A Place for Healing with Fast. Attentive. 24-hour care.

Cascade Vet front.jpg

Ask any pet parent what keeps them up at night, and medical worries will top the list. Whether a late-night or holiday pet emergency, a worrisome diagnosis, or some mysterious and unnamed health concern, it’s stressful stuff. Questions come up: where to get care, how long will it take, how much will it cost, will my buddy be okay?

Traci Delos has been there, rushing to the ER with a dog who was fine one minute and half unconscious the next. And in her job as Hospital Administrator at Cascade Veterinary Referral Center, she sees the same worry on clients’ faces.

She wanted to create a soothing environment for veterinary clients and their pets, and CVRC’s founder, Dr. Richard Howard, had a similar vision when he established the practice a dozen years ago.

“The building was designed to be a calming place,” says Delos. “From the time the client checks in until they leave, we want it to be stress-free
for the client and the pet.” To ensure the lobby is quiet and focused on clients, phones are answered in a back office. Areas like the intensive
care unit are separate from other noises and activity so patients can fully rest.

CVRC recently made the move to a 24-hour schedule, making it the only pet ER and specialty center on Portland’s south side. The move also means staff can provide care when primary care doctors can’t. The hospital offers flat-fee overnight care for pets recovering from surgery or
in need of medical monitoring when their primary care clinic is closed.

Here, every doctor is a specialist, with years of training and certification beyond veterinary college. “I talk to people in terms of human healthcare,” Delos says. “You go to your primary health care provider, but if there’s something happening outside their discipline, they’re going to send you to a specialist. Yes, some day-practices can do surgery and internal medicine, but here, that’s all they do. They’re highly trained. That’s what you’d want for your own care.”

With a soothing environment, low patient-to-staff ratio, and round-the-clock care, it’s top-notch medicine for sick or injured pets, but it’s also a salve to frazzled nerves. While pets get seamless overnight and weekend care, their exhausted and worried humans can rest knowing photo and phone updates are available on request.

Delos won’t forget the panic of rushing her very sick dog to the hospital, but she is grateful that he fully recovered from what turned out to be water poisoning: her dog had swallowed huge amounts of water while playing in a sprinkler on a hot day.

It was super-quick walk-in care and expert diagnostics that saved her dog, and Delos is happy anytime she sees clients getting the same at CVRC. “We always try to do what’s best for the pet. Part of that is what’s best for the owner. We try to figure out what their needs are: emotional needs, financial needs, there’s a lot that goes into those decisions.”

The 2018 Awesome Pet Guide issue is brought to you by:

Cascade Veterinary Referral Center * 11140 SW 68th Pkwy, Tigard, OR * 503-684-1800 * CascadeVRC.com


Agility & Sports

Get in the Game!


Some dogs are happy to hang out at home, play weekend warrior with their kids, or fetch a ball. Others thrive with a J-O-B. Thanks to the growing popularity of dog sports, there are options suited to various interests (yours and your dog’s), what a pooch is physically and emotionally up for, and more. Whether you and your dog are in it to win it or just love fresh air and exercise, there’s something for everyone. And the only real requirement is that it’s fun for you both.

What are dog sports?

Essentially, just structured play with your dog! Following are some of the most popular, organized activities.


•     High speed, high energy.

•     Obstacle courses have weave poles, various jumps, a-frames, teeter-totters, and tunnels.

•     Precision, athleticism, challenge, and communication make this a favorite of many sizes and breeds of dog and other species (even rabbits!).


•     All energies, precise but not necessarily full-speed-ahead.

•     Combines obedience skills with the human/animal bond.

•     Numbered courses outline the path the team will take to join semi-complicated tricks with obedience maneuvers. 


•     Medium energy, moderate speed.

•     Pairs creative expression with dog training.

•     When routines are combined with music, it’s a great spectator sport as well. It’s harmony in motion when dog and handler execute their parts together, separately, and in time to a song.

Nose Work

•     All energies and speeds, all temperaments.

•     Inspired by the work of drug- and bomb-detection dogs.

•     Uses dogs’ super-powered sense of smell to take in reams of knowledge with a single sniff.

•     It’s truly a sport for all dogs. Since they work independently on leash, dogs with temperament challenges and even physical limitations can still find joy.

Truffle Hunting

•     Medium to high energy, medium speed.

•     Using a dog’s 300 million olfactory receptors to seek tasty “diamonds of the kitchen.”

•     Truffle hunting is a challenging, nature-loving activity especially popular in the Northwest.


•     Medium and high energy, medium speed.

•     The popular sport of herding large, inflated balls. This is a timed strategy game where dog and handler must work together to net the balls while keeping them within set boundaries — and not popping a ball!

•     Timed, strategic, loads of fun.


•     High energy, high speed.

•     Fitted with a harness, dogs are trained to pull their partner — on a scooter, a bike, or cross-country skis!

