Patricia and Diane Heffron: Legacy Giving

Patricia with Oliver, at front, who was
adopted from a county shelter in Florida
and Zee, in Patricia’s arms, who is a
foster dog from Old Dog Haven

Diane with Terrance, who came to OHS
with some behavior challenges but found
a loving home with Diane.

Patricia and Diane Heffron are often considered a dynamic duo at OHS. The siblings have been volunteering at OHS since 2012 and walk dogs, foster pets with behavior challenges, work long hours during Second Chance intakes, and have spent weeks deploying to disaster zones. 

Their volunteer work and the bond they have with their own beloved pets inspired them to include OHS in their estate plan. 

Patricia and Diane are sharing their experience in the hopes that it will motivate others to consider a legacy gift to OHS. 

Tell us about your pets

Patricia: I have 2 dogs who were both rescues from a county shelter in Miami, FL. Greta, is a shepherd mix who is a homebody but does enjoy going snowshoeing in when the trails are less crowded. Oliver is a border collie mix who prefers to be outside where he can keep the yard safe from squirrels and crows.  He loves to go hiking, especially to locations near water where he can fetch sticks and swim.  I am also a final refuge foster parent with Old Dog Haven, to Zee, a 14-year-old, 8 pound Pomeranian mix who rules the roost. 

Diane: I have a Chihuahua named Terrance whom I adopted from OHS in July 2016. He was an owner-surrender who went quickly into foster due to some behavioral issues. His foster parent was my sister Patricia. After getting to know him and seeing how hard it was to get him adopted, I decided to make him my own.  Terrance loves doggie day-care, hiking in the Gorge and playing with his Chuck-It.      


When and how did you start supporting the work of OHS?  

Diane: I started as a volunteer dog-walker in the fall of 2012, then, a couple years later, I joined Second Chance. I also became EAS certified and participated in two deployments with the ASPCA, representing OHS. My first deployment was Thanksgiving 2018 to Columbus, Ohio to work with dogs. The second deployment was in May 2019 to Indianapolis, Indiana to work with chickens and roosters confiscated from a cock-fighting ring. 

Patricia: I started volunteering at OHS about a year after I moved to Portland in 2012.  I started out volunteering as a dog walker, then working with the Second Chance program.  but when COVID hit and that program was put on hold for volunteers, I started volunteering with the Puppy Romp classes.  I am also an OHS foster parent and EAS certified.  I deployed to Ohio twice for OHS and ASPCA and was [art pf the wildfire response in September 2020. During the devastating fires, I helped distribute pet food and assessing pet-related needs of people who were staying in temporary camps.

What is your favorite OHS program or event? 

Diane: I love the Second Chance Program because it is great how OHS has the space and resources to bring in animals from overcrowded shelters around the country. OHS is literally saving the lives of these adoptable pets who otherwise would be unnecessarily euthanized due to limited resources at their shelters.     

Patricia: Second Chance for sure.  I love being a part of that program and appreciate everything that OHS does to help other shelters in need.  I am hopeful that since a vaccine is now available, that volunteers will soon be working with the Second Chance program again.  

How did you decide to include OHS as a beneficiary of your estate plan?  

Diane: While there are so many amazing, animal-related non-profits, I wanted to include an organization in my estate plan that has as a long history and will continue to exist 50 or 100 years from now.  

Patricia: During the time I was volunteering in different capacities, I got an opportunity to work with the New Road Ahead where I had the chance to see what the future plans are for the Oregon Humane Society.  I think it is the work with the New Road Ahead that really made me think about including OHS in my estate plan.  I believe in the vision and want to do my part to support this.

What was involved in including a provision for OHS in your estate plan? 

Diane: I met with an estate planning attorney to draw up my will and when I said I wanted to include OHS as a beneficiary, she coordinated a call with the OHS Legacy Team.  We spoke about the options for how my bequest could be used by OHS.     

Patricia: It was a very simple from my perspective.  I needed to have my will revised anyway after having relocated to Oregon, so I explained to my attorney what I wanted to do.  She was able to get the team from the Planned Giving office on a conference call to discuss and make sure that I had the right language included in my documents and that was it!  

What would you like your legacy gift to accomplish?  

Diane: While I get so much joy out of volunteering with the dogs at OHS, it is so heartbreaking to see the ones with such severe behavioral issues which make it challenging for them to be adopted. Fortunately, OHS has a great Behavior Modification program and plans for a Rescue & Training Center that will help these animals get through their issues and into forever homes.  I would love to see my legacy gift to continue those efforts.  

Patricia: We take care of our pets in Oregon, and for the most part, it is a magical place for them to live.  Having lived in and traveled to other parts of the US; places like Florida, Texas, and Virginia, the same is not true about those areas.  I would like my gift to allow Oregon Humane Society to continue to expand their reach and help animals in other states and educate other shelters on how to recreate what OHS had done for animals in Oregon and the Portland community in general.  I really believe OHS is the gold standard for shelters.