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Animal Aid looking for special family for special dog

posted July 14th, 2019 by
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When Gabriel arrived in the care of Animal Aid of Tulsa in September 2018, his rescuers knew immediately that he was a special dog.

Photos provided by Victorious Salsman

Photos provided by Victorious Salsman

Found by a local fire department, the Tulsa Police Department contacted the group to take the dog who was believed to have been hit by a car. He was seen for a couple of days near Apache and Harvard dragging his back legs behind him before he could be caught and brought to a rescue.

Kelly Brown, Animal Aid animal care and adoption coordinator, said right off the bat Gabriel showed them his will to live was high.

“From the get go he has shown us that he is not different,” Brown said. “Once he is comfortable with you he is so playful, funny and full of personality. There is nothing different about him but the way he walks.”

Brown says the care for a dog in a wheelchair is not much greater than any other dog.

“It is not any more time consuming to express his bladder and help him into his wheelchair than to take any other dog for a walk,” Brown said.


Gabriel with Salsman’s cat Kiki.

Coincidentally, Gabriel is named after Gabby Moore, a former vet tech at Animal Acupuncture. She and her foster dog Hildi, who also did not have use of her back legs, were featured in a previous issue of Tulsa Pets Magazine.

Gabby said to Kelly one night, “Just believe, give him a little bit of time but just believe,” about another dog that had given up. When Animal Aid took in Gabriel, which means to trust and put belief in, Brown told Moore she was naming the dog after her.

Veterinarians initially believed Gabriel would never be able to use his back legs. However, after water therapy with Animal Acupuncture, he is beginning to have more use of his back legs.

“Dr. Owen has believed in him from day one,” Victorious Salsman, his foster mom, said. “Thank God for her.”

He has reflexes but he doesn’t have feeling in his legs, like if you step on his foot, Salsman explained. “If he gets really excited about something, it’s like he forgets he can’t walk, he will stand up and walk. And it’s like ‘Oh if he only knew that he can!’”

On days he has water therapy in the pool or at Animal Acupuncture, for the rest of the day he will stand and he will plant his feet, Salsman said.

After his arrival at Animal Aid, he was in boarding, had a temporary foster and then came to Salsman’s home in early December. He is now in boarding again and in the process of transitioning to a new foster home.

“When he first came to me, I had no idea how to care for a disabled dog. The first two weeks were rough,” Salsman acknowledged. “It’s a learning process.”

Salsman says he is great with other dogs and cats but is slower to trust men than women, which may stem from past abuse.

“Once that trust is established you have his whole heart,” Salsman said. “Gabriel has zero care in the world that he can’t use his back legs. He is so happy, so loving, so full of life. He deserves a family that will give him that total commitment.”

You can fill out an application at:

You can also contact Animal Aid of Tulsa for more information at [email protected] or call Kelly Brown at 918-951-6138.

— Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

End-of-life care is not a topic to avoid

posted May 11th, 2015 by
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With five senior pets in my home (they are all 10 years and up!), end of life care is something that is very much front of mind. One dog has a heart tumor and has had heart surgery among a variety of other procedures. Another dog just started taking medication for arthritis. My three kitties are faring better at the moment but are the oldest animals in the house.

So, some recent articles that popped up in my Facebook feed on euthanasia for pets caught my eye. It’s a topic I really don’t want to think about, unfortunately it is one that will need to be addressed whether I stick my head in the sand or not.

I took a deep breath and clicked on the first link. “A Vet’s View of Home Euthanasia for Pets” actually provided some relief and presented an option I hadn’t considered because I hadn’t spent much time considering any options at all.

The idea of keeping my babies in the surroundings they are most comfortable and familiar surrounded by the family who loves them was comforting to me and would hopefully be a comfort to them. It would mean at a time they were most likely in pain, they would not have to take an uncomfortable car ride to a place that already causes them anxiety.

At my latest vet visit, I made sure to ask if this was a service that could be provided. I was relieved to hear that it absolutely is something that I can plan on for my babies when the time comes.

The second article that I noticed flipped the tables. A woman who died last November requested in her will that her healthy dog be put down, cremated and buried with her.

Currently, it appears that the euthanasia has been put on hold. But here was yet another topic that I had avoided instead of facing. What would happen to my animals if I died before they did?

While I would never consider having a healthy put euthanized just because I had died, what would happen to them if I didn’t make a plan? Would they potentially end up in a shelter and put down because of their old age? My love of animals came from my parents, who have a small menagerie of their own. If godparents for pets are a thing, I need to secure some.

Both articles have given me some things to think about and I definitely have some planning to do when it comes to end-of-life plans for my pets and myself. Not pleasant, but it is something that is important to prepare for.

