Life with pets - always an adventure

Ask any pet parent about their lovebug’s morning or bedtime routines, favorite treat, toy, etc, and guaranteed:  the stories will flow — with smiles, shining eyes, and laughter. 

It’s often said that “pets are the new kids,” and it’s true: we are wholeheartedly, unashamedly, crazy about our animals. 

And when it seems they may be hurt, ill, or “just not right,” we jump to find the problem, and most importantly, the solution.  We live for their happiness and wellbeing.

Sometimes it’s hard to know whether something like vomiting is a garden-variety tummy ache, or something serious.  Whether a sudden lack of spark is simple fatigue, or something more.  Whether a limp is from a minor misstep we didn’t witness, or a real injury.

And then there are odd little crises. 

While out for a while years ago, my Beagle puppy Luka found several glow sticks. Greeting me with a glowing snout, I freaked.  Later, leaving the vet (she was fine), she proceeded to poop what looked uncannily like sticks of chalk — pink … yellow … blue. 

Years later, I was varnishing marzipan musicians from my father's retirement cake to make tree ornaments.  The cake topper was an 8” conductor. The collection sat on a table in the garage, door open, the summer sun helping dry each coat. Someone stopped by, and I briefly closed my dog Broadway in the garage. 

WHAT was I thinking!  As a puppy, Broadway had eaten part of a kitchen floor … a set of blinds … an entire batch of bananas perfectly blackened for bread. 

The table was no match for my counter-surfer. In just minutes she’d eaten a handful of the 3” musicians AND the conductor. Faint with fear, I mentally tallied the coats I’d applied.  

The vet felt she would be fine, and she was — although that evening she was very busy, producing volumes of yuck worthy of a dog three times her size.  

These are just a few examples of everyday happenings in life with our pets. No more or less scary (and happily, in these cases, ultimately hilarious) than the adventures every pet parent experiences.

Thankfully, we don’t have to know what to do beyond making that call. Our trusted family vet asks the right questions, and reliably provides an informed course of action. I can’t imagine life without my animals — or my trusted veterinarians. 

To help know what might be a crisis (or not), check out “When it’s time to call the vet” . We hope this helps with some of the everyday happenings that can be really scary. Also this issue, meet Top Dog Award-winning veterinarians at Heartfelt Veterinary Hospital and Bethany Family Clinic, and explore the alternative practice of Pranic Healing. 

I hope you’ll also take a moment to meet our featured adoptables. One, a sweet boy named Tank, is a beloved ambassador at Greenhill who, while loved by so many, has yet to find his forever family, which he so richly deserves — they all do.

Finally, we celebrate one of many beloved local merchants. If you have a great story about your neighborhood pet merchant, please let us know!  We’d love to share their stories too.

Yours in everything pet,

Meet Your 2017 Top Dogs!

More than 2000 pet lovers participated in these 8th annual Top Dog Awards, voting for their favorite pet and pet-friendly businesses in 38 categories.

The results are compiled in the pull-out BEST in the BIZ Directory inside, which I hope you’ll use and share whenever you or pet-loving friends or family are seeking the best services and products for your beloved pets this year.

These outer pages of Spot give you the Good Neighbor Vet Furry FunPlanner, your go-to for pet and pet-friendly events in February and March.  There’s always so much going on — so many ways to play, connect, learn and grow with your pet and fellow pet parents. New events are added continuously; for the latest, click here.  To get events for upcoming weekends on the fly, tune into the GNV Furry FunPlanner report on KPSU Radio Thursday evenings at 6:10 on 98.1 fm radio.

Copies of the Directory will be available all year at pet events and select businesses. Need more copies?  email

Thank you so much for voting this year! Your endorsement of these businesses gives them a real boost, including sweet bragging rights for being named your favorite!

Our thanks also go to the wonderful businesses who made this possible by supporting the Directory through advertising. Check out their ads, and please support them!

* * *

This winter has been challenging for many, and certainly for our local businesses. Demonstrations and crazy winter conditions caused expensive closures, and in some cases, costly damage. 

It’s more important than ever now to support our local businesses.  They are the heart, soul and backbone of our community, and they are devoted to us — their customers — working tirelessly to maintain the highest levels of knowledge, expertise, and customer care. Please love them back!

Speaking of love . . .  In these changing times, let’s let love be the fuel, the engine and the heart of all we do, for the animals, and for each other. 

Thank goodness for pets!

Whatever is happening in the greater world, as a friend said recently, it keeps on turning.

Exactly right! And thanks to our pets, it turns with laughter, joy and boundless love.

And OUR little world — this treasured place we call the Northwest — keeps turning out so much to celebrate!

Our friends at Dignified Pet Services, who provide loving care when it means the most and host the sacred annual Service of Remembrance (Dec. 1st this year), have begun providing at-home euthanasia, an option that can help make goodbye a blessed, grace-filled time. They are also opening a new location in Milwaukie, in addition to their longtime facility in Tualatin.

Nancy Fedelem, beloved proprietor of Salty’s Pet Supply on Mississippi and Fang & Feather — which moved into larger digs on Lombard last month — opens South Paw Pet Supply on the South Waterfront in late December. And while she’s got her hands full with her beloved businesses, Nancy still manages to find time to host events supporting great causes — like recent Photos with Santa events in which she herself served as the jolly old elf!