•    Challenging, requires coordination between dog and human, and awesome for outdoor adventurers!


•     All energies, medium speed.


•     A true team and bonding sport that requires patience and creativity, making it also fun to watch.

•    This takes basic dog class to a whole new level: retrieving, jumping, heeling, sits, downs, and so much more!

Trick Dog

•     Medium energy, all speeds.

•     Random, fun, CREATIVE. This is a way to turn your dog’s favorite “party tricks” into titles, accolades, or more.

•    Many dogs you see in movies, TV, and print media started as trick dogs. If your dog really digs being a trickster, you could have the makings of the next Marmaduke.


•     Medium energy, medium speed.

•     This sport uses a dog’s natural drive for exploring intriguing smells and critters underground.

•    Events use actual rodents who are safely caged and not harmed. In fact, the rodents are often part of the team, owned and loved by those who share their homes with Terriers and Dachshunds who excel at this game.

Barn Hunt

•     Medium energy and speed.

•     Similar to Earthdog but for all breeds, big and small.

•     Instead of going underground, dogs climb on, over, and under bales of straw to find (safely caged) rodents. They must learn to distinguish between containers with and without critters inside.

•    Rapidly growing, easy to practice and play.

With so many activities to choose from, you and your sport-loving dog can sample different kinds until you find those you both love. Whether for trophies or just for fun, sports deepen the love, relationship, and bond between human and dog.  


Agility * PortlandAgilityClub.org

Rally * akc.org/events/rally

Freestyle * canine-freestyle.org

National Association of Scent Work * nacsw.net

Truffle Hunting * TruffleDogCompany.com 

Obedience * BaeBeasDogTraining.com

Barn Hunt * BarnHunt.com 

Trieball * AmericanTreiballAssociation.org

Behavior & Training

... keys to happy ever after


Pets enrich our lives with companionship, snuggles, adventure, and hearty laughs. That’s the expectation, anyway, and usually the reality. But when our furry, funny, affectionate companions also move in with baggage like aggression, separation anxiety, guarding, or house-soiling, life is anything but peaceful

The Golden Rule

When faced with a pet behavior problem, there’s truly only one rule: Get help. Left unaddressed, behavior issues can become more entrenched while your household grows more chaotic. Behavior issues are among the top reasons pets are surrendered to shelters.

When to get help

How do you know when to call a veterinary behaviorist, seek help from a trainer, or enroll in a manners class? “I don’t know that there’s a perfect answer, truthfully,” says Dr. Christopher Pachel, veterinary behaviorist and owner of Animal Behavior Clinic in SE Portland. Pachel’s best advice: pick up the phone or send an email. “I would love for us to be a resource anytime people aren’t sure what they should do.”

What is a veterinary behaviorist

A veterinary behaviorist is a doctor of veterinary medicine with additional years of training and board certification. A behavior clinic provides access to all forms of treatment. The doctor might identify underlying medical causes such as pain or anxiety. In that case, the doctor can prescribe medication or other medical treatments in addition to a training program.

Why choose a veterinary behaviorist

Some common behavior complaints are actually medical issues. House-soiling can be a sign of a painful urinary condition or arthritic joints that cause pain when a pet squats, climbs into a litter box, or makes his way outdoors to do his business. Aggression can also be a sign of underlying medical issues, such as pain, anxiety, or vision or hearing loss. A veterinary behaviorist can diagnose and treat these conditions along with the accompanying behavior.

Behavior clinics generally have highly-qualified trainers on staff; Dr. Pachel’s office has two.  Often, after his initial assessment, he determines that a pet’s issue isn’t medically related and can be treated entirely with training and socialization. But, he says, “People have the reassurance that the dog or cat was given a full assessment, and that this is the prescribed approach.” 

For behavior issues that don’t require a doctor’s input, Pachel says, “We have a tremendous number of positive reinforcement trainers in the Portland area.”

Choosing a Trainer


It’s important to work with the right trainer — it's still common to find trainers using outdated approaches. Pet aggression often arises from fear or anxiety, and coercive training will make it worse. Anything that involves scolding, harsh corrections, choke- or pinch-collars, or forcefully rolling a dog on his back is considered inhumane and possibly harmful by veterinary behaviorists.

Be wary of any who promise to extinguish bad behaviors or “put a dominant dog in his place.”  Instead, look for trainers who help your pet learn new behaviors in a positive and encouraging environment. Good training redirects dogs away from undesired behaviors and guides and rewards new, desirable behaviors. Your dog should light up and wiggle happily at the sight of her trainer. Training needs to be fun and rewarding to keep your dog feeling engaged, focused, and confident.

“The vast majority of canine behavior issues have nothing to do with dominance,” warns Pachel, “so any training approach that talks about establishing dominance or being the pack leader, or uses a coercive, confrontational method, they’re working from an outmoded approach for addressing behavior concerns.”

