Meet LeRae!

Dignified Pet Services presents 'People in the Neighborhood'

LeRae and Sonny

LeRae and Sonny

“I am a tom-boy with two totally different sides to me. I love to get down and dirty and take on projects like re-finishing my bathroom floor as well as dress up and shop. Those who know me well would say I am an ‘open book.’ I guess I sort of go with the flow depending upon the situation I am in,” says this energetic ‘Recess in the Pearl’ business owner and cat-mom, LeRae Hunt Ford. “My cat is a girl named George — she is a loveable Calico barn cat.”

A former flight attendant who grew up in Klamath Falls Oregon, Hunt Ford found herself working as a part-time dog walker in New York City in between flights. Helping a friend start a dog walking business in New York was just the inspiration she needed when she decided to move back to Oregon a couple of years later.  There she began her own sister dog-walking business, ‘Recess in the Pearl.’

“Taking what I had learned walking dogs and living in a big city helped me decide to open my business in Portland. It was fairly easy as I took the same approach.”

“Dogs need to be siblings or friends in order for it to work for a ‘pack walk,’” says LeRae. “I usually take two out at a time so they are comfortable.” Walking in her custom Nikes with the logo ‘DGWKR,’ this park lover can be found out and about anywhere in town, but among her favorites in Portland are majestic Washington Park and the trendy streets of the Pearl. 

Favorite NYC spots include Central Park and the eclectic East Village. A lover of hot spicy Thai food, this former New Yorker has acquired a taste for “street food — anything native and spicy,” she says.

LeRae  sitting on Table Rock Mountain in Cape Town

LeRae sitting on Table Rock Mountain in Cape Town

Between stints on the business end of the leash and hitting the books, LeRae’s guilty pleasures includes popcorn and TV, especially Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory.

“When my husband and I take a night off and just hang out, I guess it feels guilty because I am currently going to school to get my MBA and I rarely have time to watch TV or read for fun. I am usually reading a text book, but I have a huge passion for dark, suspenseful mysteries like the kind written by one of my all-time favorite authors, Gillian Flynn. I like trying to unravel and solve the mystery while I am reading. I would love to meet Earnest Hemmingway, as his book, The Paris Wife about his first wife and life in the ‘20s always fascinated me.”

“If I could be 5- years old for a day … I would sleep in, play outside all day with friends, make sure I played in the mud, and I would eat grilled cheese with no guilt!”

A passionate shopper, one of LeRae’s favorite pastimes is browsing and shopping in vintage clothing stores like Buffalo Exchange and Goodwill. “When I want something trendy or new I shop Nordstrom Rack.”

This savvy fashionista proudly swears she “never pays full price for anything. I love shoes … and the one here that is ‘so me’ totally describes my two personalities:  I can break out my hot-pink Kate Spades with bows and a party dress by night, and be in the park in my custom dog-walking boots by day.”

When asked what she thinks people can learn from dogs, this professional pooch walker doesn’t hesitate. “When in doubt give it a sniff. Try and figure it out. If you can’t … piss on it and move on!” 

About our Sponsor

Dignified Pet Services has served the Portland-area community for 13 years.  In addition to their core business of cremation and memorial services, Dignified co-sponsors the beloved annual Service of Remembrance at The Old Church in downtown Portland, as well as serving as wonderful supporters and friends of pets and those working in animal welfare.  Proprietors Michael, Randy and Avani live in Sherwood. 

Melinda Thompson is a freelance writer with a degree in Speech Communications and a coveted "Ducktorate" from the Walt Disney World Company. She has been featured in many local magazines and newspapers.  She lives in Vancouver USA with her husband, son and daughter.