New projects at Spot include Golden Ears, a social network and resource hub for people with aging pets. Stay tuned for details, and watch for Golden-Ears.Love this spring.

I hope you’ll join me in celebrating this community fueled by love, and in standing steadfast in knowing that, in our little corner of the world, the soil is rich, and our backs and hearts are strong. We work knowing things can and will get better — not only because we believe, but because we do.

The ASAP story is a great example of the power of collaboration — which in this case dramatically increased live release rates at area shelters, and more. It is this spirit of collaboration — continued, communal effort — that will continue to make positive changes in pet health, happiness and safety in the months and years ahead.

Thank you for being a part of it all!  We wish you a holiday season filled with family, friends, joy and love . . . cold noses and warm hearts,

Life in the village

Working and collaborating in animal rescue with countless organizations and individuals throughout the region, we at Spot have learned firsthand of the frustrations experienced by those serving animals in need, and those looking to adopt.

This issue explores and celebrates various aspects of rescue and adoption — including trends and realities, and the profound depth and meaning of the human/animal bond.

The rescue landscape has changed dramatically in the last decade, and continues to evolve. Where once the most urgent need was to home animals to prevent needless killing due to pet over-population and lack of space and resources to properly care for homeless animals, today the primary focus is on making successful matches that last for life.

Which brings us to where our investigation began. Whatever the realities today, pain-points for those working in adoption and prospective adopters are real.  It is with that we hope to help, shedding light on why adoption requirements are so important. Potential adopters can feel so offended by certain requirements — for a certain lifestyle, a 6’ fence, financial ability, no kids or other pets in the home — that they abandon the process.

We hope to clarify that while an adoption worker might seem unnecessarily “tough” on requirements, their rigorous protection of the pet and the match is thanks to years of experience that’s shown them,  time and again, what makes a successful lifelong match — and what doesn’t. Please trust that, and that the ultimate goal is happy ever after — for the pets and their families.

Serendipitously — and fittingly — our friend Patrick McDonnell of Mutts and Shelter Stories fame, recently published a wonderful “Mutts Manifesto.” We asked permission to share it with you, and Patrick and his team happily said yes. See it here. Words to live by .

This issue also features ‘Who Rescued Who’ stories from folks whose pets participated in Spot’s Cover Model Search at the 2016 Pet Fair. Our winner Sassy, a rescue herself, graces the cover. Watch future issues for more participating Cover Models, all photographed by the amazing Teran Buckner of Phido Photography.

We hope you find this issue informative and heart-filled. We love our rock stars working and volunteering for the animals, and we never forget:  those who support these organizations — and welcome rescued pets into their families — are a vital part of the equation. Thank you!

Yours in everything pet,

ABC . . . easy as 1-2-3!

The “back-to-school” season is one of those times of shared experience that, like any major holiday, has its own vibe, attitude, and feeling — flavored by the passing of summer and the onset of fall, the energy of a new year, and for many, fond memories of reconnecting with friends, school supplies and new duds!

We thought it would be fun to riff on the theme, and we hope you like the result! We all could use an occasional primer, or refresher on the basics, and it’s so great when we can learn from stellar experts!

Enjoy these last weeks of summer, and kicking off a beautiful fall. There are countless festivals, fun fundraisers, and beautiful days to enjoy the glorious lakes, rivers, hiking and recreational ops in the Northwest.

In closing, I want to share a little about my big girl, who left us this month. Roxy was a beautiful old girl who joined our family about 6 years ago. She was fun, funny, and full of spirit, and she brought joy and smiles to all who met her. I will miss our one-on-one burger runs (plain patty with LOTS of extra napkins to soak up the grease). Roxy’s shivering eagerness and intent gaze on the drive-up window never failed to crack up the person serving her.

Roxy 2000 - 2016

Roxy 2000 - 2016

Much thanks to the many friends who shared our joy, and supported me in caring for Rox during her last weeks. Dr. Stephens of Dignified Home Euthanasia was so wonderful, arriving heart-first, and coming in with a gentle sweetness that helped ensure Roxy’s departure was graceful, calm, and filled with love. Thanks also to Ute of Pets Point of View, who helped me meet Roxy’s needs during her final weeks with us, and to Jill Saban, godmother to all my pups, who is one of the most loving dog-moms and caregivers on the planet.

Roxy might say:  Thanks for the happy years, for healing me and keeping me healthy and strong. For the walks that always matched my energy and strength. For good food, great toys, big comfy beds, lots of friends, and tons of love.

Godspeed, dear one. Thank you for the love and sunshine you brought to our world!

Love your babies. Revel in the time shared, and give thanks for the blessing that is life with dogs,



Summer Blasts and other warm weather worries

I’ve had pets most of my life, but it wasn’t until Lula and Roxy arrived that I came to understand just how miserable the 4th can be for some.

The first year I was unprepared to offer anything more than soothing words and pets, and a quiet room where they could burrow under blankets for a sense of peace and safety. The evening dragged for these two very unhappy campers.

The following year we tried meds. Our vet prescribed valium (yep, the same drug humans use), and while Roxy spent the evening in relative comfort, Lula FUH-REAKED! In fact she was still pinballing the following morning — bouncing off of cupboards, walls and my legs, and getting after anyone who crossed her path like an angry little (15-lb) bull.

