SPLASH! Dock Diving

by Christy Doherty

As one of the fastest-growing canine sports in the world, dock diving is making a big splash with dogs and humans alike. Enthusiasts in the Northwest are fortunate that Hillsboro is home to an indoor dock diving facility.

The facility makes year-round practice and competition both possible and fun. “The dream of opening a combination rehab and indoor dock diving facility became real almost four years ago,” explains Diane Kunkle, certified Canine Rehab Practitioner, who co-owns Paws Aquatics Water Sports and Rehab with Julie Thomas.

In dock-diving events, dogs run the length of a dock and leap as far as possible into the water, competing for distance, height, or -- in timed events -- for speed. Human competitors throw a prized toy just out of reach, motivating dogs to keep their momentum and launch into the pool at the best-possible angle.

The sport offers variations on the diving theme. For example, an in-the-air retrieve event, the coveted dog toy is suspended four feet above the water to start, moving higher as dogs complete each level.

With its growing popularity, the sport is drawing a wider variety of breeds. “About 10 years ago, it was pretty much all Labs, but then the other breeds started to try it. Right now Whippets kind of rule the sport,” Kunkle explained.

When Spot Magazine attended a February dock diving event, a Whippet named Sounders jumped so far he touched the back of the pool -- a little over 33.5 feet. The impressive dive matched his world-record jump in December’s National competition.

It’s an equal-opportunity sport. Whether low-slung lap dog or tall Russian Wolfhound, in this game, size really doesn’t matter, and the mix of breeds is endless. The sport’s organizing body, North America Diving Dogs (NADD), divides dogs into two size divisions -- those 16 inches or taller at the withers, and those shorter. There are also divisions like novice, junior, senior, master and elite within each height category.

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Getting their Paws Wet

Dogs benefit from the equalizing effect of water, making the sport accessible to all sizes and ages. “All they need is a strong toy drive and a love for swimming,” Kunkle enthused. “We have two labs who still compete at age 14.”

Kunkle says new dogs get a slow introduction to the sport. “We start them off the side deck, only 8 inches off the water, before moving them to the dock,” she explained.

Jenn Zimmerly-Offinga of Hillsboro competes with Motive, a Boston Terrier whose food drive outpaces her interest in toys. The pair manage a compromise. “For Motive, it’s all about food,” Zimmerly-Offinga laughs. “She doesn’t work for free. Food IS her reward, and there’s no food allowed on the dock. We have to go flying right back to the crate, because she needs a paycheck. Some dogs are volunteers; some need a paycheck. Motive needs an edible paycheck.”

Her first diving dog, Hoodlum, was the 2015 NADD Senior Lapdog National Champion, inspiring many Boston Terriers and other “littles” to follow his example. Hoodlum’s success drew Zimmerly-Offinga’s friend from Canada, Mary Young, into dock diving. She has elite jumpers and announces at events.

Young’s dog, Swindle -- a female Belgian Malinois -- is an elite jumper who jumps far and high.  Swindle is “the best counter surfer around, and likes to sleep under the blankets at night curled in between her humans. She loves everything she does and gives 100% every time,” Young says.

Motive and Swindle went to Nationals last year, where almost 800 dogs competed. “I think there were about 20 dogs from the Pacific Northwest,” Zimmerly-Offinga enthused. The Pacific Northwest offers other diving event locales, including a mobile dock, but the indoor venue is a favorite of some dogs who -- like Motive – hate cold water.  “We call her Sensitive Sally because she doesn’t like to jump into cold water. She likes to jump at PAWS, because the water is warm.”

Zimmerly-Offinga is also training Frantic, a puppy Young gifted her. “Frantic is a Boston Terrier/Whippet/Staffy mix, all legs. He’s very cute, After I lost Hoodlum to GI lymphoma, I said I didn’t need another dog. At diving events, Mary kept saying I did, since Motive doesn’t like cold water. She ended up making a four-hour drive for a puppy I said I didn’t want, and she brought Frantic back.”

That’s what friends are for.

