A look at the PET Landscape...in the Valley

Spot found pet-friendly businesses and resources serving animals and their people in the Willamette Valley.


When the scent of fall fills the air, it’s a good time to remember: Not only is it always raining in the Northwest; it’s always raining cats and dogs! This time of year some dogs get excited about playing in muddy puddles while others start wondering where their favorite sweater is. This is also the time of year Spot likes to “paws” for a look at the current landscape of pet-friendly businesses and awesome resources serving animals and their people in the Willamette Valley.

One thing Northwest pet parents insist on is good care and quality food. According to the American Pet Products Association, nationwide spending on pets was up $2 billion from 2008 to 2009, and it’s expected to rise another $2 billion in 2010. This is good news for new businesses like Eugene’s recently opened Healing Paws Wellness Center(HPWC), where Dr. Elise Radebaugh provides holistic care for dogs and cats.

Staff at HPWC recommend fewer vaccines and less prescription drugs, emphasizing individualized wellness plans that integrate nutrition, supplements, acupuncture and homeopathy. Their mission is to build strong, lifelong relationships with pets and their parents. Conveniently, HPWC stocks a small retail area with healthy food and supplements.

Another new Lane County business is the Nature’s Pet Market franchise store. The Northwest-based business has locations in Portland and Salem, and now Eugeneans can shop for their wholesome pet foods and support the store’s efforts to help re-home rescue animals.

Speaking of rescue, the ladies (and some gentlemen, too) of Luv-A-Bull Pit Bull Rescue have started Luv-A-Little, which is dedicated to re-homing pint-sized pups slated for euthanasia in California but who are in demand here at home. An episode of National Geographic’s The Dog Whisperer that featured Luv-A-Bull, “Chihuahuas From Hell,” is in the running for “Best in Show” as the best Dog Whisperer episode ever. And you can vote — go to The Dog Whisperer's website . Let’s get that win!

Jen Hilliard of Greenhill Humane Society reports that the group’s annual Bark in the Park in May raised $40,000 in pledges and had over 900 dogs that walked, ran or trotted across the finish line. Also on the sporty-front, the Eugene Emeralds baseball team held a “Dog Days of Summer” game night, which included a special seating area for pooches and their people and featured pet-friendly vendors. On the roster for Nov. 19, Greenhill hosts its 4th Annual Art for Animals benefit and silent auction to be held at Eugene’s hip North Eugene Crescent Village. Last year’s event featured more than 250 pieces of original and donated art. For artists interested in contributing, the submission deadline is Nov. 1st.

Last year’s Willamette Valley roundup introduced Opportunity Barks boarding and daycare facility in Pleasant Hill, and in addition to having a great first year, proprietors Sonya Mandel and Carol Rozek say, “We have been involved with pup transfers that come from Bakersfield, Calif., and the Northwest Organization for Animal Help (NOAH) in Washington State.” NOAH pulls death-row shelter dogs and gives them another shot at life. “We are the transfer point and have greeted from 36-57 pups as often as once a month,” report Mandel and Rozek. “Each pup that comes through our doors gets fed, fresh water, and lots of cuddles and love.”

One hard thing about roundups is sometimes there is not so good news. Sadly this year, Lane County lost an animal welfare mainstay. The Bearen Foundation has moved to California. Founder Megan Bendtzen says the organization raised and gave out $37,000 over its 10 years in Lane County, and helped more than 300 families treat instead of euthanize their pets. Bendtzen named the foundation after her cat who needed an expensive life-saving kidney transplant. Bearen lived for 10 years after his transplant at UC Davis. He died the day before his 10-year transplant anniversary, July 4, at age 16. Due to a job transfer, Bendtzen has been running the foundation from Hermosa Beach, Calif., for over a year, and recently made the difficult decision to formally move the foundation closer to her new home. Our loss is SoCal’s gain, but we can be thankful for all Bendtzen and Bearen Foundation brought to our area, and wish her the best as she goes on to bless others.

Happily, low-cost vet care in the valley got a new boost, from the Community Veterinary Center. CVC aims to establish a permanent, full-time clinic to provide comprehensive, compassionate care to animals of no- and low-income caregivers in Lane County. Land has been donated by St. Vincent DePaul, and a modular building provided by the Creswell School District.

CVC recently announced that Congressman Peter DeFazio and his wife Myrnie Daut are co-chairs of their capital fundraising campaign. DeFazio and Daut are the dog parents of Bilbo, black Lab-Newfoundland mix, and Rusty, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. DeFazio recently introduced a bill to end use of predator poisons that have killed family pets, and the Humane Society Legislative Fund gave him a score of 100+ for his votes in the 110th Congress.

Nearing its three-year anniversary, Save the Petsrescue organization is still going strong. STP’s Project Spayship division has funded more then 600 spays and neuters since it began in June 2008.

Low-cost spay and neuter clinic Willamette Animal Guild (WAG) set a new daily record for spays and neuters July 15: In a single day 35 pets were snipped and stitched! WAG has altered over 12 THOUSAND pets since its inception in January 2008. The group also reports that you can buy WAG swag — cool t-shirts, baseball caps and bags with the WAG happy dog and cat logo to boost the organization. Nothing says love like spaying, neutering and buying a t-shirt!

As you can see, there’s plenty in the Valley to set tails wagging and motors purring. If you know of a pet-related -friendly news item, new business or organization . . . or one that deserves a little kudos, please let us know. Spot loves to share good news.

Visit them online!

The Bearen Foundation


Community Veterinary Center


Greenhill Humane Society


Healing Paws Wellness Center




Natures Pet Market


Opportunity Barks


Save The Pets


WAG (Willamette Animal Guild)



Camilla Mortensen is a journalist, folklorist and freelance writer with a Ph.D. in literature. She lives in a 1975 Airstream trailer in Pleasant Hill, Oregon with her three dogs - Zella a Rhodesian Ridgeback born without a ridge; Smudge, a blind doxie mix and Rhoda a pit mix - and a cat, Clelia. Her two horses Baby Huey and Flashtastic live close by.