Trying alternate meds the following year proved effective. Since then, they are served a late afternoon 4th of July “cocktail” (we kind of tiptoe through walks the preceding early evenings, as small celebrations begin), snuggle in, and ride it out. Not an eventful holiday, but much preferred to the alternative.

Take a look at the tips for 4th of July safety and sanity at this link. From our family to yours, we wish you a fun and comfortable holiday.

Perhaps even more pressing this time of year, and certainly more enduring, is the risk to pets in parked cars. Every year we see pets and children harmed and killed. If we could only educate everyone just how fast a vehicle becomes a lethal oven, we might see an end to these avoidable tragedies.

Thankfully, things are beginning to change. What began with color-changing cards that signaled dangerous temperatures has progressed to include social and broadcast media campaigns and, best of all, new laws dealing with those who respond to, and those responsible for, pets suffering in hot cars. Read all about it at this link.

One last seasonal word of caution. Warm months bring toxic algae blooms, which are not always readily apparent. If you’ll be heading near water, please search “harmful algae blooms oregon” for alerts and information to help protect your water lover — even s/he’s just a fan of puddles. Might sound silly, but the threat is truly that grave.

This summer, please take good care of you and yours, and let’s make it one to remember — for all the right reasons! 

Yours in everything pet,

The joy of the Assist

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m crazy for Blazers basketball. And while once upon a time I was a fair shot, I’ve never been much at ball handling. But assist? That I can do! And I do, along with my team, routinely and with great pleasure.

Sometimes an assist comes and goes with little or no notice. And that’s okay! The joy is in the doing. Now and then, though, the outcome of an assist is known, and cause for real celebration.

Such was the case with Mr. B. While putting together the Feb/Mar AWESOME Pet Guide, we heard from Susan at St. Martin’s Rescue in Sheridan. She asked if we could spread the word about sweet Mr. B, who’d been in a kennel for over 2 years, awaiting a loving family.

Mr. B’s backstory was painful to learn. He’d been rescued from a chain, where he’d spent 24/7 with little or no food or shelter, moving within a limited space covered in his own feces. After his rescue, doctors determined among his various injuries were some indicating he’d been raped.

St. Martins was paying for Mr. B’s boarding, and at the kennel he was enjoying something for the first time: warmth, comfort, regular meals, and lots of love. He was also learning manners, thanks to these good folks spending time teaching him. What a wonderful change! But . . . he was still living in a kennel, still awaiting a real home and family of his own.

We took care to prominently feature Mr. B in that issue, sharing his story and photos of his beautiful smile.

And what do you know: someone saw him, and boarded a train to meet him the next morning. See this boy’s very happy ever after, page 11. Fittingly, he’s begun his new life with a new name: Boomer.

This issue we introduce another very special boy who’s waiting for you: Tank. Please meet him at this link..

In other news from the Assists Dept, we’re excited to support West Columbia Gorge Humane Society’s NW Pet Fair, presented by Bi-Mart.

This is a weekend not to be missed! Fashion Shows, ongoing Yappy Hour, amazing demos, adoptables, local celebrities and more. Spot is conducting a Cover Model Search, so bring your best friend and enter to get him or her on the cover of Spot! All participants’ photos will appear in the magazine, and the winner will have a professional photo shoot for his or her very own cover.

Best of all? The NW Pet Fair is all for the animals. What better cause to provide an Assist.

Yours in everything pet, 

We love our pets!

And we love being able to give them the best possible care to ensure they live long and happy.

Ours in among the most pet-centric cultures in the nation, and in response to that, businesses of all kinds are evolving in ways that cater to our pet-loving ways and lifestyles.

In so many ways our pets have become akin to children, and today’s products and services support that status — not only allowing them, but welcoming and indeed serving them with 5-star attention to detail.

This special edition of Spot contains how-to’s, answers to FAQs, and what’s trending in the services and products pet parents use most.

I hope you find this information helpful, and that you’ll refer to it as needed and share it with others. If you’re seeking resources or information you don’t find here, email — we’re here to help, and will do our best to get you the answers you need.

Not only do we love OUR PETS, we also love helping pets in need — through rescue, foster care, providing medical care and food, and helping find forever loving homes. Spot will present a guide on all things animal welfare later this year. In the meantime, if you need help with any pet-related matter and don’t know where to turn, call or shoot us an email — we’ll do our best to help.

We thank all of you for helping whenever and however you can, and for being the best pet parents on the planet!  Go, you!

We also thank our many friends in the NW pet community.  Many have offered their expertise in these pages, and our advertisers made this edition possible — please support them.

Here’s to a great year, with paws up, tails wagging and eyes shining!

Woof!  Meow!  

Yours in everything pet,

Keep Calm and Love

While working on this issue, the world as we knew it blew up. As more people became aware of the crises that had happened and continued to unfold, social media newsfeeds were flooded with posts of equal parts hope and solidarity, impending doom and arguments.

Meanwhile . . . as we at Spot continued making this edition, we were called for an assist with an animal in need, a common occurrence. We reached out to a few of the many rock stars in our lil world. Soon the way was paved to move the hurting animal to safe harbor, and hopefully before long to a warm, loving home. Thanks to those of you who responded so quickly — you know who you are.

It does my heart so much good when these cases arise that, with a few calls and emails, things begin to move. Hope that sometimes barely flickers in the first moments of an alert grows to shine brightly as hands and hearts join in, obstacles are flattened, and change begins.