Diving All In

Competing with Quiver, the AKC National Champion Doberman, Teresa Ross of Vancouver, WA was amazed how quickly her dogs mastered diving. “We just started. Neither dog was swimming this summer; they were babies,” Ross explained. “and in August, Avatar was in her first competition.”

Dee Morasco of Amboy, WA was at the competition with her veteran Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Rex, who has been to Nationals in Florida three times. Morasco also brought along a puppy who was adjusting to the excitement. “I’ve been doing dock diving since 2003,” Morasco explained. “It’s a good family sport. Kids as young as 7 can be up there, because two people can be on the dock.”

It’s hard to just get a little bit into the sport. Mary Young confesses, “Oh yes I’m the addicted one. I have three dogs that compete: Swindle and Scandal, my two Belgian Malinois; and Quiz, an Australian Cattle Dog. They are all amazing!”

Immersed in dog sports for over 25 years, including flyball, agility, barn hunt, lure coursing, nose work, urban mushing, obedience, Superdogs and dock diving, Young finds “dock diving seems to be a much more family-friendly event and while people are competitive and want their dogs to do the best they can, the joy of watching all the different dogs and people on the dock is what it’s really all about.”  

Young still competes in agility and flyball, and teaches flyball classes at home in British Columbia, “But the dock diving community is powerful and much more welcoming for all newcomers of all the different size dogs/breeds/mixes – it just doesn’t matter.” 

A tiny jumper’s personal best may be nine feet where the big jumpers sail out 32 feet or farther, but “the human-dog team is what keeps people coming back,” Young asserts. “I live in BC Canada and drive to Oregon for all their events. What I love most about diving is the camaraderie amongst competitors encouraging and helping with each other. We are competitors, but most are friends first,” she said with a smile.

Maybe the sport is wildly popular because, at its heart, it’s all about fun – for people and dogs. “The dogs smile,” Zimmerly-Offinga laughed, “They really do. It’s such fun to see them with smiles on their faces when they’re jumping off the dock!”


Interested in seeing if your pup has a future in the sport? Kunkle offers introductions and assessments at PAWS. A first-time assessment is $65. “After that, dock diving lessons are $45. And on Saturdays from 2-5 there is open dock diving practice, at $25 per dog, no appointment required.” 503-640-4007 www.pawsrehab.net

Diving events require registering with NADD – North American Diving Dogs - $35 for the life of the dog. Each competition has entry fees.

For information on registering your dog with NADD and finding an event, go to NorthAmericaDivingDogs.com.

Photo credit:  Amaya Frutkoff

Photo credit: Amaya Frutkoff

Photo credit: Landon Treanor

Photo credit: Landon Treanor

Ask An Animal Lawyer: How can I get active for animals and become an advocate in my own city?

Ask an Animal Lawyer

By Elizabeth Holtz, Animal Legal Defense Fund

I’m thrilled to answer your question, thank you for asking. While most of us deeply love our companion animals, millions of animals still suffer in the United States. From puppy mills to factory farms to egregious acts of cruelty against animals that go unpunished, we have so much work to do.  

A good first step is to connect with local groups in your area that are already working on animal issues. It’s as easy as going to Facebook and searching for “animal” plus your state. You’ll likely find either a state chapter of a national organization or local groups working on a wide variety of issues. Sign up to join their email lists, and you’ll be alerted when legislators are considering animal protection bills. You can also join the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s action alert list at aldf.org/signup.

When asked, take action! Send an email, or even better, call your city, state, and federal legislators and urge them to protect animals by supporting positive (or opposing negative) bills. Other ways you can get involved are by attending protests (outside of a pet store that sells puppies or a roadside zoo, for example), volunteering at animal shelter, or fostering.

Want to take your advocacy to the next step? Work with your city or county legislator to enact an ordinance to protect animals – many animal control issues are handled at the local level. While lobbying at the state and federal level is important, it can be daunting for a single person. That’s often not the case in your hometown! I’ve met many people who single-handedly worked with their city council or county commission to pass an ordinance (the term for local laws).  Legislators at this level are usually much easier to contact. Especially in smaller to medium sized cities, you can simply pick up the phone or send an email and schedule a meeting for as early as next week. All you need is determination and background knowledge of the issue.

