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:  public.health.oregon.gov/HealthyEnvironments/Recreation/HarmfulAlgaeBlooms.

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 SpotMagazine.net. And wait, there’s more! 

Spot recently adopted pdxdog.com 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 info@spotmagazine.net 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!


Sweet Abundance

Jennifer with Lula, Peach and Scout

Jennifer with Lula, Peach and Scout

Fall is in the air, and like harvest’s bounty, Spot is overflowing with good things!

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, and our newest crew member, Account Exec Lori Cory, said, “Let’s do something cool with this!”  She brought in Holistic Pet Center and Natura Pet Foods, and together we’re offering a chance for families who adopt a dog in October to win six months of free, top-quality dog food. Details below!  Give me a shout if you have questions.  We can’t wait to meet your new best friend!

Spot has also teamed with 99.5 The Wolf Radio to kick off the holiday season with a fun costume contest for great prizes.  This partnership’s built for fun — stay tuned to Spot, 99.5 The Wolf, 105.1 The Buzz, and all the Entercom stations for more pet fun coming your way!

On a more serious note, don’t miss “Breaking Bad” this issue, Michele Coppola’s report on a collaboration of Washington County agencies taking on animal abuse and domestic violence.  We’re so proud of everyone involved in this ground-breaking work.  This is history in the making, sure to bless countless lives for years to come.

Another new treasure is ACT, Daniela Iancu’s “Animal Community Talks” program, fostering the connection among those working in veterinary, behavior and animal welfare with education and networking.  Read about it here, and get to the next session — they’re free, they’re fantastic, and they’re listed in the FunPlanner.

Finally, meet 5-year-old Michael at this link, who — along with his mom — in working to cope with the loss of his family’s beloved Golden, Lucy, created quite the publishing empire . . . one that’s very fun, and doing great things for animals and kids. 

While building this issue, we had the pleasure of connecting with so many great people doing amazing work for our pets, people, and community.  In the work we all do there are of course many hard things.  Thankfully, though, we constantly encounter devoted heroes working tirelessly to make a difference — changing and saving lives, lifting up animals, and the people who love them.

Here’s to this season of abundance!


Just leave it anywhere

J with Roxy . . . and Peach the photobomber.

J with Roxy . . . and Peach the photobomber.

My big girl Roxy, the 12-years-young Boxer/Ridgeback, is such a joy.  All my four are, of course, but perhaps I have more Roxy stories because she’s the newbie. 

One of Roxy’s “things” is digging in the toybox and pulling out all kinds of stuffies (yep, there’re a lot of ‘em).  How they land so randomly all over the house I have no idea.  Maybe she gets interrupted by “Let’s have a treat!”  Or she detects a sound or smell she must investigate — now!  I’m sure her days are filled with myriad important canine to-do’s.  Whatever the case, she leaves stuffies . . . everywhere.  Halfway down the stairs, on the landing, in the middle of the kitchen.  The middle of a room — any room. (What was she doing in there?)

As I take the stairs and move through the house during the day I routinely cross paths with . . . the squirrel from Megan . . . the little promotional snowman . . . the bunny I just had to buy the girls years ago. . . a funny blue octopus that sings the ABC’s . . . and others.  With every encounter, my smile blooms and my heart fills.

Yay, stuffies!

Ah, if stuffies could talk. 
This bunny clearly got left standing … as usual, Rox must’ve been called
away on urgent business.    

Ah, if stuffies could talk.  This bunny clearly got left standing … as usual, Rox must’ve been called away on urgent business.


All of us have them, I believe, in one form or another.  Quirky little happy threads in the fabric of our day-to-day lives.  Years ago a man in my life and I would write little notes of affection out of Q-tips.  That’s a happy thread J

There’s a simple, yet deep joy in witnessing a creature’s ways.  One of the things that hits home whenever I see Roxy’s leavings is . . . she’s happy.  And that’s huge.

Things at Spot are happy, too!  Please welcome recent arrivals to our team — Graphic Artist Rebecca Zinkgraf, Account Exec Lori Cory, and Summer Intern Lauren Hudgins. 

As always there’s lots going on, with fun new things headed your way — stay with us!  And if you haven’t joined the fun online, Like Spot Magazine (and Spot to the Rescue) on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Pinterest — and get your daily dose of pet love, news, alerts, funnies and more.

