Animal Aid PDX Celebrates 50 Years


The Grassroots Organization Gets a Mid-Life TransFURmation

It doesn’t get much more grassroots than a nonprofit whose mission sprouted on the grounds of Laurelhurst Park in Portland. It was there that Animal Aid’s founders, Jack and Kathryn Hurd, began rescuing abandoned pets and rehabilitating injured wildlife in 1969. The couple not only opened their hearts and home to these animals, but gave them a voice through Jack’s career as a radio talk show host.

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“As listeners tuned into Jack’s show, learned the plight of the animals the Hurds were saving, and shared their own stories and struggles as pet guardians, the concept of Animal Aid took shape,” said the shelter’s Director of Operations, Paige España.

The Hurds’ first step in assisting the community was to enlist the help of local veterinarians and pet supply stores who were willing to offer their services and products at a reduced rate. Jack and Kathryn paid for some expenses from their own pocket, and eventually Jack’s listeners began to donate as well. Over time, the couple acquired a core team of volunteers to help with fostering, adoptions, delivering food, and whatever else came up.

Flash forward to today, and the now 50-year-old rescue is still driven by the compassion of its volunteers, supporters, and a small dedicated staff. Animal Aid is focused on providing individualized care and a lifelong commitment to each of its animals, including those referred to as “Heartstrings pets”—those with special medical or behavioral needs.

Animal Aid PDX today. The organization also operates a free-roam shelter for cats, a network of foster homes for dogs and cats, and two partnership programs to help fun urgent veterinary care and dog spay/neuter surgeries.

Animal Aid PDX today. The organization also operates a free-roam shelter for cats, a network of foster homes for dogs and cats, and two partnership programs to help fun urgent veterinary care and dog spay/neuter surgeries.

“We’re focused on quality over quantity, which to us means providing as much time and resources to each animal as they need and working diligently to make thoughtful adoptions that result in forever where their personality and needs are the right match for a family’s expectations and capacity” España explained.

To accomplish their mission, Animal Aid operates a free-roam shelter for cats, a network of foster homes for dogs and cats, and two partnership programs to provide funding for urgent vet care and canine spay/neuter services.

“One of the really cool things we’ve been able to do is carry forward the collaborative relationship with local veterinarians that the Hurds helped establish 50 years ago, and our Animal Aid Cares Fund is a direct link to that,” said España. “Through this program, we partner with vet clinics to provide a monthly stipend they can pass along to their clients facing urgent and overwhelming medical or behavioral expenses.”

Many changes have taken place for the nonprofit over the decades, and particularly in the last two years as they embarked on a full shelter remodel, adding several new animal care rooms and renovating all existing spaces to allow the organization to increase its rescue capacity by 25 percent.

“We looked at all the ways we could improve our programming, and increasing our rescue capacity was at the top of the list. As a result of our renovations, we can do just that, in addition to increased enrichment for cats and dogs and improved work spaces for volunteers and staff. We’re just putting the final touches on everything, and already we’re seeing a positive impact on our ability to serve the homeless cats and dogs in our community.”

— Beth Ernst, Animal Aid Board President

In order to make the upgrades possible, Animal Aid kicked off their Shelter TransFURmation Remodel Capital Campaign in 2017, offering supporters the chance to help pay for the renovations with naming opportunities in recognition of their sponsorship. Learn more at or by attending Animal Aid’s open house on July 20th that will mark the official unveiling of the remodel.

In addition to their open house, be sure to mark your calendars for Animal Aid’s 50th anniversary party, Apawllo 50, when the rescue will celebrate in style.

“Animal Aid’s roots stem from building connections with others, animals and humans alike. So whether you can join us at our open house this summer, our 50th anniversary party this fall, or drop by the shelter for a visit sometime in between, we’re excited to welcome everyone to our rescue and celebrate this commemorative year with the community that made it possible.”
— Paige España, Animal Aid Operations Director


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Hey! Nikki’s the name, and ping pong’s my game! I’m a lively 4-year-old lady who spends her days chattering at my friend the squirrel outside my window. I’m a petite Tabby with loads of purrsonality. As you can see, I’ve got one nicked ear, which I call my beauty mark (gives me a little character, right?!). I’ve had some food allergies, but they’re under control with a limited ingredient diet. I am very talkative and can’t wait to tell you everything!  While in the shelter I’ve come to enjoy cat-savvy kids. Come meet me! I know we are going to fall in love!  To learn more about me or make a date, call 503-292-6628 or visit

Rosa & Riley


What’s better than one kitty? Well, two of course! If you’d love having a dynamic duo at home, look no further! Riley and Rosa are spunky six-month-old sisters looking for their forever family together. They love to play, play, play, and use their imaginations to go on ameowzing adventures without ever leaving home! They are currently in a foster home with a cat-friendly dog. Learn more about Rosa and Riley at,, or by calling 503-292-6628.


