Meet Dr. Rosie Gilbert

Dignified Pet Services presents 'People in the Neighborhood'

Hot tip for pet owners: If you ever need help naming a new non-human companion, hit up Dr. Rosie Gilbert of Viking Veterinary Care.

"We have two Great Danes, Bart and Sauvie, and four cats — Professor Chaos, Wingnut, Pokey, and Manx," she says when asked the names of pets she and her husband Michael have at home.  

And that's not all. “Then we have two Sulcata tortoises — Dozer and Roomba ... yes, like the vacuum cleaner,” she laughs. The names are fitting, given they can grow to 250 pounds each and function as living weedeaters as well as beloved pets.

A native of the island of Petersburg, Alaska, Rosie says that while she always knew she wanted to work with animals, watching the whales off the coast of her hometown for a time inspired a desire to be a marine biologist.

"Somewhere around 6th grade I decided I was going to follow the humpbacks from Alaska to Hawaii and back," she smiles.

While she has yet to make that voyage, by the time she graduated from the University of Alaska, Rosie was determined to move to a place she could actually "get in a car drive out of" — which wasn’t possible from most Alaskan locales.

"I actually did a road trip from Alaska to Rhode Island and back to check out every place in the US I'd thought about living," she says. "At the end of it, I said 'you know, I really think I like Portland better than all the other places'."

Turns out Rosie and the Rose City are a match for many reasons. In addition to being a devoted animal lover, Rosie is a competitive runner and swimmer in training for her first triathlon. She's also into zombies — big time.

"I am a huge zombie movie buff," she affirms. "Even better if you’re on a treadmill ... there's nothing more motivating than feeling like you have to run away!"

So, yes, she loves The Walking Dead — in fact, she's read all the graphic novels on which the show is based. Resident Evil  and the cartoon Adventure Time are other post-apocalyptic favorites, and Rosie has an item on her bucket list that would put her in the middle of all of it.

"I actually would really like to make it to Comic Con," she says wistfully. "I haven't been, and I heard the whole cast of The Walking Dead was there, and everyone gets dressed up. But you know, I have this business to run..."

Which keeps her busy. Rosie designed Viking to be especially accessible to extra-large breed dogs. It's something she found lacking when researching to open her practice.

"Since I own Great Danes, I'm very sensitive to the giant breed dogs," she explains. "I found that at many practices the exam rooms are pretty small. There's not a lot of room for them to maneuver and they tend to get nervous because of that. We also have tables that flip up so the dogs have plenty of room, and everything's very large, including the lift tables." 

So what shoe best befits an athletic, Alaska-born, large-dog-loving, tortoise-owning fan of the undead? Boots of course! And not just any boots.

"They're black leather, and have buckles all up the side. They have no heel, good tread, they're kinda funky, but comfortable. They've been tried and tested and are still awesome."

Perfect for running from zombies, maybe?

"Exactly!" she exclaims. "They're very similar to the boots in the first Resident Evil movie!" 

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. 

Michele Coppola is a veteran Portland radio personality and copywriter for Entercom Radio as well as the new Managing Editor for Spot Magazine. She shares a home and couch space with her three rescue pooches Lucy, Bailey, and Ginny--as well as Bryon, the stray man she married six years ago.