Yours in the love of pets,

Spot_Jennifer _signiture.jpg


J with Roxy (and Peach the famous photobomber)

J with Roxy (and Peach the famous photobomber)

My 4-pack goes 6 to 65 lbs, legs 2 to 30 inches, ages 11 to 13 years.  I call them my little old ladies, and they flip me the tail and laugh.  They are their own little “Red Hats” club, dancing, laughing, and ‘living out loud’ in every way.

A high point of most of our days is a 2-mile jaunt through the neighborhood.  I guess we’re something of a sight . . . people often pause and laugh when we come into view, the girls marching smartly in sync, all ‘large and in charge.’  Now and again we get sweet praise, a la “What a beautiful, well-behaved bunch!”  Not so much, but we love hearing it J

Since we go out most days, and as dogs are expert at telling time, the girls get edgy as the hour approaches.  Roxy’s eyes grow huge with longing (and, I think, a little angst that we might not go today, oh no!).  Peach just gets antsy.  Lula, however, true to form — nap-loving Princess that she is — stays under the covers.  Her radar is keen though; at the first clink of the leash hooks she’s there — her usual obnoxious self wiggling and glaring as if to say, “Let’s go!  I’m tired of waitin’ on you!”

Given their size differences, Peach and Lula sail up and over curbs while long-legged Roxy’s stride doesn’t alter a bit.  She’s like, what curb?  Thankfully, our friend Sue Roake of Bebop USA gifted us with a double-leash that perfectly pairs Peach and Lu, helping keep all three comfortably in stride.

As you go cruisin’ with your friend or friends, please take care during hot days to go early or late, when the temps will be kind (and safe) for them.  And please!  Keep them on the inside “lane” if you’re on the street, and for sure, pick up the poop.  These steps are not only good for safety, but for the “let’s all get along” factor that is so important to preserving our communities. 

These days it’s not just the girls who get excited to get out.  The exercise, the fresh air, and the open space that’s great for unwinding and processing thoughts from the day . . . the time that’s just “ours” . . . it’s all so good, I too get bright-eyed as go-time nears.

If you can make an outing part of your own routine, you’ll find the benefits, and the happy factor, something you’ll want to do every day.  It’s just one more example of how ‘going to the dogs’ makes us better.  The benefits are huge, and they’re ours for the taking.

Get out!  You’ll be so glad you did.  And so will your own little “Red Hats” club.

Spot_Jennifer _signiture.jpg

Grab your best friend and come play!


The pet event season got a roaring start with the NW Pet & Companion Fair at the Expo Center last month.  The Spot crew had a blast, joining Carr Subaru for a photo contest with two great prizes:  appearing in a Subaru TV ad, and being on the cover of Spot.

It was a fantastic weekend!  Free admission was appreciated by all, as was the roundup of outstanding vendors, presentations and featured entertainment.  Kudos to Amy Johnson and Vanessa Wright, who in three short years have turned this once ailing event into a spectacular weekend of entertainment, learning, adoptions and shopping.

The fun has only just begun . . . here’s what’s on tap this month:  

May 4 – Walk for the Animals for Humane Society of SW Washington at Ester Short Park in Vancouver

May 4 – Furball for Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon at the Portland Art Museum

May 11 - Doggie Dash for Oregon Humane Society at Waterfront Park in Portland

May 19 - Bark in the Park for Greenhill Humane Society at Alton Baker Park in Eugene. 

At Doggie Dash, the Spot crew will have our popular Goodie Bags — awesome totes from our friends at CVRC that keep contents hot or cold and have lots of compartments.  They’re filled with goodies like Doggy and Kitty Tonic from our friends at Bluebird Herbals, the Pet Emergency Care Handbook from VCA NW Veterinary Specialists, food samples from Whole Pet Northwest (Solid Gold), canned food lids from Sellwood Dog Supply, and more.  We love our partner businesses, and they love sharing goodies you can use.  Available for a $5 donation at pet events while supplies last, all proceeds support PAW Team.

At Bark in the Park, take your best friend to the Spot booth to enter this year’s Willamette Valley Cover Model Search.  Marnie and Victor look forward to seeing you!                                   

