In Loving Memory ~ Corina Ann Owens

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March 30, 1972  - April 27, 2018

The Portland pet community lost a treasured member recently with the passing of Corina Owens.  Known for her loving heart for pets and people, her keen business sense, and joyful spirit, Corina owned and operated Show Dogs Grooming Salon and Boutique in North Portland.

In addition to being a successful businesswoman, Corina was a beloved daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. She was an accomplished pianist, playing gospel at her church, at weddings, and for her own pleasure, everything from the Star Wars theme to her favorite love songs. 

A lifelong dog lover, at age 9 Corina played with her Aunt Teresa’s dog Poppy every day after school. Eventually Teresa gave Poppy to Corina. After Poppy, her family always had dogs, and it fostered a life-long love of canines and eventually inspired Corina's career.

Starring in a past episode of Spot Magazine’s People in the Neighborhood series, Corina talked about her inspiration for Show Dogs.

"I wanted to open a business," she said. "I was going over some ideas of what I could do every day and not get tired of it and it came to me — dogs!"

Corina is survived by her mother, grandmother, siblings, and nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her dogs Redd, Pepper, Brownie, Joc, Bailey, Poochie, and Lilly and a host of friends.

Corina's beautiful smile, giving spirit, and unselfish heart will truly be missed and never forgotten.

In Memory of Phyllis Johanson

"The brilliant person is the person who does brilliant things and tells no one." ~ author unknown

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Portland lost a real jewel of the animal community recently, when Phyllis Johanson passed away peacefully at her home, high in the West Hills, her husband of 62 years, George, at her side and her beloved cat Buster sleeping on her feet.

Born in 1925 in Sutton, Canada, Phyllis met her future husband George in 1955 in Ixmiquilpan, Hildalgo, Mexico, where they were both missionaries working to improve the conditions of the local people.

One day, George and Phyllis bonded over a kitten. Someone had tarred the poor kitten, and the two worked for days to save him.

George jokes about what occurred two weeks later. "I asked her to marry me. She said, ‘Do you like cats?’ I said yes, of course." Two weeks later they got hitched and soon established their home in Portland.

George says he saw a harbinger of his wife's soon to be vocation when a friend brought over two homeless kittens for Phyllis to choose from. Phyllis took both, and created clever hammocks out of a wooden clothes rack. Soon the Johansons had 10 cats, most found by their young son, Aaron.

Phyllis began a long and successful series of campaigns feeding feral cats around Portland. One location: the bushes in the parking lot of the City Club. For a year and a half, George drove Phyllis (who didn't drive) there every night around midnight. An accomplished artist, George says they supported each other throughout their 62 years together; Phyllis attended all his openings and inspired much of his work.

Phyllis found a new colony of needy cats at PGE Ballpark. She managed to arrange for the spay, neuter, and feeding of dozens of them. Working with the park managers, Phyllis convinced them the cats were a great asset, keeping the rodent population down. Once, she even went on the field to feed a cat during a game!

Phyllis then took her own game to a whole new level, joining forces with local vet, Dr. Ralph Plomondon, who was as passionate about pet overpopulation as she was. They worked together to change the status quo, the massive euthanasia numbers at local shelters at the time. They founded The Responsible Pet Ownership Council and did groundbreaking work, including printing and distributing low-cost spay and neuter coupons.

For about 10 years George says Phyllis gave her phone number to anyone who had pet problems. She spent hundreds of hours on the phone, day and night, counseling folks. She always said, "It is a people problem not a pet problem." George remembers one piece of advice Phyllis gave a person troubled by a barking dog next door. "Bake some cookies," she said, “and go over and talk to your neighbor and tell them their dog is lovely, but barks a bit." George still has dozens of notebooks filled with notes about Phyllis’s many cases.

Long before computers, Phyllis would spend hours on the phone, newspaper in front of her, matching lost and found pets and reuniting many pets and their people.

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Her helping heart and hands went beyond animals. Residing near the Vista Bridge (once known as Suicide Bridge), she would see folks ready to jump, and fly down the block to speak with them. She gave some a bit of cash, telling them to go get cleaned up. They always did.

Lisa Brown Sandmire, a volunteer with FRiends of Shelter Animals, another of Phyllis's projects, says, "The first time I met Phyllis at her home was so eye-opening for me. It was heartening to know there were people like that in the world. She was so plugged into the agencies and really knew how to get things done for animals."

