Category Archives: Blog

Thank you to our nonprofit community!

One of the great things about nonprofits is the sense of community they often build–whether it’s a legion of volunteers who come together to fulfill a mission, individuals who open their hearts and pocket books for the cause,  or fellow nonprofits sharing resources for the enrichment of the community as a whole. In the last month, Animal Aid has been the beneficiary of several of these acts of kindness and giving, and we want to take a moment to give thanks and recognize what an amazing community we are a part of.

Adoptable Addy enjoying a mid-day snooze.

On May 18, we held our second-ever $5 Fursday to request assistance with purchasing a new HVAC system after ours had suddenly and unexpectedly quit on us. With the hot summer weather already encroaching, the need was urgent but the price was high: it was going to cost us $10,000 for a new system. When we put out the call for donations to help “keep our kitties cool,” our hope was that our supporters could help us raise $1,000 to offset a fraction of the cost. However, we were once again amazed and humbled by the generosity of our community: our supporters rallied together to help us raise $6,500, covering more than half the cost of the new system! Now our kitties, like Addy, have been able to enjoy this week’s 85-degree weather in comfort. Our heartfelt thanks to all of you who helped make this happen!

Over Memorial Day weekend, we found ourselves surrounded by fur of a different kind while attending the 2017 Furlandia convention as their Charity of Honor for the third year in a row. One of the beautiful things about this convention and the people who run it is how unfailingly welcoming and kindhearted everyone is. The Furlandia staff made us feel like a special part of this convention by creating and sharing a video about our shelter, including an article about us in their convention booklet,  allowing us to present about Animal Aid to their attendees, and providing donation solicitation shout-outs throughout the weekend. By the close of the convention, over $1,200 in donations had been raised for the animals in our care. We are so thankful to the Furlandia team for helping us fulfill our mission and excited to return to the convention again next year!

On June 1, our friends at SCRAP PDX spent their community craft night making cozy (not to mention adorable) pet beds for Animal Aid and other local rescue groups. As you can see, these beds have been given the official paw of approval by one of SCRAP’s rescue pups, and we can’t wait to share them with the cats and dogs in our care! Thank you for helping us make sure our animals are resting easy, SCRAP!

Facility upgrades, by order of King Jerry

First thing’s first: Yes, I’m adorable. You were all thinking it; I’m just saying it.

The name’s Jerry, and from the corner office that I kindly share with our Animal Care Coordinator, I think it’s safe to say I basically rule the shelter. You should hear me ordering my subjects around: “Bring me foooooood!” “Play with meeee!” “Scratch my chiiiiiiiin!”

But enough about me right now. I want to tell you a little bit about the plans I’ve got my subjects working on for improvements to Animal Aid’s facility. See, I want Animal Aid to be able to help more cats like me, and they agree, which is why I’ve got them working on a remodel of the upper and lower levels of the shelter. You read that right: It’s time for shelter 2.0, people!

Phase 1 of this remodel focuses on the shelter’s basement space and will create two new cat isolation rooms and a conference/work room, in addition to updating the emergency dog kennel, the laundry room, and the remaining storage space. As a result of this phase of the remodel, Animal Aid will be able to intake more cats and better isolate sick cats from the main population, cutting down on illness within the cat population as well as time spent in isolation. It will also create a dedicated multipurpose room that can be used for meetings, projects, and public events and better equip the basement space to help the staff and volunteers fulfill Animal Aid’s mission.

The remodel is kicking into high gear soon, and I can’t share all of the details with you. Look for a lot more information on this project to hit your doorstep in the coming months, and please consider donating to Animal Aid this year to help them help more animals like me. Don’t forget to tell them King Jerry sent you.

Knittin’ for the kittens: Animal Aid cat hats

Baby hats. Santa hats. Wizard hats. Pointy Elf Hoods. You name the hat type, and Animal Aid volunteer Leisa Refalo can probably have it knit for you before you can say, “Thanks! You’re one cool cat, Leisa!” And a cool cat she is indeed, which is why we’re so happy and thankful that the theme of Leisa’s knitting binge this year has been one of our all-time favorites: the cats of Animal Aid!

Matching the furry shades of our shelter cats and accompanied by a watercolor portrait of each cat (she calls them doodles; we call them masterpieces), Leisa’s cat hats were an instant favorite. “I brought them with me when I went to volunteer, suspecting that I could find someone to wear them,” she said. “They were snatched up by the staff, and other volunteers who saw them wanted one too.”

When not volunteering for Animal Aid (which she began doing last November) or spending time with her own kitties (one of them an Animal Aid alum, formerly known as Elaine and now named Jiji), Leisa works for Kaiser Healthcare designing and developing mobile apps. She is also currently working on a Certificate in Illustration through Pacific Northwest College of Arts.

