Dignified Pet Services presents 'People in the Neighborhood'
This father of five kids all under age six (including triplets) spends his day managing his beautiful Sunriver vacation properties. His company, Bennington Properties, not only welcomes dogs, but loves them. His staff takes their own dogs to work every day, and when his work is done, he goes home to be wild and goofy with his kids.
"I'm a business owner; I've got a lot on my plate, a lot of employees, a lot of serious things, but I have a very good sense of humor and I love that about me — my quirky, goofy side. That's when I'm at my best, when I'm free enough and engaged enough to be that way," Robert says happily. "Like cranking up the music and dancing with my kids, without any sense of steps or dance floor etiquette."
"My dog Ohana, (Hawaiian for family) a Golden Retriever, comes to work with me every day."
Born in Hawaii, Robert moved to Oregon at age 3.
"I was fortunate to find something I was passionate about — hospitality. We do cleaning, take care of the guests. It's a lot of fun, and we meet people from all over the country and the world. And most of the time they're happy, because they're traveling," he laughs.
Robert’s dog-loving career began at age 7 with a black Lab puppy.
"We were riding home after picking him up and I declared I would be a vet," he chuckles. "I pursued that until I was a junior in college, and then plans changed and I went into real estate. My parents had started a vacation rental company, and I persuaded a large number of our vacation rental homeowners to open their homes to pet owners."
The shoes that are so Robert? "My hiking/work boots. I wear them in the snow, working, in the mud. They get me through everything!"
Still fascinated by veterinary medicine, Robert hasn't ruled out returning to school someday — maybe after he retires.
There’s more. "There's a beauty about those who have an absolute love of their furry children — it's a wonderful shared bond. One dream of mine is opening a hotel exclusively catering to people doing things with their dogs. Every dog that came would be an active participant in the vacation. Or a dog retreat center, with dog counselors, dog trainers, nutrition experts — like spas where you change your lifestyle? All about your relationship with your dog? With veterinarians on standby."
Robert’s guilty pleasures? "I love television — Amazon Prime binge weekends! And I really can't kick Coke. I love the bubbly, sweet, caffeine . . . and I love ice cream. I got a mint chocolate chip milkshake from Baskin-Robbins — so good! And so fattening," he smiles.
Robert hopes people see in him love and passion for animals. "It's a big part of who I am. I want people to remember me for that, especially my love for dogs. And I'd like people to remember me as a good father, who cared deeply about his children and put them first in his life."
His tickle spot? "I would say, the wiggly butt of a dog. They kind of make that crescent moon shape, their butts just wiggling. Pure joy!"
His bucket list? "I really love the age of sailing battleships. In England there's a famous naval ship, The Victory. It's at a museum now. I'd love to see it, and go out on a square-rigged, multiple-mast ship."
Having endured sorrow, Robert chooses joy. "As serious as life is, we can't take it that seriously — we’ve gotta enjoy it, and say: ‘Today, I'm gonna enjoy it!’ and ‘I'm gonna laugh, and I'm gonna smile, and if I can, I'm gonna dance!’"
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 Hunter live in Sherwood.
Christy Caballero writes from her soul about animals and their humans. She lives with three big greyhounds and one slightly neurotic foster greyhound -- who never wants to leave. Ever.