Category Archives: Blog

Fall Newsletter: Tips from the Vet: Pets and the Holidays

Let’s keep holidays happy for pets as well as for people!

In the upcoming onslaught of holidays, we need to stay aware of possible hazards to our furry family members.  The signature feasts at Thanksgiving and Christmas offer so many tempting smells we need to keep pets from helping themselves to unattended plates and glasses, leftovers not securely stored or disposed of, and guests giving in to begging because changes in diet, fatty or spicy foods, bones or possible bone pieces can wreak havoc on a pet’s digestive system.  Vomiting, diarrhea, pancreatitis or even an obstruction or perforation could ruin your gathering and even threaten your pet’s life.

Remember too, that access to chocolate and other items that are sweetened with xylitol will still be present as will macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, onions, unbaked yeast dough, alcoholic eggnogs and other items are fine for people but toxic to pets.  A tiny bit of boneless turkey meat, or better yet, some green beans or a little sweet potato stuffed into a Kong or in their dish with their usual fare is generally safe if you feel you simply must let them share your feast.  In case of any illness or change in behavior, contact your veterinarian or veterinary emergency clinic.

Beyond foods, decorations and toys can hold risks: the pollen from lilies in a centerpiece can injure your cat’s kidneys, even if she doesn’t snack on the petals or leaves.  Many houseplants are somewhat toxic: check the ASPCA website for excellent pictures of toxic plants (  It’s safest to just keep plants out of reach of pets.  Toys, table or tree décor and gift wrappings can feature ribbons, strings, long feathers, fronds, or wires, all of which can entice playfulness in a pet but are dangerous if swallowed.  Keep them out of reach or securely behind closed doors.

I have known a hound who found the six boxes of extra-special Belgian chocolates brought from Europe, lovingly wrapped, placed under the family tree; he opened and ate every package in a 15 minute lapse of human attention. Young pets, pets new to the household or shy and anxious pets are particularly at risk of dashing out a momentarily opened door when visitors are arriving or leaving;  if pets can be comfortable in a quiet room away from the party they may be much happier and certainly safer there.

Be sure they are wearing identification on their collars and are microchipped and the chips are registered so that if they do escape, they have the best chance of being identified and reunited with you.  Walking around the neighborhood with flashlights and raincoats, calling your pet’s name, is no way to end a party.  Let your houseguests know your pet’s routines, so they won’t let the indoor-only cat outside or fail to alert you to the dog scratching at the door or whining.  If your pet does escape, post notices and notify local animal control agencies and veterinary offices immediately, and do keep searching: most of the time the pet is simply frightened, has found a seemingly safe place to hole up for a little while, and will come out and be seen by someone within a few hours.

With planning and foresight, we’ll all enjoy our holidays safely and securely.

Dr. Andy Frost, Board of Directors and veterinarian at Pacific Veterinary Hospital


Fall Newsletter: Happy Tails: Animal Aid Alumni One Year Later

Any Animal Aid adoption counselor can tell you how joyful it is to take a cat or dog home to his or her forever home.  But another special occasion is celebrating those same pet placements down the line, after cats and dogs have settled in with their adopters, whom they now know as family.

We would like to recognize the one-year adoption anniversaries of the 28 animals who were adopted between August and December of 2015.

ophelia-th-img_3268One of those adoption anniversaries was Ophelia.  Before coming to Animal Aid, she spent about six weeks on the street.  That’s a tough situation for any cat, but it was even harder for Ophelia as she was born without eyes.  She was alone in a world of darkness.  Now a year later, Ophelia has the love of her adoptive mom in a safe home.

To hear more about Ophelia’s happy tail, visit

All of the cats and dogs Animal Aid cares for currently are hoping to become Animal Aid alumni soon too.

With continued donor support, homeless cats and dogs could be celebrating their adoption anniversaries this time next year.

Pledge to help Animal Aid today.  You can donate online at


Fall Newsletter: Cats Who Fly: Two Louisiana Kitties Come to Animal Aid

jazzy-and-buster-rf_0640Flooding over the summer left the state of Louisiana in shambles and several of its animal shelters overwhelmed by the amount of homeless animals.

Wings of Rescue, which flies at risk healthy pets from high intake shelters to no-kill shelters, had a plane fly west to help save dozens of furry lives from the floods.  The plane included two cats bound for Animal Aid.

Now Jazzy and Buster are honorary Oregonians.  Jazzy has found her forever home and Buster is available for adoption.  Learn more about Buster at

We are proud our shelter could get Buster and Jazzy out of a tragic and dangerous situation.


Fall Newsletter: Paws Up for Foster Parents

neil-th-img_8189Neil, a  small terrier Shiba Inu mix, was homeless and in a high-kill shelter. Things looked up after he was placed in a home but then that fell through, leaving Neil discouraged and insecure.  But now Neil lives in a foster home arranged by Animal Aid while he waits for his permanent home.

