We really can’t say enough good things about the Pixie Project. Owner Amy Sacks has a positive outlook on animal rescue and adoption, and her enthusiasm and love for all animals is contagious. When thinking about pet adoption, she doesn’t want people to think of a “sad Sarah McLachlan song”. She’s all about finding the joy in animal adoption, which in part comes from connecting the right pets with the right forever homes. Amy believes in sitting down with each potential pet owner, spending time asking important questions about personality, lifestyle and goals. From there, she artfully pairs a pet with an owner based on compatibility (she’s like the Cupid of animal adoption). The Pixie Project has been open now for five years, and with a recent expansion, they are ready to take on more animals than ever. The Pixie Project also has some seriously strong ties to the community. While we were visiting, a neighboring business dropped off three boxes of fleece blankets in response to a Facebook message that Amy posted about needing some for the incoming dogs. Talk about teamwork! We love it.
E+E: How did you get involved with animal rescue and adoption?
Amy Sacks: It’s a family passion. I’d say my mom is my biggest inspiration because she’s very passionate about animals. When I was a kid, we always had supplies in our car for homeless peoples’ pets, then I got into rescue when I was in college. I just decided that I really loved it and wanted to do it for a living.
E+E: What’s the procedure for adoption here?
AS: We really try to be a sort of matchmaking service, kind of like eHarmony. We’re really focused on finding the right match and want people to go home with the right pet. So if they have ideas in their head about what they want, we’ll work with them on that, absolutely, and we’re also going to talk to them about the smartest options in terms of their lifestyle, their energy and activity level. We try to take each case individually; we talk to people and hear their stories. A lot of times there are people that are wonderful, but we might say, “This is not the right dog for you. You think it’s what you want, but based on what you’re telling me about yourself, it’s not the right fit.” So we’ll try to guide them toward an animal that’s more appropriate.
E+E: What’s your philosophy on pet adoption?
AS: We really try to make the Pixie Project like a family. It’s supposed to be a family-friendly, kind approach to adoption that’s uplifting and fun. You know, the world of animal rescue is sad, there’s no question, so you can either be sad about it or you can try to be happier about it.
E+E: You just recently expanded. How does the new and improved space impact the Pixie Project?
AS: We previously shared the space with Virginia Woof Dog Daycare. We could have a couple dogs here at a time, but ultimately it was very limited in terms of how many we could hold, and we wanted to be able to have more. Their old daycare space is now our kennel space, and we can have 18 dogs at a time here now. We also added a clinic, so we have a vet on staff for 15 hours a week to serve our animals; it will be a full surgery suite. Then we’ll have volunteer vets to come and donate time to do free spays and neuters for homeless peoples’ pets.
E+E: Yeah, we noticed that a lot of the homeless people here have dogs with them!
AS: Yes. Honestly, homeless people are going to continue to have pets, so I just want them fixed and vaccinated and to make sure that they’re healthy and have warm blankets.
E+E: What’s your favorite thing about Portland?
AS: I was born and raised here. It’s a wonderful, welcoming, accessible, friendly city. You can pull businesses together to tell a story, and everyone is very receptive to it. I’m a big believer in working with other shelters and doing events with local businesses. I’m biased because I’m from here, but I love it here.
The Pixie Project
510 NE Martin Luther King Blvd.
Portland, OR 97232
Written by: Lauren Kodiak