This column is too short to discuss all the laws that you might champion, but retail pet sale bans and protections for animals in cold weather are a few ideas to get you started.  Retail pet sale bans prohibit pet stores from selling puppies, kittens, and sometimes other animals, that come from breeders. Virtually all puppies sold at pet stores come from puppy mills, large-scale breeding operations where profit is more important than the animals. A retail pet sale ban requires pet stores to only offer dogs and cats from rescue groups or animal shelters – animals in desperate need of homes. Retail pet sale bans have taken off in the last decade with hundreds of cities and counties enacting them. As a result, California and Maryland recently became the first two states to pass similar laws at the state level. This is a great example of how change starts locally. These state laws likely wouldn’t be possible if smaller communities hadn’t taken the first step.

Protecting animals in cold weather isn’t a matter of comfort, it can be life and death. Dogs and other companion animals aren’t equipped to survive in low temperatures. They can quickly get frostbite and even freeze to death. Ordinances that require people to bring companion animals indoors when the temperature drops below a certain level (or in weather emergencies) are critical. Every year we receive reports of dogs freezing to death. In some cases, neighbors had complained or reported that a dog was left outdoors in extreme temperatures, but animal control was either powerless to act (or declined to). Clear ordinances – animals must be brought in if it drops below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, for example – are easier to enforce and thus more effective.

I hope these ideas help you get started in your mission to get active for animals. There are so many other areas you can get involved in at the local level – anti-tethering ordinances, bans on circuses with wild animals, ordinances protecting pit bull terriers – these two suggestions are just a start. Good luck!

As Campaigns Manager for Animal Legal Defense Fund, Elizabeth Holtz is grateful that her work allows her to educate people and empower them to speak out on behalf of animals. She earned her undergraduate degree at Pomona College in 2007 and her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 2011. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area with her husband Teddy, two rescue Chihuahuas (Alvin and the Colonel), and four rescue cats: Ripley, Prometheus, Jabba the Catt, and Pinguino.

As Campaigns Manager for Animal Legal Defense Fund, Elizabeth Holtz is grateful that her work allows her to educate people and empower them to speak out on behalf of animals. She earned her undergraduate degree at Pomona College in 2007 and her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 2011. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area with her husband Teddy, two rescue Chihuahuas (Alvin and the Colonel), and four rescue cats: Ripley, Prometheus, Jabba the Catt, and Pinguino.

When helping one serves many —patients, pets and hospital staff

Shannon Priem with FETCH dog Miss Poppy

Shannon Priem with FETCH dog Miss Poppy

Marketing/PR professional Shannon Priem of Salem says her first word as a child wasn’t “mommy” or “daddy,” but “kitty.”

Priem works part-time in marketing for Salem Health, and been a board member of the Willamette Humane Society for 10 years.  While both roles gave her plenty to do, five years ago the lifelong animal lover was inspired to do more.

“Our pet policy had gotten relaxed over the years” says Priem, “so patients brought all kinds of pets to their hospital rooms — including, on one occasion, a duck in a diaper.” This eventually took its toll on staff. “Nurses were changing litterboxes,” she says. That changed in 2013, when a new policy prohibited pets on the hospital campus “except service or therapy animals.”

The impact of the new policy on patients coming into the ER was quickly apparent to both Priem and security staff; patients frequently brought dogs with them to the ER, or panicked when they realized pets were left at home. “It didn’t take long to realize they might go AWOL (leave the hospital against medical advice) because they were more worried about their pet than their own health.”

Many patients in this type of scenario are older with little or no family or support, homeless, or otherwise struggling with slim resources, if any.

“Usually in cases like these,” Priem says, “good samaritans working at the hospital would say, ‘Okay, I’ll take care of the pet.’” The problem was, caring for animals took time and energy that staff needed to focus on patient care.