While we can’t stop the madness currently raging in our world, we CAN attend to the things in our own little corner of it. Lending a hand, giving a dollar, sharing a smile, a kind word. That’s what we CAN do, and should.

This is the season of celebration and thanks, and indeed, there is much to be thankful for, and to celebrate. You’ll find little bits here. 

Spot asked friends to share photos of their little “elves,” naughty or nice, and to take a shot at winning a holiday prize.  Check out the entries here — they’ll lighten your heart and brighten your day.

“‘Tis the Season,” lists holiday drives and fundraisers by generous local businesses in support of deserving area nonprofits. Please take a peek! In featuring these events I hope to not only heighten awareness of the events taking place, but to inspire more of you to support them.

We are blessed in this community, with great friends, organizations, and a spirit of fun, giving and love. Jump in and see!  You’ll find when you give even a little, you get back a lot.

From our family to yours, Keep Calm and Love. We have each other. We have today. And we have the blessing of purpose — work to do.

Happy Holidays. Here’s to a new year filled with Peace and Love. 

Best Friends...Forever

We love doing special editions dedicated to the oldsters — they transport us all into a sacred, love-filled space.

My pack is now 14, 14, and 15. Just weeks shy of 16, Scout left us in July. I treasure the gift of having this tough little girl with me for so long — against all odds, as she was the product of a puppy mill.

Lula, Peach and Roxy’s lives continue to evolve. Walks are shorter and slower, vet visits more frequent, meds on the counter more plentiful. Yet on they go, each of them vibrant, amazing, hearts-on-wheels.

Lula is my “Who Rescued Who” baby, and also my “Wretched Redheaded Rescue.” You couldn’t imagine a more thug little 15-pounder after being pulled from “the block.” I discovered the little bumps all over her body were scabs from bites by large dogs she’d been caged with. When she arrived that winter I was broken too. We spent her first weeks huddled near the fire, holding on to each other.

Recently Lula went blind, seemingly overnight. Still, she is spirit-filled, and best of all, recently shed of her wont to bite . . . a profound measure of how far she’s come.

Peach was “payment” for a debt long ago, from an ailing friend who had me care for her as a puppy while he dealt with hospital stays. Over time she began to act out when she went home — mine had become her happy place. Leaving grew increasingly hard, and finally he let her stay for good.

She’s been causing trouble ever since.

Insistent on affection, a tomboy with a gruff little voice, dismissive of correction, she is a study in contrasts. I was surprised early on to learn that when I left the house she cried at the door the whole time I was gone! She now does the same with others she loves.

Roxy joined us late in life, a 73-lb Boxer-Ridgeback you can’t help but love. I resisted taking her in 4 years ago — 5-lb Scout was then 12 and blind — afraid she might knock Scout down the stairs. She never did, and she’s with us still, immeasurably brightening our world.

For all the late-life adventures . . . the medical events, the challenge of ensuring GREAT care when I have to leave town . . . the eventual need for baby food and diapers . . . I wouldn’t trade it. They are a glowing thread in the tapestry of my life.

Enjoy this issue!  It’s packed with great resources for the golden years . . . and love stories from readers and friends.

This is mine ♥

Simple Joys

Many of you know that my girls are all in their mid-teens.  Days in the lives of older pets can be fun, funny, edifying, and . . . scary as hell. Two are blind and one has occasional seizures (mostly controlled with meds), but for the most part they all remain strong, vibrant, and happy. But, oh boy is it true: getting old ain’t for weenies! 

Still, each in her own way is forever young. Roxy’s happy dance is a one-dog circus in which she RACES to the toy basket, grabs a victim, and maniacally tosses, squeaks and bounds around with it hanging from her huge smiling mug.

Peach’s happy moves involve hopping up the few stairs to the landing, where she digs at the carpeting rapid-fire, her head dipping rhythmically, like a little cartoon excavator.

One “happy” for everyone is walks — this is when Lula’s happy shows, prancing like a feisty colt.

Anywhere between 5 and 8pm, if they haven’t seen me signal that “it’s time” — usually getting my tennies — it starts:  initial heavy sighs and restless movements quickly escalate into Roxy moaning dramatically, Peach pacing impatiently, and Lula winding herself up into a barking frenzy. The minute they realize indeed it IS time, >boom!< they’re off like rockets to the front door. There they suddenly calm, standing like good little soldiers ready to gear up.

Ours is a friendly, tree-lined neighborhood that’s just perfect for our jaunts. And as so often happens when you meet people while walking your best friends, new acquaintances are made.

One distant neighbor, Bob, whose red-haired Golden Charlie is the toast of this little bit of town, has known my pack for years. But it’s only been recently that he’s come out to give the girls small treats. The very next time after he started this, as we neared his place, the girls stopped, sat, and gazed at his house, expecting him to come. He didn’t that day, but the next time we saw him he laughed out loud saying he’d actually seen that the girls had made his address a required stop on their route.

They’ve begun a similar thing with passersby.  Many people we see have questions about the girls — who weigh 10, 17 and 70 pounds, are clearly aged but happy and vibrant, and (by accident) are color-coordinated in various shades and patterns of brown, white and red. Many also pet and coo at them. Lately when others approach, the girls set their “crosshairs” (even blind Lula’s nose points straight at them), they noticeably slow, and then actually stop and turn as we come abreast. It’s hilarious when some passersby take no notice. If dogs could huff, suck their teeth and flounce off, mine sure would! Clearly they’ve come to believe that everyone we meet must touch, treat or talk to them.

