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Tulsa Organization That Trains Service Dogs Being Evicted From Facility

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This year, there are about 20 trained dogs that will eventually end up alongside people who may not be able to function well on their own. This year, there are about 20 trained dogs that will eventually end up alongside people who may not be able to function well on their own.
Executive Director Susan Hartman said, each year, the non-profit counts on a few big fundraising events, held by third parties, to bring in money. Executive Director Susan Hartman said, each year, the non-profit counts on a few big fundraising events, held by third parties, to bring in money.
Therapetics is now three months behind on rent. Therapetics is now three months behind on rent.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

The Green Country non-profit organization that trains service dogs for the disabled and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder has been evicted from its headquarters.

Therapetics counts on donations to stay in business and they've dried up.

Executive Director Susan Hartman said, each year, the non-profit counts on a few big fundraising events, held by third parties, to bring in money.

But this year, that money went to other charities. Hartman said Therapetics is now more than $5,500 behind in rent.

"The position that we find ourselves in is not at all connected to a misdirection of funds, a mismanagement of funds or any kind of malfeasance. We are operating as frugally as we possibly can, just like we always have," Hartman said.

Therapetics was founded in 1992. There are two paid staff members: Executive Director, Susan Hartman and a full-time trainer.

9/28/2010 Related Story: Tulsa Organization Looking For Families To Help Train Service Dogs

Therapetics gets the dogs as puppies, then volunteers spend two years training the service dogs. This year, there are about 20 trained dogs that will eventually end up alongside people who may not be able to function well on their own.

And the cost to the people receiving the service dogs is free.

"Even though dogs are what people see with Therapetics, we're not really a dog organization, we're a people organization, and if we're not able to continue training service dogs for people in need, it's the people that suffer," Hartman said.

Hartman said donations keep the lights on and the dogs fed, but this year she said the bills are coming in faster than the donations.

"With folks directing their dollars to other issues in the state of Oklahoma - tornado relief, for example - I think it all came to a head, and here we find ourselves in a situation where we are not meeting our expenses in terms of facility," she said.

Hartman said she's been putting the needs of the animals first, making sure they've got food and the care they need.

"We have to be able to cover the cost of every single dog that we bring into the program. Our budget dictates the number of dogs that we bring in."

Therapetics is now three months behind on rent.

Hartman said it was unclear in the eviction notice how much more time they have in the space they rent, but said it's not much.

"Our need for support is immediate," Hartman said.

The need is so great, Hartman said she has stopped cashing her paychecks.

"It's my job to raise the dollars to support this program, with the assistance of a board of directors, and I feel like it's my job to carry the weight, or I guess you could say the burden," Hartman said.

But even with the threat of losing the place Therapetics calls home, Hartman said the organization will never stop serving the state.

"Our service dogs are needed in the state of Oklahoma. We've got to find a way to continue doing what we do," she said.

Hartman said she hopes some donations will start coming in so Therapetics can stay where they are.

Go here to find out how you can help.

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