Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Animal Friends' 31 Days of Compassion presents: Magic

Magic, formerly Mulligan, first became a member of the Animal Friend’s family in March 2012 after he was confiscated from his previous owner.  Although the transition to a shelter environment can be difficult for a lot of our furry friends, Magic never let that get him down.  In a short time, his good looks and wonderful personality had helped him find what everyone hoped would be his forever home.

He lived happily with his new adopter for a few years, before life threw Magic another curve ball.  His owner, a citizen of the United Kingdom, faced deportation.  She would have to move back to the UK and remain there for a minimum of two years.  Unfortunately for Magic, the American Pit Bull Terrier is a breed not welcome in the UK, and all efforts to make him exempt by having him registered as a “service animal” failed.  Magic’s safest option was to return to Animal Friends.  

Since his return, Magic has been doing what he does best—catching up with his old buddies and making new ones.  He loves car rides, long walks and playing with his four footed friends (of the canine persuasion).  He continues to be a great ambassador for his breed, and he is waiting patiently for his next opportunity in a loving home.

To help animals just like Magic, donate to Animal Friends' 31 Days of Compassion here: Without your support, important programs like Humane Investigations would not exist. Because of your donations, Magic has a second chance. 

Animal Friends' 31 Days of Compassion presents: Comet

Comet came to Animal Friends in January 2014 as part of a Humane Investigation case.  She and five other dogs had been chained outside during one of the coldest winters in recent history.  When her rescuers arrived, they found unsanitary conditions and six helpless animals without food or water. Although she had a bitterly cold and dismal start, Comet’s luck was about to take a dramatic turn.  Her new family at Animal Friends was anxiously awaiting her arrival.

As a result of Comet’s history, she came to Animal Friends a very fearful little girl.  Simple things that responsible pet guardians provide for their animals everyday—exercise, play, socialization—were foreign to Comet, so she had to start from square one.  Since her anxiety and clever nature made her an excellent escape artist (Harry Houdini would have been proud), she was initially walked by two people at the same time and she was limited to indoor play only.  She was very shy with all people, even other dogs, which made any interaction a struggle for her.   

Today, thanks to the love and patience of Animal Friends staff and volunteers, Comet seems to have turned the corner.  She now plays with toys, begs for attention from her handlers and walks with growing confidence.  She has even been used as a demonstration dog in the Animal Friends Training Class “Fearful Fido” which helps dogs with similar behavioral issues.  Comet has been given the tools and foundation for a successful rehabilitation.  She just needs a forever home to complete the process.    

To help animals just like Comet, donate to Animal Friends' 31 Days of Compassion here: Without your support, important programs like our Animal Friends University classes and Animal Friends' Humane Investigations would not exist. Because of your donations, Comet has a second chance.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Catnip Pinatas

Guest Blogger: Suzanne Denk, Animal Enrichment Specialist

Who can resist the lure of a colorful, swinging piñata?  A piñata appeals to all of a cat’s senses and gets the kitty up and moving. 

•    Origami paper ball. (Click here for step-by-step instructions.
•    Tissue paper
•    String
•    Catnip
•    Non-toxic school glue

•    Make a paper ball according to origami instructions.  When folding the paper ball, sprinkle catnip in the folds. 
•    Cut thin strips of tissue paper.  Glue the strips into the folds of ball.
•    Glue string in a loop on the opposite side of the ball from the tissue strips. 
•    Let glue on the piñata dry thoroughly.
•    Hang piñata and let the cat play! 

Multiple piñatas can be made and stored in a bag with catnip to marinate. 

Play with piñata must be supervised and string removed when the cat pulls down the piñata. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Animal Friends' Home-to-Home Adoption Program presents: Roscoe!

Hi! My name is Roscoe! I am the sweetest, cuddliest most laid back domestic short hair you'll meet! I am very curious and very happy! I love to sit on laps and do lots of purring! I am not picky about what brand I eat, but my parents mostly feed me dry cat food.

I am approximately 4-5 years old. When I was adopted, it was not clear how old I was. I have lived with multiple people, other cats and even a baby who was very interested in playing with me! I have never hissed and am not aggressive, even when the baby manages to pounce on me! My mom thinks I would do great in a home where I am the only cat. I love attention and haven't met a person yet I don't like! 

My parents are looking to have me adopted or fostered as they had a family member move in recently who is very allergic to cats. My parents love me so much, they would love to have me back someday, but if someone is looking for a permanent feline roommate, they are open to that as well!

Please contact Valerie at 412 916 9532 if you are interested in meeting our sweet boy!

