Your ultimate guide to spending time with furry friends
They are our best friends. Our fur babies. Our Paw-some confidantes.
Tulsans love animals — their dogs, in particular. So we’ve created the ultimate guide for spending time with your canine companion. From where to work out, eat and pamper your pooch, to training tips, dog-friendly events and how to give back to pets in need, Tulsa has gone to the dogs.
By Anne Brockman
Amy Vaughan’s passion for animals is obvious. Her love of dogs and people is what encouraged her rise through the ranks of Petsmart, from cashier to trainer to eventually an area training manager.
In 2011 she began Spirit Ranch Professional Dog Training, 1416 E. 11th St., Suite 4, which includes multi-level training, doggie day care, grooming, dog sitting, dog running/walking, products and more.
Welcoming a dog home can be an exciting time, but professional help is often needed for the dog and owners to learn to happily co-exist. “The classes are more for the person,” Vaughan says. “In our basic obedience classes, we’re there to be that small little voice and teach and correct (the owners).” Strategies include helping humans improve their communication with their dogs and build their confidence since dogs pick up on consistent training rather quickly.
While mastering the basics, Vaughan emphasizes socialization. “I believe that from 10 weeks on you should take them out in public places with other dogs, other people, different environments, sounds, noises and smells,” she says. “People with hats on, sunglasses on. The more comfortable (they are) with it, the easier it will be (for them) to calm down, and they’re going to be able to adapt to any situation.”
But Vaughan says it’s important for owners to read their dog’s body language. If your dog doesn’t want to do something or they get stressed, don’t force it as that could create a phobia. “If your dog is running with its tail tucked and hiding around you or sitting with you most of the time staring at you, they’re not comfortable,” she says. Other stress indicators are lip-licking and staying low to the ground.
At dog parks, she recommends owners watch the other dogs play before letting their canine loose. Other owners might not know how aggressive their own dog is, so it’s important to see the play going on. When it comes down to it, if your dog is aggressive toward other animals or humans, they don’t belong in a dog park. Vaughan stresses that dog parks are for play, not socialization. Toys at the dog park can be a concern, too, especially since many owners don’t know if their animals are toy aggressive.
Some of Vaughan’s favorite spots for socialization include Guthrie Green, Elwood’s and the Utica Square Starbucks since there are always varieties of people, sounds and activity. For older dogs, she suggests beginning on the periphery, eventually moving into the commotion after several experiences. Puppies can be brought straight to the center. Once there, sometimes she asks people to give her dog a treat or pet the animal. Other times she insists the dog sit without attention from the owner or the public so the animal knows it’s OK to just sit.
Vaughan says that no matter how tempting, giving your dog attention while you eat can lead to begging and attention-seeking behavior. Give them attention away from the spot you are eating.
“Spirit Ranch’s goal is to make midtown Tulsa like Colorado, where we’re welcome to have our dogs in stores and restaurants because they’re well behaved,” she says.
By Emily Fate
With their excitement, sloppy kisses and unconditional love, our dogs spoil us everyday. So why not pay back the favor by pampering your pup? Here are some of the best places in town to treat your furry friend.
Nothing says relax and unwind like a good ol’ soak in the bath. At Woodland West Pet Resort, 9380 S. Union Ave., you can take bathing a step further with a massaging bubble bath that includes a facial, manicure, blow dry, designer perfume and more ($20-$85). Or roll out the red carpet and add the Doggy Diva Package to your pup’s pampering at Pet Pro at 10848 S. Memorial Drive or 6420 S. Elm Place, Broken Arrow. The package includes a 15-minute brush out; nail trim, grind and polish; a custom bow; and a special spritz of your choice ($20). Also consider adding a blueberry facial as a brightening treatment for tear and saliva stains ($8).
The benefits of massages for canines are much like that of humans: increased range of motion and flexibility, a rush of endorphins and relaxation. City Veterinary Hospital of Tulsa, 3550 S. Peoria Ave., is one place to take your four-footed friend for a massage to enhance circulation and reduce muscle tension. Rebecca Dinkins runs Pawsitive K9 Massage, a freelance massage therapy company. Dinkins works on referral from your veterinarian and is mobile in the greater Tulsa area.
