Dignified Pet Services presents 'People in the Neighborhood'
Warm and funny, Mark Watson is a champion volunteer for dog parks in Vancouver, Washington. Three years ago while attending a work party at a local dog park he asked, “Where are all your volunteers?” Now, three years later, he is Maintenance Development Coordinator and Advertising Manager for DOGPAW (Dog Owners Group for Park Access Washington). The nonprofit manages the five dog parks in Clark County, which run on membership dues and volunteers.
A get-things-done guy, Mark is committed to keeping the parks up and running, and does everything from fence repairs to community relations and fundraising to ensure they do.
“The city/county donates the land, but it is 100 percent up to the community to fund and maintain these dog parks,” Mark says. “I don’t think many people realize this. There would be no dog parks without the support from the dog owners. Membership is what helps fund our program and keep these parks open.”
Born in Colorado, Mark grew up in Clark County. Graduating from WSU with a degree in Marine Biology, he spent five years in the Navy working on nuclear submarines. During his enlistment he was based in Connecticut, but has traveled all over the world.
“I kept coming back to Vancouver as it just felt like home. I spent 15 years in construction and am now semi-retired,” he says, “but I always thought I would become a pilot, or should become a vet.”
“My dad was a pilot and my brother also works in the airline business. I have my pilot’s license and love to fly. I am a private pilot, and if I could fly anywhere I would go to Bali and the South Pacific.”
While he’s outgoing, gregarious and frequently “wearing many hats,” he says he is very private. “I don’t do Facebook or Twitter, and I don’t use a cell phone. I like to stick close to home as my dog is my prized possession.”
Duke, Mark’s black and white Harlequin Great Dane who is 42 inches tall, rules the house. Mark and his wife also have a cat; a blonde long-haired Tabby, Tuba, who they found in their shed after their other beloved Dane had passed away. Tuba found a best buddy in Duke.
While good-natured and easygoing, Mark likes adventure. His degree exposed him to underwater sea life, and while diving in shark cages isn’t something many do for fun, he loves it, saying sharks are highly misunderstood creatures and that it is very peaceful underwater.
Colorful is how he describes himself and his signature shoe. “My favorite brand is New Balance, and my favorites have green soles, red cushion and blue-striped laces. I love tennis shoes, and these are quite the collaboration of color.”
Mark also loves the kitchen. “I love to cook and my guilty pleasure is that I enjoy food way too much. My favorite has to be Pizza: Italian sausage with mushrooms and black olives is our favorite. I am what you call an equal-opportunity eater,” he laughs. “BBQ is my other passion. I love BBQ.”
Mark sees himself as a punctual person who likes to make things happen. Those qualities make him a huge asset to DOGPAW.
If he won the lottery tomorrow, Mark says, “The first thing I would do is bail out every single animal organization that needs money. Then I would buy a jet and fly anywhere I wanted; Hawaii first, then maybe Bali.”
For a git-r-done guy, it just might happen.
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.