Dignified Pet Services presents 'People in the Neighborhood'
“People often tell me I am easy to know, which I assume is a good thing,” says Dr. Thomas Mackowiak (pronounced; Ma-CO-vee-ack). “I was born in Poland, then we moved to Germany when I was a small child, and then to Chile when I was 19. People might be surprised that I studied law for three years in Chile. I eventually realized my heart just wasn’t feeling it, and that is when I decided to study to become a veterinarian.”
How did he come to be in Oregon? “A couple of retired professors in Chile convinced me to join a research project in llama dentistry here — llamas were a huge business in the ‘90s. I traveled back and forth, and decided to finish my doctorate at Oregon State University where I had been working on the project,” volunteers this perpetually smiling doctor whose favorite movie as a kid was Disney’s The Jungle Book.
“I am the kind of guy who gives hugs,” he says. “I mean when someone’s pet is sick or dies it’s sad and they are sad. If they need a hug I give them one. I am not one to worry about ‘personal space.’ I guess this is why I decided to name my practice Heartfelt — because I wanted to be a caring, compassionate doctor with a personal relationship with my patients and their pet parents.”
“My shoe is of course the Converse tennis shoe that I love and wear to work every day. I have always been a ‘Converse guy’ — even before I moved to the US I owned them as they offered comfort and a sleek look. Funny … you cannot get more ‘Oregon’ than Converse as they are a division of NIKE,” he laughs.
A worldly man, Thomas fluently speaks Polish, German, Spanish, English and Old Latin. He says adapting easily to different cultures has allowed him to embrace every place he has lived, worked and studied. While seemingly having been everywhere, Thomas’s bucket list includes more destinations, including Australia.
A lover of books, knowledge and information, Thomas and his partner Ryan (who is also his business partner), love to spend a free afternoon at Powell’s Books, browsing and searching for great reads. “I enjoy books about history, real facts and medieval times,” he says, adding, “I am currently reading a book written in German. Powell’s is great because I can find books in many languages.”
Living in Portland’s hip Pearl District, the doctor feels right at home amidst art galleries, fabulous food, and great people-watching. “I like interesting, exotic foods — anything spicy, like Thai or Asian. My favorite place has to be Andina; we go there often, and love the food, drinks and atmosphere. My favorite item on the menu is the ceviche, which is raw fish of the day covered in lemon juice, spices and served in a martini glass … total perfection!”
In recent years Thomas took up kayaking. “I tried it one day and loved it and that same day I went out and bought all the gear, and of course my own kayak. Enjoying a peaceful day in the warm sun on a lake is one of my favorite things to do. Vancouver or LaCamas Lake in Washington are perfect escapes, and easy to get to.”
Thomas also treasures time spent with family and friends. He likes to cook, and add an interesting dish to a traditional meal.
“The holidays are great in the US, especially Thanksgiving; it’s new to me since we do not celebrate it in Europe. I do miss the snow growing up in Germany. The winters were so cold, and being inside was always such a warm, cozy feeling. Some of my favorite childhood memories are when we use to travel from Germany to Poland to visit my grandparents. My brother and sister and I loved the adventure and spending time with our extended family.”
“My hope for the future is for Heartfelt Veterinary Hospital to grow, and that eventually we are able to open one or two more locations in Portland. Looking forward … my New Year’s resolution last year was of course getting our new business up and running. This year I am focused on planning an August/September wedding with my partner and working on fitness.”
The next great adventure for a man whose life is rich with them.
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 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.
Melinda Thompson is a freelance writer with a degree in Speech Communications and a coveted "Ducktorate" from the Walt Disney World Company. She has been featured in many local magazines and newspapers. She lives in Vancouver USA with her husband, son and daughter.