It’s all small stuff to be sure, but the simple joys of life with dogs are huge.

Yours in everything pet,










Everything’s coming up [wet] noses!

Spring has sprung in the Northwest, and summer daze will soon be here — YAY!

While most of us welcome each new season with pleasure, parents of any kind — those with children, those with pets — know that in addition to the happy aspects, each season also brings hazards you can set your calendar to.

For me this conjures the the old Smokey the Bear campaign (yes I’m dating myself — I’m okay with it):  “Only YOU can prevent . . . “

Ol’ Smokey was talking about forest fires, but live long enough and we realize the power of our role in preventable mishaps – from nuisance to nightmare.  All we need is a little knowledge and a dash of mindfulness. The first is available with a few keystrokes — the rest is up to us.

Gardening and yardscaping is a hot topic this time of year, and for good reason: some plants, mulches and gardening products are toxic to pets. Take the time to do your homework so both you and your pet will be delighted with your yardscaping heroics this year.

Toxic algae typically hits the headlines as early as May and as late as July, and every year there are tragedies. Toxic algae blooms result from certain seasonal water conditions including temperature, and something as minor as licking a paw can harm your best friend. If yours is a water lover, or just your happy co-pilot, check Metro’s real-time tracking of toxic algae alerts and affected areas before you go:

While some pets are unfazed by the crashing cacophony that begins days before and continues days after the 4th of July, others are absolutely wrecked. Two of my four-pack are in the latter category, so we prepare not only with a little medicinal assist, but with soft blankets, closed windows, and time reserved for reassuring snuggling. Local experts offered up more great tips and helpful info for the 4th in this issue, click here to read.

Back to how easy, given a little homework and mindfulness, it really is to have an impact on the safety and comfort of our best friends’ lives, I’ve been thinking lately how blessed we are — we have infinite resources!

Spot Magazine’s archives discuss everything above, and countless other topics dealing with the health, happiness and safety of our best friends. Whatever you need help with, you'll find it at And wait, there’s more! 

Spot recently adopted and friends, a community of people who are passionate about pets. These folks are another great way to connect and have fun, and get even more tips from the pros . . . in this case loving pet parents just like you, who’ve learned through their own adventures.

If you haven’t already, come join the pack! Here’s to a safe, fun season in the sun, together with our precious ones!

Yours in everything pet,

Presenting your 2015 Top Dogs!

It is with absolute glee that I present to you this year’s Top Dog Award Winners, and the annual BEST in the BIZ Directory, featuring the best pet businesses and professionals of 2015 by Readers' Choice – in 42 categories. Thanks to those of you who voted. To the winners — thank you for the great work you do!

Our community repeatedly ranks as one of the best cities to live with pets. That’s in great part thanks to our fantastic pet-devoted businesses, many of whom appear in these pages.

This year, if you’re looking for daycare . . . or outstanding pet-friendly vacation rentals/hotels . . . or the best medical care, from basic to advanced … or great merchants to whom you can turn for guidance, goods, and amazing expertise … look here. After you’ve read the magazine, just pull those pages off (please recycleϑ) and keep the Directory handy for the next best thing to a referral from a friend for everything you might possibly need for your pets this year.

From compiling the votes to working with the featured businesses, building the Directory each year is an adventure filled with revelation and excitement. We are blessed to have so many outstanding professionals committed to our best friends’ health and happiness, and to us, their people.

While working on any project, the Spot team is never doing just one thing.  Whatever’s on tap, you can be sure we’re also fielding calls about animals in need, helping move them from temporary situations to forever loving homes. This is the work of our hearts, as well as serving you and our local professionals – to connect you with each other, discover previously unknown resources, and more.

Spot will turn 10 in August, and in these years I’ve learned this important truth:  Together, we can.  We can change fortunes from horrific to happy-ever-after.  We can change laws to help end abuse and abusive practices long gone unchecked or unanswered for.  We can help shine the light on how basic things like food, physical activity and learning can change the life of a misbehaving or unhealthy pet and therefore the world for his or her family.  Little things mean a lot!  And together, doing little things, one by one over and over, so much gets done!

Thank you for allowing us to do what we do. We love serving the animals and you, and we look forward to seeing you soon at upcoming pet events! Happily that includes the NW Pet Fair, which Columbia Gorge Humane Society, in partnership with Spot, is taking forward as of this year.  A big shout-out to Amy Barton (nee Johnson) and Vanessa Wright, who in their early 20s took custody of the Pet Fair five years ago, taking it from a state of neglect to a thriving weekend that is the biggest annual event for many local pet businesses.  Come out and play April 18-19 at the Expo Center – we have so much to celebrate!

Yours in everything pet, 

Once upon a time …

Jennifer and Lula

Jennifer and Lula

A leggy, 15-lb redhead landed in a shelter and was caged with large dogs, slated for euthanasia. No one knew her story, but she was microchipped — registered to no one. Just hours from her last, the little girl — wild with fear and stress — was swooped up by a big-hearted pilot, who flew her from California to loving foster mom, Connie Thiel, in Portland. The next day, she arrived at my home.

