Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How a Microchip Can Keep Your Pet Safe this Summer


Warm weather is upon us and people and their pets are spending time outdoors enjoying the summer. With all of this outdoor fun, it’s important for pet owners to keep their furry family members safe, especially in the unfortunate event of a lost pet.

What is microchipping?


A microchip is a tiny device–about the size of a grain of rice–that is implanted beneath your pet’s skin, typically in the shoulder blade. The procedure is simple and virtually painless for the patient. The small chip contains a unique identification number and can be scanned in the event that the pet is found and brought to a veterinarian, clinic or shelter.

Why is this important for my pet?


Approximately one in three pets will get lost in its lifetime. Even pets whose owners have taken extra precautions can become separated from their families, whether curiosity leads them under a fence or a startling noise causes them to dart out an open door or window. Having a microchip significantly increases the likelihood of a pet and owner being reunited.

According to Found Animals Registry, shelters report that microchipped dogs are 2.4 times more likely to be reunited with their families while microchipped cats are reunited 21.4 times more often! When a microchipped pet is found, most veterinarians, shelters, animal control agencies and police departments can read the chip for easy access to the pet owner’s information. If a pet is found and does not have a microchip, locating the owner becomes a much more difficult task, especially if the animal’s collar and identification tags have been removed or have fallen off.

How can I get my pet microchipped?


Animal Friends offers low-cost vaccine and microchipping clinics during the year where pet owners can easily access the services they need while receiving information from educated animal care professionals. Here, a microchip will be implanted by a licensed veterinarian and the pet owner’s contact information will be uploaded to a national registry. Microchips are low risk, with less than .01 percent of animals implanted experiencing any negative reactions as a result.

 

What next?


Once your pet is microchipped, you will be given all of the information about the chip including how to access your personal information and make necessary updates such as your family’s veterinary, emergency contact information and even a current photograph of your pet.

A microchip is not a GPS tracking device; it is a permanent form of identification. It is important to remember that while a microchip significantly increases your pet’s chances of being safely returned, every possible precaution should be taken to keep them safe at home this summer.

To learn more about how Animal Friends can help you keep your pet happy, healthy and safe this summer, and to print a money-saving coupon to use toward your pet’s microchip, visit ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Home to Home Adoption Program: Baby

Baby is a sweet and loving 8-year-old Black Lab/Retriever mix who found her way to her current home a little over a year ago after her owner passed away. She is typically a well-behaved and mild-mannered girl and gets along well with her Siberian Husky housemate. Outside the home, Baby can be selective when interacting with other dogs, typically when she is outside of her own yard on walks or at the dog park.


This beautiful girl loves to be pet and will stay right by your side as a constant companion. She would probably do best as the only pet in a family that is looking for a loyal canine friend. Baby spent most of her life with her former owner and is looking for a loving home where she can settle in and relax with her new family. Sharing a home with a canine sibling, Baby hasn't been getting the one-on-one attention she is used to, so her current family wants to find her the perfect home where she can get all the love she deserves.

If you're interested in meeting Baby, please contact Kim at spookyscully@gmail.com or 412.385.2198.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Adopting Two Cats is Twice as Nice!


Shelters face tough times during the spring and summer … it’s the dreaded kitten season. This is when the weather gets warm and cats give birth. Shelters struggle to accommodate the overwhelming influx of kittens that come through their doors each year. And, Animal Friends  is certainly feeling the effects of kitten season.

We have more than 50 homeless kittens waiting to find loving families. So we need your help! Right now is the perfect time to adopt a sweet kitten … or two! At Animal Friends we know it’s twice as nice to adopt two kittens at once.

Not to mention, when you adopt two animals from Animal Friends, you get twice the amount of love for one adoption donation!

There are many benefits to adding two kittens to your family at once ...
  • They will always have a playmate to chase, wrestle and keep them active, well-exercised and healthy.
  • Many cats are social creatures and will love having a sibling to groom and cuddle with during naptime.
  • Often times, destructive behavior in pets is traced to boredom. Having a companion will keep them out of trouble!
  • You can experience the joy of having a friendly greeting when you return home without feeling guilty about leaving your pet home alone.
  • Two cats means double the love, an extra dose of fun and twice as much snuggling!
  • Most importantly, adopting two cats actually saves four lives – the two you’re adopting and the two that will take their spots on the adoption floor at Animal Friends!
So, come to Animal Friends or visit ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org/Cats to meet our adoptable kittens today!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Unveiling a Center of Hope and Healing

On July 15, an Animal Friends' dream was realized - the grand opening of the Howard Ash Animal Wellness Center. Our hearts swelled with pride as we welcomed hundreds of community members to our campus-wide celebration.
 