Thank you for getting Spot’s first digital issue.  It’s been a crazy few months here as we’ve worked to get the digital program up and running, launch a new website, and continue the work of strengthening Spot’s sustainability.

We’re proud and grateful Spot is your #1 source for everything pet — from news, resources and products to the heart stories that connect us all in loving life with animals.

Thank you too for your continued patience as the Spot crew navigates much new terrain.  Not every step we take is perfect — we’re continually adjusting and correcting along the way — but please know we’re working hard to provide a magazine you’re proud of, and the resources for “everything pet” you need and count on. 

As always, we’re here to serve you, with news, entertainment and resources, and to help you give your best friend optimal health and happiness. 

Yours in everything pet,

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More reasons to smile

J with Roxy (and Peach the famous photobomber)

J with Roxy (and Peach the famous photobomber)

We’ve had a new addition at our house since last fall — a Boxer/Ridgeback mix named Roxy, who’s about 12 years old.  This little girl is now our big girl — her new “sisters” are Scout, Peach and Lula, who range in size from 7 to 15 lbs tops.  Roxy weighs in at 65.  And she’s tall.

So many things about this girl make me smile — her tender heart and sweet ways, her protective nature, and . . . among my favorites:  her near-constant smiling energy. 

A few weeks ago something was tugging at my brain over a little routine that was “all Roxy.”   When she saw me approach the top of the stairs to go down, she’d position herself just below the top step, crouched like a sprinter at the blocks, locked and loaded for flight.  Eyes straining forward, she’d eagerly lean, her turbos impatient to roar.  But she’d wait . . . 'til the moment she was certain we were going down.

I frequently multitask, and often I’ll head toward the stairs only to hit the top and spin at the last second, remembering something I wanted to take down, or do before going.

There she’ll be, in her cliff-hanging / starting block position, waiting.  Trembling slightly with eagerness, she snaps her head back frequently, watching for the signal.  Finally, detecting a certain cue I’m not even aware of, she decides we’re really going down and — BOOM! — she’s off like a rocket, all hunched over, long legs high-stepping, and chortling.  I swear, she chortles!

Roxy’s body can make me laugh even at rest.  Her legs are totally spidery to me, especially when she lolls on her back, begging for belly rubs by flailing them, looking like a praying mantis might if a praying mantis begged for belly rubs.  Her funny bat-like ears are crimped at the tips, and her beanbag of a cottontail bump (in place of more common tails) makes for quite “a swing on her back porch.”

All this back-story is to get to this crazy little thing I wanted to share with you. 

A few weeks ago Roxy’s routine on the stairs started bugging me.  I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it reminded me of something — something very specific.  Days passed, Roxy’s antics continued, and it  Just. Kept. Bugging. Me!  I could not figure out what shadow image played just out of my mind’s reach whenever she did this. 

Then finally one day — snap! — I got it.  Roxy’s routine is an impersonation of NBA star Dikembe Mutombo!  Specifically, his recent shot-blocker ad for Geico (see it on Youtube by searching “Dikembe Mutombo Geico ad”).

In the loping, humpbacked rascally romp that’s goofy and filled with Dikembe’s odd gargly laughter, I see my funny girl . . .

. . . and it’s one more little thing . . . among, oh, a million or so . . . that makes me smile and adore her even more. 

Yours in everything pet,

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Introducing . . . your 2013 Top Dogs!


I LOVE THE TOP DOG AWARDS!  And it is with great pleasure I give you “The Best in the Biz” 2013 by popular vote.  Every year the ballots are open for 90 days, July-September, during which pet lovers are encouraged to vote on their favorite pet businesses and professionals in 31 categories.  The result is the Best in the Biz Directory inside this issue, listing the winners 1st-3rd place, and highlighting a few particularly noteworthy accomplishments.  I hope you enjoy getting acquainted with these winning businesses. 

The Directory is a “pull-out,” with heavy covers that make it easy to pull out and save, and sturdy enough to endure use throughout the year.  After reading your regular Spot content, just peel off and recycle the outer pages and keep the Directory handy for use and sharing.  Providing the next best thing to a referral from a friend for pet products and services, it’s a strong statement when over three thousand pet lovers put a business at the top! 