Abused and traumatized, for years she bit and barked and generally wreaked havoc — with the three others in her pack, the neighbors, and visitors.

Fast forward seven years, nearly to the day of this writing, and you find a now white-faced girl who has acquired a grace and affection for her world that is stunning given her history. She is Lula, and she is the dog of my heart (I actually have 4, but she is my “Who Rescued Who” girl).

Please share the joy and meaning of rescue and adoption, now and throughout the year. Lula is just one example of countless cases where someone embraced a hard-luck/hard-to-love creature who in time proved to be among their greatest blessings ever.

As we wrap this year and celebrate the beginning of a new one, all of us at Spot wish you comfort and joy, and most of all, love. 

Yours in everything pet,




PS: Spot is celebrating a new addition! Michele Michaels is known by many for her work in rescue, adoption, foster care, unchaining dogs and other animal welfare efforts. Others know her for her longtime stint as “Kiss n Tell with Michele” aka “Michele ‘til Midnight” on 99.5 The Wolf. If you’re meeting her for the first time, I’m sure you’ll quickly come to know and love her like we do as she steers Spot into the future as our new Managing Editor!

Rain or shine, the fun goes on!

What a great summer!  Great weather, and tons of events and good times!  Now here’s fall, sweeping in with lusty colorful skirts, mischievous winds, and . . . a sense of gratitude that comes with the season.  It swells as the days speed toward the holidays, and the changing weather of the season.  Thankfully, the explosion of nature’s beauty (and the beginning of basketball … and, ok, football) go a long way in making it feel like a welcome change ϑ

How to make the season even more fun?  Just add indoor games your pups will love!  Check it out at this link (page 6 in the book), and let us know how it goes (and send photos so we can share them!) at or on Facebook.

Speaking of photos . . . we ran a bunch of photo contests in recent months, some for great prizes.  Keep an eye on Spot on Facebook for more chances to not only win, but to see your sweet baby in the pages of Spot Magazine and Spot online.

Jessie ~ Photo by Waz Mix Pix

Jessie ~ Photo by Waz Mix Pix

Fall also brings a bevy of galas and fundraisers that promise good times, and a chance to support our outstanding animal welfare orgs.  One fun li’l detail coming up — Spot’s Vonnie Harris will be on the runway at DoveAdore featuring Boutiques Unleashed Oct. 17.  She’s modeling with her bestie Hobie, as her yella Jessie shies from the spotlight.  But fear not — to get a Jessie fix, just get to the river — given a dock and some water, she always steals the show!

Another fix you might be looking for . . . need a Goodie Bag?  Spot’s popular little Goodie Bags are still available.  Provided by our friends as Cascade VRC, they’re attractive thermal totes with zippers and pockets — and two loops inside to hold the wine ϑ.  They’re filled with goodies from area pet businesses, altogether a value of $20-$30.  They can be had for a $5 donation (+ S&H) that supports local animal welfare — and they make great gifts!  Get yours by clicking here!

Whatever the season, Northwest pet parents are members of the most pet-friendly, pet-devoted, and pet-savvy community on the planet, and good stuff goes on, year round.   

One must-do right now?  VOTE!  The Top Dog Awards ballots are open now through Nov. 30, and your vote counts!  Those who earn the distinction of being “the best pet business, nonprofit, professional, or pet-friendly “x”” receive great rewards.  For businesses and pros you absolutely love, this is a great way to say THANK YOU and GREAT JOB!  Your vote has the power to help them grow and get in front of new customers — so show them some love!  Vote today here!

In closing I want to share 2 bits from recent conversations.  The first raising a question that was answered in the second.

Chatting with someone from a corporate organization, I was asked to explain our work at Spot . . . and why we weren’t designed to go after big money . . . and why we spent time on things like rescue, emergency response, and community resources.  I explained that, for us, it’s a work of heart, and it “feeds” us.

In the second conversation, a friend said, “It just comes down to being people who love dogs.”


I would only add cats . . . bunnies . . . birds . . . farm animals . . . !

Yours in everything pet,

Yip! Yipp! eeee!

Jennifer McCammon (L) and Jenny Kamprath celebrate the first issue of Spot – Aug. ’05, hot off the press

Jennifer McCammon (L) and Jenny Kamprath celebrate the first issue of Spot – Aug. ’05, hot off the press

You have in your hands the 100th issue of Spot Magazine.  I wouldn't have thought to track that, but our Vonnie mentioned it a few months ago, so we counted ‘em up, and happily hadn’t missed the chance to celebrate. 

And what a sweet celebration it is! 

Like many publishing ventures, Lil Spot, born August 2005 (this is also its 9th birthday ϑ), endured rough economic waters starting around ’08, and greatly diminished advertising revenue with the advent of social media (this, a huge blow — until then magazines like Spot were wholly advertising supported). 

Then we made two important changes:  publishing every other month instead of monthly, and diversifying to offer marketing services — at which we were expert, but until then had only practiced within Spot itself.  Those changes made all the difference, moving Spot from a tough, precarious place, to where it is today:  stable, and most importantly, tail-wagging, eyes-shining, butt-wiggling overjoyed to not only celebrate this little landmark with you, but for the new opportunities to serve others that has turned out to be more good for everyone involved (and fun!) than we ever imagined.