Vida Lohnes, good friend and animal advocate, had a similar take. "In the ‘90s and beyond, I could always turn to Phyllis, look up to her, and consult with her. She had so many great ideas and was constantly testifying at agencies and hearings. One thing she always told me was to help animals, go local. She was practical, no nonsense. She was such a force.”

The list of Phyllis's accomplishments is huge, and we will never truly know all the amazing things she did, for people and animals. Very tight lipped, Phyllis never touted her accomplishments. But those lucky enough to know her knew, and so did she.


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Born in Washington, Connie Theil loves greyhounds, donkeys, cats, parrots, dogs, and crows. Now retired, Connie studies the Weimar Republic, gardens, refurnishes old furniture, rescues cats and dogs, and visits her son in Boston.

In Loving Memory of 
Rusty Miller 11/18/2000 – 5/22/17

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If you are fortunate, once in your lifetime along will come that special companion.   Not that you didn’t love others before, or that you won’t love again, just that this special love will forever be etched in your heart.  This was Rusty.  I had Nick, my beloved lab, when this adorable Lhasa Apso joined the family.  They became “The Boys” — inseparable.  Rusty attempted anything Nick did, except swim!   Small only in size, he had great zest for life and found joy in making me laugh – wagging his tail when successful.  Rusty was my rock when I lost Nick and other loved ones.  Late in life, challenged by serious health issues and vision loss, Rusty was tenacious, accepting and found joy in each day. We read each other’s minds with mutual concern, admiration, assurance, appreciation and love.  This intensely dedicated happy, loving soul, enriched my life immensely.   His gift of a life well lived and shared will forever remain in my heart and soul.

 —     Rick Miller, Portland OR

Celebrating the beloved connection

Designer Leesa Storfer creates designs for beauty and function inspired by nature and organic shapes designed to bring simple beauty into people’s everyday lives. Her “constant companion, guardian and friend” of eight years Dolce inspired Leesa’s business, Furever Linked, and its latest line, Thumbstone  jewelry & accessories.

“I initially designed these pieces as something I would enjoy wearing for any occasion and that would keep Dolce near me at all time,” says Leesa. Her pieces are packaged beautifully, in a velvet-lined box tied with grosgrain ribbon.

“All of our luxurious jewelry and accessories are personalized with an image of your beloved pet,” says Storfer. “The Thumbstone designs evoke a feeling of comfort and relaxation. Only you know your pet's image is encased on the opposite side, keeping them forever close to your heart. They make great gifts for pet lovers, or for those that have lost and want to memorialize their treasured pet.”

The jewelry and gifts come in a variety of sizes and finishes, and range in price from $70-125. Each piece is handmade, and comforting to the touch.

Learn more at fureverlinked.com, and like Spot on Facebook for a chance to win one of Leesa’s gorgeous pieces!

Rogue is Going to the Dogs

A pup waits patiently for its owner to return at Rogue Brewery

A pup waits patiently for its owner to return at Rogue Brewery

NEWPORT, OR – Join us on the beautiful Yaquina Bay, May 16-17 for the 8th annual Brewer’s Memorial Ale Fest, the largest dog-beer festival in the world.

Brewer’s Memorial Ale Fest honors the memory of Brewer, the beloved black lab of Rogue Brewmaster John Maier who passed away in April 2006. Brewer grew up inside the Rogue Brewery and rose through the ranks to become Chairman of the Board, a title he still holds today.

Held inside the Rogue Brewery, the festival includes 50+ microbrews and dog inspired entertainment like: dog Olympics, dog dancing, dog musical chairs, Brewer look-a-like contests and dog washes. There are also door prizes, local food, live music, and arts & crafts.

This year’s participating breweries include: Track Town, Coalition, Green Dragon Brew Crew, Three Mugs, Two Kilts, Backwoods, Fort George, Columbia River, Rusty Truck, Double Mountain, Newport Brewing Company, Buckman Botanical, Twisted Snout, Sea Dog, Wolf Tree, Lagunitas, Left Coast, Leavenworth, Mt. Hood, Dogfish, Silver Moon, Brew Dog, Old Town, Humboldt, and Rogue Ales.

