Byline: Braden Harper/Reporter
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma – Hulu’s Original Series “Reservation Dogs” is not actually about canines. However, that did not stop the show’s crew from giving back to the community by hosting an animal care services event on Sept. 7. The Tulsa Society partly hosted the event for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Crazy Eagle Media.
Tulsa SPCA brought out their mobile clinic. The event offered spay and neutering services for pet owners with dogs or cats. Grooming and vaccines were also provided. Services were offered free of charge and were open to the public.
The event was organized by sisters Brit and Taylor Hensel (Cherokee Nation). According to Brit Hensel, event organizers performed 18 surgeries and provided hundreds of animal vaccinations. The event even had to end prematurely due to the exhaustion of resources.
“We saw a lot of animals in need and a lot of people in the neighborhood who were open to wanting some support,” Brit Hensel said. “After the show wrapped, it was something my heart was set on.”
Working on “Reservation Dogs” is a family affair for Brit Hensel. She works in the camera department with her sister and fiancé, series creator Sterlin Harjo (Muscogee/Seminole).
“I love animals aside from filmmaking,” Brit Hensel said. “I really love animals, and I’m super passionate about it.”
The Hensel Sisters share a love for furry companions and a passion for animal welfare. Brit Hensel hopes animal welfare is an issue tribal leaders will consider moving forward. Taylor works as a videographer for the Humane Society.
“I was talking to an elder, and we were talking about how interconnected we are with animals and how our old stories always talk about what we’ve learned from animals,” Brit Hensel said. “I started thinking about what my responsibility is.”
According to Brit Hensel, spaying and neutering animals are essential to help control animal populations and provide a better quality of life. Overpopulation in Oklahoma is a pressing issue.
“It’s just something so simple we can do to protect our community and animals,” Brit Hensel said.
The animal care services event acted as a way for the crew to give back to the community they had filmed the show in over the past year. Tulsa SPCA was a natural choice to partner for the event due to the vast array of services they offer to animals. According to Brit Hensel, some of the rescue dogs in the Tulsa SPCA Shelter were named after characters from the television series.
“They had a Willie Jack that was looking for a home, and they had a “Bear,” Brit Hensel said.
The Tulsa SPCA’s mission is to “improve the lives of dogs and cats, and their human companions,” according to their website. Core values include animals, human/animal bonds, community education, advocacy, collaboration, optimizing impact, and stewardship.
Members of the “Reservation Dogs” Cast and Crew had previously helped adopt 14 stray animals during the filming of season 2 this past spring.
Event organizers hope to host more animal service events in the Creek Nation and expand to the Osage and Cherokee Nations.
If you want to donate to the Tulsa SPCA or learn more about animal care services, visit https://www.tulsaspca.org/donate/.