Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Andy Warhol Inspired Enrichment Trail

This month, our shelter residents unleashed their inner art enthusiast with an Andy Warhol inspired enrichment trail. Not everyone has an eye (or nose) for fine are, but enrichment activities are a great way to help expose animals to new experiences and help them get some much-needed exercise for their brains!

The enrichment trail’s pop art flowers, based on the famous and playful Warhol silk screens, were scented with a variety of fresh herbs. Amber (left) and Gobi (right) got right to work sniffing the new scents.

First exhibited over 50 years ago, Warhol’s Brillo Soap Box sculpture was puzzling to those in the art world. Tatum checked out the mystery sniffing boxes filled with unique scents.

The Triple Elvis is a visual stimulation in the museum or on the enrichment trail!  Famous for turning celebrities into art, Warhol’s Triple Elvis sold for $80 million. Leiland did not find this Triple Elvis to be quite as valuable!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Baskerville's Second Chance

"It's okay, sweetheart. You're safe now." A kind face peered into the carrier of a wide-eyed, steel-coated rabbit. Baskerville (as she'd soon be named) had just been found with more than a dozen other pet rabbits abandoned in a neighborhood. In the dead of winter, their former owner had released them into the the wild without food, water or shelter. If we didn't act fast these bunnies wouldn't make it ...

While it’s hard to imagine, Animal Friends receives more than 800 calls, just like this one, each year regarding abandoned and mistreated animals. Baskerville and the others got their second chance but, there are still so many more dogs, cats and rabbits that need our help.

These animals need you to ensure this lifesaving program continues.

And, there is no better time to give than right now! Your donation will be matched 50 cents on the dollar up to $100,000 now through Sept. 24.

Please, click here to give them a second chance.

And, if you’ve already given to the Second Chance Challenge, we can’t thank you enough for your support.

Thank you to our sponsors:

Thursday, September 15, 2016

"Why I Keep Coming Back to Animal Friends University"

By Kathy Morrow
As a volunteer dog walker at Animal Friends, I have walked quite a few dogs over the years. Last summer, my friend Sue asked me to walk one dog in particular. All of the others had already been walked and she said he was too strong for her. In large block letters next to his name, it said “very nervous.” I told her I wasn’t comfortable walking scared dogs because they might bolt and my biggest fear is losing a dog. She persisted and eventually we agreed to walk him together.

When we went to leash up the dog, he backed up against the wall with his tail tucked between his legs. He was so scared. While on our walk, he didn’t potty at all … he only did that in his kennel. I felt so bad for the poor boy. This dog had come in through the Humane Investigations Department. I don’t know what he had seen or experienced, but it was obvious he was terrified of people. When we got back from the walk, I stepped into the kennel with him as he retreated to the back corner once again. I sat down on his bed and all of a sudden, he jumped in my lap and covered me with kisses!

I adopted the dog I didn’t even want to walk. Sometimes they choose us.

Immediately, I signed up for obedience class at Animal Friends. Yes, I’ve spent years volunteering at Animal Friends and I’ve had dogs my entire life. I know how to teach a dog to sit, lie down, watch me and a plethora of other commands. Still, I strongly believe taking a dog to class is extremely beneficial. It’s a great bonding experience, the dog and the human have to work as a team.

One of my foremost goals for Angelo (named for the angel wings my friend Lisa said he has on his back) was to develop his confidence. Everything was scary to him. The microwave would ding and he’d jump. I’d put on a Sarah McLachlan CD and he’d run from the room. At first, he couldn’t be left alone in the house for even five minutes because he’d rip down curtains and run frantically from room to room looking for me. He would tear apart anything he could get a hold of. He panicked when he was left alone.

Most of all, Angelo was afraid of people – he still is. He’s better if other dogs are around, but he needs to learn that people are kind and not scary. Classes are the perfect setting for this lesson because he can see people treating their dogs lovingly. Angelo has so much fun in classes with dogs and their people. Doing fun activities around people and dogs helps build positive associations for him. At his first obedience class at Animal Friends, Angelo shook almost the entire time. After a few classes he began to warm up and actually started to like some of the people that were there each week!

I remember one session in particular that the instructor had to stop class because “Angelo was having a moment.” He had actually jumped into the arms of one of the men and covered his face with kisses. This was a dog who would pull me up our driveway and shake uncontrollably when he’s see a man approaching. That moment I realized that Angelo was making progress! The other people in the class were so supportive and understanding of Angelo. All of the instructors have been phenomenal – they’re all so kind and knowledgeable. When something isn’t working, they always have great input and suggestions. I’ve learned so much from them.