Whether you choose a behaviorist or trainer, getting the right help does much more than address the problem that led you to seek help in the first place. As a bonus, it deepens your bond with your furry, funny, sometimes-infuriating friend. As Pachel points out, understanding creates empathy. When you understand why your pet was acting out, and then have the tools to fix it, life can be good again, for you and your fur kid.


Animal Behavior Clinic * animalbehaviorclinic.net

Association of Pet Dog Trainers * apdt.com/resource-center/how-to-choose-a-dog-trainer/

Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior * www.karenpryoracademy.com/find-a-trainer

Boarding & Daycare

Your buddy’s home away from home


Daycare — once a choice limited to children — is now popular with the furry set. Today, would-be latchkey pups happily romp with playmates while their people are at work. Boarding has changed too: concrete-and-chain-link kennels are replaced by bright abodes, outdoor play spaces, and 24-hour webcams for watchful parents.

Boarding vs in-home care

Dr. Jason Nicholas of The Preventive Vet says a dog might prefer a boarding facility if she’s:

•     Happy meeting new people and dogs.

•     Confident in new environments.

•     Current on all vaccines.

What to look for

Ask your veterinarian and friends for referrals. Then visit the facility and fin out:

•     Hours kennels are staffed.

•     Services and activities offered.

•     If tours are available (if not, Nicholas says it’s a red flag).

•     If the facilities are clean and professional.

Daycare is a good option for dogs who:

•     Like meeting new dogs and people.

•     Experience separation anxiety or act out when home alone.

•     Can benefit from extra play and get-the-wiggles-out time.



Cremation & After Care

What option are available to pet parents?


For pet parents cremation has become the prevailing choice for after care, perhaps thanks to the many options it provides, such as:

•    Private or communal cremation.

•    The option to be involved in the process as much or as little as desired.

•    A wide variety of urns or other memorials (jewelry, memorial stone or glass art, digital tribute).

•    Seamless care thanks to partnerships between veterinarians and cremation services.

Things to look for in cremation and after care services 

•    Responsive care and concern for your needs and clear, compassionate communication

•    A calming environment.

•    24-hour availability.

•    Willingness to discuss prices and procedures.

•    Flexibility with scheduling and level of pet guardian involvement.

•    Same day scheduling.

•    Option to go to them or have them come to you.

•    A wide variety of memorializing options.

•    Ability to coordinate with your veterinarian.

•    Option for witnessed cremation placement and/or your presence at time of cremation.

•    Whether traditional “flame” cremation or an alternative such as alkaline hydrolysis is used.

Dealing with after care for your beloved pet is difficult for most, from the first steps of exploring available options to making arrangements in advance and ultimately going through the process itself.

Having a caring, competent team during this time can make a huge difference in how you feel about laying your best friend to rest. 

A good way to get a feel for local options is to simply explore websites. This can give you a feel for a company’s tone or “personality,” and it’s important that it fit yours and your family’s needs.

Some websites are more comprehensive than others; some even include videos that provide words from staff about what to expect, services provided, merchandise options, and beliefs about after care. 

Saying goodbye to a beloved pet is a significant chapter in the story of your lives together. It’s worth taking time ahead to consider the options and find the fit that will provide the services and accommodations that will make this experience as gentle and free of complications or worry as possible.

”Cremation can be an affordable and dignified option for families who experience the loss of their pet companion. There are many ways to personalize an experience through cremation. For families who wish to be involved or remain with their pet after death, they may schedule to witness their pet’s placement into the crematory. Families commonly choose a tangible memorial, such as a clay paw impression, an urn, or piece of jewelry.  Ashes may be kept indefinitely in a meaningful place for you and your family, or you may seek to scatter with some or all of them in a favorite place. Whether speaking of a pet mouse or a draft horse, pet companions should be treated with great care and dignity in their aftercare.  Likewise, their families should receive compassion and professionalism at their time of mourning.”

                        — Tara Pascoe, Dignified Pet Services

Dog-friendly Dining

Dinner with Your Best Friend


Either on the road or out on the town, sometimes you want to f ind a place where you can grab a bite and take your furkid along. While dogs aren’t allowed inside restaurants, many places offer dog-friendly dining with outdoor seating — and quite a few even have special menus with canine favorites. Portland frequently ranks high among dog-friendly cities, and the opportunity to dine with the pooch is just one reason why. As it becomes easier to f ind dog-friendly dining spots, there’s no reason for Fido to miss a dinner out.

Let's eat!

Chains like Jamba Juice, Chipotle, and Burgerville advertise their patios for fair-weather dining with dogs.

McMenamins restaurants often have dog-friendly outdoor dining spots. Some favorites are its two Salem locations, and Portland-area spots including Mall 205, Cedar Hills, Oak Hills, and Greenway Pub.

Dog-friendly Portland has many others to choose from, including Tin Shed Garden Café, which serves up peanut butter banana ice cream to top off its doggie-specific dinner menu items.