Proponents of acupuncture say it can tap into the body’s own healing abilities and help restore balance. It also can assist with muscular problems, respiratory issues and more. Animal Acupuncture LLC, 5147 S. Harvard Ave., offers acupuncture sessions that include a consultation, examination and acupuncture treatment. Hunters Glen Veterinary Hospital, 9150 S. Braden Ave., also offers acupuncture as an Eastern and Western medicine combo tailored to each pet’s need.
Nothing says #TreatYoSelf like a shopping spree. Let your dog indulge in a gourmet bakery item at Dog Dish, 1778 Utica Square. The boutique also carries brands such as Ruffwear, Bowsers, West Paw and more to spoil your fur baby. Red Dog Hound and Pet Supply at 3017 S. Sheridan Road is known for its knowledgeable and attentive staff. The store carries wholesome, organic treats and food along with plenty of other pet supplies.
If you can’t bring the dog on the vacation, send the dog on its own retreat. At Camp Bow Wow, 142 S. 147th E. Ave. and 14992 Grant St. E., Bixby, dogs get to play and socialize indoors and out, but the real fun comes at bed time. Each camper gets their own cozy cabin and a campfire treat: a Kong bone filled with biscuits, covered in peanut butter, and then frozen. Overnight rates are $28-$32, and there is a multi-dog discount.
By Anna Bennett
Whether you’re trying to keep your dog healthy or just trying to meet your daily step goal, include your pooch in a well-hounded fitness routine.
“Dog walking alone often isn’t enough,” says Amy Vaughan of Spirit Ranch, regarding the fitness needs of our four-legged friends. On-leash dog running is an activity that can benefit you both. Vaughan offers some tips for beginners:
- Make sure the dog has already mastered the skills of loose-leash walking.
- Use the right gear, like a hands-free leash. Never use a pinch or spike collar when running.
- Walk the planned route without the dog first, to evaluate any problems or challenges. Try to see the path from a canine perspective. Or, go to a public place where city regulations are observed.
- Run and train the dog the same way you do; take it slow at first, with plenty of stops as needed. A gradual increase in distance and speed will prevent injury, just like a human training for a race.
- Ideally, the dog should be panting, but not winded, during a run. Be familiar with what is normal for your dog.
- Vaughan’s picks for dog running: Riverside and River Parks, Three Lakes Trail in Owasso, Hunter Park, McClure Park and Chandler Park
Extra-active breeds, especially herding dogs, might need more activity than even a seasoned athlete is able to provide. Vaughan says things like a sprinkler, a bubble machine, a laser pointer or a Boomer Ball (a heavy-duty, zoo-grade plastic ball) are good solutions.
If you have access, and if your dog is well behaved enough, a swim in the lake is an excellent way to quickly tucker out even the most tenacious terriers.
Spirit Ranch offers walk-in consulting for a wide range of concerns, and can even assist in training dogs to run alongside bikes or ride paddleboards. “The more exercise they get, the better the dog’s behavior is,” Vaughan says.
Now, you can skip the gym without skipping leg day. Stay home and #SquatYourDog instead. The viral trend began with fitness blogger Alyssa Greene and quickly took over Instagram. The squat-your-dog challenge can be done with a furry dumbbell of any size. You can hold your dog in your arms at your chest, or you can even put them over your shoulders, depending on their wiggle level. Then, get squatting! It may be more challenging than your usually gym routine, but it’s way more fun. If you stick with it, maybe you’ll move up from Pomeranian to Saint Bernard.
Move over hot yoga, beer yoga and acroyoga. The next big thing is dog yoga — DOGA.
Sky Fitness and Wellbeing instructor Margaret Wish says DOGA is more about connecting with your dog than forcing them into elaborate poses.
“My favorite part is watching owner and dog feed off of each other’s energy,” says Wish, who led DOGA at Guthrie Green in June.
Though Sky Fitness doesn’t have another DOGA class scheduled yet, Wish offers some tips for practicing at home:
- Get your dog accustomed to seeing your mat unrolled, and leave it out occasionally where you practice (unless you’ve got a chewer).
- Before you even begin to move, practice a heart-to-heart meditation with your pup. Place one hand on your heart and the other on your dog’s chest. Breathe, connect with their heartbeat. Allow them to feel your calmness; Wish says the serenity will go both ways.
- Start off with poses that are close to the ground (think table-top, child’s pose, butterfly). This will encourage your dog to engage with you.