This year 3,095 pet lovers voted, and with that many, competition was fierce.  Ultimately it became clear that any business making the cut to the Top 10 had earned a stamp of excellence.  See the Top 10 in every category on Spot’s website, and get better acquainted with the First Place winners on Spot’s Facebook page in the weeks ahead.  We’ll be shining the spotlight on them there as well as on Spot’s new website, launching this month. 

While you’re there, please comment on and ‘share’ your favorite businesses.  I’d love it, and your Top Dogs will really appreciate it.   Not only is it a great way to give winners a little more love, it’s also a great way to help fellow pet parents gain insight on local options for outstanding products and services.  If you have a video involving a winner, please send it in and we’ll share that too. 

All of these things help make the most of the Top Dog experience, providing much-deserved support to our amazing local businesses. 

Huge thanks to all of you who voted!  And heartfelt gratitude to those who made this year’s Directory possible —the businesses whose ads appear inside.  Please check them out as well — they are pet lovers all, and without them Spot would not be possible.  Thank you!

To all of our Top Dogs this year, Great Job, and CONGRATULATIONS!

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Letter from the publisher

Dear friends,

These are amazing times, with things changing — fast — every day. This year it was clear Spot was ready for change, too. So we set to work, seeking ways to provide greater support to our partner businesses while strengthening Spot’s sustainability. Following are the changes we’re making to do that and more, which happily includes giving you more dynamic presentations of the information and resources you expect, the happy tails you love, and the chance to engage with our amazing local experts.

Beginning May 2013, Spot will begin publishing alternating print and digital editions. You’ll find print editions at the same great pet businesses, and digital editions through your tablet, smartphone or at SpotMagazine.net. As always, back issues will continue to be available at pet events, where as always you’ll find the Spot booth loaded with goodie bags and smiles.

Digital publishing is earth-friendly and in growing demand, and delivering Spot this way provides you with convenience and choice while allowing the crew to bring Spot to life in exciting new ways.

This year we’re also introducing a new website, with new features and functions like social networking, digital articles, and real-time webinars with live Q & As.





Solid Gold

Lula with Jennifer

Lula with Jennifer

My four girls are all white-faced these days, ranging in age from 9½ to 13.  And while there have been and continue to be many changes — more hours spent sleeping, Scout’s blindness becoming complete, needed retrofits to keep them out of harm’s way — there is no less joy, hilarity, frustration and LIFE than in all the years they’ve been with me.

Late life is a sacred time, for both human beings and our animals.  With age comes wisdom, depth and amazing grace, and I consider it an honor and a huge blessing to share these “golden years” with such special creatures.

Scout and (a very annoyed) Peach in their pet taxi.

Scout and (a very annoyed) Peach in their pet taxi.

A striking thing happens with the Spot crew when we work on editions dedicated to seniors:  we find ourselves in a sacred space that defies words . . . perhaps that’s simply because in this space we speak from the heart.

Roxy heading to Nana's for Thanksgiving.

Roxy heading to Nana's for Thanksgiving.

Because our pets’ lives are so fleeting, all of us will have the blessing and the challenge of traveling the last years, months and days with our lovebugs.  I hope the information and stories inside help with the many experiences, decisions and emotions to be faced in these end times that are at once wonderful and also so very painful. 

We’re blessed to get to share life with our animals.  The more prepared and informed we can be as we move with them into the late hours the more room there is for love to reign. 

Let it reign.

Yours in everything pet,

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'Tis the Season


The holidays are now in full swing, and hopefully yours are wonderful!

My family will celebrate with a new addition, 12-year-old Roxy, a Ridgeback-Boxer mix who is the sweetest creature you’ll ever meet — and you will meet her, on the cover of Spot’s special issue on Aging Pets in January. 

The sweet magic of the holidays brings a heightened sense of all things comfort and joy!  In this spirit, here is my wish for all of us this year ~

  • Comfort for those struggling, and hope for brighter days ahead
  • Happiness where there would be angst or fear
  • Warmth where there would be cold
  • Full tummies
  • Loving hearts and hands to touch
  • Family and Friends all around — no journey is whole without them

Please give this season however you can — place a gift under a giving tree, donate to a food bank or shelter, open your home to a foster for the holidays, serve up a genuine smile to passersby.