Bothered by the dilemma, Priem approached administration with an idea: “What if I could be your ace in the hole — your secret service on call, day or night to help?” Given the go-ahead, she brainstormed with security staff and soon began FETCH, Fido’s Emergency Team for Caring Hospitals.

“I look at it as, ‘if it’s got a heartbeat, we’ll care for them.’ They’re human. If that means caring for their dog or cat, then that’s what we’ll do,” says Priem. A gift from the Salem Health Foundation enabled FETCH to partner with the Willamette Humane Society for emergency boarding, helping even more animals.

Today, FETCH has a handful of stalwart volunteers — including some hospital staff — who will come day or night to take a pet, and five on call. Those who help or have helped range in age from teens to over 70.

FETCH is always “on call” for hospital care managers or social workers who typically help patients with limited resources with things like finding a skilled nursing facility, transportation home, etc. The group also works with hospital security staff.

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The need arises frequently — nowadays averaging two calls per week. Priem has many stories about the cases she’s handled — FETCH has cared for more than 110 animals since 2013, helping keep families together. “I’m not one to brag, but I wouldn’t be surprised if my FETCH team saved a couple of lives here and there,” she says.

She tells of one patient who arrived at the ER needing but refusing life-saving care when staff moved to take her dog.  She said, “If I can’t have Jonathon with me, I can’t go on living.”

Staff got Jonathan into her hospital room to wait for her after surgery. ”His little nose was pressed against a crack in the door for an hour; he knew she was coming,” says Priem. “When she arrived, he hopped in her bed to lick her face, and she soon went back to sleep. From that second, I knew we needed FETCH.”

Another story tells of a gentleman with a life-threatening infection who’d put up his dog in a motel and then walked several miles to the ER. A long-haul driver, after receiving help — for himself and his dog —told Priem, “You don’t even know me, and you rescued my dog from a motel.” The grateful gentleman said he was going to look into helping others this way when he got home.

Felix, a 25-pound cat, was left behind in a mobile home. Unable to care for or even lift him, the owner agreed to surrender him for rehoming. “Please find him a good home,” she begged Priem, who said there were three holds on Felix at WHS by prospective adoptive families the first day. Ultimately he was adopted by a counselor, and is reportedly now helping her with grief counseling.

Still another case was a woman who had been homeless for eight years. She had three old dogs who themselves needed medical care. With the help of WHS, the dogs got better. The woman also got better, then found a job and an apartment. “This is a woman who was on the streets for eight years, often going without food so she could feed her dogs!” Priem repeats, still overjoyed with the outcome.

Other cases underscore the value of FETCH to not only the humans it serves, but the pets.

One gentleman came in, leaving behind two Rottweiler/Pit mixes, which were ultimately surrendered to WHS.

“Ozzie was dangerous,” says Priem. “The best trainers at WHS worked with him for 10 months. They didn’t give up. We all saw a special light in his eyes, but there were times . . . I’d get ‘the call’ that he might not make it.

“Then one day it all just clicked, and Ozzie was a different dog. Shortly after, a veteran who had just lost his therapy dog came to WHS. Ozzie walked right up to him. The shelter staff told him, ‘He is your dog!’”

The partnership with WHS is vital to the success of FETCH. “At the drop of a hat an animal can get care and boarding at the shelter, while being in the protective custody of the Salem Health Foundation,” says Priem. “I’ll call and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got two Yorkies.’ They’ll ask if they need vaccinations; I’ll say yes, and they’ll say, ‘Bring them in.’”

“We’ve had pets at WHS for weeks at a time, belonging mostly to people facing health emergencies. But also who are homelessness, elderly, or have no family support.

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FETCH is strictly a private venture. Because volunteers go into unknown, potentially dangerous situations, Priem understands that for now, due to liability issues, it shouldn’t be a formal hospital service. “We assume all personal liability because the need is there, and worth the risk,” she says.  Starting with zero resources, Priem has created legal forms dealing with permissions, liabilities, and the like. She says the partnership between WHS and the Salem Health Foundation is invaluable. “They both fill a critical gap, because you can’t board a pet without current vaccines, and thanks to the foundation, we get that done quickly so our patients get peace of mind . . . and can heal.”

