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posted April 1st, 2015 by
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Doggone Party Invitation 2



Saint Simeon’s, a premiere senior living community in Tulsa, will host a “Doggone Birthday Party” for its “Chief Executive Cuddler,” Simone, on Tuesday, April 7 at 2:00 p.m. Simone the Golden Retriever will turn 6. Her birthday wish is to help the dogs of Tulsa’s homeless population. Simone has invited her party guests to bring donations of food for the dogs of the homeless, which will be donated to canines through the Tulsa Animal Welfare Shelter and Iron Gate.


Saint Simeon’s has taken on assisting the dogs of the homeless as a project of interest over the last four months. During Christmas, Simone the Golden Retriever coordinated a holiday drive, which resulted in over 500 pounds of dog food being raised for the dogs of the homeless. Currently, Saint Simeon’s Residents meet every Monday afternoon to re-bag dog food donations as a volunteer effort to help Tulsa Animal Welfare Shelter with the distribution process to the dogs of the homeless.


Simone, who spends business hours each week making rounds to Residents’ rooms at Saint Simeon’s, has become the popular mascot for the senior living community. With her big smile and beautiful golden coat, visitors to Saint Simeon’s and Residents alike find it impossible to resist Simone’s charm. Simone is one of the most popular dogs in Oklahoma, boasting more than 700 friends on Facebook. She even has her own business cards! Simone has also been a cover girl for Tulsa Pets Magazine and Vintage Newsmagazine.



During the “Doggone Birthday Party,” attendees will have the opportunity to hear the history of Simone (II), and her predecessor, Simone I. Birthday cake for dogs and humans – two separate cakes – will be served. Dog visitors from Karing K-9s will also be in attendance. The event will be held at the Saint Simeon’s Common Room, 3701 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in Tulsa. The event is free, and visitors are welcome.


Saint Simeon’s is a privately managed, not-for-profit, picturesque senior living community that is home to men and women of all faiths who wish to live their later years in an environment with dignity, individuality and the highest level of independence possible. With 55 years of expertise, Saint Simeon’s offers multiple levels of care and is a mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma. For more information about Saint Simeon’s, please call (918) 794-1900 or visit

Plump Pets

posted March 28th, 2015 by
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Plump Pets


By Kiley Roberson


It’s not just a people problem; many of our pets are packing on the pounds too. Just over half of all cats and dogs in U.S. households are either overweight or obese, according to a survey from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

And just like in people, extra weight means extra health problems associated with it.

“Excess weight predisposes pets to a variety of illnesses,” explains Dr. Scott Floyd, DVM at Midtown Vets in Oklahoma City. “Diabetes, intervertebral disk rupture, arthritis, collapsing trachea, heart-associated illness and fatty liver syndrome, to name a few.”

Dr. Floyd says he treats at least two to three obese pets every week, and not surprisingly, treats are part of the problem. He says over-treating, free-feeding and lack of exercise are the major contributing factors to pet obesity. We’re all living such busy lives, that a long walk with Fido or tossing around a ball of yarn with Fluffy just isn’t a top priority. As we do less and less, so do our pets, and before you know it the scale is going up.

It might seem like an extra pound or two on our four-legged companions isn’t so terrible. But that little bit can be a significant percentage of a pet’s total weight. For example, a Yorkie who tips the scales at “just” 12 pounds is equivalent to a 5-foot- 4-inch woman who weighs 218 pounds.

Some pet owners ignore the health hazards associated with overweight pets, focusing on how cute their plump kitty or roly-poly puppy looks. But overfeeding a fat cat or dog is loving it to death basically. That’s because overweight and obese pets also have much shorter life spans.

“Preventing obesity will contribute to a much higher quality of life for your pet       and could certainly lead to a longer life,” says Dr. Mark Shackelford, DVM at 15th Street Veterinary Group in Tulsa. “Your pet will  be happier, healthier and much more energetic.”

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention says inactive pets are more likely to become depressed or anxious—habits most pet owners associate with behavioral problems. That’s because a sedentary life-style leads to an alteration  in the three major brain chemicals responsible for mood, and that can create emotional issues. Aerobic activity for as little as 20 to 30 minutes a day balances norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin levels, resulting in a better, more stable mood. Also, well-exercised pets won’t be quite as wired indoors, so they’ll be less prone to chewing, barking and other troublesome behaviors.

How can you know if your pet is overweight? You may not be able to tell by appearance alone, since pets can appear to be in good shape even when they aren’t.