Musical acts will include: The Purple Cats, CRC Reunion, Froggy and the Blues Evolution, Bump Kitchen, and Ty Curtis. Both evenings will conclude with a toast to Brewer.

$5 entry for adults 21+. Dogs get in free when accompanied by a human.

                      Celebrating a long day of dog dress up contests                           

                    Celebrating a long day of dog dress up contests                           

Join us at the Rogue Brewery:
2320 OSU Drive
Newport, Oregon
May 16th – Doors open at 4:00pm
May 17th – Doors open at 12:00pm
Proceeds benefit Lincoln County Animal Charities

For more information call 503-227-3761 or visit Rogue.com

Thanks to our sponsors: Food Services of America, KG Specialties, Rogue Creamery, Mo's Restaurants, Local Ocean Seafoods, Columbia Distributing, Thompson's Sanitary Services, and Holiday Inn Express.

Fences For Fido mourns “First Fido”

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The dog that was the first to be unchained by animal welfare organization Fences For Fido passed away in January due to complications from cancer.  Chopper, a yellow Lab mix, had spent several years chained to a tree in a NE Portland yard before a small group of women got together in May 2009 to build a fence so he could run free.  Inspired, the women continued their work of unchaining dogs and educating the public on the dangers and cruelty of chaining, leading to a cause that has, to date, freed more than 650 dogs from tethers and chains.  “He leaves a legacy that still grows,” says a statement on the FFF website, “We will always remember the big yellow dog who started it all.”  Read more at FencesForFido.org.

Winning the Dog Lottery

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Tales of lives transformed

Sam’s Story

“He/she won the Dog Lottery!” is a favorite expression of my husband Tim’s.  Our Sam is indeed among the winners.

I rescue dogs from bad situations.  Sam was a black and white Border Collie with excellent herding instincts.  Purchased at 10 weeks of age, upon arrival at his new home Sam was chained to a garage and issued an army blanket.

The man who purchased Sam had been encouraged to do so for companionship after becoming widowed.  Of course this only works if the human and dog actually spend time together.

A typically rambunctious puppy and left on his own, Sam had that army blanket — his only source of entertainment — shredded in no time.  Now living in the high desert and spending his nights on a concrete slab, Sam soon collected as much of that shredded blanket around him to sleep; the cold nights sometimes fell into subzero temperatures.

Adding to his discomfort was the nylon collar that unfortunately wasn’t growing with Sam.  Over time it became imbedded into his neck.

One day while working his tractor, the man accidentally hit Sam, causing a large scrape on his back and a fractured pelvis.  Left to heal on his own, fortunately Sam managed, but the fracture healed imperfectly which would eventually lead to arthritis.  Sam’s owner began having medical problems himself — karma perhaps? — and had to have a total hip replacement. 

At that point Sam was fed whenever someone remembered to stop by the house and put kibble in his bowl.  After the man returned home from the hospital a friend stopped by regularly to help with basic chores and housekeeping while the man was recovering.  After seeing Sam and his situation the friend contacted me and asked if I would like to adopt Sam.

I wasn’t looking for another dog, as I already had two.  But I agreed to have a look with no obligation.  What was I thinking??!  The chances of me not taking Sam out of his situation were about as high as someone dieting for months and then turning down a hot fudge sundae! 

I arrived accompanied by two friends to see Sam’s situation for myself.  In short order I was assuring Sam’s owner that I would give Sam a good home and not to worry.  The man said he didn’t care what I did with Sam, “just take him,” he said rather gruffly, handing me Sam’s papers.  We loaded him into the backseat of my friend’s convertible and Sam departed in style.

He was a mess.  Nearly emaciated, his fur was filthy and matted.  The first thing I did was remove his collar, sickened at the tender, hairless strip around his neck.  I loaded him into the backseat of my pickup and started our three-hour drive home. 

My Border Collie, Needa, sat up front with me, riding shotgun.  Sam popped his head and front paws over the back of the seat to say hello, and was greeted with Needa’s radiant smile in full bloom.  Sam slunk back, but a moment later popped up to greet her again.  The routine continued all the way home.  Sam was determined that he and Needa would become friends.  I had rescued Needa seven years earlier, but how quickly they forget when a new adoptee joins the family!  Needa’s full name is “Needa Home,” christened by the kind folks who’d found her as a puppy, dumped on the side of the road.