”Word of mouth has increased our work, which means staff really need us,” she says. “They really care about our patients, so I’ve become their hidden asset!”  If the need continues to grow, she says she hopes FETCH will become a more formalized hospital program.

For now, “A case manager [from the hospital] will call — I know there’s a pet in need just by the phone number — and I have forms for patients to sign so I can go feed the pet at home, or do whatever’s needed.”

Priem welcomes anyone interested in starting a program like FETCH in their community to contact her, and to use her forms. Volunteers are also needed to help with anything from feeding or fostering cats and dogs in their homes to donations of pet food and funds, which can be made to the Salem Health Foundation. Contact Priem at spriem@hotmail.com.


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Kristan Dael is a freelance writer and the alter ego of Jennifer Mccammon. She lives in Portland with her pups, and strives to produce articles that inform, edify, engage and entertain.

House members say “no” to horse slaughter

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The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund released a statement applauding the 218 Representatives — constituting a majority of the US House — who have signed on as sponsors and cosponsors of the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act to bring an end to the export and slaughter of American equines for human consumption. With broad bipartisan support, the bill aims to protect our nation’s equines from the cruel and predatory horse slaughter industry, which is opposed by an overwhelming majority of Americans, enriches a tiny handful of profiteers and places all equine companions at risk. 

“We commend these federal legislators who have taken a stand with most Americans who view our horses as partners in work, recreation and sport, and as cultural icons for the crucial role they’ve played in our nation’s history,” said Kitty Block, acting president and CEO of the HSUS. “With a bipartisan majority supporting the bill, we urge House leadership to put the SAFE Act on the suspension calendar for a vote soon, and the Senate to follow suit.”

Room to Roam

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Keeping cats and wildlife safe — in style

We love our feline companions. So much so that it’s easy to forget they are natural predators, and those hunter instincts have can deadly consequences for other feathered and furry creatures in the neighborhood.

The Portland-area Audubon Society reports that nearly half of the injured wildlife cases brought to its welfare centers involve cat-related injuries. To help address this issue, the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon, Portland Audubon Society, and Portland-area humane societies and animal shelters partner in an annual Catio Tour.

Now in its 6th year, the Catio Tour is a tour of homes showcasing enclosures created to provide safe spaces for cats to enjoy much-needed outdoor time while protecting wildlife and songbirds.

“We’re not saying keep your cat indoors,” insists FCCO Executive Director Karen Kraus. The goal of the Catio Tour is to inspire people to build their own catio. Protected outdoor spaces for cats, Kraus says, are a win-win. Catios protect pets from cars, birds of prey, and coyotes. Kraus points out that cats can also be preyed upon.

Catio tours are still a new idea, Kraus says, but similar events have caught on in other communities such as Seattle and Santa Cruz. The first year of the tour in Portland, organizers didn’t know what to expect. But signups were overwhelming, and this year’s tour will have about a thousand attendees viewing around a dozen Catios. “Many people try to see them all,” Kraus says, while some opt to visit select properties.

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Kraus hopes the biggest takeaway from the self-guided tour is that it doesn’t take a lot of money to create appropriate outdoor experiences for family cats. The goal is to inspire people to build their own backyard feline spaces.

Catio budgets range “from frugal to fabulous, DIY to designer,” Kraus says. “If you don’t have a lot of money you can build a catio.” Some are elaborate, with elevated areas and diverse sources of stimuli. Others are simple, chicken coop-like structures on a back porch.

“It doesn’t have to be expensive,” Kraus assures. “This is stuff you can do at home. Whatever you can envision you can afford.” Almost all catios are built from supplies available at most hardware, garden or farm-supply outlets.

The Catio Tour is a natural for a community that cares about nature and the environment. Kraus hopes attendees will come away from the tour with the feeling that anyone can help cats and wildlife share a better balance. “All of us play a role in this,” she says.