Portland’s Lucky Labrador locations are also perennial favorites for the dog-dining set.

Further south, Eugene’s Oakshire Brewing Public House welcomes dogs during summer months, and Beergarden has a side patio entrance for dogs, plus servers known for being generous with dog treats.

Table manners

Just because a place has outdoor seating doesn’t mean it allows dogs. Check online or call ahead if you’re not sure.

•    Likewise, while the restaurant may be dog-friendly, every customer may not be, and it’s important to respect that. Here are a few etiquette tips from DogFriendly.com:

•    Make sure your pooch is well-behaved around other people and especially children.

•    Try to keep your dog close to your table or chair so he or she is not in the waiter's path.

•    Dogs are not allowed on the chairs or tables.

•    Bring your own doggie bowl or ask the waiter for a paper or plastic bowl. For health reasons, restaurants can’t let pets use glasses or dishes unless they’re disposable.

•    Hook the leash on a chair, not a table. A dog leashed to the table can create havoc with spilled drinks or broken plates.



Dog Walkers & Pet Sitters

Super Nannies for the Pet Set


One of the biggest challenges of pet parenting is f inding someone to provide care when you can’t. Heading out of town for a night or a long trip, you f irst must decide who will look after your house, mail, and critters. Even when at home, work and family responsibilities or a bum knee can keep you from providing your pup’s daily exercise time.

While back in the day it was popular to pay a neighborhood kid to walk or watch over pets, today there are accredited, insured professionals to provide care and security. Of course, one must choose wisely when entrusting someone with their home, belongings, and beloved family members.

It’s crucial to choose qualified professionals who can provide plenty of references and offer a free initial meeting to get acquainted and discuss your needs, says Jesse Tishkoff, owner of Pawsitive Steps PDX. You also want proof of membership in a reputable professional association that provides liability insurance. Tishkoff sees the lack of insurance as a red flag, saying “if something were to happen, the owner may incur a huge bill or worse.”

Finding a sitter

Ask friends, neighbors, or your veterinarian for recommendations, and then gather information. Important things to know include:

•    Rates, frequency and length of visits.

•    Services included in a visit. Will it just be feeding and potty breaks, or will the pet get attention and playtime?

•    Are additional services offered, like taking in the mail or newspaper, putting out trash, watering plants, and maybe even taking pets to vet or grooming appointments?

Can special needs, such as medications, be managed?

Finding a dog walker

Unlike the neighborhood kid, a professional dog walker can safely react if your dog is approached by off-leash dogs, spot the need for medical care, and often can work with dogs who need to brush up on leash manners or social skills. Important things to know include:

•    Policies and fees.

•    Duration of walks, and whether your dog will also receive playtime and attention.

•    Are walks individual, or with groups of dogs?

•    Will your dog be off-leash at all? (“Big risk,” says Tishkoff).

•    Will your pet’s energy level/needs be accommodated? IE, will your young or “working” dog get plenty of activity?  Will a couch potato receive plenty of attention/snuggletime?

Once your questions are answered, trust your instincts. You and your pets need to feel comfortable with the person. “Also, if someone goes more than 24 hours without replying to texts or emails, I would suggest looking for someone different,” says Tishkoff. “You want a good communicator.”

Tell your dog walker:

•    How your dog reacts when seeing other dogs, cats, squirrels, cars, bikes.

•    Any special physical or social needs.

Tell your sitter:

•    Feeding and medication schedules.

•    Your pets’ super-secret hiding places, quirks, and favorite treats.

•    The schedule for your mail, newspaper, garbage, or watering, if requesting those services.

Before providing any services, a sitter or walker will also need:

•    A signed agreement for services and payment.

•    Your written approval to obtain emergency veterinary care if needed.

•    Health and behavior information.

•    A house key (or two, for backup), alarm codes, and other security details.

•    How to contact you, a trusted neighbor, or a relative in an emergency.







End of Life Care


The impending end of a beloved pet’s life is hard, and the number-one question pet parents ask is: “How will I know when it’s time?” First, no one need navigate this time alone; and second, there are other, equally important questions to ask, such as: 

Can I keep my pet clean and comfortable?

Can I manage pain treatments with my work schedule?

Can I care for my pet at the level they need and deserve?

Enid Traisman of DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital and Ute Luppertz of Pets Point of View — both experts in end of life care — agree that the adage, “a pet will tell you when it’s time” isn’t always true. Timing may not be a clear-cut decision. With many factors to consider, it’s important to seek good-quality support and keep yourself as centered and clear-headed as possible during this difficult time.

A supportive advisor can ease the questions and doubts that inevitably haunt pet parents. For example, while many people worry that they scheduled euthanasia too soon, others will wonder if they waited too long. Traisman urges people to trust that they ultimately make the best decision in their unique circumstances, for both the family and the pet.

As recently as three or four years ago, Traisman says euthanasia was often the first response to a terminal diagnosis or declining health. “Now,” she says, “things have started to swing, thanks to increased understanding of pain management, palliative care, hospice support, and more.”

