companies took part in the first annual Take Your Dog to Work Day more than a decade ago, when Pet Sitters International, the largest educational association for pet sitters, created the day to honor our four-legged friends. By 2003, more than 5,000 companies were taking part in the day.

“PSI created Take Your Dog To Work Day in 1999 with one goal in mind–to make every pet a wanted pet with a professional pet sitter to care for it,” according to the official Take Your Dog to Work website. “If there is room in your heart and your home for a furry companion, please consider adopting from a local shelter.”
Pet Sitters notes that a 2006 American Pet Products Manufacturers Association survey shows one in five companies allow pets in the workplace. Employees, according to the survey, say pets in their workplace led to a more creative environment, decreased absenteeism, improved productivity and helped co-workers get along better.

But for those people whose company does not allow pets, there is still a way to celebrate Take Your Dog to Work Day. The organization recommends bringing a picture of your dog to the office to show around, or organize a fundraiser at the office to raise money for a local animal organization.

Are you planning on taking your dog to work tomorrow?

– Kristi Eaton

Marconi Makes the Big Time

posted June 9th, 2010 by
Marconi 2

Story by Kristi Eaton

When local NASCAR enthusiast Christine Po turns on the races in the next few weeks, she’ll be paying extra special attention to one car.
Po’s dog, Marconi, is going to be featured in the next few weeks on Trevor Bayne’s #99 car as part of the OUT! Pet Care “Top Dog of the Week” promotion. Marconi, or Marco as he is often called, will then be entered into the grand prize category, where online voters will pick the winner. The grand prize is a trip to the NASCAR Nationwide® Series at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, on Nov. 6.
Po, who has had many dogs in the past, said Marco is special and unique.
“He has never had a bad day in his life,” she said. “He is always happy and always ready for an adventure.”
Marco stands out from other dogs with his unique cultural ties to Italy, Po said. He was found in Italy in 1999, when Po’s husband was stationed in northern Italy at the U.S. Air Force at Aviano Air base, and is still partial to many aspects of Italian life: He begs for espresso, drinks the foam from cappuccino and enjoys being talked to in Italian. But after moving to the U.S. with his adopted family in 2002, Marco has adapted well to American comforts like drive-thrus, car rides and bacon. He has also traveled with his family to Austria, Germany and the south of France, where he enjoyed the castle at the top of the hill in Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
“I think this little guy is pretty special and most people who meet him agree,” Po said.
Marco’s mom admits that she jumped up and down when she received the phone call about the contest. Phone calls to family and friends to share the good news ensued. Po said she plans to begin a voting campaign for Marco, and her daughter will soon create a Facebook fan page for him.
“There are people across the country and world who are Marco fans. He has already received many well wishes,” she added.

Marconi at the castle at the top of the hill in Chateauneuf-du-Pape

- Kristi Eaton

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