Thank you for another wonderful year of sharing the joy and journey of life with our animals. 

Happy Holidays from all of us at Spot!

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Together we win


MUTTS comic strip creator Patrick McDonnell has been “among us” here at Spot for months, ever since our Nikki suggested we bring you his story.  Patrick has done a fantastic job of highlighting the plight of shelter animals, and the joy, pain and vital importance of taking action to help them . . . a man after our own hearts!

As is our wont, we worked to make this issue really special.  In the spirit of McDonnell’s dedication to shelter animals, we created an Adopt a Shelter program, matchmaking local businesses with shelters.  This brought about many new relationships, as well as fundraisers, food drives and other meaningful activities.  How cool is that!

In addition to meeting Patrick this month, inside you’ll find Spot’s version of Shelter Stories — a pullout supplement featuring some of our local organizations working to get animals healthy, safe, and HOME.  The supplement will be available at pet events all year, and we hope you’ll get acquainted with these wonderful groups.  Even more, we hope you’ll be inspired to lend your hands and heart to this important work.  I can’t wait for you to see how such small acts can make a huge difference!

Of course there are still many shelters that would benefit greatly by being adopted.  Please consider this for your company.  Adoptions can be as simple as sponsoring a Shelter Story in Spot, acquainting them with tens of thousands of pet lovers, or more involved — many adoptive businesses are holding food and other drives, some are hosting fundraiser parties, and still others are helping virtually — promoting their shelter and its animals through social media.

What I love about this concept is that while businesses are supporting their adopted shelters there is also a role for you — attend the fundraisers, place a gift under a giving tree, and share photos and stories of the goings on! 

The cherry on top is the impact adopted shelters can make on behalf of their adoptive businesses — supporting them through their own social media and outreach. 

Together we win.  It’s been so great watching great new relationships form, seeing businesses that have never before engaged with shelters connect for the first time, seeing new events hit the calendar, and best of all . . . knowing that in addition to the boost this is providing our local businesses and shelters . . . that it’s all about helping that one animal — see the one I mean?  I bet we all have one that easily comes to mind . . . that lonely, confused baby longing for that simple thing we all need and deserve: HOME.  Where there is food, safety . . . and JOY.

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What's going on


These past few years the publishing and advertising industries have changed dramatically, making it necessary to reconfigure the model upon which Spot was built.  So the Spot crew has been hard at work doing just that in an effort to keep Spot healthy and able to deliver the content you count on — news and resources for health, food, behavior, recreation, animal welfare and rescue, and the great stories and photos that abound in life with animals. 

I’m sharing with you today to keep you close and in the loop, and to make sure you understand the things we’re doing and why — including tests and changes that might otherwise be misunderstood. 

Spot has always been a labor of love, and not an endeavor through which anyone would ever “get rich” . . . except for this:  the amazing rewards we experience in connecting with and serving animal lovers and those working with animals in need, and the pure joy of celebrating our funny, faithful, amazing best friends. 

As we move ahead you’ll see changes in distribution, page count and online development.  Please know that every change we test or make is designed to strengthen Spot’s sustainability.  We love Spot, and we know you do, too.  You tell us all the time!  Please grant us grace and patience as we work to ensure Spot’s survival.

As always, we consider you, our reader, the boss.  Please know your ideas and suggestions are welcome and appreciated.  Shoot me a note anytime at publisher@spotmagazine.net.

And while this is not a crisis, if you would like to support Spot’s efforts to serve you and the animal welfare community, donations can be made to “Team Spot” at PO Box 16667 Portland OR 97292.

While it feels strange to talk about such things, our world is changing, and partnerships like this are becoming more common as companies like Spot navigate an ever-changing “new normal.”

If you’d like to contribute and would like to receive something in return beyond the satisfaction of helping, let us know you’d like some space in the magazine — to celebrate or memorialize a beloved pet, broadcast a birthday, announce a new arrival, help an adoptable in need of a loving family, or whatever creative thing you might want to share with your fellow 33,000 pet-loving readers (Spot online reaches up to 200,000 more).

Thank you for letting me share openly with you today.  Here’s to life in the Northwest, blessed with amazing friends, fabulous animals, and you — our treasured reader.

Here’s to many years ahead . . . together! 

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