Have you made decisions about how you will handle your pet’s last day? Or made plans for your pets in your will? Let me know in the comments below.

– Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

There’s an app for that

posted February 5th, 2014 by
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If you have a smartphone, you will definitely want to download the Red Cross’ new pet first aid app.

Available for iPhone and Android, the app not only includes first aid info that would be helpful in an emergency, but it also includes tips on preventative care, the ability to set up multiple pet profiles, interactive quizzes and more.

According to, the app features include:

  • Convenient toggle between cat and dog content.
  • Simple step-by-step instructions guide you through everyday emergencies in the palm of your hand.
  • Prepare and protect your pet’s health with advice on administering medication, time to say goodbye, behavioral help and how to act in a disaster situation.
  • Early warning sign checker for preventive care.
  • Programmable veterinary contact number to be available when needed throughout the app.
  • Learn first aid steps for over 25 common pet situations through a combination of text, video and images, in addition to identifying common toxic substances.
  • Locate your nearest emergency vet hospital or pet-friendly hotels.
  • Respond to pet emergencies with “how to” videos for the common and stressful emergency situations inclusive of size specific CPR techniques.
  • Customize multiple pet profiles and set veterinary appointments.
  • Interactive quizzes allow you to earn badges that you can share with your friends along with a picture of your pet.

The information available through app covers scenarios ranging from your dog being hit by a car to knowing how to determine your cat’s capillary refill time. For $0.99, I’d say it is well worth the cost to have such information at your fingertips.

– Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

Happy surgery anniversary

posted August 3rd, 2013 by
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Today makes one year since Yoda had heart surgery to cut a window in the pericardial sac around his heart. We were told dogs like Yoda who have heart tumors and undergo the procedure live an average of three months post operation.

All I can say is the force must be pretty strong with my little dog. Aside from a couple of ER visits this summer to remove fluid build up, he shows no signs of slowing down and an ultrasound showed the tumor has only grown 2 millimeters in the past year.

This July, our family took a special camping trip and stayed in a dog-friendly cabin. Our two dogs enjoyed hiking and hanging out by the lake. They may have even had a special steak dinner one night.

Yoda can now cross ‘Go Camping’ and ‘Eat a steak’ off of his bucket list.

Bucket lists aside, anniversaries are a nice time for reflection and there are so many things to be learned from animals if we take the time to pay attention. From Yoda, I have learned to live each day to its fullest potential. 

When we found out about his heart tumor, he didn’t get mopey or sad, but I did. I am pretty he sure he spent his first week post-surgery comforting me!

Even now, I get weepy at vet visits because I know he won’t be here forever. If he knows that, he has certainly made peace with it and doesn’t let it get in the way of his favorite activities like nosing through trash or chasing Spock in the yard. 

Whether you have a healthy little puppy or kitten or an aging fur baby, enjoy your days together!

- Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

Natura Pet issues recall

posted June 18th, 2013 by
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Natura Pet Products is voluntarily recalling some lots of dry pet food because they are potentially contaminated with Salmonella, according to an FDA press release.

Not only can this impact the animals eating the products, but there is also a risk to the people who are handling the contaminated products. Especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands, according to the release.

The release also states:

“Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

“Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.”

Consumers who have purchased any of the following dry pet foods should discard them:

Innova Dry dog and cat food and biscuits/bars/treats All Lot Codes, All UPC’s, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
EVO dry dog, cat and ferret food and biscuits/bars/treats All Lot Codes, All UPC’s, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
California Natural dry dog and cat foods and biscuits/bars/treats All Lot Codes, All UPC’s, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
Healthwise dry dog and cat foods All Lot Codes, All UPC’s, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
Karma dry dog foods All Lot Codes, All UPC’s, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
Mother Nature biscuits/bars/treats All Lot Codes, All UPC’s, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014


Read the complete press release at

- Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

One lucky dog

posted June 12th, 2013 by
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It’s almost been a year since our family found out our beloved Boston Terror has a heart tumor. When Yoda had heart surgery last August, we were told the average life-span post operation was about three months.

While the tumor could not be removed, the procedure put a window in the pericardial sac to prevent fluid from putting pressure on his heart.

Recently, I had to make an emergency trip to OVS because Yoda was struggling to breathe. Fluid had started to build around his lungs, making it difficult for them to expand. A chest tap removed the fluid and an ultrasound showed that the tumor has only grown by a couple of millimeters over the last 10 months.

Yoda came home the next day a brand new dog. And I am one thankful dog momma.

Having each of my six animals around is a daily blessing, but Yoda in particular continues to be a powerful reminder of that fact.

I hope he sticks around for a while, but whether it be weeks, months or maybe even another year, this little dog has certainly made a big impression on my heart.

-Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

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