Relishing the moment, dog lovers basked under the sun around Northeastern State University’s Beta Field Saturday, with hot dogs in hand. They came to enjoy a day in the park and donate to a good cause.

The event started because NSU Media Studies students were tasked with putting on an event for their senior capstone. In their class, the professor split the students up into different groups. Led by seniors Savannah Wood and Mackenzie Oestreich, students reached out to sponsors and media outlets to spread the word.

“We are part of our Media Campaigns and Events class. In the class, you have to put on an event and use your skills that you’ve learned in your former classes,” said Wood. “Our group – we are all passionate about dogs. Our original goal was to do a dog adoption because we are passionate about that, too. But we transformed it into one big day of a dog party where owners can take a break from being crowded indoors from COVID and still be safe, but be able to come out and have fun with their dogs.”

Oestreich has worked at Therapetics Service Dogs in Tulsa for four years. Through the organization, she has trained two service dogs for disabled veterans. The nonprofit also train dogs for non-veterans with mobility issues.

“COVID has been hard on Therapetics, so it’s gratifying to be able to give back to an organization that changed me. It’s been awesome to see all the dogs and see the happy smiling faces, and raise money for an organization that does so much for Tulsa,” said Oestreich.

All proceeds the class raised will be directed to Therapetics. The Dogfather food truck agreed to give 10 percent of its proceeds to the service dog organization.

The students also reached out to local sponsors who donated tennis balls, toys, and dog bones.

“Every owner can take home a toy, a bone, and a tennis ball for free,” said Wood.

The event also offered paw painting, free popcorn, slushies, a dog photo booth, and music. A $50 gift card to Petsense was awarded to the owner of the dog with the best costume.

Brook Neff, a student at NSU, came out to support her friends. She enjoys the outdoors and serving the community. When her friends asked her to staff the slushie machine, she jumped at the opportunity.

“I enjoy seeing the dogs that came out today, and I’m happy for the Media Studies students for putting this on. It’s great that they are raising money for Therapetics,” she said.

You can help

Therapetics Service Dogs of Oklahoma is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has served the Tulsa community since 1992. Each dog requires about $10,000 and two years of training before they are ready to serve their future owners. Therapetics operates from contributions from individuals, businesses, churches, and civics groups. The goal of Therapeutics is to place service dogs with people who are in financial need, and to do so, they operate with unpaid volunteers. For information on how to give, visit the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/therapeticsservicedogsofoklahoma.

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