Meet Max, OKC Zoo's First Canine Animal Ambassador

Meet Max, the Zoo’s first ever canine animal ambassador! Max, a two-year-old terrier mix, was adopted from OKC Animal Welfare earlier this year and has been working closely with staff to help demonstrate how the Zoo works with and cares for animals. From chats to demonstrations, Zoo guests can view and interact with Max to better understand some ways the Zoo provides training, animal enrichment and welfare.

"Max was a diamond in the rough. The OKC animal welfare shelter reported he had been adopted and returned twice. Max is incredibly smart with an endless supply of energy, so he had a habit of getting into trouble,” said Kim Leser, curator of animal behavior and welfare. “He is settling in nicely at the Zoo where he gets plenty of exercise, a healthy diet, great vet care and, of course, lots of love and attention. We are thrilled to add Max to the family and encourage guests to remember local shelters and rescues the next time they are looking to add to their family.”

In addition to demonstrating animal enrichment and training methods, Max will serve another critical function: familiarizing Zoo animals to the presence of service animals. Max will help to teach the Zoo’s collection that the sight or smell of a dog near their habitat is normal. 

The Oklahoma City Zoo welcomes registered service animals, but pets are not allowed in the park. Located in the Zoo’s entry plaza, the pet hotel is available daily during regular Zoo hours for only $1 and is the ideal solution for guests traveling with pets since they are not permitted on grounds. No animals, including service dogs, will be allowed inside any interactive animal exhibit at the Zoo including, but not limited, to the Centennial Choo Choo, Dan Moran Aviary, Oklahoma Trails Aviary and the Lorikeet exhibit. This is intended for the health and well-being of the Zoo’s animal family, Zoo guests and the service dog.

OKC Zoo’s PAWS-itive IMPACT:

  • Since 2017, OKC Zoo’s Round Up for Conservation has provided $35,000 support for African Painted Dog Conservation in Zimbabwe.
  • Provides staff to assist in the field at Painted Dog Research Trust in Zimbabwe.
  • African Painted Dog Keeper Connections – daily at 1:30 p.m.
  • Pet hotel in entry plaza available daily for $1.
  • New service animal waste stations available throughout the Zoo. 


-Photo of Max and Zoya the Tiger provided by Andrea Johnson

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