Portland Catio Tour * Saturday, Sept 8 * $10; benefits FCCO * feralcats.com.


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William Kennedy is a freelance writer who lives with his wife and daughter in downtown Eugene, Oregon. He's had many furry friends in his lifetime. Currently, he's tolerated by a black cat named Midnight.

A Community of Caring

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Life can deal harsh, unexpected blows. Events like job loss, a serious medical diagnosis, or divorce can turn a person or family’s life upside-down, often straining financial resources in the process. Anyone struggling to keep home, family, and life together well knows that when we feel most vulnerable, we want our pets by our side.

Petlandia is not only passionate about pets, but demonstrably committed to keeping pets and their people fed, healthy, and together. Fortunately for those in need, innovative, local nonprofits are there to help. You can help, too: next time you are at the pet store, consider buying an extra bag for one of the organizations below. To go even further, get another to keep in your car — chances are good while driving around town you’ll encounter someone who could use it.

Providing Sustenance

Knowing that tens of thousands of people struggle to feed themselves and their pets, the Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank’s primary focus is fighting animal hunger to help keep families and pets together and reduce shelter populations. This can be life-saving for humans and animals alike. One client shared that when her life went to pieces, if she’d been forced to give up her dog she might have also given up on life. 

In addition to serving more than 10,000,000 meals to date, the Pongo Fund introduced Pongo One this year, a state-of-the-art mobile veterinary hospital providing free care for the pets of very low-income and homeless people, including seniors, veterans, and more.

In Clackamas County, the FIDO Pet Food Bank distributes food for dogs and cats and works with other agencies to deliver pet food to homebound seniors as well.

House-bound senior citizens often rely on Meals on Wheels America for meals, regular check-ins, and social interaction. In the past, workers discovered hungry seniors were giving up substantial parts of their own meals to feed their pets. Now, seniors with pets can request pet food along with their own meals.

In Washington County, the Cat Adoption Team partners with Meals on Wheels to deliver pet food to homebound clients.

Hope and Care

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When families struggle just to keep everyone fed, an unexpected medical bill can be catastrophic. Routine care, which can prevent big vet bills later in a pet’s life, isn’t always an option.

Good Neighbor Vet answers this need with clinics at partner businesses like pet supply stores and neighborhood retail outlets. Affordable rates for products and services and no-appointment-needed clinics held on weekends make it accessible to some who might not otherwise be able to find time while juggling work and family to get to the vet.

PAW Team works to bring life-saving care and medicine to pets of people experiencing homelessness and poverty. Clients include the terminally ill, disenfranchised youth, and military veterans.

Animal Aid is a broad-reaching organization with deep roots in the community. In addition to operating a shelter for homeless animals, the organization partners with PAW Team to spay and neuter pets through the C-SNIP program, and operates a Care Fund for emergency veterinary assistance in partnership with Portland veterinary clinics.

Keeping Families Intact

JOIN helped nearly a thousand local people last year transition from the streets to safe housing. The organization collects pet food and supplies so people can care for their animals while rebuilding their lives.

The Pixie Project is well known for its work in pet rescue and adoption. But the organization also works to keep pets in their homes by providing food, medical care, medications, and spay/neuter surgeries. 

Resources

AnimalAidPDX.org

CatAdoptionTeam.org/catfoodbank

FidoAniMeals.org

GoodNeighborVet.com

JOINpdx.org

MealsOnWheelsAmerica.org

PAWTeam.org

PixieProject.org

ThePongoFund.org


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A Portland native, Kennedy Morgan, has been around dogs her entire life - from the multitude of strays near the country home of her youth to the crew she calls her own now. Vegas, her retired agility superstar (Great Dane) has been her primary inspiration for all things dog in the last decade, including her passion for writing.

Ask an Animal Lawyer with Elizabeth Holtz

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Q:  My neighbor moved but left his dog behind. The dog has been with us for months. Could the neighbor claim the dog as his if he returns?