Animal Friends presents: Snoopy!

Snoopy is a nine year old Rat Terrier who doesn’t know he’s a dog. But not to worry,
Rat Terriers can live up to 18 years and even longer.  I bought him from a breeder when he was 6 weeks old. He has had regular check-ups at the Vet. Therefore, Snoopy is very healthy and intelligent. He rings a bell when he needs to go out to potty. He is definitely not an outside dog although he does love to go for walks.

Snoopy is a good dog. We’ve never had trouble with him chewing on things that were not his. Just every once in a while, he goes into the garbage when we are not home. But, he is a quite pooch. The only reason we are offering him up for adoption is we are empty nesters and our lifestyle has changed.

Snoopy is very good with children and babies but because he has been living with empty nesters for the last six years, he would be better suited with older children. My grandson absolutely loves him. But his parents aren’t ready for more responsibility. Snoopy is affectionate and loves attention.

Snoopy is pretty much a loner as he can only deal with one dog at a time. He has gone to Doggy Day Care. But he only tolerates it. He gets nervous around dogs in group settings. Snoopy does have a favorite pet resort, Lucky Paws. I have to admit he is a little spoiled. 

If you can help Snoopy find a forever home, please contact Rose at

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Animal Friends' Home-to-Home program presents: Snuggles!

Hi. I’m Snuggles! My name is a bit of a joke because I am not the “snuggly” kind, but don’t form an opinion yet! I am a very well-behaved cat who prefers not to be picked up and cuddled. I am a 4½-year-old female and have lived with a single mom, her teenage kids and another female cat who went to live with a relative. 

My mom believes I would be an excellent cat for an assisted living or long-term care facility because I am a very well-behaved cat! I don’t get up on the table or counters, I don’t hound you when you are eating, I don’t go outside of the litter box, I don’t wrap myself around your legs and almost trip you, I’m not picky about what I eat, I don’t try to escape (because I’m afraid of the outdoors), I don’t make much noise and I would never even think about biting or scratching you. I do love to nap and I do love to be petted. I can keep someone company without being “high-maintenance” like some kitties are.

My family has to give me up because my mom is getting married and her husband-to-be is extremely allergic to cats. They have been dating for 5 years and he can’t spend more than 45 minutes at the house without his chest getting tight and he cannot breathe – and that’s with Benadryl! So I need a good home to be safe and a good person (or people) to hang out with!

If you can give Snuggles a home, please contact Sue at 724.556.9399 or email at

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Mondays with Myrtle: #teammyrtle

We have some sad news to share today. Surprisingly and sadly, we have said farewell to Myrtle. 

First and foremost, to reiterate from our blog posts, we want to acknowledge what a special kitty Myrtle was.  And, we want to thank everyone who was involved with her arrival to Animal Friends and providing her with specialized care.  We also want to thank you, the readers, for following along with Myrtle’s story and cheering her on.

Most of all, we send a special thank you to Myrtle’s foster mom who lovingly provided her with all of her needs, creating a true oasis for a precious kitty who surely deserved it. Katie opened her heart and her home to Myrtle and surely made Myrtle’s last months as wonderful as they could be.

Myrtle’s health took an unexpected turn.  Her foster mom alerted Animal Friends’ medical staff that she was no longer able to stand and arrangements were made for her to immediately go to the emergency veterinarian for care.  Tests were conducted and the veterinarian suspected cancer or an infection that had spread throughout Myrtle’s body.  With heavy hearts, the decision was made to let Myrtle go.  

Our furry loved ones live in the moment and Myrtle was provided with precious moments while under Animal Friends’ care.  While Myrtle is no longer with us in body, we can see a bit of her spirit shine through in each animal we care for. We ask that you love your pets just a little more today in honor of a very brave, very special kitty.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

“Personal” Cat Grass Containers

Guest Blogger: Suzanne Denk, Animal Enrichment Specialist

Spring is finally upon us and we are so very excited to start enjoying the sunshine, the warm air and...the grass?  Yes! Bring a little of the outdoors into an enclosure (or into your home) for enrichment for your kitty. Cat grass is easy to grow and can be made in little disposable containers. 

• Wash small plastic containers thoroughly.  Small yogurt cups, applesauce cups, or dip snack containers work very well. 
• Soak the cat grass seeds for 8 hours or overnight.
• Fill the containers with potting soil. 
• Plant the seeds in the soil and water well
• Place in a warm dark location and keep the soil damp, not soggy. 
• When the grass sprouts, place the containers in a sunny window.  When the grass reaches an inch or two, pass them out to a shelter cat (or your kitty at home) to enjoy.  