- Once you get into a more conventional flow, take folding poses as an opportunity to show your dog some love.
- Is your dog small and relaxed? Lift them overhead during mountain or chair pose.
“Dog yoga also teaches coping mechanisms,” says Amy Vaughan of Spirit Ranch. “It helps a lot of dogs with anxiety.” Spirit Ranch will offer regular DOGA classes in the near future. Call 918-497-8855 for more information.
“It’s OK to be a little silly,” Wish says of DOGA. “For me, it was just that reminder that it’s OK to fall out of the pose. Just get back up and try again. Your dog isn’t judging you.”
Now that’s a doggone good workout buddy.
By Morgan Phillips
Maybe you have a dapper dachshund or a bulldog about town. There are plenty of local events that welcome you and your best friend. Mark your calendar for these dog-friendly dates in Tulsa. Just keep your pup on a leash, make sure they are up to date on their vaccinations and clean up after them; anything less would be a faux-paw.
Wags and Wine
Dogs can socialize — and their humans can shop and sip complimentary wine — at this free weekly meetup that often includes giveaways and discounts. Activities have included a paint and sip painting party, a photo booth, a pet food drive for Feeding the Pets of Tulsa’s Homeless and a visit with animal communicator Pam Case.
4-7 p.m., every Friday | Wagology Shop, 5341 E. 41st St. | facebook.com/wagology
Dog Night at Tulsa Botanic Garden
Elevate your evening walk with a stroll through the lush grounds of the Tulsa Botanic Garden. Pups can cool off in wading pools during the summer months and sample items from local pet food truck PetsWell Pantry. On Oct. 5, hear music from Jacob Tovar. Stop by the Andolini’s food truck and sample beers from Marshall Brewing Co.
Dog Night is free for garden members and member dogs; non-members pay regular admission ($8 for ages 13 and up; $4 for ages 3-12) and $4 per dog.
5-8 p.m., the first Thursday of the month through November | 3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive | tulsabotanic.org
Pancakes for Pooches
Support your local dog park, Biscuit Acres, at this dog-friendly pancake breakfast fundraiser that celebrates fire safety. Tour a Tulsa fire station, meet its firefighters and see safety demos. The K9 Manners and More Dog Drill Team will entertain, and guests can win raffles and prizes.
The event is free to attend, but donations help cover dog park maintenance.
8-11 a.m., Oct. 14 | Tulsa Fire Station No. 32, 6010 E. 91st St. | biscuitacres.com
Dachshund Dash at Oktoberfest Tulsa
In this dogged competition, more than 75 of Tulsa’s fastest dachshunds race 80 feet in a test of speed and intelligence. Will your wiener be a winner? Other small breeds can compete, but the $300 prize will be split among the top three bone-afide doxies.
The race is free to enter with Oktoberfest admission, but pre-registration is encouraged.
2:20 p.m., Oct. 22 | River West Festival Park, 2100 S. Jackson Ave. | tulsaoktoberfest.org
Pictures with Santa
Why should kids have all the fun? Dogs like to get their photos taken with Santa, too. Don’t forget your pup’s Christmas wish list and your own camera. Non-canine pets also are welcome at this free event.
Annually in early December | Dog Dish, 1778 S. Utica Square | thedogdish.com
Bark in the Park
Treat your canine companion to a night at the ballpark, where you can share a hot dog in the spirit of the evening. Check the teams’ websites for Bark in the Park dates.
Dog seating is permitted on the general admission lawn and in the Budweiser Terrace. Come with up-to-date vaccination records, and enter through the Oil Derrick gate or the Arvest/East Brady Street Entrance.
Select Tulsa Drillers and Tulsa Roughnecks evening games | ONEOK Field, 201 N. Elgin Ave. | tulsadrillers.com | roughnecksfc.com
Paws Egg Hunt
Start the morning with a dog/owner parade around Whiteside Park, followed by an egg hunt for treats and door prizes. Admission is free, but donations to the animal shelter, including food, leashes and collars, are encouraged.
March 2018 TBA | Whiteside Recreation Center, 4009 S. Pittsburgh Ave. | facebook.com/whitesiderecreationcenter
Cinco de Mayo Chihuahua Races
Is your Chihuahua a speedy Gonzalez? Prove it at Elote’s annual Cinco de Mayo Street Festival, where the tiny terriers race along South Boston Avenue. Mixed breeds under 15 pounds — like Chiweenies (Chihuahua/dachshund) and Chiwanians (Chihuahua/Pomeranian) — are welcome, too. And even if your perrito isn’t the fastest thing on four feet, they still might sweep the costume contest, judged at 8 p.m.