There are so many people and businesses who helped make possible Spot’s shift from barely surviving to thriving.  Bi-Mart has been a longtime partner — in the magazine, events, fundraisers and activities — and without them Spot simply wouldn’t be here today.  Others at the top of Spot’s list of Champions (there are so many — but those here have stuck close, “held our hands” through tough times, and continued to support our efforts through every curve and curveball) in no particular order, include Cascade VRC, Dignified Pet Services, Good Neighbor Vet, Whole Pet NW, Bennington Properties, Show Dogs Grooming, Idyllic Beach House, Rose City Vet, VCA NW Veterinary Specialists, Back on TrackMcMenamins Dog-Friendly Properties, Multnomah County Animal Services, Companion Pet Clinic St. Johns, NoPo Paws and Mittens Motel — again, that’s just a few.  Others include the innumerable friends in animal welfare and the biz, with whom we work, brainstorm and play.  This community is wicked-awesome for pet-loving, hard-working people, and we’re blessed and thrilled to be part of it.

In addition to a few special celebratory notes in this issue, we’re celebrating with a Summer Social Aug. 10 at Oaks Park.  There we’ll host the 2014 Cover Model Search, so grab your little star and come play!  Highlights include doggie ice cream, a fitness session, summer suds, awesome raffle items and more — all supporting Born Again Pit Bull Rescue, Deaf Dogs of Oregon and Spot.  We work with and support countless orgs serving animals — this one’s for BAPBR and DDO, so please come help celebrate them!  

Hope to see you there.  Thank you for faithfully reading and sharing Spot all these years — it’s been such a treat!  Here’s to 100 more . . . :)

Talkin' Spot

Little Girl

Little Girl

So much to share! 

We have a new critter at Spot HQ — I call her Little Girl, and she is the fattest, friendliest little squirrel!  I am in love.  At first it was scary keeping the dogs from scoring her as a tasty snack.  She hangs out in THEIR back yard, and has gotten so comfy she comes right to the slider — daily.  It’s often open, so she’s risking life and limb.  She steps right up, looks me in the eye, and wrings her little paws as if to say, “Um, ‘scuze me.  Yes, um... Well, I’m out of seeds.  Could I have more please?”

Early on I would tick my tongue and she’d follow to safety atop the fence, giving me time to contain the girls.  Then I’d toss her seeds, and she’d park on the patio for hours, snacking away.

She comes every day, wringing her polite little paws, sending the dogs into a frenzy.  I finally realized an old birdbath nestled in a back tree made a perfect Squirrel Suite.  I called her to it along the fenceline, and voila! – she settled right in, finding squirrel nirvana.  Today the coolest thing:  when she arrived I secured the dogs and headed out, ticking and talking to her.  Rather than going to the fenceline to get there the long way around, she went straight across the lawn with me and right up her tree. 

So now I can say I have a squirrel who comes when she’s called!  How fun is that  :-)  I know she’s far from tame, but she’s made quick work of training me. 

♥ ♥ ♥

Spot went bi-monthly last year, making way for other work we love, including marketing services for fellow pet businesses, and helping animals in need via Spot’s nonprofit side.  While I’m still not completely used to printing every other month (quite a change after 20 years of publishing monthly), there is much to love.  Like giving us greater focus on animal welfare.

This spring has been amazing.  We’ve had a number of “placements” in process, and it’s so gratifying to see the network in action — working to secure transport, foster homes, medical care, funds, and of course:  loving homes. 

Did you know Spot has two pages on Facebook?  Yep — SpotMagazineNW features fun stories and love tails, alerts, news and funnies, while SpotToTheRescue is all animal welfare all the time, including adoptables, alerts, postings on things needed, and of course, happy endings J  Spot crew member Marnie, who is passionate about rescue, recently took up the reins.  She’s well suited, as she’s been a foster, rescue volunteer, and always has a hand in helping those in need find their happy ever afters.  And since taking the wheel she’s got the place jumpin!  “Like” the page to lend a hand or just follow and be amazed, and maybe send a little encouragement to the many folks doing great work.

Speaking of those doing Works of Heart . . . we love introducing you to the amazing people and animals in our world, and this issue is packed — enjoy!

Finally, a quick note about pet events.  ‘Tis the season, and Wow — good times!  Keep your eye on the Good Neighbor Vet Furry FunPlanner (in Spot, online and on 98.1 fm radio Thursdays at 6:10pm) and come out and play!  We’ve got great goodies at the booth, but even better, we love seeing you there!  

Hello, Sunshine!

Springtime in Portland kicks off a fun-filled season of pet events, starting with the annual NW Pet & Companion Fair, Apr 12-13 at the Expo Center.  Read all about how this event has grown in recent years, thanks to the hard work and TLC of our favorite showgirls, Amy Johnson and Vanessa Wright.  In 2011, the girls rescued the event from extinction, and in three short years have transformed it into a memorable, award-winning weekend of fun, connection and learning.

Visitors enjoy free samples, workshops, entertainment, adoptables and more, and of course Spot is on the scene with smiles, cameras, and goodies for you and your best friend.  Stop by and say hi!