That’s where Luppertz comes in. While serving “more on the spiritual side,” she also prioritizes the practical, working to help people stay grounded so they’re not attributing pain or suffering to their pet that is in fact their own. This clarity helps ease stress and suffering, and ensure decisions are made with sound judgment.

When there is time prior to a pet’s scheduled euthanasia, Traisman says, “It gives the family an opportunity to create and check things off a bucket list,” like sharing an ice cream cone or making a trip to the beach. “That can really help,” she says. “It is really a gift for both family and pet.”

Luppertz also points to the importance of using this time to nurture the bond with your pet. A pet may not understand your words, but “he or she can feel your energy” — your calm or your stress. Working to stay grounded can help you gauge your pet’s condition. “Animals are not designed to complain like we are,” says Luppertz. “So if they’re quiet, or having difficulty getting up, they may be in pain. By the time an animal vocalizes these things, they’re in really bad pain.”

Because losing a beloved pet is devastating, it’s helpful to use the time ahead to handle practical matters. “Get prices for day/night veterinary care and/or euthanasia, make sure needed meds are on the shelf,” says Luppertz, and deal with arrangements for your pet’s aftercare.

Handling these things in advance can free your energy and attention to enjoy the time you have with your best friend. Then, trust your team — veterinarian(s), friends, and family — to help you ensure your pet is comfortable and at ease.

Whether your best friend is experiencing the changes of declining health or is actively approaching end of life, these services can help:

•    Quality of Life Assessment

•    Physical Therapy

•    Pet Massage

•    Doula Death Support

•    Home Hospice Care

•    Anticipatory Grief Support

•    Home Euthanasia

Meet providers of these services and learn more about them in a future issue of Spot.

Pet-friendly Travel


Pets are family, and we want to share everything with them — including vacations! Just as we take care in making arrangements for our two-legged family members, it’s important to ensure that accommodations and arrangements will be just right for our pets.

From the mountains to the ocean, Oregon offers many of pet-friendly getaway options. From places to stay, eat, and play — on leash or off — following are important things to know before you go.

Off the hook

Dogs are allowed off-leash on Oregon beaches as long as they’re under your voice command and you’re avoiding wildlife-sensitive areas.

Keep in mind

Before you go, learn the hotel’s policies. Be sure to tell them if you’re bringing more than one dog, as many places have a limit or an extra charge. Also, most hotels don’t allow dogs to be unattended in the room, although they may be able to recommend doggy daycare options in the area.

Scout ahead for dog-friendly restaurants in the area — usually these are ones with covered patios or other outdoor dining areas. Staff at your dog-friendly hotel can likely make recommendations.

”We provide dog baskets for all our guests to use that include dog bowls, sheets for the beds/sofas (because we know dogs like to sleep and sit with their owners), towels to wipe the dog’s feet, pooper scooper bags and treats.  We also have crates that guests can borrow for their dog, and Looking Glass Inn also has a wide variety of dog beds that guests can take to their rooms.  When choosing a hotel that allows dogs people should find out if the hotel offers any amenities for their dog.”

—Heather Zink, Westover Inns

”Dogs are allowed off-leash on most trails set aside for mountain biking in the Deschutes National Forest and while playing ‘river fetch,’ even along restricted trails.  Dogs are allowed off-leash in Sunriver as long as they are under voice command. The Sunriver Owners Association asks that you please carry a leash at all times.”

— Bennington Properties, Central Oregon

Insider Tips     

In Central Oregon, Sunriver has 30+ miles of paved road perfect for long walks for you and your 4-legged friend. Bend offers miles of great trails and and several dog parks to help your canine companion experience the great outdoors.

In the summer season, Bennington Properties throws “Yappy Hours” in Sunriver. Human guests enjoy complimentary beer, wine, soda, snacks and ice cream while their canine best friends run free and play with other dogs in the off-leash recreation area.

Watch furry friends strut their stuff at Bend’s old-fashioned 4th of July Pet Parade, open to all creatures great and small, from lizards to llamas!

If you go

•    When considering lodging options, check pet policies in advance.

•    Take along a to-go pack for the furkid, including a photo, current ID, first aid kit, toys, bowls, poop bags, and comfort items.

•    Build your itinerary for everyone in the family. Check out pet events, dog parks, bathing stations, and on/off-leash regulations.

•    While you never plan to need one, know where the nearest 24-hour or on-call veterinary clinic is.


Bennington Properties * benningtonproperties.com

Westover Inns * westoverinns.com

Vacation Rentals * BringFido.com

Oregon State Parks pet-friendly yurts, cabins * oregonstateparks.org

Pet Supplies

Your Neighborhood Go-To


The life of a pet supply store employee may seem like it’s all treats, pet toys and furry visitors. But at the best stores, staff members are knowledgable and well-trained. Many are happy to advise customers on everything from food selection to training and socialization, as well as common household problems like dealing with the litter box or getting fur off the upholstery.