Registration is from 5-6:45 p.m.; race is at 7 p.m. The entry fee is $5 per dog and benefits the Tulsa SPCA.
May 5 | Elote Cafe and Catering, 514 S. Boston Ave. | facebook.com/elotecafe
Paws and Pictures
You can snuggle your pooch on the couch any old night. Why not try a film under the stars? At this pet-friendly drive-in experience, games and live music are followed by two drive-in feature films when the sun goes down (around 9 p.m.).
Advance tickets are $7, adults; and $3, children. Proceeds benefit the Tulsa SPCA.
Annually in June | Admiral Twin Drive-in, 7355 E. Easton St. | tulsaspca.org/paws-pictures
Every dog has its day at the City of Tulsa’s K-9 Splash event, where canines can practice their doggie paddles after Lacy Pool closes for people. Event giveaways include dog treats and custom-made food bowls.
Tickets are $5 per dog and must be purchased in advance at Lacy Community Center. Up to four people are admitted free with each dog.
Annually in August | Lacy Community Center, 2134 N. Madison Place | cityoftulsa.org
Dogs descend on downtown for Lab Rescue OK’s biggest fundraiser of the year. The event celebrates lovable Labradors with live music, vendors, food trucks and a huge silent auction. Bring a blanket and chairs or buy them from the pop-up Lab Rescue Shop.
Labapalooza is free to attend, but donations are encouraged.
Annually in September | Guthrie Green, 111 E. M. B. Brady St. | labrescue.net/labapalooza
This blowout Oklahoma Alliance for Animals fundraiser and pet adoption event gathers more than 40 rescue organizations and animal shelters with a goal of finding more than 100 pets forever homes. Expect pet-related vendors, food trucks, live music and pet contests. Take advantage of $20 microchipping from OAA and $25 sessions with animal communicator Pam Case.
Woofstock is free to attend, but donations are encouraged.
Annually in September | Riverwalk Crossing, 300 Riverwalk Terrace, Jenks | animalallianceok.org/event
By Morgan Phillips
Opportunities abound this month to give your dog’s Halloween costume a trial run. The following events incorporate a costume contest and prizes for the best-dressed doggies. May the best pooch win.
The fourth annual Mutt Strut is a .6-mile dog walk that raises awareness for DVIS’ kennel, the first in an Oklahoma domestic violence shelter. Admission is free with the donation of an item for the DVIS kennel. Visit the website for a list of suggested donations.
10 a.m., Oct. 21 | Centennial Park, 1028 E. Sixth St. | dvis.org/2017-mutt-strutt
Howl-o-ween at Whiteside Recreation Center
Dogs can hunt for treat-filled eggs and participate in a special art project. Admission is free, but donations to the animal shelter, including food, leashes and collars, are encouraged.
10 a.m., Oct. 21 | Whiteside Recreation Center, 4009 S. Pittsburgh Ave. | facebook.com/whitesiderecreationcenter
Dachshund Costume Contest and Parade at Oktoberfest Tulsa
Your little schnitzel will love Oktoberfest’s costume parade. Participation is free with Oktoberfest admission, but pre-registration is encouraged.
1:20 p.m., Oct. 22 | River West Festival Park, 2100 S. Jackson Ave. | tulsaoktoberfest.org
BooHaHa Pet Costume Contest
Dogs and other pets are welcome to participate in this annual Brookside tradition sponsored by City Veterinary Hospital.
Noon, Oct. 28 | South Peoria Avenue from East 31st to East 41st streets | brooksidetheplacetobe.com
Paws on Pearl Howl-o-ween Celebration
Enjoy a costume contest, raffle and pet adoptions, hosted by this doggie daycare provider in the Pearl District.
1-4 p.m., Oct. 28 | Paws on Pearl, 609 S. Peoria Ave. | pawsonpearl.com
By Meagan Collins
Spread your love for all things furry by volunteering at local animal welfare organizations. Don’t worry: Your pet (I mean fur baby) won’t get too jealous.
