Here's what you need to know about Amy Sacks, founder and executive director of Portland's Pixie Project: She's tri-lingual, intent on world domination, and if you get between her and a pie, well, you might have trouble.
"I love pie," she gushes.
She also has a love of animals that is very likely woven into her DNA. “My mom was an animal lover always,” she remembers. “We would drive around with supplies in our car for pets of the homeless, and if neighbors found animals we were always the house they went to. It was a very real part of our life.”
Amy says that she got all the way to college (majoring in French) with no idea what she wanted to do with her life. Then, those pet-loving genes kicked in and it became clear.
“I was waitressing and doing rescue and going to school, and I hated constantly being torn away from the rescue work, which was totally what I was drawn to, and what I wanted to do all the time,” she says. “It just was always meant to be.”
That said, Amy has a unique vision of what animal rescue can and should be. Customer service and making adoption a positive experience is what she says makes the Pixie Project different. “I wanted to help people who want to do the right thing and adopt, but maybe didn’t have the knowledge of how to do so properly or safely. And if there was somebody who'd always bought their dogs because they thought, ‘Oh it’s gonna be too sad, I don't want to go to a shelter' — I really wanted to not give people that excuse and show them the adoption experience is actually extremely joyful and exciting.”
What excites Amy these days is The Pixie Project’s new low-cost veterinary clinic. “Now we have a surgery suite for low-income and homeless pet owners to vet their animals,” she explains. “We’re keeping pets in homes that have gone for years without veterinary care.”
That means the rescue is also in need of a few good, big-hearted vets who want not only surgical practice, but are also looking to rack up some continuing education credits.
While the clinic is a great achievement, Amy says she’s proudest when she gets feedback that an adoption has worked out beautifully. “Every single one of those is a huge proud moment, and we celebrate it as a staff," she says.
It’s a great start for what is really Amy’s master plan: The Pixie Project as a national brand that’s associated with safe, family-friendly pet adoption. “I want people to think adoption before they think of purchasing a pet,” she says. “And I think in order for us to ask that of people, they need to have a place they can go where they feel safe and like they have an ally in the process.”
When not working toward world domination in rescue, Amy says you might find her on Sauvie Island with her dogs, Boone, and “love of her life” Sadie. Or chilling on the sofa enjoying her guilty pleasures: sweets and reality shows. “I actually have a dirty secret of loving cheesy bad TV, like ‘Real Housewives’ type of things," she laughs. “I find it a fabulous emotional escape from the realities of the rescue world.”
Not that she often gets to indulge her inner couch potato. “Oh, no question I’m a running shoe,” she says when asked about her footwear doppelganger. “Always on the go and no time for heels!”
But she might pause for a piece of pie — especially if it’s got ice cream on top.
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.
Michele Coppola is a Portland-based air personality for 99.5 The Wolf and copywriter for Entercom Radio. When she's not talking, writing, or pursuing quality couch time with husband Bryon and their dogs, Cindy and Lucy, she's also a proud volunteer for Fences for Fido and Family Dogs New Life Shelter.