Subject: Holy Cow Y'all What A Month!

Holy Cow Y'all! What A Month!
Breathe in, Breathe Out

This month again begs the eternally repeated question of the year: Could things get worse? I hesitate to ask, because I feel like if I do we’ll probably get locusts.
It’s amazing to have air quality index rated as “Good” as opposed to Hazardous (air quality index charts usually only go up to 500, which is qualified as “Hazardous”, and we were in the 700's at one point this last week, and over 500 for the other days). That 8 day stretch of terrible smoke was one of the hardest weeks in our history. It was worse for our business than any of the ice storms that have shut down our business in past years, as we don’t necessarily have to come in at all during a vicious ice storm! With this, we so very much wanted to get our customers what they needed, but it was difficult. Of course the severity of these fires increased so quickly, most customers were unprepared and we of course had no idea in the beginning that it would affect our business so much. We just have the flimsy fabric masks for Covid purposes, which are meaningless when it comes to this smoke. That first smokey Friday was suddenly terrible, and our employees were quickly sickened by the amount of smoke that rushes in through the doorway when it's opened. They stuck it out longer than they should have and were seriously affected by it before they called us begging to go home. (Mike and I had the day off). We quickly looked into renting air purifying equipment, but with 35,000 cubic feet of space to clean in just the big room, it was impossible to find a unit that would work and was incredibly cost-impossible, not to mention already completely unavailable. We had to make the decision to be closed on Saturday. I went in early Saturday morning to make a sign and a new voicemail and we were flooded with orders on email and voicemail. Employee Emily had missed the text about us being closed and showed up and was happy to help since she was there. We started calling people who wanted food and getting them to run over to get their stuff ASAP, keeping the door locked and putting orders outside the door as quickly as we could when they arrived. We were rushing around filling orders and found ourselves out of breath so quickly. The phone was ringing off the hook and within a few hours there was such a surprising amount of smoke in the store we realized we had to just stop taking orders, as it often takes a long time for people to be able to come over. (This means us continuing to work in this smokey space long after we stop taking the orders). This trend continued through the whole week, with us being able to answer phone and email orders for just an hour or two, and fighting the terrible symptoms of smoke inhalation for a few more hours, putting orders together and waiting for pickup until we could truly take no more smoke. One of our customers is a toxicologist that said how good it was that we were closing up when it got bad, and said that people don’t realize just how toxic this smoke is. She reminded us that instead of just wood smoke like old fashioned forest fires, what we were breathing is a mix of terrible chemicals that are released when homes and cars are destroyed: insulation, asbestos, rubber tires, synthetic carpets, plastics, etc etc. These chemicals and particulates can’t be filtered by fabric masks, and they don’t leave our lungs. Our burning eyes and throats, our panting when we tried to hurry to spare a customer standing outside in the smoke, and the coughing and the heaviness in our chests told us she was right on point. Our hearts went out to those who are houseless, sleeping in tents and breathing that smoke 24/7. 
Then right on the heels of that…RBG...

What we’re grateful for: Thanks go out to our friend Heidi who owns Meat For Cats and Dogs who gifted us ten kN95 masks for our staff in case this happens again, which was so generous!

We are so incredibly grateful for all of you that have been so understanding and supportive of us trying to keep ourselves and our employees safe. The very last thing we ever want to do is turn even a single person away - this week has been a terrible financial blow to us, and we can’t stand the fact that many of you who needed supplies were not able to get them from us. So many of you have been so lovely - reaching out to us over social media telling us you’re glad to support a store that looks out for its employees. We thank you deeply for your kindness and understanding. It’s been very reassuring, especially in the face of the inevitable yelling and hangups etc of frustrated customers, who were luckily the minority. Retail is an adventure, I’ll tell you! 

Now we’re so grateful to be reveling in the joy of clean air, vowing to try not to take it for granted. 

We’re crossing our fingers that the rain doesn’t mean mudslides, and keeping our eyes out for locusts… So instead of dwelling on worrisome things, let’s turn Holy Cow Y’all to Happy Fall Y’all! Thanks to Kosmo in that photo above to remind us to be happy in the moment about the things we can be happy about! 


If you ever want to donate food or gently used supplies to those in need, we can always find a way to use them where it's needed most. Two weeks ago, we sent a big pile to Alabama. There’s a group called Free State 4 paws, which is an amazing organization that fosters dogs. They live in an area without any shelters at all, so they're the only hope for unwanted or lost dogs in this part of Alabama. Animal control officers only have one terrible option as there are no facilities to house stray pets, even temporarily. Volunteers affiliated with the organization bring as many donations of food and supplies as they can gather to Alabama, and then brings the van back with a group of dogs to be adopted out here in Portland by groups like Underdogs Rock.
On Sept 10th we sent a pile of food with Daphna, an intrepid and dedicated Portland volunteer who brought it to Clackamas County fairgrounds to help pets whose families no longer have anything due to fires, let alone pet food. (Normally she brings our donations to Portland public schools food bank for families facing financial problems, or to the Portland designated homeless encampment downtown, for their pets.) When we told folks about this on social media, several customers called to offer to buy more supplies for families with pets affected by fire. The first offered $150, and by buying things at our cost, they were able to stretch the money to buy a plastic kennel, 2 big bags of kibble, 2 cases of canned food, a litter box and litter and some metal bowls. The next two customers allowed us to buy several more big bags of food, and we emptied our donation boxes of the few things they still had, including another 25lb of food that we donated, and some leashes and collars. Resourceful Daphna found another volunteer from Fences for Fido who was headed down to Salem Fair Grounds, so these donations went right out the door.