All dogs, and some cats, in Animal Aid’s care are placed into foster homes while they await adoption.  For our foster parents, we cover all pet expenses while they provide the love.

Foster homes provide animals individualized care and socialization to ensure they will be easy to place in new homes and be adopted by families that can best meet their needs.  Without foster homes,  Animal Aid wouldn’t be able to adopt out dogs.

Animal Aid dogs have come from the streets, abusive homes and overcrowded shelters, but they feel safe and secure with their foster parents and ensured care.                  

Become a foster parent, save a life.

Contact Or make a donation to Animal Aid to support our Foster Home Program.


Fall Newsletter: Leo’s Journey with Animal Aid

leo-th-img_2285Despite his creamy fur and calm demeanor, Leo is a senior kitty who’s had a rough time.

Leo first came to Animal Aid at the beginning of 2014.  After some time in the shelter, Leo went into a foster home, back to Animal Aid and then to another foster home.

While in his second foster home this year, Leo was diagnosed with a condition he was born with which made his retina detach in one of his eyes.  Because of this condition, Leo’s left eye had to be removed. He also has kidney disease.

Thanks to generous donations, Animal Aid was able to pay for Leo’s eye surgery and has made him comfortable in the shelter’s blue room, where he currently resides.

Leo embodies the type of animal that Animal Aid hopes to help under its mission of compassion for sick and harder to place pets.

Leo is member pet of Animal Aid’s Heartstrings program, which allows donors to sponsor long-time shelter residents.

Heartstrings pets may be senior animals getting passed by for younger pets, formerly abused and neglected pets needing more tender loving care, shy pets requiring extra reassurance from people or animals with medical conditions.

Animal Aid knows Leo’s forever family is out there.  Your donation to the Heartstrings program can help Leo continue to be well taken care of during his time at the shelter.

Learn more about the Heartstrings program at

Animal Aid Welcomes Three New Board Members


Animal Aid elected three new members to its Board of Directors in July: Nicole Baker, Cheryl Bolotin, and Beth Ernst joined the existing six members.

“The new members have diverse backgrounds and expertise in areas that will help Animal Aid continue to grow and meet the demands of Portland’s homeless pet population. Their compassion for animals has been shown through countless hours volunteering with the organization,” said Board President Gail Luciani.

Nicole Baker has an extensive background in marketing and public relations. She started her career in the 1990s as the Marketing Manager for a Web site development company. She spent much of her time educating the public on the power of the Internet.  She subsequently worked as an Account Manager at the Bernhardt Agency and in Sales Training at Nike. Over the past 15 years, she has owned a variety of businesses, including a construction company and a children’s store.  She is currently helping clients brand their businesses and create a presence on social media. She holds a BA in Public Relations from Pepperdine University. Nicole’s expertise in modern marketing will help expand Animal Aid’s communications efforts. She is currently a member of several Animal Aid committees and has spent time as a Socializer and Caregiver for the animals in the shelter. Nicole shares her home with two daughters, three cats, a dog, and a tortoise.

Cheryl Bolotin is a forward-thinking marketing leader with over 13 years of experience in high-tech and B2B industries with proven success in account management, channel marketing, and project management. She holds a BA in Business Administration from the University of San Diego and MBA from the Drucker School of Management. Currently she is an Account Supervisor for a local marketing consulting firm. She is originally from Southern California but has lived in Portland for the past 10 years. Cheryl has been a volunteer with Animal Aid for more than four years. She takes pride in her weekly caregiving at the shelter and volunteering at Animal Aid events. She greatly enjoys being part of the core team that has organized the annual fall fundraiser and takes part in fundraising for the event. Cheryl has been an animal lover her entire life, so volunteering with Animal Aid has been a natural fit. On her free time, she loves to hike with her dog and spend time gardening. She shares her home with a tabby cat and pit-mix pup.

Beth Ernst has spent much of her career in the nonprofit sector, initially doing hands-on work as a child care worker in Denver, Colorado, and Belfast, Ireland. She then moved to the administrative side of nonprofit management for Brethren Volunteer Services in Illinois.  Upon moving to Portland, she joined Animal Aid as the Office Coordinator.  For five years, she was the key administrator for the organization, eventually becoming the Operations Manager. After moving to Vancouver, Washington, she remained an active volunteer with Animal Aid by serving as the Emergency Dog Kennel Coordinator and by being a dog foster. She currently works in administrative support for Clark College. Beth brings with her a rich and vibrant understanding of Animal Aid’s operations, as well as many administrative talents and a passion for animal welfare and rescue. She shares her home with her husband, four cats (all Animal Aid alumni), and an Animal Aid foster dog.

Animal Aid is a nonprofit, no-kill animal shelter that is dedicated to passionately serving animals and the people they love. Started in 1969 by Portland radio personality Jack Hurd as a way to help the many cats abandoned in Laurelhurst Park, Animal Aid quickly resonated with the people of Portland and began helping homeless pets city-wide.