Dignified Pet Services presents 'People in the Neighborhood'
You rarely meet someone with a story as compelling and a heart as huge as Kristin Regan. Her lifelong love of animals began early in childhood, when she brought home the first stray cat. That first rescue was just the beginning, and certainly not be her last.
Known locally as a “Rock Star Rescuer,” Kristin has opened her 6-bedroom, 2400 square-foot home to “rescue, rehabilitate and re-home the unwanted.” A place where abused, older, and sick or injured cats and dogs are given a second chance.
Kristin’s home is also HQ for her fledgling rescue, “Lucy’s Legacy.” The house is filled with rescues, as well as her own dogs (4) and cats (4), who are rescues as well.
“I have always been the person people call when they find a creature in need,” she says. “In the winter of 2011 I came across a black Lab/Border Collie mix in the middle of the street. When she looked at me I knew she was my dog. I spent two hours walking with her from house to house looking for her owner. She had big tumors everywhere. Two weeks later the shelter called to let me know the owner had been found but did not want her and that they were going to put her down in 2 hours because no one would want her. I dropped everything and rushed to rescue her. I wanted her to have medical attention, a yard, and a good life for the rest of her time. She lived 2½ more years and she changed my life.”
“We have 6 bedrooms and run a kind of foster home/shelter for animals. Expecting mama cats are given their own bedrooms where they can relax, feel safe, and feed their babies,” Kristin explains. “The rooms are like family rooms, with dressers, chairs, a cat-box, toys — basically everything they need. Once the babies are weaned, we get the mama spayed and the babies vaccinated, then help get them adopted.”
A Portland native, Kristin describes life as a young girl as a gypsy life with her mom. “We did a lot of couch surfing and were never in one place for very long. I went to 13 different elementary schools before 3rd grade. We lived in cars, trailers, and were basically homeless. I never really had a childhood.”
“My dad rescued me from my mom and I think that’s part of why I rescue,” she says. “I have a need to help save these unwanted animals. My dad now lives with us in the basement, and is known as the ‘cat whisperer.’ He is in charge of feeding all the cats; they love him and it gives him a purpose. It comes sort of full-circle as he rescued me and took care of me and now I am taking care of him.”
Kristin continues, “I have the soul of a gypsy. I met my husband of two years while working in a scrap metal yard. When he first came in to interview and then began working there, I knew in, like six days, he was the one. He was the first man who made me stupid,” she laughs. “We were married within a few months of dating. He is my most prized possession.”
When not rescuing animals, Kristin spends weekends working at Stickmen Brewing Co. in Lake Oswego. A professed lover of beer, she also loves taking her dogs to pet-friendly establishments. Having a beer and hanging out at the Breakside Brewery & Taproom in Milwaukie is her idea of a perfect outing.
“My perfect shoes are my black and white Chuck Taylors,” she says. “They look good on everybody, they’ve classic, and they stand the test of time. I even wore them at my wedding.”
People might be surprised to know that Kristin has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, a green thumb, and loves to cook. “My house is like a jungle — I love plants,” she says.
Her guilty pleasures might surprise you. “Watching Ghost Whisperer … and I love Justin Timberlake. Not his music; I just like to look at him,” she laughs.
Kristin wishes people knew what a mental and emotional toll rescuers endure. Because she has a hard time saying no to anyone or any creature in need, she sometimes becomes overwhelmed.
“My definition of failure is to stop trying,” she says. “So I will never stop trying. My bucket list would include having a place like Lucy’s Legacy in every state.”
“I feel like I’ve really come full-circle. I am so happy as a rescuer, as I get to meet so many cool people who are like-minded, dog-loving, people. They are just happy people.
I have found my life’s purpose and passion.”
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.