First, a big thank you for stepping up and caring for this abandoned dog. If you hadn’t intervened, the dog might not be alive today. Generally, a person who abandons his dog and moves away loses the right to his “property.”  That’s right — in the United States legal system, and most legal systems around the world, animals are classified as property.

It may come as a surprise that animals are still categorized as property considering that science and commonsense tell us our companion animals are individuals with unique personalities. Most of us consider them to be members of our families. I doubt you would be as worried that your neglectful neighbor might one day want his couch back.

Abandoning an animal is a crime under most states’ cruelty laws. While animals are still considered property, the law is slowly changing. The Animal Legal Defense Fund recently filed a groundbreaking lawsuit on behalf of an Oregon horse named Justice that challenges animals’ status as property and argues that animals have the legal right to sue their abusers in court. Advances are also happening in the area of companion animal custody.

Recognizing the profound bond people develop with their companion animals, some judges are approaching companion animal custody cases much differently than they would disputes about a car or TV. Judges are increasingly considering which home is in the best interests of a dog or cat rather than approaching the case from a strict property analysis.

Your situation is much more straightforward. If your neighbor hadn’t moved but instead was hospitalized for a long period of time or forced to leave for reasons beyond his or her control, then things might be different. But as stated above, if your neighbor abandoned the dog, then you should be in the clear. Of course, nothing in life is certain. Even if the facts are on your side, someone could still contest custody. If you do find yourself in a dispute, I recommend consulting an attorney to ensure that the dog stays with the person who has stepped up and cared for her — you.

It’s also a good idea to keep records demonstrating that you are now the dog’s caregiver. For example, receipts documenting veterinary care, food, medicine, and toys provided will bolster your case if it comes to that. Licensing and microchipping your new friend under your name is also a smart move.

Thank you again for your compassion. I hope your new best friend has a long and happy life with you!


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Elizabeth Holtz works with the Animal Legal Defense Fund. A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, she began rescuing injured and abandoned animals as a very young child, though she admits her mother did much of the work.

 

Celebrating Petlandia: The Wacky, Wonderful, Happy, Humane Place We Call Home

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We live in a special region. If you love mountains, forests, deserts, rivers, beaches, or the smell of roasting coffee beans, the Northwest is your happy place. But if you’re an animal lover?  This is paradise.

Where else but Portland would the city’s largest parade feature a 185-pound English Mastiff as the Canine Grand Marshal? And it wasn’t just Diesel the Mastiff presiding over the Rose Festival’s Grand Floral Parade — a full royal court of canines bested 20 other finalists in a fierce competition followed by a festive coronation at the Heathman Hotel.

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Of course, the canine court on convertibles aren’t our only famous parade pups. The dreamy, cotton-candy-hued Pitties in Pink float makes an appearance at most local parades, too, because we’re a community that puts our bow-legged, jowly-faced pibbles in rosy onesies and tutus for all to adore.

In the Northwest, there’s too much fun to be had — we don’t take life too seriously. And we like to bring our furry family members along for the good times. That’s why the pages of this magazine so often feature our stunning array of pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals, the pubs where you can bring your pup along for a pint and pizza, and the world’s first dog tap house – Fido’s.

We know how to have a good time. But we’re not afraid to roll up our sleeves when there’s a problem to solve or a need to meet.

The Humane Society of the United States consistently ranks Oregon second in the nation for its growing roster of animal-friendly laws and humane-minded lawmakers. (California ranks first.)

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Our animal shelters also have some of the highest save rates in the nation, thanks to the organizations that comprise the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland. They’ve dedicated years to a life-saving agenda of high-volume spay/neuter services, adoption promotions, and networking to get all homeless pets the medical, behavioral, and social support to land them in their forever homes.

This is a community where people roll out of bed on Saturday, chug a home-brewed kombucha, grab a locally-roasted coffee, and head out to build a free fence for a chained dog, distribute food to the pets of people experiencing homelessness, or stand on a busy corner gathering signatures for a worthy cause.

We’re different here. And that’s good.

Petlandia, we salute you. The following two articles, we celebrate you — the wacky, wonderful, happy, humane place we call home.

- Michelle Blake