While ostensibly you're there to get supplies for your pets, a good store also takes great care of you, offering support for managing the many aspects of caring for your furry companion.

Finding a good store

Pop into your nearest pet supply store or ask pet-loving friends for recommendations. Nancy Fedelem owns three pet supply stores in Portland. Her advice:

•    If you love your neighborhood and it has a pet supply store, support it. The businesses near your home make your neighborhood cool.

•    Second, look for friendly and knowledgeable staff. They can answer or help find answers to your questions.

•    Variety is just as important in our pets’ lives as in ours. Your local pet supply store should have a steady rotation of new and interesting things to offer your dog or cat.

Pet supply stores also have unique cultures. “We strive to make it easy for our customers to find fantastic products for their pets and be assured that they are also making good choices for their environment,” says Christine Mallar of Green Dog Pet Supply. “We believe that living sustainability does not have to mean making drastic changes in our lives. Simply considering where things come from and where they go when we’re finished with them can be a big step toward living a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle.”

Getting information

In her stores — Salty’s Pet Supply, Fang! Pet & Garden Supply, and Three Paws Neighborhood Pet Supply — Fedelem says customers often ask what’s the best food she carries. “My answer is always, ‘They are all good. Let’s find the right one for your pet’s needs.”’

Getting a welcome

Pets are welcome at pet supply stores. This helps for practical matters like fitting them to the right collar or coat, and also nurtures a happy vibe. Fedelem says when people take their pets to her stores she’s even more excited about their visit. “Anybody who works at a pet supply shop pretty much needs to be crazy for every pet they see. I’m the same at work as I am outside of work: all I want to do is pet all the dogs!”

Getting sound advice

Many pet supply stores have over-the-counter treatments for common conditions like minor anxiety. Some neighborhood stores swear by calming products such as Cannabidiols or CBDs (medicinal quality cannabis compounds), herbal calming formulas, and calming pheromone collars and sprays.

At her stores, Fedelem says, “Staff can make suggestions on things that could help improve digestion, coat quality, and arthritis, just to name a few.” Or if you have a pet who’s lost interest in food, staff can help with that too. “They can send you home with samples of foods to try and suggest some tricks to get your pet interested in their food. You won’t get that kind of service online.”







When the Shutter Clicks


Lights, camera, action! So you’d like professional photos of your crew? Quickly you discover: so many styles, so many price points! Here’s help.

First: brainstorm what you want

•    Style — formal or casual?

•    Indoors or out?

•    Studio or on location?

•    With or without human(s)?

•    What is your budget?

•    Prints? Digital? Both?

Just as you would for your two-legged family portraits, do your research. In an age where digital cameras have made everyone a photographer, look at websites. Look at galleries. Check reviews and recommendations on sites like yelp, nextdoor.com, or Angie's List. Make a list of questions and don’t be afraid to ask them. A true pro will appreciate your due diligence and may even have questions for you. 

Tricks of the trade

If you’re going for indoor photos, make sure your photographer is skilled at working with light. This is especially important with black or dark-faced pets. You want to see your pet’s face, eyes, and expressions. A real pro can ensure quality resolution, clarity, and artistry. 

Know your fur kids

What is your pet’s temperament? Is she likely to be afraid, nervous, or flighty away from home? Do new situations overexcite her? Is the safety of a flighty pet a concern? If any of these are true, consider a photographer who can come to your home. In addition to ensuring your pet’s safety, he or she is likely to be more relaxed at home, which goes a long way in helping get great shots. 


Make sure you’ll get what you pay for, and that your images won't be shared without your permission (especially if they include humans). Like most industries, pet photography has an association, ppa.com. At findaphotographer.com you can search photographers by specialty. Interviewing prospective choices is recommended, as this could be a lasting relationship.

Be prepared

On the day of your shoot, don’t be afraid to wear your dog(s) out a little. A tired dog is more likely to cooperate and focus. Have special treats at the ready. A little reward goes a long way in keeping pets motivated or directing their gaze where you want it.

A spa day can be good prep too. Keep the whites white and the blacks shiny and give everyone a good brush-out.

Pheromones or other calming aids can be helpful for pets who respond well to them. And it doesn’t hurt to practice at home, finding a couple of words or noises that get your critter’s attention. Photographers often have noisemakers, but if you know your cat perks up for the word “Squirrel!” or your dog cocks his head at “Bye-bye!” use them to encourage your favorite expressions. 

When you go

Have fun! When you relax, your critters will too. If it’s an option, preview the work on the camera’s digital screen or a separate monitor to be sure you’re getting the look you’re hoping for.

