Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Why we do what we do ...

May is 31 Days of Compassion at Animal Friends! To celebrate this very special month honoring our animal friends, we wanted to share a story that shows the passion – and compassion – that drives our staff and volunteers. We knew it couldn’t be told by just anyone. That’s why we’ve asked one of our staff Animal Caregivers, Becki, to take it from here ...

"I’ve thought a lot about that day in mid-September when the medical staff came asking for my help with two animals that had just been brought in. Whether it was a miracle or just another day at Animal Friends, I’m still not quite sure. I’m starting to think they are simply one in the same.
They looked like two sheep that hadn’t been sheared in years. At closer look, I realized they were dogs. Layers upon layers of matted, dirty, stinking fur entombed them from the tops of their heads to the tips of their tails.
Walking was painful. Turning their heads impossible. To ease them from their obvious discomfort one of our vet techs carefully injected them with a twilight sedation to calm them.And, then we went to work. For five hours we clipped and trimmed and shaved and cut. Around their muzzles. Under their bellies. Even in between the pads of their paws.
When all was said and done, 32 pounds of urine and feces infested fur lay piled on the floor. And from it two young Old English Sheepdogs emerged. As they lay on the floor – freshly shorn and looking angelic – they became our Michael and Gabriel.
The next day, I saw them out on a walk. I just stopped and stared … and cried. Such beautiful, silly creatures had emerged from a cocoon of filth and neglect. One of them – I don’t know which one – walked up to me and simply leaned his body into mine.
With big, soulful eyes, he looked up at me and I am certain he was saying thank you.It is because of that one look that I will be here tomorrow and the next day and the next ... ready for that opportunity to change another life."

Animal Friends is blessed. Our staff and volunteers are simply amazing. Becki is just one example. It is because of them that we are able to make such a difference and to be able to do what we do.
And it is because of you, too. Your generosity makes transformations like Michael and Gabriel’s possible. And now, through our 31 Days of Compassion, your gift can go even further.
Give now (before May 31) and an anonymous donor will match your gift 50 cents on the dollar up to $40,000. Every donation – regardless of the size – matters.

Click here to give generously.

Top 10 Reasons to Attend Bark in the Park 2016


Memorial Day means many different things to us: remembering those who have served our country, spending time with family and friends, attending picnics and celebrating the unofficial beginning of summer! With everything going on this Memorial Day weekend, you may be looking for a good reason to attend Bark in the Park 2016. Not to worry, we have 10 for you! What better way to start your holiday weekend than a beautiful walk in the park with your furry best friend?

10. Starting Strong – We’ll be kicking off the festivities as Mr. Jeff Jimerson sings the national anthem while members of the North Allegheny Color Guard present our nation’s flag.
9. Jim Krenn – Our lead walker and hometown funny guy Jim Krenn from the Q92 Morning Show will be leading the festivities and is always good for plenty of laughs!
8. Food Trucks – Come hungry and leave the potato salad at home, we’ll be joined by some of Pittsburgh’s best food trucks.
7. Patriotic Pup Parade – You’ll have the opportunity to show off your dog’s patriotic Memorial Day themed outfit. (Don’t hold back!)
6. Honest Abe – How many people can say that their dog has met Abe Lincoln? Rub elbows with our country’s 16th president and pose for a great photo op!
5. Live Music – Enjoy the sounds of Americana as The Chiodi Trio performs for your listening pleasure.
4. Beautiful Weather -- Have you seen the forecast for Saturday?! It’s going to be mostly sunny with 100% chance of fun! So get out and enjoy the fun-filled activities on a beautiful morning.
3. Make Your Pooch a Star – The top fundraiser will make their dog a “pup star” as the participant who raises the most money for Animal Friends will have their furry friend featured as the face of next year’s Bark in the Park!
2. Animal Friends for Veterans - We’ll be officially launching a series of adoption programs to thank and support our nation’s veterans and active duty military members who could benefit from the companionship a pet can offer.
1. A Walk in the Park - There’s no better way to kick off your Memorial Day weekend than a going on a walk and spending time with your best four-legged family member and supporting a great organization! After all, we couldn’t do it without you!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Change of Heart