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Hello world, Ruthie here! I am the whole package: a sweet petite lady who is mellow and loves my people! I am 8 years young, and recent dental care has my pearly whites gleaming. I love food time, but am respectful and patient. Found on the streets, I am smart, I bond quickly, do fine with other cats, dogs, and older kids, and I’m great in the car and on leash! Honestly I just can’t wait to find you and snuggle in for the holidays, and forever! Please come meet me at Animal Aid, 503-292-6628 |



Thank you for reading about me! My name’s Nikki, and I’m a small Tabby about three years old with lots of love to give. As you can see I’ve got one nicked ear, but I call it my beauty mark (gives me character, dontcha think?) I am the reigning ping pong champion at Animal Aid — no one can beat me when I bat the ball to visitors! Food allergies can make me itchy, but they’re easily managed with a limited ingredient diet. I’m very active and love my daily squirrel and bird TV.  Come meet me in person soon – I’m ready to fall in love!  I hope you are, too! 503-292-6628.



Hello, my name is Harriet! I’m a four-year-old Siamese mix with big starry eyes. I’m quite sweet and love to play! I’m not a big talker, and get along okay with other mellow cats. I’m extra special as I had growth removed from my nostrils and windpipe and I feel sooo much better! It could come back, and if so might need to be removed again. I’m great, though, and would love a loving family that understands my special needs. Please come meet me! 503-292-6628.


Why Buddy hasn’t found his forever family is a mystery to his foster and shelter friends. He's healthy, gets along with other dogs, and is even learning agility!  And the list goes on! Still, he has been in his foster home for over a year now, and can’t wait to show and share his special skills and wonderful ways with his forever family! Buddy says:  Please see my profile and come meet me!  I am patiently waiting, but I’m so excited to finally have a family of my own!

Flo and Gracie

Hello! Flo here — the beautiful lap princess! I’m a Snowshoe-Siamese mix with a chatty personality and tons of love to give. My big blue eyes will surely mesmerize you, and as soon as I’ve got your attention, I’ll ask for love and lap time.

My sister Gracie and I lived with a nice couple for the first 12 years of our lives, but recently our people moved into assisted living and we couldn’t go with them. Luckily, we ended up at Animal Aid and they promised we can go home together. I’m so glad because we are bonded and couldn’t bear being apart!

We are both so gentle and sweet — you will never be lonely with us around! We are super mellow, so we’d probably do fine around children, a respectful dog, or even another mellow kitty. Are you missing kitty love? We can double the love in your life! Gracie and I can’t wait to meet you!  We are at Animal Aid animalaidpdx, org!


Hi, I'm Sid! I'm a silver Tabby with white, and my estimated birthdate is 5/1/2014 — young enough for lots of fun and old enough not to tear up curtains!

I'm a bundle of energy and personality! I want to play play play, and then snuggle when I'm tired out. I'm a talkative boy too! I am doing okay with other cats but might be too much of a dominant personality for a shy feline friend. I do not like dogs, however I do know how to play fetch! Have you noticed my purrfect eyeliner? I know! I just wake up like this!

Looks, charm, personality...I have it all! Please stop by the shelter to play with me and you'll see why I'm such a popular guy! Come meet me soon at Animal Aid


Hi! They named me perfectly, ‘cause I really am a bundle of joy! I love chin and cheek rubs and even a kiss now and then! I had a home for a long time but a toddler came and I had to go. But I still have my joy! When not chasing my mouse toy or rolling in catnip you can find me on your lap. I would love a one-pet home with adults (older kids are ok too). Please come visit me at Animal Aid's Show & Tell Saturday, 503-292-6628 option 3 or