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Animal groups in need of donations

posted March 5th, 2014 by
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Two Tulsa animal welfare groups have recently asked for the public’s help.

The Humane Society of Tulsa on Wednesday pulled more than 100 animals from a puppy mill. On its Facebook page, the group posted the following:

We are going to need LOTS of supplies and adopters with big hearts due to the fact that many ofthese angels are senior pets. 

If you would like to donate, please check out our Amazon Wish List at and they will deliver the supplies right to our door. We will be taking cash donations this weekend at the Tulsa Home and Garden Show.

WING IT, Tulsa’s wildlife group, has recently been inundated with more than 50 baby squirrels as a result of high winds and tree trimmers knocking down nest. The group posted the following request on its Facebook page:

We are in desperate need of two items to continue to raise these babies. If any of you happen to have either item at home and would consider donating it, or if any of you might be able to pick either item up and drop it off at Forest Trails Animal Hospital, we would forever be grateful.

These are the two items we so desperately need:

1) CVS- brand Heating Pad, Moist/Dry Heat, standard size, 
with 3 heat settings – $16.99 

2) Mainstays Digital Kitchen Scale – Walmart $18.97

Of course, any heating pad that doesn’t shut off (most have a two hour max, then automatically shut off) or any small kitchen/postal scale would work (if it weighs in grams, that would be perfect!). 

If any of you are inclined to help, and could drop of either of the above items at Forest Trails Animal Hospital at 101st and Sheridan, we would be so appreciative….as would the tiny, wild ones.

Let’s support our rescue workers who are so generous with their own time and resources and help them get what they need. Thanks in advance, Tulsa!

-Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

Keep your cats inside

posted July 31st, 2013 by
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I hope everyone has had a chance to check out the July/August issue of Tulsa Pets Magazine. I learned quite a bit while writing my article on WING IT or Wildlife in Need Group in Tulsa. I just couldn’t squeeze everything into my article, so for the next few blog posts, I will continue to share what I learned from the group about wildlife in Tulsa.

If you haven’t already, read the article at

One of the topics that generated immediate and passionate responses from all of the WING IT volunteers I interviewed: cats.

“Keep your cats in. That’s huge,” said Kim Doner, WING IT organizer and volunteer. “That is a huge reason we not only get animals, but the reason that animals suffer and die in our hands.

“People let their cats go, they let them roam. It is not only illegal but more and more studies are pointing to how they are killing so much of our wildlife population and our birds and they are transmitting more and more diseases.”

The group recently had a great success story with a baby robin caught by a cat. What saved the nestling was the immediate effort to get him into the hands of rehabbers and started on antibiotics.

Most people don’t realize that a cat’s saliva is toxic to some wildlife, added fellow volunteer Kathy Locker.

“The saliva will kill and if they don’t get antibiotics immediately [the animal] will die from it,” Locker said.

While cats aren’t the only pet that can cause serious problems for wildlife, they do seem to be the main offender.

“Strikes are way against it when it’s a cat,” Doner said. “Dogs crush, cats puncture.”

You can read more about cats and wildlife here.

And in case anyone is wondering, as this conversation took place, Doner’s indoor cat sat behind my shoulder purring while other volunteers spoke lovingly of their own feline companions.

- Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

Wildlife rescue vs. pet rescue

posted July 26th, 2013 by
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I hope everyone has had a chance to check out the July/August issue of Tulsa Pets Magazine. I learned quite a bit while writing my article on WING IT or Wildlife in Need Group in Tulsa. I just couldn’t squeeze everything into my article, so for the next few blog posts, I will continue to share what I learned from the group about wildlife in Tulsa.

If you haven’t already, read the article at

During the course of my interview with several WING IT volunteers, many of them mentioned their love for animals, especially the domesticated kinds we talk about so often at Tulsa Pets Magazine.

So why choose wildlife rescue instead of pet rescue?

“I’ve just been an animal lover my whole life, I’m a dog lover and I would probably do dog rescue except for the fact that I would fall in love and keep every one of them, said Karla Edmonds, WING IT volunteer. “This way I get my critter fix and turn them back to mother nature, I have no choice in the matter.”

Fellow volunteer Kathy Locker can relate saying, “I agree with the dog rescue thing, It’s such a big, awesome thing that people do, but I would be so attached.”

However, just because the animals they work with aren’t cats and dogs doesn’t mean they don’t still get attached. 

Above: Volunteer Kathy Locker bottle feeds a baby raccoon.

“I do get attached and it’s hard on the heart to release them…but it’s bittersweet because you know it’s a happy thing for them and when rehabbed correctly they really do become instinctually wilder which also makes it easier,” Locker said. “It’s so fascinating to see every little creature has their own personality.”

Dr. Paul Welch, DVM at Forest Trails, also points out that when working with a cat or dog group, owners must be secured.

“We don’t have to find owners, so that’s nice,” Welch said.

Not having to find owners for rehabbed animals means they can be released when they are ready, making more room for animals in need.

However, wildlife rehab can be more demanding in other ways depending on the animal being cared for, its age and whether or not it is injured. 

Baby birds, for instance, need to be fed about every half hour. Bunnies may only need care for two to four weeks while other animals may need several months of rehab.