“The standard that applies to most animals is that the owner should be able to count the ribs with their fingers, but not be able to see the ribs under the skin,” explains Dr. Shackelford. “At the appropriate weight, pets should only have a thin layer of fat over their ribs and show an hourglass shape from above. If you have a long-haired pet, it may be best to do this when your dog is wet. If you’re in doubt, you can always ask your vet.”

If your pup is a little plumper than you thought, don’t panic, but do take action. “Restricting food is the first step in fighting obesity,” says Dr. Shackelford. “Feeding a recommended amount of pet food with a minimum of treats usually will help with weight loss. Some dogs and cats, due to genetic makeup causing difficulty in dieting, will have a special weight loss diet prescribed for them, and exercise is very important. Exercise will help burn calories and will also help change the metabolism  to help burn calories more efficiently.”

Exercising dogs is usually simple, but what about cats? You can try  toys that engage them or scattering their food around in small portions through-out the house so they have to hunt for it and, in turn, get more exercise.

The most important thing to remember is if you think your pet is overweight, consult your veterinarian. He or she will help you determine the best course of action before putting your pet on a weight-loss regimen.

Oct. 8 is Pet Obesity Awareness Day, so skip the treat and hit the street for a nice, long walk. Helping your furry friends stay  fit and healthy is really the best treat you can give!

Second Annual Bridges Dirty Dog 5K and Fun Run

posted March 28th, 2015 by
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2015 Dirty Dog Run

Second Annual Bridges Dirty Dog 5K and Fun Run Benefits Clients with Intellectual Disabilities


Walkers and runners from across the city are lacing up to participate in the Second Annual Bridges Dirty Dog 5K and Fun Run at the ORU Campus. This timed race will benefit Bridges in celebration of 51 years of service.

During the morning festivities, participants can choose between a 5K course (3.1 mile) and the one-mile fun run. Prizes will be awarded for fastest running time, fastest walking time, trendiest dog outfit and matching dog-owner combination as well as ticketed raffle prizes, free Bridges Barkery treats for your four-legged friend, local pet vendors and more. Prizes for this race may include a one-month supply of Bridges Barkery dog treats, or a dog-training package. Participants can walk or run with their dogs, if desired. (The dog is not required to run in the race.) Organizers said between 100 – 500 participants are expected for the second time event.

Marilyn King, Publisher of TulsaPets Magazine and her pet Sam are the honorary chairs for event. “I’m honored to be this year’s honorary chair for the Bridges Dirty Dog Run. Said King. “The Bridges Foundation is an important asset for our community and Tulsan’s are proud of the help this foundation gives to adults with disabilities and their families.  Plus, my two hounds just love the Barkery cookies!”

Karie Jordan, president and CEO of Bridges says the run gives participants an opportunity to run with their pets, while educating the public about individuals with disabilities.  “We encourage the community to get involved, because they have a chance to support an amazing organization that employs adults with intellectual disabilities.” Said Jordan.


Registration begins at 7 a.m. · South entrance of the Mabee Center · ORU Campus  

Timed 5K Start Time: 8 a.m. · Cost $35 (after June 1st $45)

Non-timed One Mile Fun Run Start Time: 8:30 am · Cost $25

(Strollers & Dogs Welcome to participate in the Fun Run)

Age group awards will be given to 1st Place male and female in the following age group.

Post-race refreshments will be available. Please stay and join the festivities.



Karie Jordan [p] 918-592-3333 ▪ [e] [email protected]

The Bridges Foundation [p] 918-592-3333 ▪ [w]



The Bridges Foundation showcases the strengths, capabilities and talents of each individual served. By assisting each person in the attainment of their individual goals, self-sufficiency increases, positively impacting the entire community landscape. Clients receive services based upon their own abilities through any of three employment programs: The Outsource Center, Community Work Groups or Individual Placement. Clients can also receive individual assistance from our Living Skills Program which provides ongoing education in reading, math, social and living skills.


posted March 21st, 2015 by
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Taking A Stand For Child Victims


By Debra Cox



It’s an ordinary day for Nala, my 3-year-old German Shepherd, until I reach for her special “work” collar and vest that carries her special badge, identifying her as a member of the Special Dog Unit of the Tulsa County District Attorney’s office.

