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Spots still available for Reiki class this weekend

posted November 5th, 2013 by
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If last month’s article on Reiki for Rover piqued your interest, this is your chance to learn  the practice for yourself. And what better time than right before the chaos of the holidays takes off?

Reiki therapy uses a variety of techniques including meditation and breathing to create a relaxing and healing space, beneficial to both people and their pets.

Karren O’Sullivan, a level III Reiki practitioner, offers Reiki to the animals at Tulsa Animal Welfare on a regular basis. She is hoping to spread the knowledge of Reiki through teaching animal rescue volunteers and anyone else interested in learning.

The two-day group class is this Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. The cost is $250 with discounts offered to animal rescue volunteers and vet students.

Half of the proceeds go back toward Tulsa Animal Welfare’s adoption program. The tuition also covers a 100-page manual and certificate of completion.

To sign up for the class, call Karren at 918-636-1220 or email her at [email protected].

-Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

Keep Halloween safe and fun for your fur kids

posted October 27th, 2013 by
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The big day is coming up soon and there will be plenty of festivities happening all week.

And while Halloween can be great fun for your fur kids as well as your human kids (and even us really big kids!), there are plenty of opportunities for pet mishaps on the spookiest night of the year.

All of those bowls of candy and treats sitting around, and even some of the decorations, can be very tempting to pets. But a lot of those goodies can cause upset tummies if eaten and, at the worst, be toxic, according to the ASPCA.

Candles and wires from decorations also pose a risk to the more curious pets (cats, I’m looking at you), so make sure to keep them out of reach.

Planning to dress up your pet for the holiday? Make sure her costume fits well and does not have any easy to chew off pieces. It’s also a good idea to make sure your pet actually will enjoy being dressed up.

And for any animals who are shy or might try to dart out the door past trick or treaters, consider creating a calm space in a separate room away from the front door. For more safety tips from the ASPCA, visit

Now that we’re clear on how to keep our kiddos safe, let’s make it a fun night for them, too!

Help your pooch feel included in the fun by having some special treats on hand. This site has some great ideas, the easiest being to mix in some fresh or canned pumpkin in with your dog’s usual kibble for a festive Halloween dinner.

And if your pet happens to be one of those hams who loves dressing up, check out this adorable slide show of pet costumes for inspiration. The Bob Barker costume is my favorite, by far.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

-Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

Do dogs deserve rights? Yes!

posted October 17th, 2013 by
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Over the past couple of years, a group of scientists has spent their time training dogs to lie in an MRI scanner awake and unrestrained in a quest to find out how their brains work and what they think.

After studying a dozen dogs, Gregory Berns decided what most of us dog parents have already figured out: dogs are people, too.
He wrote about his findings for a recent Op-Ed piece in the New York Times and makes an argument for personhood rights for dogs.
Having been a part of dog rescue, I am very passionate about protecting these animals who can’t speak up for themselves and I would hope most people who read Tulsa Pets Magazine feel the same way.
Granting dogs personhood rights would protect them from the exploitations rescue workers and volunteers spend their time lobbying against.
“Puppy mills, laboratory dogs and dog racing would be banned for violating the basic right of self-determination of a person,” Berns writes.
Music to my ears if we could actually make that happen. But I agree with Berns that we are a long way off as a society from granting dogs the basic rights they deserve.
- Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

Our animals are getting fatter, too

posted October 14th, 2013 by
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Did you know there is a National Pet Obesity Awareness Day? I didn’t either. I probably should since I am the proud owner of a pretty plump cat.

It’s no secret that Americans and their pets have been getting bigger in recent years, but  a recent report by Pro Publica reveals that it’s not just domesticated animals with expanding waistlines.

An international team of scientists has found that two dozen animal populations cared for by or living near humans have also been getting fatter over the years.

The study leads you to wonder if diet and lifestyle are really the biggest factors in obesity or whether the increasing number of chemicals found in our air, soil and water play a role as well.

My own cat Floyd is a great example of this problem. A once obese cat, he became diabetic and required insulin shots twice a day. After much research on the dietary needs of cats, I made some switches to how I fed him. He has since been in remission from his diabetes.

But even with quality food that is portioned out each day, he continues to be an overweight cat. I always blamed it on his laziness, but maybe all of the chemicals we put in our water have contributed to his problem as well.

Whatever the cause of obesity in pets, it is serious business that can cause many health problems down the road, as I have learned firsthand.

To learn more about pet obesity prevention or to participate in the 2013 survey, visit

- Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

Family dog exposes abusive babysitter

posted September 17th, 2013 by
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Dogs are loyal by nature and can be very protective of their people, especially children.

Recently, a family dog in South Carolina helped his owners expose their seven-month-old son’s abusive babysitter, according to WCSC.

Benjamin and Hope Jordan noticed that their dog Killian would become aggressive toward their babysitter to the point that he would have to be physically restrained.

The Jordans became suspicious and decided to use an iPhone to record the babysitter while they were at work. When they played back the recording, they were horrified to hear cussing and slapping noises and their baby crying in pain.

Stories like these never cease to amaze me. It is incredible what animals can sense, understand and even communicate to us as exemplified by Killian.

In fact, just do a quick Google search of ‘dog saves owner’ and you’ll find hundreds of stories about other heroic dogs.

A few that caught my eye:

Colorado floods: Denver police officer gives guide dog all the credit for saving man

Pet dog saves owner’s life after sniffing out her breast cancer

Chihuahua saves woman and baby from man trying to enter their car

Has your animal ever alerted you to a dangerous person or situation? Share it in the comment section below.

- Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]


Dogs and kids, part 2

posted August 20th, 2013 by
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Since I am nearing the end of pregnancy, I have babies on the brain. I recently wrote this response to an article advising couples who want kids to not get a dog.

I’m pretty sure the writer could use the help of Family Paws Parent Education, the parent organization of Dog & Storks and the Dog and Baby Connection.

According to its website, the group’s goal is “to increase the safety of children and the success of dogs in homes with children. We seek to decrease the number of dogs surrendered to shelters due to easily preventable behavioral problems and common conflicts.”

For anyone who has small children or is expecting, the site has some excellent resources for parents including a blog, webinars, and links to useful articles and websites.

Topics include preparing your dog for baby, dog and baby safety, dog and toddler safety,  tips for nursing moms, baby equipment and safety and more.

Preparation is definitely key for your pets when expecting. Our veterinarian gave us some great advice when we were expecting our first child that we are using again during this pregnancy:

• Before baby arrives, let your pets investigate all of the new baby equipment. Put a baby doll in the swing and start it up. Be sure to start establishing boundaries as well, for instance, no cats in the crib.

• When baby is born, bring home a blanket or clothing item for them to smell if possible. When bringing baby home, Dad should introduce baby after Mom greets all of the furry children empty handed.

• And once you are settled, try to include your animals as much as you can, give them a job. I started referring to my dogs as the Diaper Changing Committee, they would dutifully follow me to the nursery and stand guard every time. If only I could have taught them to actually change the diapers.

For more tips and information on integrating your furry children with your new human children, visit

- Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]