Westmorelands Bowser Boutique reopens on S.E. 13th
When Bowser Boutique owner Jenell Rangan's cell phone rings to the kitchy tune of 'Who Let the Dogs Out', she answers it with purpose.
Taking calls from her colorful new Sellwood shop, where she'll often step aside for a private call, you soon realize that the dog-themed gift boutique doubles as something more. It turns out also to be the gritty command center for Oregon Dachshund Rescue, Inc., a no-kill shelter which she runs to help abandoned dogs find new homes.
Bowser Boutique is a full-circle shop where, along with bejeweled leashes and dog-themed wall art, the soulful presence of orphaned animals being given a second chance is a palpable presence.
At this boutique the dachshunds can typically be found happily wagging their tails in a fenced-off 'greet room' - a place where adopters and volunteers can meet and socialize with the dogs before the dachshunds turn in for the night…at Rangel's own home. Some rescues come from as far away as California and Washington State; Rangel's is currently the only dachshund rescue in Oregon.
Once the dogs have received veterinarian care and shot updates, and have been spayed or neutered and socialized by volunteers, their photos are then posted on the ODR Inc. website for adoption.
Rangan hopes that this Sellwood blending of retail boutique and nonprofit under one roof will secure a steady revenue stream to support her dog rescue operation, along with donations. For those considering donating their vehicle to a charity, ODR, Inc. also has a car donation program.
Rangan welcomes volunteers from the Inner Southeast neighborhood which she knows quite well, having raised her family in Eastmoreland, where her children attended Holy Family.
'In 27 years of doing rescues, I've never known [the surrender rate] to be this high,' said Rangan, ODR's founder and president, who sometimes receives up to two surrenders a day. She speculates that record home foreclosures and the bad economy are the culprits.
Bowser Boutique's dog-themed gifts (and they are not just for dachshunds!) run the gamut from bead-and-wire dog sculptures to fine art refrigerator magnets. The shop also carries dog care supplies, such as locally-sourced Castor and Pollux organic food (based in Clackamas), natural dog treats shaped like Gumby and pink flamingos, grooming items, custom harnesses - even shampoos that mimic salon lines, but are meant for dogs.
About half of the shop's merchandise is devoted to general breeds. The other half celebrates the oft-caricatured 'wiener dog' or 'doxie,' as aficionados call them. In addition, oversized wood furnishings, well worn by time - like a rolling luggage pallet, and metal topped table used for merchandise display - are also for sale.
This breed, which Modern Dog magazine calls 'probably the world's most recognizable', is of German origin. Unmistakably long and low to the ground, dachshunds were bred for their ability to dig and chase prey like badgers and rabbits underground. Dachshund means 'badger hound' in German.
Though lively and friendly, dachshunds have a strong prey drive, and 'are not for everybody,' said Rangan. For those who would adopt one, criteria must be met, including an application process and a home visit. 'I do want [a match] to be forever.'
She hopes people will not let the breed-specific aspect of the rescue operation deter interest in lending a hand. 'These are animals in need,' she said. 'Help is help.'
While choosing a pet can be a highly emotional - even an impulsive - act, Barbara Baugnon, marketing and communications director at the Oregon Humane Society, offers additional practical advice. 'Look at what the household needs, versus what the pet needs,' she said.
And, she adds, 'Answer this one question. Why do I want a pet in my house? Just to say 'hello' after ten hours at work? That's a cat! People should be open to the possibility of what a 'pet' means.'
There is a 'find your match' feature on their OHS website (www.oregonhumane.org), where people can figure out what kind of furry friend is right for them.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Support Your Local Weiner Dog! Volunteer your time to Oregon Dachshund Rescue:
• play with and walk the dogs
• offer time in/work retail at the shop
• take photos for the website
• shuttle rescues to vet appointments
Donate supplies to Oregon Dachshund Rescue:
• computer paper and standard business size envelopes
• powdered laundry soap and dryer sheets (any variety)
• new fleece blankets (nothing smaller than 28x28')
• Nylabones or long-lasting bones
• dog food - chicken and rice preferred
• disinfectant (Simple Green or Lysol)
• paper towels
Any of these donations can be dropped by the new Bowser Boutique location.