“In the short term, I want to make little personalized illustrations and animations for family and friends. The response to the little drawings is so good that I have been trying to think of other ways to use them, including enamel pins, greeting cards, candles,” Leisa explained, going on to say, “There seems to be more demand [for cat hats] than I can keep up with, so we are talking about having a Knitting with Kitties event at the shelter to teach people who want to learn how to knit and have a knitting circle for people who do. Cats are fun with yarn.”

We dig the way you think, Leisa. Thank you for making Animal Aid apparel the height of fashion in Portland!

Volunteer Spotlight: Susan Brown Philbeck

“Susan is a wonderful volunteer not only because of her serious passion for the animals, but because of her outgoing personality and the positivity that she brings to the shelter,” said Animal Aid volunteer Becca Ferguson.

“The four-legged residents love her cuddles and kisses. The two-legged residents enjoy her sense of humor, work ethic, and enthusiasm,” added fellow Animal Aid volunteer Pat Jones.

As you can see, Susan Brown Philbeck has a bit of a fan club around here, as well she should: A multi-day cat socializer, emergency dog kennel volunteer, event assistant, and goddess of the clean laundry, there’s rarely a task Susan isn’t ready and willing to handle. What’s more, she does it with kindness, a smile, and a heart full of love for the animals.

“I adore them,” she said of the animals. “I absolutely love it when a cat will climb in my lap for a nap or jump up on my shoulders and wrap themselves around my neck. And seeing a hard to place cat or dog find its forever home is the best thing ever.”

Now going on her fourth year of volunteering for Animal Aid, Susan discovered the shelter after moving to Portland from Florida, where she volunteered at the Humane Society of Pinellas and the Suncoast Animal League. When not at Animal Aid, Susan enjoys spending time with her two rescue pets (a nearly nineteen-year-old cat named Chloe and nine-year-old dog named Teddy), her two-year-old grandson, and several of her fellow Animal Aid volunteers, whom she’s become close friends with.

“I chat up Animal Aid to everyone I know,” she said. “Whether they are looking to adopt or know someone who is, or if they are interested in volunteering, I tell them how rewarding it is, how much fun they will have, how much they will enjoy the staff and volunteers, what an outstanding shelter it is regarding the excellent health care provided for all our animals, how clean it is, and how diligently we look for the very best match for each cat or dog—I think we pay more attention to that than just about any other shelter.”

Thank you, Susan! Everyone at Animal Aid appreciates you very much!

Tips for the vet: The human-animal bond

Guest article written by Dr. Andy Frost, Pacific Veterinary Clinic

It is well recognized that humans obtain health benefits from our association with animals. Pet owners recover from surgeries and heart attacks more quickly and at higher rates than non-pet owners. Stroking a pet prior to or during a stressful event lowers a person’s blood pressure even more than holding a family member’s or friend’s hand. The benefits of therapy animals in hospitals, nursing homes, or as individual companions are so established that they are allowed in places that public health laws normally restrict animal access.

Is this a one-sided relationship? Do animals gain health and emotional benefits from their associations with us?

Clearly, a well-cared for pet in a home obtains the obvious advantages of good nutrition, adequate shelter, appropriate vaccination and parasite prevention, spaying/neutering, a healthy environment, and mental stimulation. Beyond this, a pet in a home gets the positive effects of recurring social and play interactions and continuity—not just providing physical and mental exercise, but a strengthening of the social context.

There is more recent research on dogs’ ability to copy behaviors that humans “model,” something previously thought unique to humans (now known to be done by dolphins and other species) and another clue that positive dog and human interactions are absolutely “wired” into both species’ behaviors. Canines and humans have co-evolved for about 32,000 years, changing dogs’ physiology (different dietary needs than wolves and wild dogs, changes in brain chemistry, etc.), as well as social structures. More research by ethicists is being published all of the time on how we humans influence our animal companions in addition to the ways animals have and continue to exert positive effects on us, our societies, and our environment.

Charming chi looking to be your Buddy

Hi there! Buddy’s the name, and being ridiculously cute is my game. See how my one ear is floppy while the other one is perky? I mean, C’MON, what’s a dog gotta do?

I’m currently chillin’ in a foster home with a couple other chihuahuas, and sometimes my foster mom takes me to work with her so I can supervise the workload and make sure everyone’s taking the appropriate number of “Let’s pet Buddy” breaks.

At five years old, I’m young enough to enjoy lots of walks and old enough to have manners, and I love to play chase with anyone who’s interested. Oh, and get this: I’m eight pounds of charm. Yeah, you read that correctly: I am composed entirely of charm.

So, look, I’m not really sure how you’re still reading this instead of rushing to get me, but I guess that’s a good thing because you’re gonna need to fill out an application first. Don’t worry, you can find everything you need here. And while you’re on the Animal Aid website, be sure to check out the video on my page—it’s pretty much guaranteed to be the best 18 seconds of your life.

