Celebrate International Polar Bear Day (Feb. 27) with 5 Un-bear-lievable Facts

Each year on February 27 we celebrate these magnificent creatures on International Polar Bear Day. The day was established by Polar Bears International, an organization devoted to preserving polar bears and the sea ice they depend on, to draw global attention to the plight of these magnificent mammals.

What's so special about polar bears? 

A lot more than you could have imagined. To honor our Arctic friends' special day, National Today [www.nationaltoday.com] is sharing little known facts about these mysterious mammals: 


Not to be the "bear-er" of shocking news, but that iconic white coat isn't actually white at all—it's transparent. Polar bears are covered in a thick layer of clear, air-filled fur that luminesces in the light. Underneath all that hair is black skin designed to absorb the warmth of sunlight.


Polar bears may look chubby and lazy, but don't be fooled. The largest land carnivores on Earth are able to swim up to 60 miles at a single stretch—without rest—in search of food. As global warming melts the Arctic ice caps, the distances polar bears have to cross are growing ever larger. 


In the Inuit (Eskimo) culture, polar bears are regarded as magical creatures of great strength and spiritual power. According to Inuit tradition, polar bears frequently shape-shift into humans and back. They also taught us how to hunt seals.


According to estimates, 60%-80% of the world's polar bear population is concentrated in Canada. The kings of the Arctic are also native to Russia, the United States, Denmark, Greenland, and Norway.


Polar bears and Coca-Cola seem to have been inseparable since time immemorial—but actually, the relationship began with a French Coca-Cola ad in 1922. By humanizing the polar bear, Coca-Cola made an otherwise scary predator accessible to millions.

Who knew polar bears were some of the coolest creatures on the planet?! Unfortunately, two-thirds of these awesome animals could disappear by 2020 due to sea ice depletion. 

To learn more about International Polar Bear Day, including ways to get involved, you can visit http://nationaltoday.com/world/international-polar-bear-day. While there, you can also read about other upcoming activist holidays, including Earth Day [http://nationaltoday.com/world/earth-day/], Arbor Day [http://nationaltoday.com/us/arbor-day/], International Day of Peace [http://nationaltoday.com/world/international-day-of-peace/], and World Kindness Day [http://nationaltoday.com/world/world-kindness-day/].

Reprinted via NationalToday.com.

Show seniors some love!

Jake ‘n Max’s Boxes of Love began as a tribute to the unwavering love of two beloved senior dogs. The annual pet supply drive — Jan. 14 – Feb. 14 — accepts donations that sweet oldsters seeking forever homes need and deserve. Rescues devoted to older animals are typically strained by veterinary care costs and rely heavily on donations. Cushy beds, soft chew toys, comfortable walking gear and healthy supplements are just some of the items that can help make the lives of these faithful friends cozier and filled with love.

In its 5th year, Jake ‘n Max’s Boxes of Love partners with local businesses who serve as donation sites, with cheerily-decorated boxes ready to be filled.

This year's beneficiaries are My Way Home Dog Rescue and House of Dreams No-Kill Cat Shelter.

Current donation sites for 2017 include The City of Portland Building, City of Portland Central Precinct (1111 SW Second Ave) and the following locations:

Fang & Feather * 1926 N Kilpatrick, Portland, OR

Meat for Cats & Dogs * 2244 E Burnside, Portland, OR

Salty's Pet Supply * 4039 N Mississippi, #104, Portland, OR

Tails R Waggin' Doggy Day Care * 4925 NW Fruit Valley Rd., Vancouver, WA

Contract Furnishings Mart * 11806 NE 65th St., Vancouver, WA

If your place of business would LOVE to participate, contact vonnie@spotmagazine.net.

A forever home ... for Angels with Misplaced Wings

What is an angel with misplaced wings? I asked Angels with Misplaced Wings Director, Jeff Evans. Growing up on a mini farm with lots of critters, Jeff says when an animals’ ears would get flipped back his mom called them ‘angels with misplaced wings.’ The name seemed fitting for his sanctuary, especially as it was established in Vancouver, where he had moved to care for his mom.

