Dignified Pet Services presents 'People in the Neighborhood'
Kind, passionate and laid back are just a few of the ways people describe Miranda Woods. Founder of Bailey’s Bones & Wishes, she provides food, water, leashes, jackets and more in hopes of making a difference to “the forgotten ones” — pets of the homeless.
“Seven years ago I lost my dear companion Bailey, a white Boxer, and I was laid off from my job as an executive assistant shortly after. I sort of had a breakdown, and I realized how hard it can be to bounce back. So many people on the streets have similar stories: they fall on hard times and are trying to get their lives back in order. The companionship of a pet is sometimes all these people have,” says Miranda.
With a small pocketbook and a huge heart, Miranda began taking odd jobs and found herself buying toys at the dollar store for the dogs on the streets. As she spent more time there and began developing relationships with these four-legged friends and their owners, her desire to make a difference grew. Realizing the public often doesn’t recognize the value of these pets for their owners, Bailey’s Bones & Wishes was born.
Doing pet-sitting and gigs from craigslist, Miranda discovered she loved serving her community and being free from punching a time clock. “My favorite jobs were driving around an auction lot and working as a delivery person for a free publication. I would meet up with lots of my street friends and became like an ice cream truck for pets … bringing food and water. I would crank up the music in my car and do my thing,” she says happily.
“I never want to be an office rat again” she says. “If it was about the money I would go back to an office and die. I want to live life shining, not dreading each day.”
Earning her GED at age 15 after being homeschooled for religious reasons, Miranda has worked all her life. Today she is earning an associate’s degree in business management, with the goal of effectively running her business and making Bailey’s Bones & Wishes a nonprofit.
Miranda inherited her cat, Cremesicle (a 20 year-old Tortoise Shell Tabby), when housemates moved three years ago, leaving her and the cat behind.
“I love Portland, she says. “It is a city where so many people are running businesses from the back of their cars. People can just do what they feel they need to do. There is so much to explore. I love visiting new restaurants and parks. I love that people here just get lunch at New Seasons and sit in a park and take it all in. Spending time surrounded by friends and finding new adventures is the greatest gift.”
“People would be surprised to know that I am alive because of the draw of a straw. I was adopted from Bangladesh at 8 months old. The lady who brought me and two other infants to the United States had to choose only one of us at the last minute and my straw was chosen. I was brought directly to a hospital where I was diagnosed with malnutrition and dehydration — I weighed only 5 pounds. If I had come with the others two weeks later I most likely would not have lived. I am so thankful for my journey and for the life I was given,” Miranda shares.
Miranda has a brother and a sister, adopted form Bangladesh’s neighboring country India. The country is poverty stricken, and she feels very blessed to have escaped when she did — out of country adoptions are no longer allowed due to child trafficking. “We all look alike but are not biologically related, and our father is six-three and white,” she laughs.
“I connected with the girl who was one of the two being adopted with me through Facebook. We have become great friends and she has begun looking for her birth mother as well as mine. I have no desire to go there to look for her at this time. Where I really want to go is Paris.”
Her ongoing love affair with Paris almost led her to move there. Opting not to, she says she decided instead to “make Portland my Paris.”
“I love to cook, entertain, and occasionally binge-watch a little TV on Netflix. I love Mad Men and Scandal,” she confesses. “It’s all about fun. In fact I am known for moments when I randomly just turn up the music and dance. My sister and I usually just run with it.”
“I am lazy, so my amazing friends take me to buy shoes and clothes when it’s time. My signature shoe would have to be my worn, comfortable, canvas slip-on Sketchers, as they are so easy to walk in and they breathe,” she smiles. Makes sense, given her love for wandering and exploring her city.
Miranda is now gearing up to go back to school, pursuing the dream for her organization, and doing the things that bring her joy.
“Serving these amazing four-legged friends is what really sparks my heart,” she says with characteristic charm.
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.