A party, just for dogs!
by: Vern Uyetake, Max runs and jumps into the pool on Saturday.

Dozens of dogs ran about the backyard. Big ones. Little ones. Playful ones. Shy ones.

Some dogs swam in the pool.

Some played ball.

Some ate from the table.

Some smiled.

Some took a nap.

One jumped in place.

Another dog hid.

But this wasn't a scene from some new Disney movie. This was planned chaos - just for fun. Doug and Leslie Pope of Dunthorpe had an open house on Saturday, an 'open dog house' as they called it on their party invitation.

The couple was celebrating the opening of Pope's Paws Park - the large portion of their acre lot that they converted into a private dog park - with 75 friends and their dogs.

Bark chips line a pathway to an open, covered structure. A fire hydrant adds to the ambiance. A sign signifies the park's name, and a plastic bag dispenser is within an arm's reach just in case things get a bit messy.

The Pope's two pups - Georgie, a Golden Retriever, and Suzie, a golden Labradoodle - shared their roaming space with hairy friends from all over.

Janette Nelson of Portland said her dog was fitting in well with the animal crowd.

'Leslie's dog, Suzie, taught my dog, Josie, the Boxer, how to play. He was a rescue (dog) and Suzie taught her how to frolic and play,' Nelson said. 'This was just a month ago.'

Josie left paw prints all over the yard and had to rest for a while after playing too hard.

Melanie Hamilton from Lake Oswego said that more people should have parties with their pets.

'This is such an easy way to get to know people. It's a good way to break the ice,' Hamilton said, petting her Pit Bull Bailey.

A bench in the dog park was placed in memory of the Pope's dog Dino that died this year.

'He's well known,' Leslie said. 'We'd go to a dog park and the kids and adults would know Dino.'

Dino was named after the pet dinosaur from the cartoon The Flintstones.

'We found him after being abandoned and falling in the lake on West Bay,' Doug said.

Jill and Scott Shoen of Lake Oswego brought their dogs Marley, a black Labradoodle, and Buddy, a Golden Retriever, to the party. They walked up the sloped lot and noticed the bench in Dino's memory.

'Aw, we knew Dino,' Jill said.

'Dino was a great dog,' Scott agreed.

And their young son Calen ran about with the dogs.

'I like to play around,' he said, 'and wrestle with them.'

When asked what made him want to attend the party Calen said, 'all you have to do is love dogs.'

And everyone in the Pope's backyard adored their companions.

Many attendees met the Popes at a public dog park. And the couple said their mutual love for dogs was what brought them together.

Beneath grey skies, dogs Sajen and Oliver spent most of Saturday afternoon swimming in the pool - running and belly flopping into the water while the adults indulging in barbecue yummies looked on.

Making sure everyone was behaving was Monte, the little black, long-haired Dachshund that paced along the stone retaining wall.

'He's the mayor of the dog park,' said Monte's owner from Lake Oswego. 'He's a friend of everyone.'

But all the dogs seemed friends on this afternoon gone to the dogs.

Leslie chose a decadent spread for all the guests.

'Those are people cookies,' she said, pointing to two baskets of cookies. 'These are for the dogs.'

Leslie chose treats for the dogs from Bone-Jour GourMutt Bakery and Boutique in West Linn, which specializes in dog treats. The bathrooms got dog bone soaps. And autumn colored flowers decorated tables. Dog décor abounded on all tables - like the tea-light candle holder of a dog with a cat hidden in the stomach.

A main attraction to greet visitors?

An enormous dog house displayed on the driveway and built by West Linn resident Jeff Butler with Jeff of All Trades. (Refer to page C7).

'We thought it would be a great addition,' Leslie said. 'We just love dogs.'

So, who built that dog house?

A showstopping piece at Leslie and Doug Pope's dog party on Saturday (see corresponding story above) was the dog house built by West Linn resident Jeff Butler. Known as a 'husband for hire,' Butler and his business Jeff of All Trades completes custom dog houses in addition to larger projects such as whole house remodels, custom designed kid's playrooms, kids play houses and forts, drywall, decks and painting.

'I'm definately a hands on person. I tried sitting behind a desk once,' Butler said. 'I didn't like that.'

Butler has been self-employed for 11 years and worked in the construction industry for more than 20 years. Now, he often finds himself working alongside local real estate agents as they prepare their homes for sale and need construction projects completed.

'New construction,' he said, 'is going to the dogs.'

He and his wife Kim Butler, Realtor with Keller Williams Portland Premier, have spent the past five years 'flipping houses.' To contact Butler, call 503-459-1041 or visit .

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