A unique operation, Angels is a home-based nonprofit sanctuary for animals with special needs. Here they receive lifetime care and compassion they may not get elsewhere. A former veterinary receptionist and now full-time caregiver, Jeff cares for his Angels with the help of his husband Michael, and his parents.

How does a sanctuary fit into the landscape of animal rescue? Most rescues and shelters are meant to be short-term stays for pets on their way to forever homes. The longer an individual animal stays the greater the cost, which can prevent a rescue from taking in and caring for others. Also, animals who are injured, ill, or who have long-term care needs are often not as “adoptable” as healthier animals. This is where sanctuaries come in, taking in the unadoptable, older or impaired. Jeff’s sanctuary is home to such Angels.

How it all began. . .

Living in San Francisco in 2010, Jeff met and eventually married Michael. They had two dogs and wanted more. Like many though, the couple’s home limited them to two — Cesar, a Great Dane, and Megan, a Dalmatian. A move to the Northwest to live with and help care for Jeff’s parents allowed their family to grow.

After meeting a few adoptable dogs who weren’t quite a fit, they met Vivian, a blind 12-year-old Dalmatian. Upon meeting her, Jeff knelt down, and she placed her feet on his shoulders in a hug. Taking her for a walk, Jeff and Michael considered the situation. Blind dogs can be a challenge. Could they accommodate her needs? Could they anticipate them all?

While they had many questions, they knew it was a fit, deciding what they didn’t know they would figure out. Soon after, Vivian was diagnosed with cancer, and the pair fought for her. She was gone in just six months, but her time with them was life changing. Happy, brave, zesty Vivian inspired the formation of Angels. Jeff says her joy for life, even when unable to see, helped them see they could be there for others with special needs.

Jeff and Michael began seeking out dogs with special needs. They found many were being overlooked by adopters. After Vivian came Howard, then Camo. Word spread through the rescue community, and they began receiving increasing calls about hard to place dogs.

The Angels are unique. Each addition becomes a member of the family. The dogs are not kenneled, but live as family, a pack. They come and go from the back yard as they please, sleep in the bed, take over the sofas, play, bicker, and get into mischief — all together.

Michael and Jeff are limited to who and how they can help. Michael works by day while Jeff cares for the animals. His days are spent providing the Angels with necessary treatments, and managing their Facebook page and marketing campaigns. Given the nature of each animal’s needs, much time is spent on the road for veterinary appointments, acupuncture, massage, and physical therapy.

Hidden Rewards

Between Dalmatians and Great Danes, Jeff and Michael found a unique opportunity to educate the public. Since both breeds can be genetically prone to vision and hearing impairment, they are able to teach people what it’s like to live with a deaf or blind dog. They also teach about breeding practices that cause such defects.

The Awesome Truth

The dogs don’t know they are different. As long as they are free of pain or discomfort they are just dogs. Those with hind-end impairment have wheelchairs, but Jeff says they’re only really needed for walks or hikes. Physical therapy helps support their bodies and build compensatory strength, and otherwise, they just do what dogs do. They happily hang out with Jeff, Michael, and visitors, and play or lounge on the couch.

Jeff says it can sometimes be difficult to help people understand the dogs have a good life. “Sure, physical therapy and all that care is work, but it helps them stay strong. It’s what we would do for ourselves or our human loved ones. Even the ones who can’t see or hear are perfectly happy. Their noses know, and they get around fine. Other senses kick in and act in place of sight or sound.”

Of course the work is exhausting, and sometimes sad. Jeff says he does it because he loves being in service. In this case, to dogs. It doesn’t tire, drain or exhaust him, he says – it energizes him. Without the support of Angels’ followers, he says the dogs wouldn’t have the incredible lives they do.