The busy life of a therapy rabbit leads to many places. From visiting preschools, high schools and college campuses to providing comfort at hospitals, whether to a pediatric cancer patient or an elderly veteran suffering with dementia, therapy rabbits provide compassionate support to those who need it most. Our Therapets animals and the dedicated volunteers who work with them are always on the move providing pet therapy sessions wherever they are needed.
A recent visit to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in the Hill District left two Therapets volunteers with a heartwarming story and an experience they won’t soon forget.
A group of 20-25 children were enjoying the company of three therapy rabbits, reading to them and getting in some quality one-on-one time when three young boys came in and began poking fun at the group, laughing, taunting and name-calling. After being reprimanded the three left the library, but a short time later one of the boys returned.
He wasn’t there to tease though. Instead, he asked for a book so he could read to one of the rabbits. Touched by the boy’s change of heart, the volunteers helped him pick out a book and the young boy began reading to one of the therapy rabbits.
No sooner than he had turned the first page, the two other boys returned, this time mocking their friend for doing “kid stuff” and being a “baby.” The boy just kept reading as his friends were again asked to leave. But just a few minutes later they returned for a third time. The volunteers and library staff perked up as they walked through the doors and over to the Therapets area. But just like the first boy, they had had a change of heart.
By the end of the day, the three boys sat there, reading to the rabbits and enjoying the healing company a therapy animal can provide.
Last year more than 45,000 lives were positively impacted by visits from Animal Friends’ Therapets. With no shortage of a need for pet-therapy certified companion animals, we are thrilled to watch our program continue to grow. But this growth can’t continue without you.
And, there is no better time than now to give. An anonymous donor has set forth an incredibly generous challenge and will match every donation 50 cents on the dollar, up to $40,000!
Please donate today.


Monday, May 16, 2016

Sadie's Third Chance


“Something’s wrong. She’s not breathing,” one of the vet techs called to the staff veterinarian.

The tiny kitten had been born just a couple months prior at Animal Friends. Her pregnant mother Sonnet, and nearly three dozen other cats, had come to Animal Friends after being rescued from a severe hoarding situation. Sadie had just escaped being born into an unspeakable life in a now-condemned house.

But now, Sadie was on the verge of losing the second chance she had just been given. She was nearing the day where she was ready to find a loving home, but first had to be spayed. She was a strong, healthy kitten. And, there was no reason to expect that Sadie would have a life-threatening reaction to anesthesia during a routine procedure. But there she was … not breathing … and her heart had stopped.

As quickly as the 2-pound kitten’s breath had stopped, our skilled medical staff jumped into action, performing lifesaving CPR. After a few tense moments, little Sadie was back.

Every day, Animal Friends gives second chances to pets who have found their way through our doors. And sometimes, these animals are in need of a third, or fourth, chance at the life they deserve.

Sadie was given her second and third chances at Animal Friends even before she was old enough to be adopted. She made a full recovery, was safely spayed and found a loving family.

It’s not just the extra special animals, like Sadie, who receive this level of attention and care at Animal Friends. We work tirelessly on behalf of each and every one of our shelter dogs, cats and rabbits.

But without compassionate supporters like you, it simply would not be possible.

You can help more animals, just like Sadie, get another chance at a healthy, happy life. During 31 Days of Compassion at Animal Friends, your donation will be matched! Right now, you can help even more animals.

Click here to make your lifesaving donation today.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Yuengling's Story

Yuengling is a big, handsome guy with a playful personality and soft eyes that will melt your heart instantly. But like too many of the residents at Animal Friends, Yuengling’s story didn’t start out on a happy note.

In December, local police executed a search warrant while responding to a call of suspected animal cruelty. What they found was a German Shepherd that had been mistreated and neglected. Sweet Yuengling was also in immediate need of medical attention. In cooperation with police, Animal Friends’ Humane Investigations team brought Yuengling back to Animal Friends. Upon receiving a full physical exam, our veterinary staff found a cancerous skin tumor on his chest. Yuengling needed a lifesaving surgery.

Fortunately, Yuengling made it to Animal Friends just in time.

After his tumor was successfully removed he could start his second chance.

Since his surgery, Yuengling continues to recover at Animal Friends. As he continues to progress, his endearing personality (and love for tennis balls!) shines through … something that may not have happened if it wasn’t for our Humane Police Officers.

Animal Friends’ Humane Investigations Department serves as an invaluable resource to all of Allegheny County. While it’s hard to imagine, Animal Friends receives dozens of calls each and every day regarding abused and neglected animals.

Sadly, there are more animals, just like Yuengling, that need your help. There is no better time to give than right now!

Your donation will be matched!
Click here to have your $50 donation turn into $75!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Waiting Far Too Long

When you meet Marie for the first time, you’ll probably think what everyone else does… that she’s a happy and energetic puppy, no older than a year-and-a-half, two at the most. That’s probably because, while she is actually about four years old, we're not sure if she ever had the opportunity to be a puppy. Marie is making up for lost time now because the first couple years of her young life were unimaginable. She was rescued by our Humane Investigations Department and brought to Animal Friends after she was found abandoned outside without food or water.

