Our Passion & Our Mission
In addition to providing a wide variety of fresh & nutritious foods and natural supplies, we also offer specialized Nutrition Services.
Custom Nutrition Plans
We believe that there is no one perfect food for all dogs and cats. We take your pet's individual needs into account when making dietary recommendations. Furthermore, we believe that a fresh food diet, made in your own kitchen, is the most nutritious way to feed the whole family; including the four-legged members! But, how do you make sure you're giving your pet everything his or her body requires in the correct amounts and ratios? It is our mission to provide the how, by offering easy, affordable, and balanced recipes based on your pet's specific needs, so your furry family member can thrive and live a long & happy life with you!
Our nutrition philosophy is one that looks at the whole animal and "brings them back to nature" as much as possible. This includes not only a fresh food diet, but also awareness of lifestyle, knowledge of disease prevention, and the use of holistic therapies. We work closely with many Portland veterinarians, animal chiropractors and acupuncturists to form a healing team that addresses the needs of each individual dog and cat.
Heather Macfarlane is well known and respected in the animal wellness community in Portland and beyond. A passion for animals and caring for them developed when she was a little girl growing up in the country. Caring for the family pets and farm animals when she was very young helped Heather to realize that animal health was her passion, and at age 13, she began to volunteer at the local veterinary hospital. When she noticed that the diets of the dog and cat patients were not discussed with clients, Heather stumbled on an enormous gap in the pet health industry at the time: Other than prescription foods, many of which contain questionable and/or confusing ingredients, a pet’s diet was not addressed.
In 1990 when there wasn’t much information available on how to do it, Heather began making food for their six family dogs. Her research led her to Dr. Donna Starita, Portland’s only holistic veterinarian at that time. While working with Dr. Starita, Heather learned about holistic veterinary medicine and species-appropriate dog and cat food.
Her connection to Dr. Starita led Heather to work closely with Dr. Satya Ambrose (founder of Oregon College of Oriental Medicine), Dr. Jeffrey Judkins (founder of Hawthorne Veterinary Clinic), and Dr. Lauren Chattigre (holistic veterinarian and esteemed pet nutritionist). She has also had the good fortune to work with Dr. Thomas Mackowiak, Dr. Lisa Hoberg, Dr. Melissa Flora, Dr. Penny Jacobs, Dr. Jordan Nuccio, Dr. Darcy Hoyt, Dr Nancy Curran, and Dr. Bob Ulbrich.
Believing that veterinary school was the next step, Heather enrolled in college and earned a bachelor's degree in biology in 1999. However, it quickly became apparent that veterinary school was not where Heather would learn the most about pet nutrition, her area of focus. Instead, she made the decision to get as much experience and training as she possibly could from local holistic veterinarians.
Dr. Jeffrey Judkins, widely considered the pioneer of holistic veterinary health in Portland, became Heather’s most important teacher and mentor; as his assistant, she worked with and learned from him for 10 years.
In 2009, Heather was ready to start her own pet nutrition consulting business, Balanced By Nature. At the same time, she managed a naturopathic clinic in order to learn more about nutrition and herbs. And, for the purpose of gaining a better knowledge of the commercial pet food industry, Heather worked at a local natural pet supply store. A part-time retail job became a full-time management job, which taught Heather how to operate a successful pet retail store, all while juggling her growing roster of Balanced By Nature clients. Under Heather's management and training, this store gained their reputation for stellar customer service and employing staff with a solid working knowledge of pet nutrition.
All of her varied experiences and training have brought Heather to this point. She is a specialist in her field, who knows how to run a successful business. Growing steadily since 2009, Heather’s Balanced By Nature client base demands expansion and a location where pet parents can bring their animals for nutrition appointments, as well as to pick up supplies and learn about what's new in the world of dog and cat health & nutrition, and share their experience with like-minded pet parents!
Finally, Heather has realized her first goal as a young animal lover: People who care about what they eat are beginning to see that what their pets eat is important too!