I am blessed with a talented and compassionate husband who is a veterinary surgeon.  He always says if there is reincarnation he wants to come back as one of my dogs. 

Once home, Sam was whisked off to my husband’s practice, where he was bathed, vaccinated and radiographed to get a baseline on his physical condition.  He had blood drawn to ensure he could safely be anesthetized for surgery.  The radiographs revealed his previous pelvic fracture and how the compromised healing would undoubtedly cause pain in his senior years. 

Sam was two years old at this time, for the most part seemingly healthy.  Border Collies are very active dogs and will find a job if not provided with one.  In anticipation of Sam’s energy level, my wise husband opted to perform a prophylactic gastropexy to avoid a possible bloat and torsion, which can be fatal.  He came through the surgery — which included neutering — beautifully.

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As he settled into his new home it became apparent that Sam had his quirks.  Not surprisingly he had trust issues with humans, and he decided his little circle of friends would include me and my father and brother.  With all his good intentions, my husband didn’t quite make the short list.  Sam had a long list too:  what wasn’t allowed or tolerated in his world was extensive.  My brother and I realized there would be no two-handed petting, no two-person petting, no petting fur against the direction it grew, no fast petting, no patting and no kissing.  What was okay my brother referred to it as “vanilla petting,” which involved one hand slowly petting the top of Sam’s head in the direction of his coat. 

Sam took an immediate liking to my father, routinely jumping on the couch next to him to be petted.  My father, a World War II veteran and recipient of a Purple Heart Award, definitely had the right stuff as far as Sam was concerned. 

As Sam and Needa developed a relationship I realized that playing ball for Needa meant me throwing the ball, and her retrieving it so I could throw it again.  And again.  Sam had no interest in the ball.  He still needed a job though, and he decided it would be herding Needa while she played ball with me.  Aha! I thought.  I located a sheep herding class about an hour from home.  It seemed perfect for Sam. 

I don’t know who benefited more, Sam or me.  The adventure was wonderful, and Sam and I could be found in class every Saturday morning, rain or shine.

From the editor:  Sam passed away in his dog-mom Sharon’s arms at the hospital where Tim currently practices.  He lived to be 12½ years old.  Sharon says, “I miss him every day but know he had a good life.  It was so rewarding to see him on a summer day rolling around in the grass just enjoying being a dog with no worries except who he was going to herd next. 


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Sharon McCarthy is married to Dr. Tim McCarthy who says if there is reincarnation he wants to come back as one of her dogs.  A native Oregonian, Sharon attended Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. and graduated from Portland State with a BS.  She is a lifelong horse enthusiast and dog and cat lover.

Kandy ~ In Loving Memory

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We got Kandy December 2006 after seeing her on the Multnomah County website. We went to see her and fell in love. She was sweet, smart, and energetic, and fit right into the household with our 2 other dogs. 

What a delight! We’d never had a dog who didn’t bark. Kandy did only when a dog barked on television or if she saw another dog while we were driving.  Then she would bark. Once. Perhaps a friendly “Hi, how are you”?

Kandy loved to chase balls or Frisbees, soaring in the air and with great deal delight bringing them back to us, ready for another throw.

I like to hunt pheasants and began taking her, not expecting anything. I was amazed how quickly she mastered the intricacies of bird hunting.

When our grandchildren were young Kandy would lie with them as if protecting them. She never got upset about anything, even allowing our grandchildren to ride her like a horse.

We lost Kandy December 2012, but had 6 wonderful years with “our girl.” She will be thought of often with love.

– Bob and Kathy Lite, Portland

Jake ‘n Max’s Boxes of Love

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In honor of Jake and Max, two beautiful senior pups who crossed the Rainbow Bridge last fall, the Boxes of Love drive is collecting new and gently used items to help other local senior pets.  Donations of comfy items such as beds, blankets, towels, and senior pet aids like potty pads, joint supplements, harnesses, ramps or carts are being accepted.  Of course seniors still love to play, so toys are appreciated as well.  The Boxes of Love drive runs Jan. 22 through Feb. 14 at the Portland Building, 1120 SW Fifth Ave. Donation bins are located in the lobby and the 7th floor.  The campaign will start at LexiDog locations during the last week of January through Feb. 28.  All collected items will be donated to PAW Team and Animal Aid.  For more info, call Viki at 503-823-5264 or email Vonnie@SpotMagazine.net.