With such a sad beginning, Marie’s story has slowly turned for the better as she has flourished in her new environment, receiving proper training, a safe place to live and play, and lots and lots of love! She has come such a long way from the frightened, malnourished, filthy from head-to-tail pup that first came to the shelter, and has developed a superstar personality. With her high level of energy, Marie is a constant source of laughs and smiles for the staff and volunteers who have gotten to know her so well.

Marie’s story is far from complete as she impatiently waits for a loving home. She has been waiting, in fact, for much longer than any dog with such a positive and compassionate spirit should have to. Marie has lived at Animal Friends for nearly two years.

While she receives plenty of love and all the care she needs each day, this beautiful girl desperately needs to find a place to settle in with a loving family to call her own. Marie is an incredibly intelligent dog with an abundance of love and happiness to share, with just the right amount of pep to keep her lucky new family on the move.

No pet should have to wait as long as Marie, but because of support from compassionate, caring people like you Animal Friends is able to provide a comprehensive, individualized approach for each of our dogs, cats and rabbits until they find the right family.

You can ensure Animal Friends' commitment to the animals in our care continues Animal Friends’ 31 Days of Compassion!

Thanks to a challenge from an incredibly generous donor, each donation to Animal Friends during the month of May will be matched 50 cents on the dollar up to $40,000! You can improve the lives of the pets and people in our region this month. Give a gift today!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Animal Friends' 31 Days of Compassion presents Corina


“But ma’am, your kittens …” a voice insisted, “… they’re sick.” After some coaxing, the woman  reluctantly handed over four very sick, very young kittens to Animal Friends’ Humane Police Officer. Our officer took one look at the kittens and knew this wouldn’t be our last visit. 

Within the week, we returned with a warrant and support from social services. We were prepared to save lives but not for what was inside …

The house was in total disarray. Buckets of human and feline waste, disassembled plumbing and walls torn down to the studs. Amazingly dozens of cats and kittens were surviving in the filth and refuse.

We quickly got to work. And, over the course of the next few weeks four dozen cats were taken to Animal Friends.
All of these sweet kitties were in need of immediate medical attention. Each one was suffering from upper respiratory infection (URI).

And, the condition of one gray kitten in particular, Corina, was especially worrisome. She was suffering from ear mites, malnourishment, dehydration and bacterial and viral infections. This sweet girl should have never had to suffer from these compounding issues over the course of her lifetime … let alone at such a tender age.

After she was treated medically she was placed her into a foster home. There, Corina would be provided much-needed around-the-clock care ... and learn what it means to be loved. 

Soon enough, this tiny kitten’s personality began to shine.

What an adorable, imp-like kitten she is! Bounding and skidding across hardwood floors when singsongedly called. It’s no surprise Corina loves to play. She is frequently found clomping around, entertaining herself with her favorite mouse-teaser toy.

Unfortunately, this tiny kitty didn’t come away from her past with a clean bill of health. She constantly has the sniffles. With the proper treatment we thought they’d clear up but each time we weaned her off of medication, her symptoms would persist. It was then we realized this tiny gray Tabby will forever cope with chronic URI symptoms. 

To some, those sniffles may seem endearing. To us, it’s a reminder of the mistreatment Corina endured. Had she received proper medical care her condition would have been prevented. And now she’ll require an extra special family with the patience and understanding to give her a home. Until they come along,we remain committed to giving little Corina her second chance.

Sadly, our region is full of pets, just like Corina, that still need your help. 

But you can ensure the lives of more animals will be saved from abusive and neglectful situations. With your support medical, behavioral and holistic care will be provided to the animals in our care. With your support thousands of pets will be given another chance at a life.

And, right now through May 31 every dollar you give in support of 31 Days of Compassion will be matched 50 cents on the dollar up to $40,000. Click here to help more animals just like Corina.

Please give generously. They're depending on your compassion.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Animal Friends' 10-Days-of-10 Anniversary Event: Canine Enriched Environment Trail

Doggone, we've done it again! 

In conjunction with our 10-Days-of-10 Anniversary Event, we've created yet another famed Enriched Environment Trail. But this time, we've based it on the materials of traditional anniversary gifts.

For hundreds of years, people have been giving gifts based on different materials to celebrate anniversaries. So we tried our hand at a trail based on that concept.

Of course, the goal of our enrichment activities is so much more than fun and games! It's to provide the our shelter pets with a chance to think and learn with the introduction of novel objects. The objects may have a unique texture, scent or sound. 

Dogs love to discover new things and use their sniffers. So this enrichment trail added something unexpected to their daily routine, thus mentally stimulating the pups' minds and giving them confidence. The pooches moved along the trail at their own pace and were given ample time to investigate each activity.