Springtime is definitely a favorite here at Spot HQ.  All of us are fair-weather walkers, and lately, we’ve been clocking some miles!  Where Peach and Lula once sailed over curbs with grace and ease — not to mention synchronized altitude! — these days we bypass the curbs in favor of driveways that are much easier on aging little legs and eyes.  And while we don’t trek as far or as fast these days, our enthusiasm is as high as ever!  We work at home, and once the season has begun, around 5 o’clock every day the girls start a full-court press to hit the streets.  Big girl Roxy goes all Drama Queen — I think she’s got an internal  5 o’clock alarm that “goes off” with pleading puppy-dog eyes and woeful moaning . . . which escalates to a full-on wail that’s impossible to deny. 

As pet parents we’re ever mindful of how fleeting the time with our love bugs is, making it all the more important to make the most of every chance to play, love and “live out loud” with our best friends.

Happily, spring/summer in the Northwest is prime time!  Keep an eye on the Furry FunPlanner , now sponsored by our friends at Good Neighbor Vet, tune into the weekly Good Neighbor Vet Furry Funplanner report on KPSU Radio (98.1 fm), and come out and play!  Spot is on site at most pet events during the season with goodies and smiles, and the best part is reconnecting with you! 

Yours in everything pet,

Meet your 2014 TOP DOGS!

J with Roxy (and Peach the famous photobomber)

J with Roxy (and Peach the famous photobomber)

What makes a Top Dog?

The traits of a winner are as varied as the qualities that make something beautiful.  And while common themes pepper the stories of winners’ beginnings and journeys to success — things like heart, smarts, commitment, tenacity, optimism and drive — the designation of a Top Dog goes beyond that; bestowed not by financial reports or sales performances, and . . . not even by time.  Like beauty, that special something that makes a professional or business a Top Dog is in the eye of the beholder. 

It’s always such a pleasure presenting the year’s Top Dog Award winners — who earn the distinction thanks to your votes.  This year you voted in over 45 categories, and while some longstanding Top Dogs continued to reign supreme, many businesses rose in the ranks — some who’ve landed at or near the top in past years, others very new to the scene — which makes the competition all the more exciting!

How do you know a Top Dog? 

Top Dogs earn the logo for their winning year, so you’ll see it (or sometimes many!) displayed in their shop windows, inside walls, even on posts, fliers and/or correspondence.  Keep an eye out — that logo is a badge of which winners can be very proud — and one they won thanks to you.

Of course you’ll also find your Top Dogs featured in Spot’s annual BEST in the BIZ Directory, inside this issue, and available all year long at pet-centric businesses and events.  In addition to the pros and businesses ranked best by popular vote, the Directory contains beautiful ads showcasing our winning advertisers, including some businesses that simply love and support pets, the pet community, and . . .  Spot!  It is the ads from our amazing partner businesses that make this Directory possible.  Please support them!

As always, the BEST in the BIZ Directory is wrapped inside pages of traditional Spot content, this issue including a great story on DoveLewis’s 40th anniversary, a touching story from Dr. Heidi on “the best,” precious adoptables just waiting to meet you, pet-friendly events, and more.  

After enjoying the outer magazine stories and planning some fun this month and next, just peel off the outer pages (please recycle), and keep your BEST in the BIZ Directory handy for quick reference whenever you need outstanding pet products and services this year.  After all, what better referral for ‘the best’ pet products, services and businesses like hotels, auto dealerships, jewelry stores and more — than from over 2500 of your closest pet-loving friends! 

Big thanks to everyone who made this great edition possible — Enjoy!





We ARE the village

J with Roxy (and Peach the famous photobomber)

J with Roxy (and Peach the famous photobomber)

While building certain issues of Spot, the love flows, fun prevails, and the space is a special kind of sacred.  This was one.  Packed with good stuff, this issue celebrates The Pongo Fund, and kicks off a food drive presented by Spot, Bi-Mart, and local businesses.  Click here for a participating business near you, then pop in during December, sponsor a bag for Pongo, and get a Tshirt!

Worthy causes unify us in labors of love that, while blessing others, bless those making it happen as much or more.  If you sponsor a bag for Pongo, Thank you!  And please thank the participating business for their contribution — we couldn’t have done this without them.

Thomas Peck and his dog Von were Pongo’s 5 millionth “meal,” and Thomas generously shares their story here, an extraordinary tale of moving from poverty/unemployment to an active, purposeful life.  That’s thanks to the countless people like Debbie, who you’ll meet in a sec, and organizations like The Pongo Fund and “Hawaii Fi-do,” who you’ll meet in Thomas’s story.  Each serves as a bridge, helping people like Thomas rise from dark “befores” to shining “afters.”

So Debbie, who brought Sunset Credit Union into the food drive, excitedly ticked off her to-do’s for it, while also chatting happily about juggling visits to “her” 15 dogs during Fences For Fido’s Fall Spritzer, in which volunteers will check on every one of the more than 500 dogs they’ve unchained, making sure they’re still doing well.  Debbie happily reported that she has toys, treats and flea medicine “for ALL of them!”

Listening to Debbie and smiling ear to ear, I flashed … on the Grinch … whose heart “grew three sizes that day.” 

You can be a bridge, too.  If you’re not already, give it a try!  Everyone, from our county shelters to small in-home rescues, is doing amazing work.  And while we’re all busy beyond good sense, as Spot’s beloved Angie Brown says, if everyone did just a LITTLE BIT, the impact would be HUGE!  She’s right.  And I promise you:  doing even a small something could easily be your greatest gift this season, both given and received.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Spot!  Here’s to our growing village, and a blessed new year!