Photo by Marisa Hossick

Dr. Dolittle

Eugene bar owner has an extended family

Emily Chappell, co-owner of Old Nick’s Pub, is otherwise known by her friends as “Dr. Dolittle.” That’s because she has a horse, three cats, a wolfdog, fish, chickens, ducks, quail and a starling all living in her backyard.

“I have a bit of a menagerie,” Chappell says. The animals, except the horse, live on Nyman’s third of an acre property just outside of town.

She says her pets give her a break from the constant socializing she does at Nick’s. “At heart I’m definitely an introvert.”

“I find the times that I’m riding my horse, with Moro [her wolfdog], out in the woods I don’t have to worry about anything besides just breathing and enjoying the experience.”

Chappell says she has always had pets, but that she first started building her avian family when she was going through cancer treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma from 2010 to 2012. “All my life I’d wanted a canary because they have the most beautiful song.” 

So she bought one and named him Freddie Mercury.

“I would be feeling down and I would hear that pretty song and it would give me something to focus on and remind me of all the beautiful things on Earth. ” Her quail, chicken and ducks are all “prolific layers,” and Chappell and her husband are continually giving away eggs. She says they are delicious.

“There’s something special about an animal that’s been well cared for. It gets to roam free-range on grass and eat insects and just be happy,” she says. “It’s like you can taste the happiness, as cheesy as that sounds.”