After our first obedience class had concluded, I wanted to continue Angelo’s education. We signed up for “The Nose Knows.” I really didn’t know much about the class, but it sounded like fun. Your dog has the opportunity to use his nose to find a hidden scent, similar to training a bomb or drug sniffing dog. The activity gets their nose and brain working. As Angelo worked to find the scents, it was clear he had a knack for it … he found it in the correct box, in between the pages of a book in the library, he was on a roll. At first I think he did this because he was rewarded with food, but eventually he really didn’t need the food. His reward was finding the scent!

All of this continued to help build Angelo’s confidence. He was good at something and he enjoyed seeing his doggy friends and, more impressively, his human friends each week. After we finished “The Nose Knows,” we moved on to “The Nose Knows Level Two” and Angelo got to have even more fun, searching outdoors and in vehicles.

What we learned in these classes is also great fun as a rainy day activity at home. Believe it or not, these fun searches are a great way to tire your dog out. As they say, a tired dog is a good dog! We would do a few quick nose games and some obedience before I’d go to the grocery store and when I returned there was no destruction to the house … it was almost a miracle!

Most recently, we finished taking an agility class at Animal Friends. On the last day of our obedience class at Animal Friends, the instructors brought out the agility equipment for fun. I couldn’t believe that my shy, fearful dog had such a blast running through the tunnel, jumping through the tire and climbing up the ramp. I’m certain he had never done any of these things before, but he was obviously a natural so we signed up for agility class.

We will shortly be taking another class at Animal Friends. Angelo and I both enjoy these classes so much. We’ve met so many nice dogs and great people. When I think of all the classes we’ve taken through Animal Friends University, I think to myself that I’m giving Angelo a pretty fun life. Now all we need is for Animal Friends to add more offerings to their class selections!
Photo credits: Debbie Thomas and Angela Pulice

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Home-to-Home Adoption Program: Chet and Ringo

Meet Chet, a male tabby and Ringo, a male with a gorgeous black coat. These brothers are both just over a year old and would love to be adopted together. They were born as strays but were taken in and cared for by a foster mother.

Both Chet and Ringo are neutered, microchipped and have received all of their vaccinations. They are proper gentlemen who are fantastic with a litter box and do very well in a carrier and in the car, though they are still getting used to having their nails trimmed.

Chet and Ringo currently live in a home with two other cats and they all get along extremely well. They have not had experience with dogs or small children, so their current family is not sure how they would handle a home with either.

Chet is a sweet and loving boy, but can be a bit shy especially around new people. The quickest way to this kitty's heart is by playing with him and his feather toys or giving him a nice head scratch!

Ringo has a very calm temperament and prefers sunbathing and napping on his cat tree. When he's not lounging around the house, Ringo loves to play with his brother. Since these two are still young and love to play together, they would prefer to find a home together.

If you're interested in adopting Chet, Ringo or both please contact their foster mom, Samantha at chetandringo@gmail.com.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Animal Friends presents Ringo

This 2-year-old German Shepherd mix is Ringo. This sweet boy loves to give kisses and cuddle with his favorite Animal Friends staff and volunteers. But it took quite a bit of time to get this spunky pup to come of out his shell.
Along with more than two dozen other dogs, Ringo was found living in deplorable conditions as part of a hoarding situation. Some of the dogs had been tied up, others were left in a small fenced-in area and the rest were living in a rundown trailer. Another shelter in the region had found the dogs but they needed help. So they turned to Animal Friends ...
Eight dogs, including Ringo, were transferred to Animal Friends last fall. Because he received little to no human socialization at his former residence, Ringo had a long road ahead of him. He needed to learn how to walk on a leash, be handled and, most importantly, learn what it was like to be loved.
At first, he would retreat to the back of his kennel when approached. But as time went on, there was a tail wag here and a little nuzzle there. We could see that Ringo was starting to trust people.
Nearly a year later, Ringo can be found soliciting attention and taking in as many belly rubs as he can get from his favorite people. He loves going on long walks and has even picked up a few tricks – he can sit, lay down and hand target (shows an approaching hand is not a threat which is especially beneficial for shy dogs). And, this goofy pup can frequently be found playing with his favorite stuffed chipmunk toy!
While Ringo has made a lot of progress, we know he’s still going to need a special family that’s patient and understanding. Which is why Ringo is a Mission: Adoptable pet. This program gives special attention to match suitable adopters with our special, and sometimes quirky, animals.
Ringo will require additional care and because of that, his family will receive special counseling prior to adoption. They’ll also get a package specifically tailored to Ringo to help to make a smooth transition into a loving home. We know it’s not impossible to adopt Mission: Adoptable animals into homes. It’s just that their families may take a bit longer to find them and we want to do everything we can to ensure the pet-adopter matches are as successful as possible. Animal Friends’ commitment to helping animals is a daily and ongoing effort.
Now, you can help to find loving homes for each and every one of our homeless residents just like Ringo by purchasing Sarris Candy. Click here and use Group ID# 10-0375 and designate Animal Friends as your organization when placing your candy order and you'll be supporting Animal Friends in the sweetest way possible!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

