A Heart For Our Companions

 

Written by Amy Dee Stephens in the December 2018 Issue

Dana McCrory

Dana McCrory is the moving force behind improved animal welfare in Oklahoma City. She’s honored to have overseen the funding of a multi- million-dollar veterinary clinic, but she’s equally proud when a rescue kitty finds a good home.

In 2007, McCrory was a founding board member of the Central Oklahoma Humane Society. “We were one of the few thriving areas without one, and our pet population was in terrible trouble.” A year later, McCrory resigned her board role to become the Executive Director of the Zoological Society for eight years. Last year, she was thrilled to accept the CEO position at her beloved humane society. She’s proud of the strides the organization has made in one decade. In 2007, 30,000 pets entered shelters, with 75% being euthanized. Now, 75% are leaving alive, and the goal is 90%.

“The city is more humane than it was 10 years ago. I’m surrounded by a staff of heroes,” McCrory said. “I lead the organization, but they generate creative solutions for pets. We now work with populations in crisis, such as the homeless or those who need an extra hand. We also have an animal advocate to help the victim “place their pets” until they themselves find shelter.

To McCrory, humans are the species responsible for improving the plight of animals. This philosophy is the reason McCrory has asked for money
on behalf of whales, rhinos, frogs and dogs. It’s also how she found herself tromping through the Rwandan jungle, searching for wild mountain gorillas. “Our group was there to understand first-hand why we must protect wild animals. I remember turning a corner and saying, ‘I smell gorillas.’ The guide, surprised that I knew the smell, said, ‘Look in the tree behind you.’ That glimpse of the most endangered animal on earth will always be my favorite memory.”

For McCrory, animals are not a novelty--they are a way of life. She grew up on an acreage with lots of love, laughter, siblings and animals. Her father rescued and adopted an astounding array of animals, which McCrory viewed as family members. "I'm not an animal activist, I'm an animal advocate," she explained. "Animals have been part of my family, and they've been my savior."

Four years ago, her husband, Mac, experienced a debilitating health crisis. Their dog, MayBelle, was both Mac’s physical therapy buddy, but also his emotional companion, helping him through his darkest days. “MayBelle saved us both,” McCrory said. In exchange for all the kindness and compassion McCrory has received from a lifetime of animal friends, she hopes to give thousands of future pet-owners the chance to experience the scientifically-proven fact that humans do benefit from animal interactions.

“I keep a painting of Malee, the zoo’s first baby elephant, in my office at the humane society. Meeting Malee was a special moment for me, and I was devastated when she died of a genetic disease. Malee’s painting reminds me that there is still much to do. More research is needed, and not just for elephants, because we are also still unable to stop disease transmission in domesticated dogs and cats.”

“My mom trained me that if I needed to change something wrong in this world, there was no better person than me to make changes. Animals have improved my life, and so I can passionately advocate for them.”

For more information, visit www.okhumane.org

 

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