About Alexis Peterka

UX empath, dog whisperer, circus freak.

Is Your Dog Portland’s Next Top Dog Model?

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The Oregon Humane Society wants to know if your dog will be Portland’s Next Top Dog Model!

You can enter your photogenic pooch online by June 14th, and the public can attend the final judging on June 28th at the dog-friendly Hotel Monaco in downtown Portland.

Hurry, the deadline to enter is only two days away!

Hat tip to Monique Balas at the Oregonian 🙂

Would You Take In Eight Disabled Dogs?

Still of video - dog in wheelchair

video still from KATU news

What started out as an amazing story – a pup run over by a motorcycle and left for dead in  Costa Rica, then brought to the US for veterinary care – just got more tearful.

Papillo’s new family already includes SEVEN disabled dogs, including a blind Lab and a Great Dane with intestinal issues.

While the new owners seem capable and rational about what constitutes humane veterinary care, would you consider taking in this many animals with disabilities?

3 Lessons You Should Learn From Your Dog

Dog graduate

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Not a day goes by that I don’t envy and admire my dog a little. Not just because he gets to sleep all day and doesn’t have to work – he also embodies many of the characteristics and behaviors I aspire to, and struggle with.

Here’s some of what Jake reminds me to to:

Live in the moment

Jake isn’t obsessed with the past, or neurotically planning the future. He doesn’t have insomnia (at least as far as I can tell). Like the Buddhists, he lives in the moment, enjoying the now instead of regretting the past or obsessing about the future.

My lesson: Put down the smartphone, and look at the clouds, the grass, the piece of ball fluff hanging from Jake’s mouth.

Jake with ball fuzz stuck in his teeth


There’s almost never a time when Jake doesn’t want to play. Meanwhile, there’s almost never I time that I’m not whipsawing between feeling guilty for not playing with him more and irritation that he’s putting his toys in my lap again. Can’t you see I’m screwing around on Facebook, dog? I always feel better when I do play, yet I am convinced that adults shouldn’t.

My lesson: When someone asks me to play, play. They may not ask again.

Be open

Jake likes pretty much everyone. The mailman who delivers to our office is one of his favorites, and it seems like every time we visit an off-leash park he makes a new friend. Recently, one of those friends was a spectacularly blue-eyed mutt with an owner wearing big dark sunglasses and a hoodie. I was apprehensive at first, but as our dogs played together, we chatted and I found out she and I had a lot in common!

My lesson: Looks can be deceiving, and people can have a lot more to offer than what you see on the surface. It’s worth taking the time to find out.

What lessons have you learned from you dog? What inspires you about your pets?

Pet Pride Party & Parade!

Dog carrying rainbow flag

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If you’ll be in Portland June 14th and looking for something to do with your dog, join The Hip Hound for a Pets of Pride party! Between the costume contest, champagne, parade, and professional pet photography by Mayhem Doggie, you and your furry friend are sure to have a good time.

The Details

Where: The Hip Hound, 610 NW 23rd Ave, Portland OR

When: Thursday, June 14th from 5pm – 7pm

How much: Free! An 8 x 10 print of your dog is $15.

Are You Ready For Take Your Dog To Work Day?

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Take Your Dog To Work Day is on Friday, June 22 – are you and your pup ready? As someone who gets to bring her dog to work every day, I know I’m spoiled. Pet Sitters International has been promoting Take Your Dog To Work Day since 1999 to raise awareness of how much dogs bring to our lives and to encourage adoption.

But before you bring Fido into your office, there are some things you should prepare for and keep in mind:

Ask permission. This is the first step, and the most important. Ask HR if you can bring your dog to work, and ask your coworkers if they’re allergic or afraid of dogs.

Make your dog a good canine coworker. Has your pup had his shots? A bath? Is he potty trained? You love your dog, but not everyone else does. Make sure people will want to be around your dog.

Follow the rules. Portland advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy permits employees to bring their dogs to work, as long as they’re non-agressive, potty trained, and on a 6′ leash. You can work on acclimating your dog to a stimulating workplace by bringing him to coffee shops or other dog-friendly places where he can get used to being around new people.