Professional Services

Feline Fiduciaries & Canine Custody Agreements


Pet-related lawsuits, custody battles, and insurance issues are thoroughly modern problems. Our grandparents didn’t worry over these things. But today you don’t have to look far to see news stories of expensive, heart-wrenching custody battles or lawsuits involving animals. It’s also increasingly common for divorcing couples to negotiate pet custody, and like everything in those situations, negotiations can be friendly or antagonistic. 

While it’s great that pets have achieved a higher status within the modern family, it raises the bar of responsibilities and expectations. We now must include our animals while planning for both the inevitable and the unthinkable.

Risks and liabilities — know them, and be prepared

•     You can be liable if your pet bites, scratches, trips, or even frightens someone.

•     Check your homeowner’s or renter’s policy for exclusions or limits, especially when you receive renewals or notification of updates or changes to your policy.

•     When buying homeowner’s insurance, disclose the number, type, and breed of pets in your home and ask for proof of the company’s acceptance and approval.

•     Keep vaccines current. Proof of this is among the first things you'll be asked for in the event your pet bites or scratches someone.

•     While nothing is fail-proof, having your dog complete basic obedience with a reputable trainer or even earn a Canine Good Citizen certificate can help demonstrate your pup’s character.

Custody & ownership

•     Licensing and microchipping are the most reliable proof of ownership in the event of a dispute over pet guardianship.

•     If your pet goes missing, immediately file reports with your local shelter or animal control agency and the microchip manufacturer. Search "lost pet fliers" online for additional help.

•     If you find a lost or stray animal, by law you must try to find the owner. That means filing a “found” report with local shelters, checking for a microchip, and waiting 30 days before you can legally adopt or re-home the pet.

•     Although they commonly do, judges aren’t required to consider a pet’s best interest in custody disputes. Pets are considered property. 

Estate planning

•     You can’t leave money to your pets, but you can leave money in a trust for the person or organization that will care for your pets if they outlive you.

•     Some animal charities have programs that provide care and new homes for pets of donors who leave bequests to the charity.




Veterinary Care: Alternative


Pets are important members of the family, and we want them to have the very best. In a time when increasing numbers of people are using alternative medicine for their own healthcare, it follows that we’d do the same for our furry family members. Happily, what was once esoteric and obscure is now mainstream and readily accessible — for people and pets.

What is alternative veterinary care?

The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association says, “The techniques used in holistic medicine are gentle, minimally invasive, and incorporate patient wellbeing and stress reduction. Holistic thinking is centered on love, empathy, and respect.”

Holistic or “alternative” care methods include acupuncture, massage, Chinese medicine, herbs, aromatherapy, chiropractic, low-level or cold/laser therapy, stem cell therapy, and more. These days, alternative practices are often used in conjunction with conventional Western medicine. Often providers will work together to develop the best plan for a pet, whether to support an existing condition, minimize or slow the effects of aging, or combat disease.

Alternative options are not just for illness or repair, though. Like people, pets benefit from an occasional tune-up for health maintenance. 

Do all vets offer alternative care?

Not all veterinarians are trained in holistic practices. Likewise, not all holistic providers are veterinarians. Some arts do not require veterinary schooling, such as acupuncture, massage, and bodywork.

Why seek alternative care for my pet?

Some alternative care options can help accelerate healing. Others can provide added comfort for chronic conditions. As an example, aging pets who start to experience stiffness or arthritis can benefit from chiropractic adjustments, bodywork, massage, and more.

How do I find a practitioner I can trust?

Use professional resources. Ask your primary veterinarian for a referral. Check the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association website for recommendations. Always do your homework and check references. In your network of pet associates, you’ll likely find personal referrals, too.

Are essential oils safe?

Like so many things, quality can make a difference. Research essential oils and purchase only through reputable sources. Practitioners caution that essential oils — like any health treatment — can be harmful if not used correctly. Always get expert advice. Under the guidance of a qualified provider, essential oils can be a wonderful tool.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture needles are very, very small — actually smaller in diameter than a cat’s whisker. Needles are inserted at the point where blood vessels and nerves intersect and help to improve circulation for healing while also releasing natural hormones in the body. Many pets find acupuncture relaxing and even nap during treatments.


American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association * ahvma.org

National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy * naha.org

Veterinary Care: Emergency

The team member you hope you never need


Pet parents know the Murphy’s Law of scary pet illnesses and injuries: they tend to happen on weekends and holidays. When minutes count and your worry level is in the red zone, you don’t want to be tasked with f inding where you can take your pet and how you’ll get there. “An emergency situation is not the time you want to be asking Google for help,”  says Raina Dey of the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association.

When to search out an emergency vet

Find one before you need one. First, check out your regular vet’s emergency policy. Some primary-care veterinary practices are open 24 hours or have a doctor on call when the clinic is closed. In that case, be sure to store the after-hours number and other important details in your phone.

In most metro areas, you’ll want to head for a dedicated emergency hospital. “There are several around the state that are well-equipped to handle any pet emergency,” Dey says. “It's a good idea to identify the veterinary ER (or more than one) closest to you.” Put the phone number and address in your contacts.