5 Ways to Celebrate National Dog Day

National Dog Day is on Fri., Aug. 26. Founded by an animal advocate in 2004, National Dog Day celebrates dogs of all ages, sizes and breeds. Whether you’re looking for a fun way to celebrate with your dog or you’re interested in adopting a new family member, here are a few ideas to help you make the most of National Dog Day …

5. Make a fun new toy.

Everyone loves spoiling their pooch by buying them the best food, treats, accessories and toys, but making a toy for your furry friend can be just as enjoyable! Toys are a fun way to help your dog get the exercise that is so important to keep them healthy. As vital as physical activities are for dogs, mental exercise is just as important. Enrichment is a form of playtime designed to work out your dog’s mind along with their body. Why not celebrate National Dog Day by making a fun enrichment toy for your favorite four-legged buddy? Here are some ideas to get you started!

4. Explore a new part of town.

Do you ever get the bug to explore a new place because you’re doggone tired of the “same old, same old?” Your dog feels the same way! Break out of the routine of the same walking route everyday by taking your pup somewhere new. There are plenty of parks and hiking trails that your dog would love to help you explore! If you’re not sure where to start, try hitting the trail with some fellow dog lovers.

3. Play in the sprinkler.

Although summer may be winding down, the hot weather hasn’t quite called it quits for the year. Running through the sprinkler isn’t just fun for humans! Try rewarding your best friend on National Dog Day by creating your own backyard water park to help cool them down on a warm August afternoon. Your dog will love chasing the water and you’ll get plenty of entertainment watching all the fun! Check out some other ways to beat the heat with your pet before fall arrives.

2. Eat at a dog-friendly restaurant.

More and more restaurants are inviting customers to bring their dogs along while they eat and drink with friends. Show your pup that they’re part of the family by choosing one of these dog-friendly restaurants in Pittsburgh if you plan on dining out on National Dog Day. You won’t have to worry about leaving your furry friend at home and many of these eateries even offer special menu items for pooches!

1. Adopt!

What better way to celebrate National Dog Day than by giving a home to a dog that doesn’t have one? There are so many at Animal Friends right now who are patiently waiting for their new family to come and give them the loving home they deserve! To help you and your perfect pup find each other, Animal Friends is celebrating National Dog day with a one-day adoption special. Come in on Fri., Aug. 26 to adopt a dog 2-years or older and you’ll receive $25 off the requested adoption donation! Click here to meet the dogs that are available for adoption right now at Animal Friends.

There are plenty of ways to help raise awareness on National Dog Day, plus it’s the perfect excuse to spoil your pup (not that you don’t do that anyway). Whether you’re adopting or just enjoying the day with your furry friend, be sure to snap a selfie and tag Animal Friends on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Monday, August 15, 2016

10 Reasons to Adopt a Black Cat on Black Cat Appreciation Day!

Adoptable cat, Capellini.

Black Cat Appreciation Day is Wed., Aug. 17! To celebrate, we're offering a one-day adoption special! Stop by Animal Friends on Wed., Aug. 17 to adopt one of our many beautiful black cats ages 2 and up and the requested donation will be discounted to just $25!

Read on for some serious (and not-so serious) reasons to adopt a black cat today!