“With this progressive facility, Animal Friends will be able to increase its commitment to affordable spay/neuter from 10,000 surgeries each year to 15,000 surgeries,” said Animal Friends President & CEO David Swisher.

“We will reach into underserved communities to provide spay/neuter and wellness services along with education and, when needed, transport to our clinic.”
 
While we celebrated the Grand Opening, our Howard Ash Animal Wellness Center isn’t fully operational … just yet. We still need to make a few construction tweaks before we can begin to transfer our Low-Cost Spay/Neuter and Vaccine Clinics, Humane Investigations and Chow Wagon Pet Food Bank programs into their new home.
 
We hope to fully open the doors of our Howard Ash Animal Wellness Center by early September. But rest assured – we’re still proudly offering these services at our Resource Center until we make the big move!
 
So please, continue to check ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org/AWC for updates.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Home to Home Adoption Program: Millie

Millie was adopted by her current family when she was just 4 months old. Now, at 6 years old, this pretty girl is in search of a family that will continue to give her all the love she deserves. Millie needs a home where she will be able to snuggle up on the couch with people who love her. She loves to play fetch with her toys, enjoys going for walks and rides in the car, and is even content to just relax around the house or outside.

This Poodle/Dachshund mix is extremely well-mannered and is friendly toward everyone she meets. She runs to greet guests at the door with her tail wagging and loves to give kisses. She is housebroken and knows how to sit, lay down, roll over, sit up, give paw, speak, dance and fetch (whew!). She is a very smart little lady and is always eager to please.

Millie is in excellent health, is spayed, up-to-date on all of her vaccinations and has a microchip. She gets along well with other small dogs but isn't quite as comfortable with larger dogs. Millie's family wants to find her a home where she will get all the same love and attention that she is used to. All that's left to happen is the right family to meet her and fall in love!

If you can give Millie a loving home, please contact jackieandken@hotmail.com.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Home to Home Adoption Program: Bruce Wayne


This beautiful, 4-year-old kitty with big eyes is Bruce Wayne. After being involved in an accident when he was a kitten, this sweet boy only has three legs – he’s missing his front right leg – but he doesn’t let that stop him from getting around. Once he warms up to you, he’ll follow you around the house until you’re ready for his favorite activity … cuddling!
 
Bruce Wayne is great with other cats, but hasn’t had much experience meeting dogs. He has spent his entire life as an indoor cat and would like to keep it that way! Since he has a sensitive stomach, keeping his diet consistent has helped him to live a perfectly normal life.

This lovable guy has been an amazing companion, but his current owner will soon be moving and is unable to take him along. Can you give Bruce Wayne the great family and loving home he deserves?
 
 
If you’re interested in meeting Bruce Wayne, contact Ashley:
412.799.4919 | athrone@live.com


A Fighting Chance


“Come on. Just a little further sweet boy,” our veterinary technician gently encouraged. She wrapped her arm around the young dog’s torso to help him take a few wobbly steps. She was holding a plate of warm chicken to entice him. This brindle-coated, emaciated dog is Cory. He arrived so ravaged by neglect that you could count every one of his ribs and see every notch of his spine.

It was a wonder that he was even alive ...



She steadied Cory on his feet and removed the support of her arm. He attempted to take a step on his own. But it was too much. His atrophied muscles gave out and he collapsed to the floor. A forlorn wag of his tail was all he could muster. She kissed his nose and rewarded his brave attempt with the plate of chicken.

She worried if Cory was going to make it. It was still too early to tell, but she would do everything she could to give him a fighting chance.

We’ll never fully know what Cory went through. Maybe it’s better that we don’t.



We can only assume that he survived by scavenging for anything edible in the house. That is … until he became so weak with malnourishment that he simply couldn’t move.

When the local police found him, Cory was huddled with another dog in a pile of trash. He could barely lift his head to see the faces of those who would remove him from his suffering.

It’s hard to imagine, but two children were also removed from the residence. Thankfully, social services stepped in to provide them the help they needed. And, while another animal organization was able to take the four cats that were found, Cory and the other dog, Topanga, became part of our Animal Friends family.

The moment the two dogs came through our doors, the Animal Friends team jumped into action. Our experienced Medical staff immediately provided them the emergency medical care they so desperately needed. Topanga was in critical condition. Cory was on the verge of death.

For the first few weeks we held our breath. Cory received blood transfusions, a specially formulated diet and feeding plan, extensive physical therapy ... and the list went on. Day by day, Cory continued to fight.



Within a few weeks Cory was able to stand on his own. Shortly thereafter he was walking. And now, the only collapsing we have to worry about is when he excitedly collapses into the waiting
arms of staff and volunteers.

