Duenner family gets plenty of love
BY BRAVETTA HASSELL World Scene Writer
Saturday, March 02, 2013
3/02/13 at 7:02 AM
Ruthie Duenner has been on the board of directors for the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals since its beginning in 2004, but along with her husband, Steve, she has been a lover of animals since before then.
Duenner remembers Sussy, the first rescue the couple made decades ago. The family was taking a walk after church when they heard her crying.
"I'd never heard such a loud noise," Duenner said. Sussy was in a box - small and helpless. The Duenners would soon learn Sussy was only about 4 1/2 weeks old. Sussy, believed to be part German or English shepherd, maybe part beagle - "it was hard to tell" - grew into a beautiful dog, Duenner recalls.
Duenner's son was about 4 years old then. He's now an adult with his own children. He has two dogs, a Labrador retriever and Labradoodle.
Steve and Ruthie Duenner now own eight animals - six dogs and two horses. Over time, the Duenners have taken in about 14 rescue dogs.
"You love them all but sometimes you can miss one or two when you're counting," Ruthie Duenner says.
She tells the Tulsa World about her current pets, as well as her passion for animal rescue.
What kind of pets do you have?
Vallie, a rescued cocker spaniel; Precious and Sassy, two lhasa apsos; Sophie and Fancy Pants, two Cavalier King Charles spaniels; Lady, Ruthie Duenner's late mother's German shepherd; and two horses, Dusty, a buckskin, and George, a certified Arabian horse rescue.
How do the dogs get along?
They're sweet dogs, they just bark a lot. The dogs all rough house. Lady is really good with them. Vallie and Sassy don't realize they're smaller than her.
Do they have any special treats for your pets?
Oh yes, lots of them. Some I make. I bake chicken for the dogs. We try to do as much cage-free as possible. Duenner says she puts some olive oil and corn oil in a pan, then the chicken and a little salt and pepper and bakes it. "And that's what they eat on top of their dry food." Other dog snacks she picks up from Akins.
Dusty and George the horses have Nicker Maker horse treats in addition to their well-balanced diet, and they love a Fig Newton from time to time. "They come immediately if they know its Fig Newton time."
What do people adopting pets stand to gain in their lives?
The love. The fun. Older people really love the companionship. It's a good part of life to have a loving little creature. All those things and more add up to what the pluses are.
Do you have any advice for someone considering adopting a pet?
Go to a rescue organization and make sure the animal has all its shots - they usually do. The health of the dog is extremely critical. Look for a dog with whom you can make eye contact. It shows they accept you.
Duenner says that is especially important to look for if it's your first pet adoption. If the pet is a rescued animal, it likely came from a place where it was mistreated and unloved. "They want to be loved and they want to love; they just have a communication problem. Just be sure in your heart you have room for a dog," Duenner says. "And it may come gradually."
What are your favorite pet rescue groups?
Duenner says she has a great appreciation for all of them, still to name a few: German Shepherd Rescue of Tulsa, Lab Rescue Oklahoma and Oklahoma Orphaned Poodle Services.
If you'd like to have your pets featured in Animal House, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Include a high-quality digital photo along with information about the types of pets you have.
Original Print Headline: Duenner family finds love in rescues
Bravetta Hassell 918-581-8316
Pet lover Ruthie Duenner and her husband, Steve Duenner, own six dogs - Lady (left), a German shepherd; a Cavalier King Charles spaniel named Sophie (black/brown); a lhasa apso named Sassie; another Cavalier King Charles spaniel named Fancy; a lhasa apso named Precious; and Vallie, a cocker spaniel. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World
Ruthie and Steve Duenner own two horses - George (left), a full Arab, and a buckskin named Dusty. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World