For the gift of paper, shredded newspaper was placed in a wading pool and we received no complaints from Tumbleweed or Patsy!

Second anniversaries receive cotton, which translates to rope toys in a wading pool. And look at Tika, BoomBoom and Mahogany go - use those sniffers!

For year three and leather, a pile of leather shoes was placed in a box. Sniff the leather shoes ... if you dare! And, clearly Ringo, Neeko and BoomBoom dove right now. Way too many good sniffs to pass up here!

Fruits and flowers is for fourth anniversaries. We thought placing fresh flowers in sniffing box would really give the pooches from variation (especially after smelling a box of shoes!). BoomBoom and Milkbone had no complaints!

Wood is given for fifth year. What did we opt for at this station? Cheese tree, of course! Ferngully closed her eyes while she enjoyed the cheese. She knew the flavor of the cheese would be brought out by the scent of tree. Not Patsy, she just went for it.

"Candy" poppers were placed in a wading pool to symbolize sixth anniversaries and the gift of candy. Sirius and Neeko weren't shy at all. Take as much "candy" as you'd like boys!


Year seven and wool, a "sheep" maze was created. Sirius, Elvis and Tumbleweed wove their way through the "sheep" like champs!

Pottery is the gift for eighth anniversaries. This one gave them a nose buster! A mystery scent was placed under clay pot and BoomBoom was racking his nose for what it was!

 For year nine, willow is given. Scents were placed in a willow basket and Frank took in the scents of the branches. While, Tika enjoyed it so much she wanted to take the basket with her!

And, lastly, for 10 it's gifts of tin or aluminum. For this, we created aluminum pom poms and Patsy is really getting her nose in there to sniff and move the poms around. 

 Don't forget! Enrichment isn't just for shelter pets, it's great for your owned animals as well. Click here to check out some of our favorite enrichment games that you can do with your pets and with things you most likely have at a home!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Animal Friends Presents Tahoma and Verdana

Last January, a Good Samaritan contacted Animal Friends’ Humane Investigations Department about some domesticated rabbits running in her neighborhood – some of which were being hit on the road by cars. Not knowing what else to do, she turned to Animal Friends.

When our Humane Investigations Department, along with a partner organization, visited the neighborhood they immediately saw what she meant. Nearly a dozen domesticated rabbits were scattered throughout the area. Released into the wild by their former owners to fend for themselves.

The two youngest of the rabbits – at only a few months old – were found huddled together for warmth. Barely old enough to be separated from their mother but here they were, without food, water or shelter and vulnerable to the elements.

But just in time, these two, tiny kits found the warm kennels and warm hearts of Animal Friends.

Tahoma and Verdana, as they soon would be named, received much-needed care and were placed in a loving foster home. Soon they would be healthy and strong enough to be adopted.

It’s for animals like Verdana and Tahoma that we won’t give up the fight for a better future for the pets in our region. That’s why we continue to think outside the cage. Each year we spay/neuter more than 10,000 pets to prevent unwanted animals from going to shelters – or worse. 

Through rescue, adoption, spay/neuter and outreach, we’re building a community that values pets. We’re working to end the sad cycle of abuse, overpopulation and unnecessary euthanasia.

You can make a difference in the lives of pets in our region with a Sarris candy purchase. With you, we can continue this critical, lifesaving work.

Click here to purchase some sweet treats before March 21! And be sure to use the Group ID# 10-0375 and designate Animal Friends as the organization.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Animal Friends' Home-to-Home Adoption Program Presents Lover Boy!

Crystalann writes about Lover Boy ...

I rescued Lover Boy in Dammam, Saudi Arabia when I was living there a little over a year ago.  His age is unknown although my best guess is that he is around 2-4 years old. My friend and I found him in a local park and he was eager to come up to us for some food and affection. He is considered to be a black and white Domestic Shorthair.  

Lover Boy has only half of a black mustache and a big black heart on the side of his body.  A strong and large body describes his physical appearance. Although he should not be in a household with any other animals, he is affectionate and loving towards people. He has aggression towards cats and should not be permitted around any other cats and he should always remain indoors.  

Lover Boy loves toy mice, toys, affection, attention, shoulder rides, warm laps, snuggling, petting, talking to him, being around people, cat trees/castles/things to climb, scratching posts, cat treats and tuna. He dislikes being alone, loud noises, being cold (he's from the Middle East), cat harnesses and being locked up.   


I want to give Lover Boy the wonderful life that he deserves. Unfortunately I cannot keep him in my household because we have other cats and he doesn't get along with them. 

For a home with gentle, loving people and no other animals, Lover Boy would be the perfect match!  

 If you can help Lover Boy find a loving home, please contact Crystalann at