Nala stands alert with ears pointed forward as I put on her uniform, looking up at me with her telling eyes—she knows she will have a special job today, taking care of a child who will need her help. Then it’s time to “load up” for our journey to the courthouse. Upon arrival at the Victim Witness Center, Nala checks in for our assignment by putting her front paws up on the reception desk, which brings smiles from the attorneys and staff!

Then it’s down to business for Nala as she goes in search of her child in the waiting room, and she seems to know exactly which child is hers to care for on this day. How she knows this, I will never know. There can be a room full of people, and Nala will instantly go right up to her child and family with ears up and eyes alert.

It’s pretty amazing to see the instant connection they make as the “German Shepherd lean” goes into full force and Nala visits each family member, giving comfort and love unconditionally as therapy dogs do. When Nala feels certain that her child is calm and OK, she flops to the floor for the belly rub that she knows will surely come from her new friend as they go through this difficult process of the legal system together.

When Nala looks into the eyes of her child victim, the message comes through loud and clear as if she’s saying, “You can trust me. I’ll be right here by your side to help you get through this!”

You see, what none of the children whom Nala meets at the Victim Witness Center know about her is that Nala knows a lot about lack of trust. When you meet her these days, Nala will come right up to you, give you a kiss, wiggle and lean on you… but she was nothing like this when I first met her at the Tulsa German Shepherd Rescue facility.

At 8 months old, skin and bones at 42 pounds, and missing 5 inches from a fresh wound to her tail, Nala was nothing like the big, regal German Shepherd I envisioned owning. My friend Nancy, who is my voice of reason where pet adoption is concerned, went with me. I know I can trust her to not let me make rash decisions based purely on emotion.

We sat down on a stump, and Nala slowly crawled over to us on her belly with the saddest eyes that seemed to tell her story of neglect and abuse. She never barked once and just leaned into us. After thinking it over carefully that night, I went back the next day for another look, and Nala adopted me—she jumped into my car and wouldn’t get out!

Once I got her home, it was quickly apparent that our life together wasn’t going to start out smoothly. Nala spent the first six months hiding from me. Wherever in the house I was, she wasn’t. Trust is hard to earn from an abused dog just as it is with children of abuse. But with a lot of love, training, socialization and loads of patience, eventually Nala came out of her shell. It was then that I began to research volunteer work using dogs. In light of Nala’s connection with children and my own love of kids, I knew that I wanted to do something that would significantly help young people in some way. I began talking with everyone in the dog world, and one day a friend suggested looking into court therapy work.

As I own Summit Recruiting, Inc., a legal recruitment firm, I felt this was the perfect opportunity for Nala and me to do volunteer work for the legal community that has been so supportive of me over the last 16 years. So I dove into researching the use of therapy dogs in courtrooms across the country, and I knew for certain that this was exactly where Nala and I needed to be, helping child victims in the court system. Nala and I began the process of registration through Therapy Dogs, Inc., and she was approved to join the Special Dog Unit (SDU) with the office of the Tulsa County District Attorney.

As one of six team members of the SDU, Nala and I work closely with the prosecutors and victim advocates to help ease the stress of young children in the court process who are involved in abuse or neglect or who have witnessed violence.

The courtroom can be a scary place for anyone, especially children, as they must talk with strangers about sometimes terrible events that have happened to them or that they have witnessed in their lives. The use of therapy dogs helps the child to relax enough to talk and gives a tactile comfort to the child through touch. The child may feel safer when recalling events in a pre-trial hearing or courtroom, and testimony is improved with the presence of the therapy dog.

The benefits of having these animals available to lend emotional support to children far “outweigh any possible prejudice to the defendant” (National District Attorneys Association [NDAA], 2007).  Studies have proven that the presence of companion animals can lower the blood pressure and human heart rate, and the touch of a therapy dog can change the physiology of a nervous child.

Therapy dog use in the courtroom has become more and more widespread across the country over the past several years. Court therapy dogs are highly trained animals and remain quiet and unobtrusive when accompanying a child on the witness stand, often so much so that a jury is not even aware the dog is present in the courtroom.  In April 2014, Governor Mary Fallin signed House Bill No. 2591, which will go into effect in November 2014, allowing the use of emotional therapeutic dogs with the proper certification in all of the State Courts of Oklahoma.

This bill was drafted by Steve Kunzweiler, Tulsa County Assistant District Attorney, who was instrumental in developing and implementing the start-up of the Special Dog Unit in Tulsa County. This new law will have a significant impact on the therapy dogs’ ability to help countless child witnesses and victims throughout the State of Oklahoma.