Similarities and differences aside, the bottom line is animal rescue, be it pet or wildlife, is tough work. All of Tulsa’s volunteers deserve recognition for what they do for our community’s animal population.

- Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

Get certified

posted July 19th, 2013 by
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I hope everyone has had a chance to check out the July/August issue of Tulsa Pets Magazine. I learned quite a bit while writing my article on WING IT or Wildlife in Need Group in Tulsa. I just couldn’t squeeze everything into my article, so for the next few blog posts, I will continue to share what I learned from the group about wildlife in Tulsa.

If you haven’t already, read the article at

Kim Doner, WING IT organizer and volunteer, wasn’t too far from the truth when she said “rehabbing wildlife is a contagious situation.”

It has certainly spread into many areas of her life, and apparently taken over her backyard.

“Our backyard is representative of what happens. My husband doesn’t particularly like putting food in little bird mouths, that bothers him,” Doner said. “But In support, about seven years ago, he started a wildlife habitat. So our backyard is a certified wildlife habitat with all native plants.”

The couple’s yard was on the Audubon tour and will probably be on the Audubon tour again in the future, according to Doner.

I had no idea that you could even get your backyard certified as a wildlife habitat. But it is possible and doesn’t sound all that difficult.

The National Wildlife Federation’s website says:

“Whether you have an apartment, balcony or a 10-acre farm, a schoolyard or a business park, or anything in between, everyone can create a welcoming haven for local wildlife. Turning your space into a Certified Wildlife Habitat® is fun, easy and makes a big difference for neighborhood wildlife.”

In order for your yard to be certified as a wildlife habitat, it must meet several critieria:

  • Provide food for wildlife
  • Supply water for wildlife
  • Create cover for wildlife
  • Give wildlife a place to raise their young

Once those steps have been met, you can certify your habitat online.

Get started and learn more about creating a certified wildlife habitat at

- Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]


Leave those baby birds alone!

posted July 11th, 2013 by
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Earlier this summer, my husband found a baby bird in the yard as he was getting ready to cut the grass. Since I was in the midst of working on my article about WING IT for the current issue of Tulsa Pets Magazine, I knew that Oklahoma Veterinary Specialists would take in wildlife.

I called to see what I should do about the stranded baby bird in our yard and the answer I got surprised me: Nothing.

He wasn’t injured, there was no visible blood, broken wing, limp or any other indication that anything was wrong. He just wasn’t in his nest.

I was instructed to get back and keep an eye out for his parents. If they were nowhere to be found I should put him back in his nest if I could find it. If not, I should get him up high, like on my fence.

This was definitely contradictory to an apparent myth I had always believed about baby birds and putting them back in their nest.

And after interviewing several volunteers with WING IT, I’m not the only one. Many of the baby birds they receive are ‘rescued’ by well-meaning people with good intentions, but these birds most likely didn’t need any help other than to be left alone or put back in their nest.

Sure enough, not more than a few minutes after my husband and I backed away from the fledgling, momma bird swooped in. We watched as she proceeded to teach her baby how to fly and were so excited when he flew and landed on our fence on his own.

If you find wildlife in your yard and are unsure of what assistance they need, if any, the best thing to do is call and ask.

A WING IT volunteer is always on call to answer the group cell phone at 918-508-9607.

And make sure to check out my article on WING IT in the July/August issue of Tulsa Pets Magazine to learn more.

- Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

WING IT in need of volunteers

posted May 6th, 2013 by
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I recently interviewed Dr. Shad Wilkerson of Oklahoma Veterinary Specialists for an upcoming article in Tulsa Pets Magazine. That day, Dr. Wilkerson was busy caring for a couple of possums. I’m not usually a fan, but these little guys were CUTE!

I had no idea, but apparently Oklahoma Veterinary Specialists is the only after-hours facility where people can bring injured wildlife.

“We don’t charge anything for any of this. It’s just something for the wildlife,” Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson and OVS coordinate with a group of rehabbers called WING IT, which is currently in need of volunteers.

“We are trying to find more rehabbers to help out because in the spring time, we just get flooded with babies,” Wilkerson said. “There has been a shortage of rehabbers, people moving or getting too busy. So there’s been a big push to try to find more rehabbers in Tulsa, people who are willing to do it.”

The group formed about a year ago, according to volunteer Kim Doner. It has since been taken on as a non-profit extension of the Tulsa Audubon Society.

WING IT does not receive any funding and there is no paid staff.

The group is looking to add volunteers who can commit various amounts of time to helping rehabilitate wildlife.

WING IT will provide training and supplies to those interested. It is also necessary for volunteers to be licensed through the Tulsa County Game Warden, Doner said.

“People often believe they need a lot of room at home or that the commitment is to create your own zoo,” Doner said. “These are misconceptions.”

A rehabber only needs a countertop or closet floor area to take in baby bunnies, the most common mammal to be brought to the group. And they grow really fast, sometimes in a matter of days or more commonly a few weeks, says Doner.

“But the most important thing rehabbers do is release healthy, prepared animals when they can be on their own,” Doner said. “It’s not just the law, it’s the right thing to do.”

For those who do not have the time to volunteer, donations are always appreciated.

For more information on volunteering or donating, visit the WING IT page on Facebook or

-Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]