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Dr. Khris Keller with Mahomes and Vidalia

Featured Article

Vets are pet parents too

Diverse families built around love

Article by Joe Harwell

Photography by Snoots Pet Photography

Originally published in Tulsa City Lifestyle

Meet the pet families of the staff at Animal Emergency Center (AEC) Tulsa. Their stories will warm your heart.

Waylon and Elliot

Dr. Troy McNamara & Sheri McNamara

Pets pictured: Waylon, a 4-month-old Australian Shepherd, and Elliot, a 21-year-old Thoroughbred. Pets not pictured: 5 other dogs: Goose, Ringo (Pit Bulls that were abandoned at the AEC), Tuff (Black Labrador); Kaipo, and Iniki (both are Chihuahua/Pekingese mix) and one miniature donkey named Wyatt.

“Waylon is the newest addition to our family and came to us after we lost two beloved Aussies over the last several years. He is a gentle giant that loves to play with, and harass, his Chihuahua brother and sister constantly.”

“Elliot came to us in 2021 as a retired Hunter-Jumper athlete. He spent the last several years of his career as a teaching horse for younger children who were getting started in Equestrian sports. He enjoys his retirement with his little buddy Wyatt, our ten-year-old miniature donkey.”

Dr. McNamara has been a Veterinarian with the Animal Emergency Center since 1997 and has served as the Medical Director since 1998. Sheri McNamara has been with the AEC since 1992 as a Registered Veterinary Nurse. In addition to her duties as a nurse, she has also served as the Business Manager since 2004.

Mahomes and Vidalia

Dr. Khris Keller 

“We have a total of eight dogs. (My wife knows about seven of them. By the time this is published, one more black lab will be part of the family. Surprise!) Of the eight total, six are Labrador Retrievers. The other two are a Weiner dog and a Frenchie. The Labs, Tripp, Coda, Mahomes, Vidalia (Onion), and Bunny spend the fall and winter at a South Dakota hunting lodge. Their days are spent chasing pheasants, ducks, and geese. An occasional crane as well, but only for those dogs (Tripp and Coda) willing to wear protective goggles.”

“The picture is of Mahomes and Vidalia holding me still while they posed professionally. Neither of their names was on my granddaughter's list of acceptable puppy names. However, one granddaughter shares my passion for KC Chiefs football and convinced the other two that Homie was a good compromise.”

“Vidalia on the other hand was a much more difficult sell. One morning, coming home from work at 2:30 a.m., I was staying awake by listening to the radio and singing along. I heard a Sammy Kershaw song about a girl named “Vidalia”. I am thinking, what a perfect name for a female dog. I shared my proposed name with the granddaughters. It was not well received and definitely not on the puppy name list.”

“ ‘First of all,’ they said, ‘how can you be singing along with a song that you have never heard before? Second, who names a dog at 2:30 in the morning? Grandpa, this is sketch.’ ”

“So, in an attempt to be un-sketch, I mentioned the Shriners and Vidalia onion sales. Blank stares from each granddaughter. Then, I tried playing ‘Vidalia’ on my phone.”

“ ‘Flip phones have large numbers grandpa, but can’t play music.’ I finally convinced them to listen to the song on their phones after I spelled Kershaw and Vidalia.”

“After listening, they agreed to the name. Okay, not to Vidalia, but Onion. My granddaughters are all about compromise. The oldest dog, Tripp (Q.T. Pie), was supposed to be named Sparkles. The granddaughters think it is spelled ‘Cutie Pie’. Grandpa is also a good compromiser.”


Dr. Wesley Tinnin

“The pictured cat is Blake. She is a tuxedo domestic shorthair. I adopted her last August from work, at the Animal Emergency Center, where she had been abandoned the year before by her previous owner. She typically only likes mouse-shaped toys. She was previously called Linda or Hellen before I adopted her. I also have an eight-month-old western hognose snake named Vasuki (not pictured) that I got about 2 months ago. He likes to burrow most of the time rather than explore but will occasionally chill outside with me and will try to burrow into my sleeve.”

Dr. Tinnin joined the AEC a little over a year ago. He likes to spend time outside of work doing outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and gardening. When the weather isn’t ideal, he enjoys reading, playing video games, doing hands-on projects like model building and puzzles, and restoring/refinishing furniture.

“Tuxedo cats are not a breed. Instead, they are defined by their distinct black and white bicolored coats that resemble traditional formal wear.”


Dr. Troy Thompson

“Aspen is my two and one-half-year-old Golden Retriever. She became a part of the family on July 3, 2021. One of my daughters found her posted on Facebook as a giveaway and I had been looking for an adult Golden. When she came to us, she was thin and infested with fleas and hookworms. She was also six weeks pregnant with her second litter.”

“Just over two weeks after getting her, she had eight healthy Golden Retriever puppies. So much for my plan of adopting an adult dog so I wouldn’t have to deal with all the puppy stuff. I was able to find homes for all of the puppies pretty quickly. My daughter Ashleigh, who found Aspen, kept one of the girls, Sage, who is now nearly a year old.”

“Aspen is pretty much perfect. She is my nearly constant companion. One of the perks of working as a veterinarian is being able to bring my dog to work. She gets excited when I am getting ready for work and will bring me my socks.”

“She has seemingly endless energy. I’ve taken her on hikes for hours and she never seems to get tired. But she is also content to lie on the bed or next to the recliner on lazy days. She loves water, and if there is a creek, pond, river, lake, or just a big bucket of water she will go swimming. It doesn’t matter if it is 100 degrees or 15 degrees with snow and ice, she will go in the water if she gets the chance.”


Dr. Bill Gooldy

“I’m Dr. Bill Gooldy. I joined the staff of the AEC about three years ago. Prior to that, I worked in an Emergency Center in Phoenix, AZ. My wife, Juli, and I live on a ranch in Pryor, OK where I was raised. This is one of our horses, Smoke. I rescued him when he was about six months old. He was suffering from starvation and severe parasitism. I was very concerned about re-feeding syndrome and had to introduce nutrition to him very slowly. He is now a healthy four-year-old and is in great physical shape and has joined our herd of ranch horses. He is such a pleasure to be around, quite full of himself and just a little pampered. He thinks he is pretty special.”

We asked Dr. Gooldy about rescuing horses. He pointed out that it is often a long process, and unfortunately not all horses are capable of recovery. If you are interested in adoption, he recommends seeking assistance from a knowledgeable and experienced veterinarian. 

“Adopting a rescue horse is often a long process.”

  • Dr. Troy McNamara & Sheri McNamara with Waylon and Elliot
  • Dr. Troy McNamara & Sheri McNamara with Waylon and Elliot
  • Dr. Khris Keller with Vidalia
  • Dr. Khris Keller with Mahomes and Vidalia
  • Dr. Wesley Tinnin with Blake
  • Dr. Troy Thompson with Aspen
  • Dr. Troy Thompson with Aspen
  • Dr. Bill Gooldy with Smoke. Photo provided.

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