You can help

While handling day-to-day care, Jeff, Michael and family can sometimes use help with paperwork, poop pickup, and other tasks. Anyone interested should contact them through Facebook or angelswithmisplacedwings.org. Financial support will always be needed. Each Angel’s care is extensive. Every August the sanctuary hosts an annual fundraiser, “The Flight of Angels,” opening their Vancouver home to Angel fans for a barbeque, silent auction, and raffle.

Kennedy Morgan works for a construction company by day and spends her evenings and weekends with her two 2-legged kids or three dogs and a cat. The crew enjoys hiking, nature walks, taking pictures in the city and beyond, the beach, and snuggling at home.

Shelter Alliance a great success for the animals

In 2006, despite valiant efforts by Portland-area rescue organizations, 39% of animals entering local shelters that year were euthanized. That same year, representatives from 10 local animal organizations created ASAP, the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland. A decade later, shelter intake has dropped 30%, and the live release rate is at an astonishing 94%.

ASAP — which handles 90% of shelter animals in a four-county area of 2 million citizens — is based on collaboration. The coalition’s Guiding Principles state: “We recognize that all stakeholders in the animal welfare community have a passion for and are dedicated to saving animals’ lives. We are committed to the belief that . . . we need one another, and that the only true solution is to work together.”

Collaboration of this scale signaled a cultural shift. Multnomah County Animal Services Shelter Manager Ann Potter says, “Collaboration takes a ‘shelter’ problem and makes it a community problem. Each partner in the coalition has strengths they can share, and weaknesses that other agencies can help bolster.”

Two years in, the coalition invited community input on terms like “adoptable,” “healthy,” and “treatable” to help standardize definitions for recordkeeping and grant applications. A grant from Maddie’s Fund enabled the group to collect and analyze shelter data that revealed that the greatest impact in saving lives would be made by helping cats, who had a 49% live release rate at that time.

ASAP determined it would need to spay/neuter an additional 10,000 cats annually to significantly and sustainably decrease the number of cats entering local shelters. To achieve this, Spay & Save was formed — a program primarily funded by PetSmart Charities — providing subsidized spay/neuter services to low-income cat guardians and those feeding feral or stray cats. The reason for this, says Cat Adoption Team Executive Director Karen Green, is “the majority of the animals dying in our shelters were cats and offspring of unowned or community cats, or who had low-income owners.”

A tremendous success, Spay & Save has expanded to offer surgery, basic veterinary care, licensing and microchipping, plus special transport through volunteers and Petco events. Karen Kraus, executive director of Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon, says ASAP’s purposeful inclusion of feral cat issues “spread the word to a much wider audience about the importance of spaying/neutering pet cats, along with feral and stray.”

More than 61,000 cats have been fixed through Spay & Save since 2010. Program Coordinator Kayte Wolf says, “Even if someone who calls does not qualify for our program, nine times out of 10 we can refer them to another affordable option.” In 2012, the coalition launched the Neighborhood Pet Project, a one-year ASPCA campaign providing free veterinary and behavioral care to eligible cat and Pit Bull owners. ASAP shelters have seen a 50% decrease in cat intake since the program started.

Transport is another important element, both between coalition members and outside rescues/shelters. Bonnie Hays Small Animal Shelter Manager Deborah Wood says, “The question we ask every day is, ‘who can help us save the most animals and help them find the perfect homes?’” In 2015, more than 1,500 animals moved between partner organizations — 958 were transferred to outside organizations, and 8,200 came to coalition shelters from outside groups. Transfers save lives because each organization has unique veterinary and behavior resources, and adopters’ preferences vary by area. According to Lisa Feder of Humane Society for SW Washington, “When you realize you have the entire coalition as a resource it makes it much easier to find a solution to a particular animal’s needs.”

What holds everything together is a constant supportive relationship between ASAP partners. Several committees meet regularly, including the Lifesaving Committee, comprised of operations managers. Monthly meetings foster connection and friendship, shared information, discussion of trends, and brainstorming. Feder says, “It gives us an opportunity to meet face to face and get to know our partner managers a bit better. It makes it easy to pick up the phone and ask questions or for help.”

