Last summer, as part of my continuing education as a small animal massage professional, I have attended a week long training course in rehabilitation massage. I was particularly looking forward to this class because it was held at the Oregon Humane Society.
OHS is located in NE Portland, and the city itself is very dog friendly.
I knew the shelter is one of the leading facilities in the NorthWest, but to witness first hand what they have to offer was an amazing opportunity.
According to their website: “OHS is now the largest humane society in the Northwest, and adopts more animals from our Portland shelter than any other single-facility shelter on the West coast. OHS puts no time limits on how long animals remain at the shelter—a pet stays available for adoption for as long as needed to find a loving home. If a pet in our care needs medical attention, our veterinary hospital provides the pet with same level of care you would want your own pet to receive.”
The shelter was founded in 1868 but the current 46,000 sq. foot shelter opened in 2000 and can care for 92 small animals, 120 cats and 120 dogs. The large complex features state-of-the-art animal shelter, veterinary hospital, and behavior facility, as well as two well stocked gift shops from which proceeds go back to the shelter.
The shelter’s grounds are just as impressive. The 10-acre campus includes an award-winning rose garden and the oldest pet cemetery west of the Mississippi. The cemetery doubles as a large off leash park for local dogs and shelter pets. Here you will also find the grave of Bobbie of Silverton, a dog who trekked across the country to reunite with his family.
Each day we would spend time in the kennels (which are all indoors, designed for maximum comfort and kept immaculately clean) practicing our skills on the adoptable dogs. We later found out that all the dogs we worked with were adopted out either while we were there or shortly after we left, as the massage allowed them to relax and potential adopters are more inclined to look at calmer dogs.
In 2007, OHS opened the Animal Medical Learning Center, consisting of the Holman Medical Center plus a behavior center that provides classes for the public. The medical center includes three surgical suites, a digital x-ray unit, a laboratory, a pharmacy and multiple recovery rooms for cats and dogs. Every pet adopted by OHS is spayed or neutered at the hospital. Thousands of additional pets are spayed or neutered for little or no fee as part of the area-wide Spay & Save program serving low-income families.
The cats are very well taken care of as well. The OHS has a kitten room featuring play toys that can be controlled in real-time via the Internet and a number of themed cat rooms that have been sponsored by individuals or business.