I’m ready for my forever home where I can be someone’s forever buddy. I’m not sure what the hold up is, but I’ll practice my patience and look to add another ounce to my charm. My gotcha day’s coming soon, I know it—and I’ve gotta say, I have a good feeling you might be the one.

Thank you for helping us raise over $7K for the Animal Aid Cares Fund!

We are thrilled to announce that our Resource Coordinator, Julie, shed her hair this past Saturday at our St. Pawtrick’s Day event—and you made it happen!

We are in awe of our supporters, who rallied together to raise $7,405 for the Animal Aid Cares Fund during our Shedding Her Hair For Animal Care campaign.

We cannot thank you enough for your generosity. 100% of the program’s funds go directly to the care and well-being of animals throughout our community. With your help, more animals like Havko, Little Boss, Shadow, and Curtis—Cares Fund recipients whose stories we shared these past few weeks—will be able to receive the urgent medical attention they need.

We also want to give a warm thank you to Jack, Cindy, and the entire staff of Jack’s Tap Room, who hosted us for the evening and donated 15% of their sales for the day to the animals in our care.

We are humbled and thankful for all of you who believe in Animal Aid’s mission and help us care for the animals. We cannot do what we do without you. Thank you!

Single Canine Seeks Active Human Companion Skilled in Belly Rubs and Butt Scratches


Hi! The name’s Huck. Or Huckleberry. Or Good Boy. Heck, if you’ve got a treat on you, you can call me Shirley.

I’m a 70-pound goof ball, which initially led the Animal Aid staff to believe I was around one-year-old and still going through my puppy stage; turns out, however, I’m closer to four and just extra young at heart. The staff and volunteers at Animal Aid have been keeping me busy learning lots of new commands like “Go to bed” and “Wait” and “Stay” and “Come,” on top of the basics I already know like “Sit” and “Down” and “Shake.” Man, with so many commands, I get confused sometimes, but I’m tryin’ and getting better every day!

Given all of the changes I’ve experienced in the last few months of my life, I’m often intimidated by new people and need slow introductions and human companions who will help me channel my energy appropriately. For this reason, I would do best in an adult-only home and need to be the only pet. (Don’t worry: I promise to shower you with as much attention and affection as you want!)

The best guess on my breed is a Labrador/Great Dane mix. If you’re looking for a running partner, hiking partner, or all-around active buddy, I’m your guy! I also like my toys and will play fetch, but I’m not obsessive. Did I mention I love belly rubs and butt scratches? Because I’m a big boy, a home with a fenced yard would be best.

Now that you know all about me, here’s the deal: I’m in urgent need of a foster or forever home. The Animal Aid staff and volunteers have been so great to me, but shelter life is hard on a guy like me. I need someone who can give me individualized attention and help show me the world isn’t such an intimidating place–not as long as I’m with you anyway.

If you’re ready to meet me, please fill out a foster application or an adoption application, and a member of the Animal Aid team will be in touch with you.

Love,

Huck

P.S. If you foster me, Animal Aid will provide all the supplies, vet care, and training you need to keep me at my best! And when you adopt from Animal Aid, you become a part of the family for life, so you’ll always have someone to turn to for advice about any of my health or wellness needs.

[Please note: Due to our preference to view the potential home and interview the prospective guardian, Animal Aid rarely adopts out of the Portland metro area.]

Meet Our Newest Board Member: Meagan Cuthill

Animal Aid is thrilled to announce the addition of Meagan Cuthill to the Animal Aid Board of Directors.

Many Animal Aid volunteers and supporters will recognize Meagan as Animal Aid’s interim Development & Operations Coordinator, filling a critical role for the organization as the search for a permanent staff member was conducted. The Animal Aid staff and board are grateful for Meagan’s continued dedication to Animal Aid as an ongoing volunteer and, now, as its newest board member.

Meagan brings with her an extensive background in news writing, having worked for NewsBeat Social in Portland, Oregon, and interned for CBS Radio in San Francisco and KOMO 4 News in Seattle, among others. She holds a dual Bachelor’s degree in Politics & Media Studies and is currently a Multimedia Writer for KPTV FOX 12, covering daytime web and social media updates. Meagan has been a volunteer with Animal Aid since 2014 and currently serves as a member of the Social Media Committee and as an Emergency Dog Kennel volunteer. Most recently, she has become the proud mom of Samir the cat, an Animal Aid alumni.

“I feel honored to join the Animal Aid Board and become even more involved in the organization I have loved for the past two years and will continue to love,” Meagan said. “Animal Aid is unlike any animal welfare organization I’ve known, and I look forward to helping it shine. I see great potential in Animal Aid’s community recognition and engagement and am happy to take part in realizing that potential! And I’m especially grateful for Animal Aid bringing Samir into my life; he is the best furry friend I could have asked for!”

Please join us in welcoming Meagan to the Animal Aid Board of Directors!