Category Archives: Blog

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.



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!

We Can’t Thank You Enough!

We had a record number of locations for our giving trees this past holiday season, and we want to thank the following stores for generously hosting us:

  • Western Pet Supply
  • Mud Bay (Tigard)
  • The Filling Station
  • Healthy Pets Northwest (Multnomah Village)
  • Bark Market
  • Personal Beast
  • Natural Pet Food Solutions
  • Hillsdale Community Church

We even had one volunteer who placed a Giving Tree at her work!

We watched this kindness multiple as donations flowed in from the public—so much so that we’ve only recently been able to gather a complete inventory count. In total, we received:

  • 375 pounds of dry dog food
  • 139 cans of dog food
  • 138 pounds of dry cat food
  • 216 cans of cat food
  • 49 packages of dog treats
  • 9 packages of cat treats
  • 12 greenies
  • 21 cat toys
  • 15 cat wands
  • 20 kongs
  • 100 postage stamps
  • $313.00 in cash/gift cards

We also received smaller amounts of other items like bleach, paper towels, hand sanitizer, kitty litter, stuffed dog toys, a harness, and more. And with the generosity from our Giving Trees being so great, we were able to lend a hand to fellow nonprofits Born Again Pit Bull Rescue and Fido’s Dog Food Bank with surplus donations—a triple win for the animal welfare community!

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to our Giving Trees. The animals will benefit from it all, and we are forever grateful for your support.

Animal Aid Welcomes Director of Operations

Animal Aid is pleased to introduce Paige O’Rourke as its new Director of Operations! Paige is set to join the staff on Feb. 1.

Paige is passionate about animal welfare and thrilled to join the Animal Aid team. For several years she has served as a volunteer for Born Again Pit Bull Rescue (BAPBR), culminating in her role as Co-Director in charge of operations and strategic planning. She has an impressive array of skills and past experiences to bring to the table for shelter operations and outreach.

In addition to her volunteer work, Paige is coming to us from her former position as the Operations Coordinator for the nonprofit Literary Arts, where she managed a wide range of administrative and operational tasks that helped prepare her for this challenging role at Animal Aid. Her background is further augmented by her B.A. in English from Western Oregon University and M.A. in Writing and Publishing from Portland State University.

Paige is excited to apply her skill set to Animal Aid’s operational needs.  

Upon assuming her role as Director of Operations, Paige will step down as Co-Director of BAPBR. Her continued involvement as a board member and volunteer with this wonderful organization speaks to her commitment to animal welfare. We are proud to be able to add her to our staff, professionally and publicly representing Animal Aid.

Please join the staff and Board in welcoming Paige as our newest staff member at Animal Aid!

Huck Needs a Foster Home!

Huck needs an IMMEDIATE foster home. Please SHARE this page or contact us immediately if you are able to foster this dog in urgent need.

Email: or visit: Animal Aid covers all expenses. You provide the love and care.

This adorable 4-year-old yellow lab mix (70 lbs.) really knows his commands, is house trained and loves playtime. Huck’s a bouncy young boy and would do best in a home with adults.


You can see more about me on my bio HERE>

Are you game to play fetch and care for this young and energetic boy? Please email us at: