This week we stopped by 42nd Avenue to visit with Morel Ink’s Bill Dickey; liberal-leaning philanthropist, pet owner and fashion icon — and the man known as, “The Printer Who Loves Pets.”
Greeted warmly by the affable Bill Dickey and his constant companion, Ruby the black Labrador, Spot was treated to a classic tale of love as Dickey recounted with joviality the story of how he and Ruby came to be together. The story is simple — dog meets man, dog loves man, dog gets man. Ruby, who is listed on the Morel Ink website as Director of Security and has her own personal Facebook page, originally arrived at Morel as the newly acquired pet of business co-owner Matt Witham. The Witham family had adopted Ruby from Oregon Humane Society where her name at the time was Pumpkin. Ruby, it should be noted, does not care for this part of the story. She does not believe that any real dog such as herself should ever be named Pumpkin. Newly homed and newly named, Ruby tagged along to Morel Ink daily where she was assigned “Shop dog” responsibilities. No actual job description was ever provided, but it can be said on Ruby’s behalf that no squirrels or other urban varmints have been seen in the Morel Ink offices and shop since Ruby’s arrival. Credit is given her for that accomplishment. No one at Morel has the heart to tell her that there weren’t actually any varmint sightings before her arrival. It’s a business philosophy of Morel Ink for management to endeavor to boost the confidence of employees and keep spirits and morale high — extending even to the shop dog. Ruby, who now spends the day burrowing in a nest of discards under Dickey’s desk, views her responsibilities more along the lines of personal bodyguard. If she likes you, you may approach Bill Dickey. If she suspects your motives are questionable, you will be greeted with a scowl and a growl.
Soon after her first day of work at Morel Ruby discovered Bill Dickey. Folks, it was love at first sight. The dog was smitten. Bill says it was the cupboard full of dog treats that won her affection. Everyone else around the pair knows that it’s much more. True, the treats are highly prized, but the truth runs deeper. Very simply, Ruby fell in love. Fortunately for her the love was requited, and Bill soon found he had a dog sleeping under his desk daily — a dog who treats his every absence from the office as the end of the world.
The Witham family recognized that while giving Ruby a loving home they were never going to be able to replicate the love she felt for Bill. Ruby had picked her forever person — her forever home — and that home is now with Bill Dickey. Ruby got her man. Says Dickey happily, “We’re doing family well together.”
Bill is so stranger to pets. He grew up in a family where there were always cats around, and as an adult he frequently took on the role of caretaker for friend’s dogs. It was after the death of Georgie, a beloved Tortoise Shell cat, that Bill discovered the Cat Adoption Team. Bill, described by anyone who ever meets him as the most generous guy around, saw that CAT could use a little upgrading assistance with its printed materials. In stepped Morel Ink to form a partnership and offer sponsorship. From that first interaction, the Morel Ink doors have opened to help with DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital, Oregon Humane Society, The Feral Cat Coalition, Corgi Rescue, and the Humane Society of SW Washington … to name just a few. Morel Ink and Bill Dickey are proud to have been recognized by many of these organizations for their contributions. And that, folks, is how Morel Ink came to be known as “The Printer Who Loves Pets.”
They believe in supporting the works of those who help animals — animals that can’t help themselves. Bill Dickey is known in many Portland circles for his civic involvement and generosity. He is well known and appreciated by the likes of The City Club of Portland, The Q Center, Our House, and many many other non-profit organizations. It’s easy to give money and gain repute — but to see the true soul of a man — look at the way his dog looks at him.
During our visit, Bill and Ruby demonstrated the very special bond they have — and I’m here to tell you that there was nary a treat in sight. Ruby recognizes what many others see in Bill Dickey: a man with a heart of gold … albeit one hidden behind a sometimes gruff demeanor.
When asked to personalize this profile by sharing a bit of info about a favorite shoe, Bill wistfully told a tale of his favorite-ever ‘80s-era shoe — the after-ski abomination known as a “Moon Boot.” Bill would love to sport a pair today but recognizes that doing so might damage his reputation as a Portland fashion icon. This left us with a second choice, pictured here — the delightfully comfy and somewhat-more-socially-acceptable jungle moc. A recent Hawaiian vacation provided daily opportunity to cushion vacationing feet in their suede softness. Bemoans Bill: “If I could wear these every day I would, but they look stupid with a stupid.”
There you have it, Portland — fashion advice from Bill Dickey — no jungle mocs with your business suit.
About our Sponsor
Dignified Pet Services has served the Portland-area community for 13 years. In addition to their core business of cremation and memorial services, Dignified co-sponsors the beloved annual Service of Remembrance, this year Dec. 9th at The Old Church in downtown Portland, as well as serving as wonderful supporters and friends of pets and those working in animal welfare. Proprietors Michael, Randy and Avani live in Sherwood.
Marty Davis is a Portland writer and event photographer. She live in North Portland where is she closely watched over by Shasta, a bossy Aussie Shepherd. She is herded on a daily basis.