There’s an undeniable bond between children and animals.  A walk through almost any neighborhood is proof of this.  However, the bond between a therapy dog and an abused child is nothing short of magical to observe, as the animal provides non-judgmental comfort and can ultimately help with the healing process for the child. One of the main objectives of the Tulsa District Attorney’s office is that by the use of the therapy dogs, the children’s memory of the courthouse will be their special dog friend and not the uncomfortable things they’ve had to discuss.

As I’ve heard Steve Kunzweiler so aptly put it when speaking with various groups about the Tulsa County court dog program: “I once heard that ‘D-O-G’ is ‘G-O-D’ spelled backward.  It is truly incredible the miracle that these court dogs work with these child victims.”

During one of our most recently assigned cases, Nala and I were in the kids’ playroom with our child witness and her family. After a rousing game of hiding toys for Nala to find, the girl turned to her mother and said, “…Can we get a Nala?”  Nala gave her a big tongue-hanging-out grin and sloppy dog kiss, and the girl’s big smile gave us all happy hearts!  Court dogs truly do make a difference!

DVIS’ New Kennel

posted March 14th, 2015 by
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DVIS’ New Kennel Brings Shelter To Four-Legged Family Members Making The Transition To An Abuse-Free Life A Little Easier.


By Rachel Weaver


After 11 years of an abusive marriage Taylor* decided to leave her husband. She sought a protective order with the help of advocates from Domestic Violence Intervention Services (DVIS/Call Rape) and learned about transitional housing DVIS offered. She and her son, Nathan* applied to the program and soon moved into their own apartment.

Taylor’s story differs slightly from others in similar situations. Taylor and Nathan have a mixed breed dog named Rigby* and they were able to bring him with them to DVIS’ transitional housing. But for many, this isn’t a reality.

Up to 65 percent of domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusers because they are concerned for their pets, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. For those who do leave, 71 percent of pet-owning women entering shelters reported their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control them.

Thanks to DVIS’ new emergency kennel opening in January 2015, domestic abuse victims will have a place to house their pets in safety. The 80-bed facility will be the first domestic violence shelter in Oklahoma to have a kennel.

“Often women entering a shelter have little to no income, so boarding their pet is not an option,” said Tracey Lyall, DVIS executive director. “The kennel will offer comfort to individuals who need safe shelter but don’t want to leave their family pet behind.”

Now that victims will have a place to house their pets, Taylor said she thinks it will help many women and men stay out of abusive relationships.

“They’re afraid the abuser is going to abuse the pet, and they don’t have a place to put them, and they don’t want to leave them because they’re like family,” she said. “I think it’ll help them deal with the abuse and give them that familiarity of [the shelter] being like home.”

DVIS’ Kennel

The kennel will be able to house seven dogs and cats at a time and will have a 200-square-foot air conditioned and heated interior and 180-square-foot covered exterior space. There will also be a 1,773-square-foot outside fenced dog run.

Some families arrive at the DVIS shelter in the middle of the night with only the clothes they are wearing, so most pets arriving at the shelter will also need food dishes, a leash, litter box and food. A staff member will provide intake services and give new pets needed accessories such as a leash, food bowls and toys.

If someone needs shelter and has a dog or a cat, a staff member will complete a pet intake form to help DVIS better care for the individual and the pet while they reside at the shelter. The resident will also fill out a pet shelter agreement, saying she or he will be responsible for the pet.

For a dog or cat to move into the kennel, he or she must have a current rabies vaccination. If pets aren’t current on vaccinations, a staff member will assist the owner in finding a veterinarian to provide this service.

While living in the shelter, pet owners will still be the primary caregiver for their pets— feeding, grooming and cleaning up after it and making sure it is healthy and adjusting to the shelter kennel. Staff will also help make sure all animals in the kennel are safe and well cared for.

“There’s no limit on how long the pet can stay as long as his/her owner is living at the shelter,” Lyall said. “Being separated is emotionally harmful for pets and their family. Keeping pets and their family together eases the stress of both the family members and   their pet.”

For Taylor, taking Rigby was the only option. Nathan had become very attached to him, and she was afraid her husband would hurt Rigby if they left him.

“The dog was a part of our family, and we couldn’t leave him behind,” she said.  “It was really, really important emotionally for my son because of the trauma he went through.”

Rigby helps Nathan feel safe and comfortable and also offers companionship for Taylor.