The enrichment grass will introduce something new to the cat’s enclosure and provide the opportunity to graze for those who choose to indulge!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Animal Friends presents: Pai Pai and Bubbles!

Are you someone who is always looking for a good challenge? Do you find that you enjoy strange personality quirks in others? Do you think that one handful just isn’t quite enough? Then how about two?! With our dynamic duo, Bubbles and Pai Pai, you can live that adventure that you seek! 

These girls come as a pair with Bubbles’ nutty-peanut-butter-like personality which goes great with Pai Pai’s sweet chocolaty self. They love playing together – great for getting them worn out – but don’t be worried if it looks like Bubbles is being overly bossy. Pai Pai can handle it and will keep on coming back for more.

Bubbles is one beautiful, sassy, babe looking for the right home. She is a gal who likes things on her terms with both dogs and people. Though Bubbles appears cottony soft, it’s important to remember to look but don’t touch as she does not enjoy being reached for. To fit into Bubbles’s world, any affection must be on her terms, as it should be with any discriminating young lady. She is very active, smart, and determined, showing an abundance of confidence in most situations with the exception of touching. Bubbles is very playful and loves playtime with other dogs, but she can be too much for some other dogs. She and Pai Pai, however, are best friends for life and must live together. 

Pai Pai is a shy-yet-friendly girl who needs a home with patience to allow her the time she needs to get comfortable in her environment. She tends to be afraid of strangers and can be easily startled; due to this she is considered a potential flight risk. Once she warms up to you she enjoys petting and cuddles. With both Bubbles and Pai Pai it is important to not push any handling on them but to wait for them to choose to come to you to receive their lovin’.  

The right home for this doggy duo will understand their quirks, be patient and spend time working with them to help them to become all that they can be. The girls will do best with children 15 and up in a home without cats. They enjoy other dogs and could do well in a home with more dogs, as long as the other dogs are okay with their roughhouse style of play. Both girls are young and energetic so will need to be able to exercise and play on a daily basis. 

Interested in meeting Bubbles and Pai Pai? Please call the Animal Friends Adoption Department at 412.847.7002 to set up an appointment for a visit or email us at

Animal Friends presents: Boom Boom!

Are you seeking a little man with good looks and a big, booming personality? Well, look no further because Boom Boom is the one you’ve been waiting for!

Boom Boom is confident and friendly with other dogs and can often be found flying through the air in play group with his shelter dog friends. He will do just about anything to get them to play and run with him, including trying some moves we humans find just a bit embarrassing! Although he is very confident with other dogs, he is wary of new people and will greet a stranger with big booming barks.

We have found that with some training and food rewards that we are able to modify this behavior, especially when he is practicing with someone he trusts. Once he knows you – this just takes a little patience and some tasty treats – he is a very smart, fun and loving little fellow. He enjoys playing with toys, running circles through the house and cuddling up with his person. And just wait until you see his moves on the agility course. Talk about a rockstar!

Boom is approximately 1-year old and would love to learn even more tricks from you. Even though he really enjoys relaxing in a baby stroller (yes, a baby stroller and we have pictures!) he does not appreciate when children are around. So Boom Boom would prefer to live in a home with adults and kids 15 and up.

If you think you have enough space in your heart and home for this Boom-ing special dog, please call the Animal Friends Adoption Department at 412-847-7002 to set up an appointment for a visit or email us at

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Animal Friends presents: Riggs!

Has having the kids away at school left home a little too quiet? Are you looking for a lively companion to energize your empty home? Look no further, we have an endearingly obnoxious companion to remind you that you are needed and loved! 

Years of ignoring whiny children should set you up perfectly to train Riggs, a very handsome, very vocal Lab/Chow mix who could use some help learning “shush.”  Like demanding toddlers, handsome Riggs has learned that people often respond to being loudly prodded, and he enjoys the attention of people so much it has become a constant behavior.  A family that will ignore the incessant canine vocalizations, “Mom, Dad! Treat, Walk!” will help him learn that a quiet nuzzle can be just as effective. Don’t worry, we don’t expect Riggs to completely break the habit – you’ll still know that he’s there!

Riggs does settle down, especially for scratches behind the ears and on his bum, but he prefers to settle on the floor next to his favorite human instead of alone in a crate.  In previous homes Riggs has protested solitary confinement by escaping a crate and nosing through unlatched doors, although he has recently learned to be comfortable in a crate.  Riggs did well with a family who was rarely away, bonding and becoming his Dad’s sidekick before he became too ill to care for Riggs and brought him back to Animal Friends.

