Eugene Weekly : Cover Story : 7.29.2010


Pets Issue 2010:

Going to the Dogs (And Cats)

Does This Spay Make My Butt Look Big? The real facts on spay and neuter

Take ‘em or Leave ‘em It’s vacation time, doggone it

‘We’re Here for Everything On call 24-7-365 at the Emergency Veterinary Hospital


Going to the Dogs
(And Cats)
by Camilla Mortensen

Along with being a top bike city, a top hippie city and a Mecca for treehuggers, Eugene is a great city for animal lovers. The Bijou Cinema had its much-mourned Boo the cat; KMTR watchers still miss Helmsley the Weather Dog’s cute outfits. EW has Tina Fey Fish, senior aquatics correspondent — an elderly blue betta we welcomed to our offices after her career in radio ended earlier this year — and it’s not unusual for dogs to be sprawled under a reporter’s desk, or for an office to be used as temporary quarters for a stray kitten. 

Polls have shown that employees who can bring their dogs to work are willing to work longer hours, and studies say that pets reduce stress, lower cholesterol, reduce depression and even help with your marriage  — couples with dogs report less tension in their relationships. So it’s no wonder that, along with the rest of us, Lane County’s celebrities have pets in their lives too. From rescued kitties to purebred hounds, politicians and musicians alike have their beastly companions to bring to the office or unwind with at home at the end of the day.

While RV manufacturers are going out of business, we hear that the pet- friendly market in Eugene is growing. Celebrities and the ordinary Eugeneans alike are willing to pay to keep our pets healthy and happy. Natures Pet Market on Willamette next to the Market of Choice ( has kitties for adoption along with healthy foods for sale, and Healing Paws Wellness Center ( brings more homeopathic and acupuncture alternatives to town. Opportunity Barks in Pleasant Hill ( brings another friendly boarding business to Lane County.

Civil liberties attorney Lauren Regan says her dog, Nakaia, “is a combination private body guard and empathic stress reliever for clients and staff alike.” Cartoonist Jan Eliot says when her popular comic strip about a single mom and her extended family was syndicated, “I hadn’t had a dog in years, but working at home seemed to be the right situation for getting one.” And Pixies founder Charles Thompson and wife Violet Clark sum it up when they say about their cat and dog, “Our hearts are bigger from having Willow and Pete in our lives.”

Got any good pet news? Drop us a note at and don’t forget to support your local rescues; you can find them at or 

Photo by Todd Cooper

Pixies founder Charles Thompson (Frank Black/Black Francis) and wife Violet Clark play together in the band Grand Duchy. Their cocker spaniel Willow was a Christmas gift to their son Julian, and their rescued cat, Pete, aka “Pointy Pete O’Sullivan Meow-Meow the Second,” (who was camera shy,) was a birthday gift to daughter Lucy. Willow also goes by the “Big Willowski,” though Clark and Thompson report neither pet has shown a propensity for bowling.


Photo by Trask Bedortha

Mason Williams is probably as well known in Eugene for his annual Christmas concert as he is for his guitar instrumental “Classical Gas.” Williams and Karen “Kitty Mother” Williams have two cats, Bob “Dusty Butts” Williams and Bob’s chocolate point Siamese sidekick, Mimi. Williams says the moniker “Dusty Butts” comes not only from Bob’s cowboy swagger but also from the Cat Code of the West, which says that no cats are supposed to get up on kitchen tables or countertops so that no cat butt dust can settle on the stuff around where the humans eat. 


Photo by Todd Cooper

Mayor Kitty Piercy says her family calls their independent-minded 18-year-old cat Jax “a Greenhill special.”  She says, “We have always adopted our pets from Greenhill.  We have a particular fondness for yellow cats.” Jax sticks close to home and has a number of friends who drop by. Piercy says, “You can never tell whether he will be shy or really taken with someone.  It just depends on his take of the person and his mood of the moment.”


Photo by Trask Bedortha

Lauren Regan, attorney, founder and executive director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center has taken her 14-year-old rescued husky-malamute mix, Nakaia, to work with her every day since the dog was a 6-week-old  pup. Regan says Kaia is sometimes called “‘Princess Fluffybutt’ because she rules the entire building full of lawyers and is a very spoiled dogchild.” She says Nakaia “regularly appears with me at public speaking events and attempts to steal the show from time to time — she thinks the crowd is there to ooh and aah at her.”


Photo by Todd Cooper

Eugene City Councilor Betty Taylor’s golden retriever puppy Lucy turned 10 weeks old on July 26. She came to Taylor from Sunshine Golden Retrievers in Dexter, who have bred goldens for hunting, show dogs, therapy and search and rescue. Taylor says Lucy “is beautiful, sweet, but still a puppy.”


Photo by Todd Cooper

Jan Eliot, who writes and illustrates the nationally syndicated cartoon “Stone Soup,” says she got her 14-year-old schipperke Lily, aka “Stink Breath” — the basis for the dog called Biscuit in “Stone Soup” — during her first year of syndication. “When she was just a few months old, she escaped out the front door at six in the morning. It was rainy and still dark. She’s all black; she just disappeared, and I had no idea how to get her back, and didn’t want to yell because the neighbors were all asleep. Fortunately, she is addicted to food, and when I whispered ‘Biscuit?’ she popped up out of the shrubbery and ran to me.” Sydney, a 10-year-old corgi, “hates car rides and walks prefers carpet and stuffed toys, and as many naps as possible. Preferably in full sun.”


Photo by Jon Meyers

Congressman Peter DeFazio and Myrnie Daut are the proud dog parents of Bilbo, a part black Labrador, part Newfoundland and Rusty, a Chesapeake bay retriever. DeFazio recently introduced a bill that would put an end to predator poisons that have killed family pets, and the Humane Society Legislative Fund gave him a score of 100+ for his votes in the 110th Congress.





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