When to use an emergency vet

Veterinary clinics can’t give medical advice over the phone, but many will talk to you while you decide whether you’re dealing with an emergency or something that can wait until your family vet is available.

Get to an ER stat if your pet has:

1.  eaten something toxic or a poison helpline advises you to seek immediate care

2.  significant bleeding, swelling, or suddenly can’t use a limb

3.  any paralysis or sudden inability to stand or walk

4.  unconsciousness or severe lethargy

5.  seizures, tremors, or frequent falling

6.  severe pain

7.  any difficulty breathing, or a toy or other foreign object is in the throat – even if it hasn’t yet interfered with breathing.

The OVMA also recommends keeping poison helpline numbers stored in your phone. “Their advice can be invaluable if your pet ingests a toxic substance, or if you're not sure if what your pet ingested is potentially harmful.”

The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends learning pet CPR and basic first aid. These can be life-saving skills, especially if you’re hiking, camping, or your nearest ER is more than a few minutes away.


Find an ER - oregonvma.org (search “Emergency care”)

ASPCA's Poison Control Hotline 888-426-4435 (fee)

Pet Poison Helpline 855-764-7661 (fee)

CPR demo video www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JHdrojxzSw

Veterinary Care: Primary

The Family Vet - your go-to doc


Looking for a veterinarian? Well, there’s good news and bad news. The good news: you’ll f ind an endless array of excellent choices. The bad news: you’ll f ind an endless array of excellent choices.

With so many options, you’ll need some criteria to narrow your search, and for that, the American Veterinary Medical Association’s advice is simple and practical.

When to choose a veterinarian

Find one before you need one. If you’re relocating to a new city or neighborhood, ask your current vet if she knows veterinarians in your new location. Vets often have colleagues or former classmates that they can recommend.

If you’re in the process of adopting a new pet, it’s a good idea to have a veterinarian lined up before your newcomer arrives.

Like a family doctor, most days, a primary care veterinarian is all you need. Your primary or family veterinarian provides maintenance health care such as vaccines and regular check-ups, and is also your first stop for any new illness or concern. If your pet has an advanced medical condition requiring orthopedic, dermatology, cardiology, or other specialized care, you’ll want to find a specialist in addition to your primary doctor. Even when your pet is in excellent health, know where emergency and after-hours care is offered nearby.

Choosing a Primary Care Veterinarian

Think of the steps you take when you choose your own doctor or dentist. You consider location, hours, payment options, and range of services. Use the same checklist for choosing a veterinarian, and then visit or call to find out:

•    How does the environment feel? The AVMA says it’s important to establish a comfortable rapport with your veterinarian and clinic staff. Does everyone feel friendly and approachable?

•    What types of care are offered? Are you looking for anything in addition to primary care, such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, or other holistic or alternative treatments?


•    Are boarding and/or grooming services offered?

•    Are weekend or evening appointments available?

•    If you have pets other than dogs or cats, how experienced are the doctors in treating exotic or non-traditional pets?

•    Can you request a specific veterinarian when scheduling appointments?

•    How do the staff and doctor interact with your pet? Do they put you and your pet at ease?

•    Does the clinic offer emergency and after-hours care? If not, do they recommend and work with a nearby emergency clinic?


Find an Oregon vet: oregonvma.org/vetdirectory


Veterinary Care: Specialists

Your advanced care team


If your pet needs to see a specialist, you’re likely to hear it f irst from your primary care vet. Referrals are made the same way human primary care providers refer patients for care under a dermatologist, surgeon, cardiologist, or psychiatrist. Primary doctors and specialists work together to manage a patient’s care.

What is a veterinary specialist?

Specialists are veterinarians who finished vet school and continued on for another two or more years of focused study, becoming fully steeped in the latest research and treatment breakthroughs within their specialty. Veterinary specialties are as numerous as specialties in human medicine, including: urology, neurology, oncology, gastroenterology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, behavioral medicine, and more.

The American Veterinary Medical Association lists 21 distinct veterinary specialties, from anesthesia to zoological medicine. Each specialty has its own college, which is the authority that sets training and certification standards doctors must complete before earning board certification in a given specialty.

How to find a Specialist

The most common path to a specialist is a referral from your family veterinarian, but you can seek specialty care on your own. In that case, Raina Dey from the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association recommends looking for a board-certified specialist.

The referral

If your primary vet has referred you, s/he will share your pet’s medical records so the specialist is informed about your pet’s condition before your first appointment. Sometimes you’ll be asked to provide additional information. When referring yourself, the specialist’s office will need:

1.  Your pet’s medical history

2.  Reports from diagnostic work done related to your concern

3.  Copies of recent x-rays or other imagining

4.  Detailed explanation of current medications, diet, and lifestyle

5.  Completed questionnaires (provided and required by some hospitals)


Veterinarians by Specialty oregonvma.org/vetdirectory