10. You can't tell if they're dirty and their teeth always look white.
9. A black cat is a great accessory to any outfit they go with everything!
8. Dark colors are very slimming holding your black cat will make you look extra slender.
7. Save time on date night! You won't need the lint brush on your little black dress.
6. Black cats are the best to play hide and seek with. The difficulty levels jumps up a few notches.
5. They have a "black belt" in cuddling.
4. In most cultures, a black cat in your home brings good luck!
3. They always win for best dressed.
2. They make you look beyond the surface to find true love and beauty.

But most importantly ...

1. They are the least likely to be adopted from shelters and need your love the most!

You can celebrate Black Cat Appreciation Day today and every day when you adopt a black cat. Click here to check out all of our adoptable black cats and come on down to Animal Friends to meet them. They're ready to go home right ... meow.

Adoptable kitten, Blanka

Monday, August 1, 2016

Home-to-Home Adoption Program: Jade

This handsome boy is Jade and he is looking for a home that will offer him all the love and affection he deserves.

Jade is a gray 2-year-old Tabby that was originally a rescue but quickly become a beloved member of his family. He is a genuine sweetheart and is very playful and friendly. One of Jade's favorite pastimes is to jump into the nearest lap, wait for the pets to begin and then start the purr engines! Give him a toy like a small ball and Jade will keep you entertained as he chases it all through your home.

Jade's family is searching for a new home that will love him just as much as they do. He loves to use his scratching post and never scratches the furniture or, more importantly, people! This 2-year-old dream cat is also anything but a fussy eater ... could you ask for a better feline friend?

If you think Jade would be a good fit for you and your home, please contact his current family to arrange a meeting:

Jack Schaeffer
412.421.3791 or 412.268.3561

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Maximus and Leonidas


“Oh my goodness …” a woman muttered to herself. She was driving on the South Side and came across Maximus and Leonidus sitting in the middle of the road. She stopped her car and scooped them up. She was in disbelief. How could anyone abandon these sweet pups?! Lucky for them, she turned to Animal Friends ...

But they weren't in the clear just yet. Upon admission, they tested positive for a very serious and sometimes deadly virus and were rushed to an emergency vet. After weeks of supportive care and continuous monitoring, they were bouncy and playful – they were going to make it! And, once they were strong enough, they were both neutered and cleared for their second chance.

All pets admitted to Animal Friends are altered before they can be adopted. Spaying/neutering is not only necessary for their health and well-being but it also compassionately and proactively combats pet overpopulation.

And, we won't stop with the animals in our care. Animal Friends is committed to creating a gender neutral pet community where every pet is spayed or neutered. It's critical that our spay/neuter services remain affordable and accessible to all pet owners so unwanted pets are not abandoned, abused … or worse.

But we can’t do this without you. You can keep our pet community gender neutral. Support spay/neuter today.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Beat the Heat, Keep Your Pet Safe and Healthy

Summer is the perfect time to experience the outdoors and enjoy the beautiful weather, but the heat can take a serious toll on your four-legged companion. Animal Friends has a few helpful tips to help you beat the heat and keep your furry friend safe, healthy and cool during the dog (and cat and rabbit!) days of summer.

Practice vehicle safety.

Your pet should never be left in a parked car. Even with the windows slightly open, a car can quickly reach an internal temperature in excess of 120 degrees. This is enough to cause animals to suffer severe heat stroke or even death. Your pet is much safer at home on warm days, especially if your destination is not a pet-friendly one. If you see an animal in distress in a parked car, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Drink up.

As the temperature rises, animals need to drink much more water to stay hydrated. Be sure your pet has plenty of cool, clean water to drink, especially if they’re spending time outside on warm days. Check water dishes frequently and be sure they are placed out of the sun’s reach in shady areas. Drinking dishes should be secured to avoid accidental spills.

Protect outdoor animals.

While we encourage all pet owners to bring their pets indoors to live, we understand that’s not always feasible. Animals that live or spend long periods of time outdoors must have shelter from the sun. A doghouse should be placed in an area of your yard that is shaded by trees or other buildings. Just like a vehicle, the interior of a doghouse can reach unsafe temperatures if it is in direct sunlight.
Pennsylvania state law requires a doghouse be made from materials other than metal and have four sturdy walls, a roof and a floor. The area around your doghouse should be kept clean and sanitary. Remove waste daily to reduce odor and flies.

Beat the heat.