At seven years old most dogs would be looking for a soft bed beside the fireplace to relax and snooze.  Riggs will happily use the bed, but as a platform to de-stuff his toys!  Don’t worry, he will still look adorable as he sticks his backside up at you during play. Riggs is no couch potato, so he could be your next great hiking buddy.  He’s as excited about the next car ride as he is about playing!  He rides nicely, however, and will continue to be the perfect gentleman on your walk unless he gets too close to yummy forest creatures or cats. 

Riggs is great at sharing food and toys with his trusted companions, but he doesn’t seem to trust other dogs or new people.  A few treats, new toys, and some loving patience will help him get used to those pesky college students, the mailman, and the neighbors, but we think younger children might be a little too much for Riggs to handle in a home – after all, he is still learning to be well behaved himself!

Interested in meeting Riggs? Please call the Animal Friends Adoption Department to set up an appointment for a visit – 412.847.7002 – or email us at

Friday, February 27, 2015

Protect Your Pets Before Disaster Strikes

Guest blog by ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker, originally posted on

Just because most disasters strike with little or no warning doesn’t mean we can’t effectively prepare for them. But while a lot of attention has been devoted to disaster planning for people, disaster planning for pets is all too often left out of the conversation, with tragic results. September may be National Preparedness Month, but the truth is we should always be preparing –with both ourselves and our pets in mind—so we can always be ready.

As experts in both disaster preparedness and response, the ASPCA is very aware of this peril. Following Hurricane Sandy, we assisted more than 30,000 pets in New York and New Jersey, distributing nearly 40 tons of pet supplies to impacted pet owners, and sheltering nearly 280 displaced pets. This summer, we released our first-ever ASPCA smartphone app, which includes disaster preparedness and pet survival tips, a tool to store and manage your pet’s vital information, as well as practical tips and a customizable kit for recovering lost pets.

We put a lot of effort into keeping pets safe, but the biggest role belongs to their owners. Yet, according to a national ASPCA poll, more than one-third of cat and dog owners don't have a disaster preparedness plan in place, and only one-quarter say their animals are micro-chipped. In the Northeast, nearly half of dog owners and cat owners say they don't know what they would do with their pets in an evacuation, while slightly more pet owners in the South – where hurricanes are more common – are aware.

This lack of preparedness can have dire consequences. During Hurricane Katrina, approximately 10,000 animals were evacuated, but less than half were reunited with their families, according to Dr. Dick Green, our senior director of disaster response.

These outcomes aren’t inevitable. Let’s work together to share and take advantage of these valuable suggestions from our veteran rescuers:

  • Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification
  • Microchip your pets and register the chip. It may be their ticket home if they become lost
  • Build a portable pet emergency kit with items such as medical records, water, pet food, medications and pet first aid supplies
  • Affix a pet rescue sticker to your windows (Get a free one here)
  • Have current photos of your pets on hand
  • Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation, and never leave them behind
  • Identify ahead of time where you’ll bring your pets -- whether it’s a relative’s house or a pet-friendly hotel -- because not all emergency facilities accept animals
  • Remember: any home unsafe for people is also unsafe for pets

Here’s a list of items pet owners should include in their pet preparedness kits:

  • Pet first-aid kit (ask your vet what to include or click here for a list from the Humane Society of the United States)
  • 3-7 days' worth of canned or dry food
  • Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans work well)
  • Litter or paper toweling
  • Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
  • Disposable garbage bags
  • Pet feeding dishes
  • Extra collars or harnesses, as well as an extra leash
  • Photocopies of medical records – or you can store them on the ASPCA App
  • A waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires (make sure to regularly replace expired food and medicines in your kit)
  • At least a week’s worth of bottled water for you and your pet (store in a cool, dry place and replace every two months)
  • A traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet
  • A flashlight
  • A blanket (for scooping up a fearful pet)
  • Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make "Lost" posters)
  • Especially for cats: A pillowcase as a crate alternative, and large bags for supplies, toys, and scoopable litter
  • Especially for dogs: Extra leash, toys and chew toys, a week's worth of cage liner

Even if conditions are safe enough to stay home, you may still need to calm pets scared by lightning and loud noises. Prepare a small, safe space in which they can be comfortable, consider closing curtains and shades, play classical music or white noise to muffle the sounds, and most importantly, keep them inside.

Like most humans, animals don’t respond well to chaos. With hurricane season not ending until November, it’s critical for pet owners to be the true “first responders”— knowing just what to do when their beloved companions need them most.

For Pennsylvania-centric links and information, please click here.