Through these connections, Cat Adoption Team’s ‘Fostering 4 Rock Stars’ program — which created quality foster homes for thousands of cats — was modeled at three local shelters. In 2015, CAT Director of Operations Kristi Brooks and Potter of MCAS co-presented the concept to a national audience at the HSUS Animal Care Expo.

As Wood says, “...the relationship among our shelters is unique nationally. The organizations and staff put their egos aside to work as one for the sake of the animals. We work as a group, and each shelter also has raised the bar to do exceptional work on its own. We see each other as friends and colleagues. It reflects on the kind of place the Metro area is, and on the individual integrity of the shelter leadership. This is something people in our community should take a great deal of pride in.”

Learn more about ASAP at asapmetro.org. Also worth a look: http://asapmetro.org/statistics/live-release-or-save-rate/ and an exciting new community movement, PetopiaPDX. Check it out at petopiapdx.org.


“What I like about Spay and Save is knowing the reasonable cost makes it possible for responsible people to take care of their animals and prevent the birth of animals who would not have the chance of a loving home.”

—    S&S volunteer

“I had no idea what an impact Spay & Save would make. And how quickly. What a success it has been for all the shelters involved … and cats.

—    S&S volunteer

What has impressed me is realizing that people from ALL walks of life love their animals and want to do the right thing.”

—    S&S volunteer

 “One client named Joyce had a pregnant mama cat who stumbled into her life and changed it for the better. Joyce is agoraphobic and never leaves her apartment. After the cat arrived gave birth to kittens, Joyce didn’t know what to do because she couldn’t afford to spay the mama and care for the kittens. She also had no way to transport them anywhere. We sent a volunteer to her apartment (after many reassurances) to pick up the mama cat for her spay surgery, and take the kittens for surrender to OHS so they could get fixed, vaccinated, and adopted to loving families of their own.”

When the mama cat was returned to her, Joyce was so impressed with the way that we had gone that extra mile to help her. She was so grateful, and since her situation was unique, it is something I will never forget.  I am so happy that we can help more people like Joyce.”  

—    Kayte Wolf, S&S

Daniela Iancu, founder of Animal Community Talks, has worked and volunteered with veterinary practices and animal welfare organizations in the Portland area for the last decade. Her happy home includes a wonderfully supportive husband and two senior felines.


Jackson and the Dog Mamas

My Corgi Jackson has always had a passel of surrogate mommies, as I travel from time to time. First there was Raelene, editor of exotic romance novels, who cared for him as a puppy.  Barely three months old on his first sleepover, he was all boundless puppy energy and nuisance — chewing, biting fingers and toes, and peeing on his own schedule (which changed daily).  Raelene adored him, and he had a coveted spot on her bed at night.

Next came Jan, overseer of the Corgi Club rescue arm.  Jan and her husband Ed had Corgis, and Jackson became part of the pack that often included a few rescues. He loved their house — it was always filled with doggie “conversation,” and the treats were plentiful. Plus, Jan had a kiddie pool where Jackson loved cooling off after racing around the yard with the other dogs. He was in heaven!

In time, Sasha took over Jackson’s care when I was out of town. Sasha and her husband Eric’s Corgi, Ben, became Jackson’s best friend. Jackson adored the attention he got whenever he visited. When Ben passed away, Jackson began to stay with Barb.

Like all of Jackson’s caregivers, Barb showered him with love. Her husband Greg made delicious small treats, which he gave generously to their Corgi, Gigi, (and later Lulu), and Jackson. Barb treated Jackson like family — I saw her tender love for him grow as much as my own, especially as he began to age.

Jackson was, by all standards, a very lucky dog to have such wonderful, caring dog mommies in his life.

Then one day the unthinkable happened: Jackson’s dry right eye developed a massive infection and had to be removed. He’d developed arthritis in his right rear leg, sometimes making walking a challenge.  Around that time, I developed arthritis and needed a hip replacement.  Jackson’s depth perception was gone, and I could no longer carry him down and up the steps for his daily walk.  After climbing the nearby hills and hiking miles of Forest Park trails day after day, year after year, our life had come to a standstill. 