Heat stress and heat stroke pose serious summer threats to pets, in particular those that are very young, elderly or overweight. Animals can have trouble maintaining their normal body heat, especially when outdoor temperatures and humidity levels are higher than normal.
Signs of severe heat stress include heavy panting, increased heart rate, glassy eyes, staggering, vomiting and diarrhea. If your pet is overheated, move them out of the sun immediately and immerse them in cool water. Apply ice packs to the head, neck and chest and provide cool water for them to drink. If you are concerned about your pet’s health, contact your veterinarian immediately.
And, if it's simply too hot to safely enjoy the weather together, click here for some great enrichment activities you can do indoors with your pets. And, most of the games include items you already have laying around your house.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Meet Doc Watson!

Meet Doc Watson! He came to us as a stray through one of our community clinics to be altered. But, our veterinarian quickly realized he was in need of much more than that.

Doc Watson had two badly injured eyes and a severe infection setting in he made it to us just in time. Not only was he neutered and vaccinated but both of his eyes were removed. Our compassionate team saved Doc Watson's life. And now he's happily and healthily living out his days ... in a loving home!

Animal Friends has been committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment for the pets of our region starting with a gender neutral pet community where every pet is spayed or neutered.

But there are still so many pets out there that need these lifesaving services ...

Now is the time to help keep Animal Friends gender neutral by supporting spay/neuter! An anonymous donor will match your gift 50 cents on the dollar, but only if you act now!


Friday, July 1, 2016

Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips

Many of us are looking forward to Fourth of July weekend this year. Families will be gathering for outdoor barbeques, friends will be enjoying the warm summer weather by the pool and what Independence Day celebration would be complete without fireworks?
Unfortunately, in the flurry of patriotic parties that are planned for the long holiday weekend, pets can unintentionally be put at risk. Many of the activities that humans see as fun and games can be dangerous and frightening for our pets. Knowing how to keep your pets safe and happy during the festivities could quite literally save their life.

Proper Identification

Be sure that your pet is wearing a collar with legible and up-to-date contact information at all times. In the event that your furry friend escapes from the safety of your home, proper identification will allow neighbors, animal control and law enforcement agencies to contact you if your pet is found. Microchipping your pet is an easy and inexpensive way to implant them with a permanent form of identification. Most animal shelters, police departments and veterinarians are equipped with scanners that can read microchips and access the contact information they contain.

Prevent Escape Artists

In all the commotion of a family picnic, your pet could easily slip through an open door or window unnoticed. By the time your family becomes aware of its missing member, they could be miles away, lost and disoriented. To prevent any curious escape artists, ensure that your pets are contained to areas where they will be safe and unable to wander out of your home or yard unsupervised. Your guests should also be aware of the presence of pets and will help you to keep an eye out for their security. In situations when your guests may not be pet-savvy, it may be best to board your pet or keep them separated in another room for the evening.

Food Safety

A favorite part of any holiday celebration is the delicious food. Our pets share this sentiment and would happily rummage through a wastebasket to sample the chargrilled goodness. Styrofoam trays, aluminum foil, paper products, plastic bags and other food containers can pose a safety hazard if consumed by a hungry pet. It is also essential to keep in mind that certain foods that are safe for humans can be harmful to pets. Ribs, chicken and other meats on the bone, corn on the cob, hot dogs, fruit salad and desserts are among the barbecue foods that could be potentially dangerous for pets.

Action Plan

In the event that your pet becomes lost, it is important to have a plan. Be familiar with animal care facilities in your area and have your local law enforcement’s contact information handy. If your pet does run away, enlist the help of your family, friends and neighbors to hang fliers and post photos and information on online message boards. Social media is a particularly powerful tool to reach a large number of people and quickly locate a lost pet. Be sure to send a photo of your pet along with your contact information to local animal shelters so that you can be notified if your pet is brought in.


Humans love the booming, crackling and pretty colors of fireworks in the night sky. Pets, however don’t share our love of pyrotechnics. The loud bangs, potent smell and bright flashes can cause pets to panic and flee in search of a quiet place. While you’ll want to end the holiday surrounded by your loved ones enjoying a firework display, do your pet a favor and leave them in a calm place where they won’t be exposed to the fear and anxiety that come with a pyrotechnic presentation.

Although it may be difficult to feel as though you are excluding your pets from all the fun this holiday weekend, the most important thing is their security and well-being. You will be at ease knowing that your their safety has been carefully considered and your pets will certainly thank you for keeping them well-protected!

In the event that your pet becomes lost or if you have found a lost pet, visit Animal Friends online for valuable tips and resources at ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org/LostAndFound.