Over-pack for dog’s day out. Be sure to bring any food your dog may need to stay on his regular feeding schedule, a water bowl, special treats, poop bags, toys or rawhides to keep him occupied, and a leash to tether him to your desk or other immovable object if you have to leave him unattended. Don’t tie him to a rolling office chair – I’ve seen an eighty pound Rhodesian Ridgeback drag one across an office and down stairs in pursuit of his master!

Some people just aren’t dog people. If your coworkers seem afraid or avoidant of your dog, don’t press the issue. Be considerate of peoples’ time and space – you are at work, after all.

Keep temptations out of reach. Candy jars and low, uncovered trash cans are not uncommon in offices. It’s not your coworkers’ responsibility to keep your dog out of their lunch, so take the time to dog-proof your work space beforehand.

Have an escape hatch. Your dog may get bored during your work day. Make sure you have open time in your schedule to take him to a nearby park or grassy area for a game of fetch or potty time.

Speed Dating Goes To The Dogs. Literally.

A speed date at the dog park?

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Speed dating – a round-robin type of event with the goal of meeting as many potential mates as possible – have been around for at least a decade. One enterprising pet rescue has decided to take the concept one step further, helping potential pet parents find a new four-legged friend.

On five-minute “dates,” the potential adopters will interact one-on-one with a furry suitor. This time is used to see if chemistry exists between the dog and person.

Event organizer Pam Partis hopes to arrange for eight dogs to attend the event.

Personally, I love this idea as a way to find new homes for well-socialized dogs. At last year’s Portland White Party, I was able to take a break from the human socializing to spend time with some of Oregon Humane Society‘s special guests:

(photo by Michelle Pearl Gee)

While I have a full house right now, pet-wise, I would welome the opportunity to “try before I buy”. Allowing potential adoptees to interact in a warm, casual environment outside the shelter helps everyone’s personality shine through, human and canine.

Would you prefer to interact with a potential new pet in a neutral location before adopting? And are appetizers and wine an enticement to attend?

7 Tips For Summer Pet Safety

Now that it’s summer, our four-legged friends are spending more time outdoors, being active – and that comes with risks. Here are some important tips for keeping your dog safe in the hot summer months:

Hot car in the city. Don’t leave your dog in the car when it’s warm – temperatures inside a closed car can be 20 degrees or more above the outside ambient temperature. That means that although it’s only a balmy 80 outside, your dog will be at risk of heat stroke and suffocation in your 100 degree car.

Avoid the hottest part of the day. If you usually exercise your dog in the middle of the day, consider switching to early mornings or evenings, to keep you both cool. You wouldn’t want to go for a jog when it’s 90 degrees out, would you?

Water, water everywhere. Trips to the park for exercise when it’s hot out require frequent water breaks. If your park has a water fountain, bring along a collapsible bowl. Otherwise, make sure to bring an extra bottle of water.

Picnic and BBQ vigilance. We’re more likely to eat outside during the summer, adding more temptation for our dogs to try to steal food that could make them sick. Keep an eye on your picnic basket, even during that scintillating game of badminton, and put your steaks and other goodies high enough that your pup can’t get at them.

Itchy and scratchy. With more outdoor activities comes increased exposure to fleas and ticks. Set up a recurring event on your calendar to remind you to administer flea and tick prevention when appropriate, and make sure to stock up from a trusted source.

Bang! Independence Day is one of the most enjoyable summer holidays for humans, but loud fireworks can upset animals and cause them to bolt in fear. Keep pets inside, give dogs a safe place to “hide”, and make sure all pets are wearing collars with ID just in case someone pulls a legger.

Toxin risks. If you use petroleum based fertilizers – or any substances that have a poison warning on the container – on your garden, keep pets away for the period stated on the label. If you have an emergency, the ASPCA’s poison control center operates a 24/7 hotline at (888) 426-4435 (there’s a $65 charge).

June is Adopt a Cat Month!

Photo courtesy Oregon Humane Society – adopt Kent the cat!

Big thanks to Monique Balas at the Oregonian for reminding us that June is Adopt a Cat month!

While summer is kitten season, there are plenty of more mature cats, like 7-year-old Kent above, who need loving, forever homes as much as their youthful colleagues.

That’s why Cat Adoption Team is encouraging potential adopters by having a “name your own adoption fee” day today for all cats over 12 months old.