Enter the bevy of NW Portland dog mamas — professional dog walkers with hearts of gold and unbridled love for the dogs they walked. When a prospective dog walker gets on her hands and knees with your dog, lets him smell every part of her, and gives him soothing massages as part of the initial meet and greet, you know your dog will be in good hands.

Like all moms who must plan ahead for many exigencies, I knew I needed a primary dog walker as well as backup. In need of a dog walker seven days a week, I asked a neighbor if she could recommend someone. She suggested a woman named Ashley, whom she assured me was incredible with dogs. Jackson was 14 when Ashley started taking him on short morning walks 18 months ago. They still go every morning, walking in snow, pouring rain, and sunshine. 

Thanks to Ashley, Jackson was able to participate in the Corgi Walk in the Pearl this year, and I beamed with pride that my doggy could take part in the event inspired by him nine years ago. Ashley helps with trips to the vet or groomer. She and I have had long talks about the inevitable, and when I panic over some behavior, she calms me. She knows dogs in a way I can only envy.

Our backups are Michelle and Katie.  Michelle occasionally walked Jackson in the past, and is terrific with him. Katie lives next door, and is our dog whisperer. It’s amazing to watch her ability to communicate and interact with Jackson. He is nearly deaf now, but he knows when Katie — now our Sunday dog walker — arrives for his walk. He melts in her arms and hops alongside as they stroll around the block.

I see my dog walkers while driving around NW Portland, busy walking other people’s dogs. These dog mamas have filled an important role for those of us unable to give our dogs the daily exercise they need. Even more, they have extended the family for each dog. Our dogs have a second (and perhaps a third or fourth) mama who loves them.

Lynde Paule is organizer of the annual Corgi Walk in the Pearl, a benefit for OHS and Corgi Rescue. She and Jackson live in NW Portland.


Hello, Sunshine!

Meet some of your 2016 Cover Model Contenders

Over 100 pets participated in Spot Magazine's 2016 Cover Model Contest - for a chance to win a cover shot, and to support West Columbia Gorge Humane Society. Here are some of the smiling beauties who entered; watch for more cover models in future issues.

Photos by Phido Photography

Got cats? Get ‘em fixed free Dec. 5-9

The Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland’s Spay & Save program is working to get EVERY cat altered for free, with a week-long promotion with no limit on the number of cats any one family or person can take in. Clients must live in Clark, Clackamas, Multnomah or Washington counties.

S&S says: “Spaying and neutering makes sense. This life-saving operation reduces the number of unwanted cats or kittens, keeps pets healthy, and reduces roaming. Learn more at spaysave.org

OHS seeks nominations of heroes

Do you know an animal who’s made a difference in the life of a special needs child or someone with an illness? Or a person who’s helped animals in a unique way? The Oregon Humane Society is accepting nominations for its Diamond Collar Hero Awards now through Feb. 1. The awards recognize and honor animals who have acted to save a human or animal life in peril, performed services within the community with undying loyalty, or overcome incredible odds in order to survive. Winners are also humans who have had a positive impact on the lives of animals, exhibiting courage and compassion in the pursuit of animals' wellbeing.

Nominations can be delivered in person or by mail to OHS, or submitted at oregonhumane.org. Winners will be notified in early February, and will be honored at the OHS Heroes Luncheon Feb. 22.

Lane Rescues getting more pets home

Lane Rescues, a Eugene-based group supporting animals at local shelters and rescues by publishing adoptable pets, has teamed with Spot Magazine to distribute a monthly brochure. The beautiful, oversized, full-color brochure features adoptable dogs, cats, horses and more. Businesses and individuals sponsor pets, making the brochures possible. Watch for them everywhere Spot is available in the Willamette Valley, and please share them with those who may be ready to meet the new love of their life! Learn more at lanerescues.org.