We’re coordinating another trip down to Salem right now to deliver a combined load from us and The Filling Station. One of our customers just brought a fantastic big crate and small one as well. We can’t wait to get them down there. I just brought the crates Friday morning and a handful of bags of food to the Filling Station, and saw their ginormous donation - it’s so much food! I posted a call out for volunteers to drive down to Salem Humane Society to deliver all of our stuff, and we were amazed at how many customers offered to go - you guys are the best! We just found out Friday morning that Salem Humane Society is only taking crates and pate cat cans. Amazingly, we also just got news that Feline Naturals just donated 3,000 cans of food (WOW!), so customer volunteer Eric loaded up his car at the Filling Station Saturday morning and headed on down to Salem with those cans and the crates. We’re reaching out to other organizations for the huge pile of dry food and hopefully getting those out the door ASAP with some of the other volunteers waiting in the wings. 


The new Flex Forward recycling program is so fantastic! All empty pet food bags and pet treat bags are recyclable, and will be turned into toys and bedding for shelter animals. This is going to make a significant dent in plastic waste as it becomes a national program, but the key to its success will be this: Give that bag a quick rinse before you bring it back to us. Some bags still have a bunch of kibble left in the bottom or other gross stuff which could contaminate the plastic of the whole load. The cleaner the plastic, the more recyclable it is. Remember there should be no sneaking in of other plastic bags. The plastics in the pet food and treat bags are different from many other plastic bags, and we don’t want to ruin the success of this amazing program by sending plastics that will ruin the recyclability of all of the other bags.Both of these things are true for keeping your curbside bin recyclable as well!


Fall rains mean muddy paws! Never fear your adventurous pup’s dirty paws again with the MudBuster Portable Dog Paw Cleaner. Now your best friend can have all the muddy, sandy fun he wants without tracking it into your home or vehicle. The Mudbuster (available in 3 sizes) features soft, thick silicone bristles inside an easy-to-grip BPA-free tumbler that works like a miniature agitation washer for his paws. Just fill the tumbler with water, insert his dirty paw, give the tumbler a few twists, and pull out a perfectly clean paw. Repeat with each foot, dab them dry and you’re good to go! Both the tumbler and bristles are top-rack dishwasher safe for easy cleaning and sanitizing. Our Michelle has tried it and says that it works great on Tully’s paws, and that he’s more patient with it than when she’s trying to get between his pads trying to get the crusty bits off. Check it out Here NOTE: Mudbusters will be arriving on Wednesday


Doodlebug Duds makes the best raincoats - warm, water repellent, easy to put on, and they have great reflective strips. Made right in Beaverton by nice ladies, these coats are also very cost effective! 

Green Tip: Buying local is the most sustainable way to shop. Think of all of the fossil fuels saved when a finished product travels just across town vs. all the way from SE Asia! Buying local from companies like Doodlebug Duds and from us also keeps your money in our local economy. Woot Woot!


We have a good selection of lights for collars at a variety of price points, many of which are rechargeable. (would you like to shop for them without coming in? Email us at and I’ll send you an email with photos and prices for all of them!)

Our favorite for high visibility are the NiteDog Rechargeable LED Leashes and collars. This eye-catching equipment features end-to-end illumination that can be solid or flashing, is weather resistant, and has easy push-button operation. We love the idea of the leash, as it will really light up the presence of both dog and walker, and even casts a glow to the ground to help you navigate the potholes. The collar is amazing for times at dusk that you might be at the park off leash - you won’t miss them with this collar on! 


It's time for a bit of indoor fun, don't you think? We have loads of adorable and sustainable stuffed animals in the store right now!

What makes a stuffed animal sustainable? Some are made by B-Corp companies who are dedicated to sustainable and ethical business practices in all aspects of their operations, and are certified as such. Some are making their toys with recycled plastics diverted from landfill, some are made with scraps of material salvaged from the production of other products, and some are making toys that are more durable than other brands, staying out of landfills longer and not requiring replacement as often (saving you money too).
So come support your locally owned independent pet supply stores after last week's terrible smokey business disaster (those big chain stores like Mud Bay will be just fine) and grab a squeaky hamburger, a rainbow colored llama, or a giant trout for your goofy toy-loving dog!

New Puppy/New Dog?Check out our training and care tips on the Green Dog Blog (all articles in this series are linked to each other at the end of each article). Start with this one

New Kitten/New Cat? 
Check out this comprehensive article addressing cat behavior and communication, introduction tips for other pets in the home, nutrition, scratching furniture, litterbox issues, and more. 

Thank You So Much For Your Support!

Happy Fall, Y'all!
Located in Beaumont Village
4327 NE Fremont Street, Portland, Oregon 97213

Telephone: 503-528-1800

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