August 4th, 2004 12:00 am Byron Beck | Special Section Stories



best domestic decipherer: animal psychic

best work for alley cats

Saint Bernards have a future with the alpine rescue team, and Dalmatians are a shoo-in at the fire department, but how's your average tabby supposed to land a job? Stray cats find a home (and a career) at Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital (1984 NW Pettygrove St., 228-7281). When they're not prowling the premises at leisure, seven on-staff kitties perform 35 blood-donation transfusions a month. The 24-hour vet's office stays stocked with much-needed cat plasma, and these homeless felines beat the streets. This calls for a nap.

best way to cool your pets

Portlanders love their pups. We pamper them, we coddle them, we let their cute little paws walk all over us--which is why so many dogs are behaviorally challenged and dog-owners frustrated, claims international obedience troop BarkBusters, which has been gaining notoriety for its lightning-quick results returning order to families with dysfunctional pooches. "To dogs, the most important thing is the leader of the pack," says Jenny Osborn, pack-leader for the central PDX BarkBusters (, 1-877-280-7100) that opened earlier this year. "In the wild, without a leader, the pack would perish." The trick? Never punish the dog. The organization relies instead on positive reinforcement, voice control and body-language techniques to show the dog who is boss. (That's you, remember?) These techniques form a much-needed canine hierarchy that relieves as much stress on your four-legged friend as it does you. Bow. Wow.

best feline fixers

If it weren't for the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon (, 797-2606), the state would probably be covered in nothing but cat hair. This nonprofit spay-and-neuter organization celebrates its 20,000th snipping this month as the most successful program to curb cat overpopulation in the country. "What's the most impressive part of a program that has spayed or neutered 20,000 cats is the number of kittens prevented," says FCCO Executive Director Karen Krause. "If one cat and all of her offspring had just one litter of four, in nine years there would be 349,525 additional cats! Multiplying that by 20,000, you get an incomprehensible number. Try it."

best domestic decipherer

Next time Fido soils the rug or Fluffy shreds the drapes, consider reaching for the number of an animal psychic rather than for a rolled-up newspaper. "Most people believe animals talk to them," explains Faye Pietrokowsky. "They know it, but they can't accept it." According to the 49-year-old, who taught communications at both Marylhurst and Oregon State universities, problematic pets are often acting out their "issues." She recalls a pissed-off parrot with a penchant for vanilla ice cream. Apparently the angry Amazonian felt shortchanged by his stay-at-home owner's portioning habits. It seems the bird could see the whole damn container yet received but a teaspoonful, tops. After a visit from Pietrokowsky, he was "heard" and ceased his cage-rattling cacophony, not to mention his reliance on those devilish dairy solids. Check out Faye's work online at, or check into the pet-friendly Fifth Avenue Suites (506 SW Washington St., 222-0001) the last Friday of every month, where this psychic conducts complimentary readings of your pet's deepest thoughts.

best place to get good heads

In the heart of the Pearl District at Bernadette Breu Antiques (1134 NW Everett St., 226-6565), you will find all sorts of cool vintage stuff, including a wall of stuffed animals: water buffalo, boars and other traditional taxidermy. You'll also find two deer heads covered in seashells. These nostalgically romantic noggins are part of co-owner Liz Johnson's mosaic of work, a shell-sheathed organic montage ranging from mirrors, shrines and coat hooks to the aforementioned mounts, priced from $18 to $1,800. "I really didn't like shells that much," confesses Johnson, 56, who began working them about five years ago. "I made a small mirror, and it just grew from there." Johnson plans to feature her work at a new outlet of Bernadette Breu at 7600 N Interstate Ave. (805-4261).

best doggy dash

For many travelers, leaving Fido with a stranger (or, even worse, Uncle Eddie) can be nothing short of traumatic. And yet! These days, airline travelers can board the family dog right before boarding the airplane. Just minutes from PDX, the AirPet Hotel (6212 NE 78th Court St., 255-1388, charges $19 to $24 a day, depending on type of board and care. Open just four months, the owners have struck a discount deal with their next-door neighbors, the Radisson Hotel, allowing customers parking for $6 a day and access to a free shuttle. Now that's something to bark about.

most secure location for high fliers

As if enough Californians haven't invaded our fair state, they've gone and relocated their condors here as well. As the fourth national member of the California Condor Recovery Program, the Oregon Zoo's conservation facility in Clackamas County ( is the proud home of six condor pairs and one new hatchling. The breeding facility's isolation--50 fenced acres on 520 acres of Metro-donated land--is essential to the program's success. Captive-hatched condors must have minimal contact with humans to survive and breed in the wild. "We're working with [the condors], but they never see us," says Joe Burnett, assistant curator. One-way glass and sliding doors keep the birds' natural curiosity at bay. Incidentally, the California condor's range once included Oregon, so it's a welcome homecoming. The cool-looking guy with the expensive sunglasses who just cut you off in traffic? Well, that's another story.

best blast for benji

Mother-daughter team Janet and Sherri Diteman started Good Dogma eight years ago and have been supplying dogs from Tokyo to Chicago with natural beauty products ever since. Pooch-approved essential oils, spritzers, soaps and scented candles start at $5.95 for an anti-fungal aromabath bar sure to leave Fido smelling like a rose. Even better, this Portland pair's day-spa gear is safe for pet parents as well, so surf's up in the tub for all y'all. Plus, there are the medicinal uses of such herbs as lavender (a natural insect repellent) and rosewood (an antidepressant). Products are available through the company's site ( and locally at Wiggles and Wags (6141 SW Macadam Ave., #105, 977-1775), Beauty for the Beast (3832 NE Sandy Blvd., 288-5280) and other locations.

best hen house

Residing in the back yard of Kelsy Heinold's Northeast Stafford Street home are the happiest chickens in town. Butta, Bob and Sugar--three is the legal limit for Portland domestic chickens--live in a posh 8-by-8-foot co-op coop with an enclosed, straw-padded chicken yard. Shaded by a veritable jungle of plant trellises, sunflowers and tomato plants, the chickens lead a secluded life of ease. The monthly rent for the birds? Butta, Bob and Sugar keep the yard weed-free and provide Heinold a continuous supply of eggs for breakfast.

Inside "Best of Portland 2004"


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