Jog a Dog
Do you like to walk or jog? So do plenty of adoptable pets. Volunteer to take one for a spin around LaFortune Park as part of Animal Rescue Foundation’s Jog a Dog program.
Volunteers must be 18 years or older, complete a volunteer application and present an ID at the ARF House before taking one of the pets for a stroll. If younger, you must be accompanied by an adult.
5201 S. Yale Ave. | arftulsa.org/volunteerinfo.html
Care for a rescue
Rescued ‘n’ Ready Animal Foundation rescues pets from Tulsa-area kill shelters. Volunteers care for dogs, attend weekly adoption events and assist with fundraisers. They also transport pets to veterinary or grooming appointments and adoption events.
Volunteers under the age of 18 must provide written parental consent. RnRAF supports youth volunteers seeking community service hours.
Adoption events held at PetCo, 4915 E. 41st St., Suite C | rescuednready.com/volunteer-cihc
Volunteers are needed to play with and walk dogs boarded at various veterinary clinics while they wait for their forever homes. Sounds like heaven, right? Volunteers can come once a week, or commit to a regular schedule of puppy love.
Animal Aid of Tulsa requires volunteers be at least 18 years old and provide their own transportation.
3307 E. 15th St. | animalaid.org/volunteer
Pit bulls often get a bad rap, so show them some love by volunteering with Amore Pit Bull Rescue. Volunteers can help foster proper canine manners by walking, socializing and playing with the dogs. This positive interaction is one of the best ways to prepare them for their forever homes and reduce breed discrimination. Volunteers simply fill out an application form.
Educate the masses
Education ambassadors visit schools, churches, hospitals and other places to help educate the public on a wide range of animal welfare topics.
This Tulsa SPCA position requires classes Basic Orientation, held twice a month and is an hour long, and Dog 101. Volunteers must be able to volunteer at least four hours per month, for a minimum of six months. There are dozens of different positions for the skillsets of every volunteer.
2910 Mohawk Blvd. | tulsaspca.org/become-a-volunteer
By Anne Brockman
There’s no reason to leave Fido at home when hitting the town. Tulsans have embraced man’s best friend as a dinner guest at these local patios. So have a seat and grab a drink — and a slurp at the water bowl.
1552 E. 15th St. | andopizza.com
Baxter’s Interurban Grill
717 S. Houston Ave. | baxtersgrill.com
Blue Moon Cafe
3512 S. Peoria Ave. | bluemoontulsa.com
The Boxyard (Dwelling Spaces, OPEN Container and Wirwar)
502 E. Third St. | tulsaboxyard.com
3301 S. Peoria Ave. | bricktownbrewery.com
1742 S. Boston Ave. | dalesandros.com
Doc’s Wine and Food
3509 S. Peoria Ave. | docswineandfood.com
East Village Bohemian Wood Fire Pizza
813 E. Third St. | eastvillagebohemian.com
1924 Riverside Drive | bluerosecafetulsa.com/elwoods
1516 S. Peoria Ave. | empiretulsa.com
304 S. Elgin Ave. | fasslerhall.com
823 E. Third St. | hodges-bend.com
Los Cabos Mexican Grill
300 Riverwalk Terrace, Suite 100, Jenks | 9455 N. Owasso Expressway, Owasso | loscabosok.com
6310 E. 101st St. | 1640 N. Ninth St., Broken Arrow | 813 E. A St., Jenks | louiesgrillandbar.com
McNellie’s South City
7031 S. Zurich Ave. | mcnelliessouthcity.com
8222 E. 103rd St. | michaelvsrestaurant.com
Napa Flats Wood-Fired Kitchen
9912 Riverside Parkway | napaflats.com/tulsa
3523 S. Peoria Ave. | olvine.com
1950 Utica Square | facebook.com/peppersutica
2038 Utica Square | pologrill.com
1834 Utica Square | facebook.com/queeniesoftulsa
R Bar and Grill
3421 S. Peoria Ave. | rbartulsa.com
1551 E. 15th St., #101 | rooseveltstulsa.com
The Rusty Crane
109 N. Detroit Ave. | rustycranetulsa.com
STG Pizzeria Gelateria
114 S. Detroit Ave. | stgitalian.com
1748 Utica Square | stonehorsecafe.com
120 S. Aquarium Drive, Jenks | waterfrontgrilljenks.com
The Wild Fork
1820 Utica Square | wildfork.com