It’s fitting that, in this month of love, we would have a conversation with the inspiring president and executive director for the Central Oklahoma Humane Society. Christy Counts has spent much of her professional life pursuing her passion – rescuing animals and ushering them into new, nurturing lives.
Few of us can say with as much conviction as Counts that we know what we’ve been put on earth to do. Actually, not many of us can even say what we’ll be doing for Valentine’s Day, but for those of you who need a suggestion, Counts can make one or two furry ones to guarantee a perfect match.
And unlike the ill-fated Valentines of your past, these have had all their shots.
Are you a native Oklahoman?
Yes. I’m from Oklahoma City. I lived in L.A., Dallas and New York over a period of 10 years, but Oklahoma City is home.
What’s your current obsession?
I went to Houston a couple of years ago and fell in love with an unbroken horse named Chili. There were other horses at this place, but this particular horse followed me all around and kept touching his nose to my shoulder. After I left, I couldn’t get him out of my mind, so I brought him up here and I’ve just been in love with him!
I assume he’s been broken by now.
Yes, and I now have three horses. One of my goals for the year is to start an Equine Initiative. I’d like to see a statewide coalition to improve the overall conditions for horses. Eventually, maybe that would include a horse rescue.
Did you always think you’d have a career in this kind of work?
I did, but people kept telling me that an obsession for animals should be a hobby and not a career. So I pursued other things, very successfully, but I knew they weren’t what I was put on this earth to do.
How do you not own 38 dogs and 24 cats?
I really have to have thick skin not to!
Have you made any resolutions this year?
Yes. I was in a room full of people and we took turns sharing our resolutions. Mine was to slow down. When I announced it, everyone started clapping! I’m trying to balance my life, my kids and my passions. Luckily, my passions are tied to my work.
Are you always so lucky?
In general, yes, but when I need a little extra, I put on a Roman coin necklace I’ve had for years.
What do you do for fun, now that you’re … how old?
37. I’ve revised my definition of “fun” since my 20s! Now, a good time for me is being home with my kids.
When do you turn 38?
Are you a typical Leo?
Through and through, without a doubt.
What is a risk worth taking?
Anything that involves following your passion. Otherwise, what’s the point?
What are the best lessons your parents taught you?
Always do the right thing. Be honest. Honesty is a big thing to me. I’d even say I’m brutally honest, which sometimes makes it harsh to be my friend!
What do you wish you’d started doing long before you did?
OK, I’m starting to sound like “that horse woman,” because I can’t stop talking about my horses, but I wish I’d started horseback riding when I was a kid.
What (besides horseback riding) should people learn to do?
Yes! Specifically, slalom. It’s a dying sport and that’s really a shame because Oklahoma has such gorgeous lakes.
Where should I eat this weekend?
Stella. (Stella Modern Italian Cuisine, 1201 N Walker, Oklahoma City)
What’s the best decision you’ve ever made?
Moving back to Oklahoma City to be close to my family. I also feel that we’ve made a great impact here for the welfare of animals in this state, and that’s very rewarding.