Meet Camilla Mortensen

Dignified Pet Services presents 'People in the Neighborhood'

Among a litany of successes, Camilla Mortensen admits to one “big” failure. His name is Biggie, a death-row Pittie out of Los Angeles, and he WAS her foster dog.  "I had adopted a Pit mix puppy, Rhoda, from a rescue in The Dalles, and several friends fell in love with her," she says. "Rhoda was — and is — a great testament to what lovers Pits can be."

"Only after adopting Rho did I find Luv A Bull [animal rescue] and their great adoptable dogs. I sent my dog-loving friends to them, and I was easily persuaded to start fostering for them and groups."

Fostering has some amazing perks. "All the joys of more pets and pups without adding to my pack and the joy of finding them forever homes," Camilla smiles.

"Before I foster-failed with Biggie, I fostered a Terrier mix, a Ridgeback mix, two Chihuahua mixes, two Pittie pups, and a horse.  All went to fabulous homes."

Associate Editor of Eugene Weekly, Camilla teaches part time at Lane Community College. In a perfect world, she might switch things up a bit. "Currently I write full time and teach part time. Teaching has easier deadlines!" In a perfect world, she says, she might teach full time and write part time.

Will she pursue it?

"Maybe. Right now I'm having too much fun writing. Writing and teaching are two of my passions and I'm lucky I've been able to do both." Some day though, she wants to write a book.

Owner of two horses, Camilla is an accomplished competitive equestrian.

"The first day is dressage, the second is cross country, and the third is stadium jumping. All three days are about a complex partnership with an animal. The first is almost like figure-skating, where you execute certain movements with balance and flow. The second is galloping, and jumping and it's about bravery and timing. The third day shows you and your horse have stamina while still having timing and accuracy . . . and of course it's about athleticism and fitness.”

"Through all of it, I see grace as the horse and rider work together,” Camilla says.

"In my last competition, Cairo and I had to gallop up, jump a log, and land in water," she explains with due tension. "She's never done that before, and didn't see until the very last moment she would land in the water, but she bravely leaped with her knees high and ears pricked. That's grace for me."

Well-traveled, Camilla mainly grew up in Florida. "I'm the daughter of Danish parents, and I spent a lot of time in Denmark as a child. I've lived in New Jersey, Illinois, Florida, Wisconsin, California and Oregon," she says with passion. "I love the Northwest."

Today, home is an Airstream trailer just outside of Eugene, where she lives with her animals.

The pets in her life include Rhoda the Pit mix, Zella, “the Rhodesian Ridgeback with no ridge”; Biggie, the Pit Bull snatched out of harm’s way from an LA shelter; Cairo, the Irish Sport Horse; Flash, the warm blood/Thoroughbred Cross Horse; and Woodward and Bernstein, feral kitties.

Her favorite, go-to, defining pair of shoes are her riding boots. "Currently Mountain Horse Fiorentina dress boots," she says lovingly. "Elegant and tough."

Perfectly fitting.

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. 

Christy Caballero writes from her soul about animals.  She's received four Maxwell Awards from the Dog Writers Assn of America. There are two retired racers (greyhounds) and one kinda neurotic foster greyhound and three BIG RagaMuffin kitties at home who are occasionally impressed enough to let her and her hubby Herb sit on the couch with them.