“He helps make the house feel like a home,” she said. “It’s good to have someone there that helps you know everything is going to be OK.”

How you can help

If you’re interested in helping the kennel, here are three ways to do so:


“We’d love to have veterinarians volunteer to provide services to help ensure the health and safety of the animals during their stay,” Lyall said.

If you think your vet would be interested in helping, you can find a sample request letter at Veterinarians will be needed to provide the following services:

Free immunizations

No-cost spay or neuter services

Free flea and tick treatment

Free surgery

Answering questions about pet health

Free or reduced rate for boarding when the kennel is full

Sample dog/cat food or treat donations

Talk about the kennel—give DVIS’ contact information to a colleague who might like   to help.

Host a can food drive at your clinic—ask staff and clients to bring an item for a pet in the kennel.

Be on call for veterinary emergencies


Kennel volunteers will be needed starting in January 2015. Volunteers will help provide additional exercise and care for the animals as well as some light cleaning. DVIS staff members will familiarize volunteers and new residents and their children on the operation of the kennel.

Interested volunteers can contact:

Paula Fox, DVIS volunteer coordinator, at

(918) 508-2706.


Kennel needs

New in-kind items will be utilized to support the operation of the kennel. Needed items include:

Dog and cat food  Collars

Cat litter, Leashes, Litter boxes, Scratching posts, Toys and chews, Carrier bags, Treats, Crates

Donated items can be dropped off at 4300 S. Harvard. To learn more about how you can help, visit or call (918) 508-2709.

‘Mutt Strut’ Pet Walk

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and DVIS will be raising awareness for its kennel. They’ll be collecting new in-kind items for the kennel throughout Tulsa (visit for more information).

On Saturday, Oct. 18, at 9 a.m., DVIS is hosting a leashed dog walk, “Mutt Strut,” at Hunter Park (5804 E. 91st St.). Entry is an in-kind donation to the kennel. Dress  your dog in its finest costume, and he or she may be crowned “king” or “queen” for best costume. If you’re game, dress in an accompanying costume to vie for the title of “best duo.”

After the walk, dogs (and owners) can participate in free doga, dog yoga. For more information, call (918) 508-2711.

Kennel Support

On July 31, 2014, DVIS received its first check toward the construction of the kennel from PetSmart.


*Names have been changed to protect privacy.

Canines and Carwashes

posted March 7th, 2015 by
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Canines & Carwashes


By Sherri Goodall


It seemed like such a good idea at the time… sunny day, dirty car, no line at the carwash. I didn’t think about my two dogs in the car.

Who knew?

I plunked down my money for the deluxe carwash—the one with all the bells and whistles and the longest cycle (of course), seven minutes—the longest 420 seconds of my life!

At the first downpour of pounding water and pummeling brushes, my Westies went ballistic, howling, growling, snapping and yapping. The flashing green and red lights didn’t help. At the same time my car was shimmying and shaking, my dogs were leaping from the back seat to the front seat, into the dashboard, into my lap and into each other. They were desperately trying to escape or attack the water and brushes. (Anything that moves is fair game for a Westie.) I understand what it must feel like to be inside a washing machine.

I gripped the wheel in panic as I realized I was stuck in this carwash, trapped! I am trapped in this car with two flying, freaked-out dogs! Plus, I am trying to keep my eyes on an immovable object in the distance so I don’t get carsick and throw up. I see the cycles light up on the bar above the car. We’re only on cycle three, one of countless rinses. I can’t hold my breath any longer, or I’ll explode. We’re not even halfway done. I toy with the idea of crashing through the brushes as they slap the car. My luck, I’ll get stuck and spend eternity on a merry-go-round of wash cycles. I’m astounded at the insanity of my dogs, and their stamina… that they could keep up this level of hyperactive madness for seven minutes.

By the time the carwash spit us out, finally waxed and dried (another extremely loud and annoying noise, especially for dogs’ ears), I was a sweating, hyperventilating wreck. The outside of the car sparkled; you could apply your makeup and pluck your eyebrows by looking into the gleam.

The inside looked like the aftermath of a tornado. White tufts of fur stuck to the ceiling and dashboard, scratch marks streaked the leather seats, my sunglasses lay broken on the floor, and the contents of my purse littered the front seat. And, to top it off, my macho-male MacTwo had peed everywhere possible in his excitement, and my dainty lady Mulligan had pooped in terror in the back seat.

Will I ever take my dogs to a carwash again? NO WAY!