It was still some time before Cory was ready for a new home. Until then, we’ll be sure to give him all the love and care he can handle. And, just maybe, we’ll be able to erase the past that he so narrowly escaped.

None of us wants to believe that situations like Cory’s really do happen right here in our own communities. That right next door there may be animals – and children – clinging to life. But that’s why Animal Friends is here. To step in, provide rescue and safe haven, and offer that critical second chance.

Rescuing and rehabilitating animals like Cory takes a lot of time, energy and resources. And, no matter how long it takes or what it costs, we know it is worth every second ... and every dollar.

Tragically, Cory is just one of thousands of animals who come to Animal Friends each year in need of a fighting chance. And, that’s why we are coming to you.

We need your help.

Please consider a gift in support of our work. From humane investigations and rescue to adoption services and low-cost spay/neuter clinics, you will ensure that our lifesaving programs will be here for the pets … and people … who need them.

Click here to give them a fighting chance.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips

Linda Mitzel Photography

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.

Fireworks

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.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Out-of-Towner's Guide to Bark N'at


Bark N'at is a Pittsburgh-themed party fit for even the most experienced yinzers. But, we wanted to help some of the out-of-towners understand what Bark N'at is all about. That's why we came up with a few helpful tips so even if you're not a Pittsburgh native, you'll fit right in!

Parking Chair

You won't need to hold your place in line with one of these if you register online today!

Crick

A smaller version of a river, like the Allegheny that runs beneath the Roberto Clemente Bridge where we'll be partying all evening long at Bark N'at!

Chipped Chopped Ham

A local delicacy you might not find in our food truck alley. But don't worry, we'll have plenty of other delicious hometown favorites to choose from!

Jimmies

Another name for sprinkles ... not to be confused with our Lead Yinzer, Jimmy Krenn.

Dahntahn

Also known as downtown. This is the only place you'll want to be on Sat., June 24 for Bark N'at on the Clemente Bridge!
So how's about you stop putzing around and register for Bark N'at today!


http://www.thinkingoutsidethecage.org/barknat

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Vaccines 101

By Melanie Lippert, Clinic Services Program Assistant


Most people know that their pets should be vaccinated, but do they know what these vaccines actually protect against? It’s worth the time to understand what vaccines your pets need and why they’re so important.

The one vaccine that is required by state law for every dog and cat is the rabies vaccine. Most are familiar with rabies but don’t consider the risk of their household pets transmitting this deadly virus. Rabies is most commonly transmitted through wild animals such as skunks, raccoons and bats. Once contracted, there is no cure for rabies in animals or in humans. The introduction of the rabies vaccine has drastically decreased the number of cases over the years.

Another vaccination, commonly called DHLPP, is strongly recommended by most animal care professionals. This vaccine protects against up to five different conditions that can be deadly to dogs: distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus and parainfluenza. These diseases can be contracted by your pooch from other canines or the environment. While some of these conditions can be treated if caught early, others have no cure and can be fatal.


Even for indoor cats, choosing to vaccinate can be a lifesaving decision. The FVRCP vaccine protects against feline rhinotracheitis virus, calicivirus and panleukopenia. These conditions can affect your cat’s health in a number of ways including attacks on their respiratory, immune and gastrointestinal systems. Some of these cases are limited to minor respiratory problems while others can be deadly for cats if left untreated.

Keeping your pets up to date on their vaccinations is safer, easier and far less expensive than treating a serious (or even minor) illness. Thankfully, Animal Friends offers low-cost vaccine, microchip and flea treatment clinics to help keep your four-legged friends safe, happy and healthy. These clinics are cash only and all services are offered on a first-come first-served basis – no reservations required.

If you have questions about which vaccinations your pet needs or for dates of upcoming low-cost vaccine and microchip clinics at Animal Friends, visit ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org/Vaccine or call 412.847.7029.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The "S Dogs" (part 3)

Read: The "S Dogs" (part 2)

In one of our dog kennels, a staff member was finishing some paperwork at a makeshift desk made from an overturned milk crate. In the kennels surrounding her were about a half dozen of the S Dogs. Occasionally tossing a treat to the kennels’ occupants, she went about her work as the dog nervously paced back and forth. Although it may have seemed like an odd sight to some, this was one of the critical first steps of their rehabilitation. This was getting them accustomed to the presence of people.

This continued for weeks and months. And slowly but surely, terrified looks and shell-shocked stares transitioned into fleeting eye contact or a cautious sniff. Each of these small victories were building on one another as the S Dogs learned to trust.

Then one day as our staff member went in to complete some paperwork, she opened a kennel door in hopes that the occupant would take a few brave steps out. From the corner of her eye, she saw him approach. Careful not to initiate eye contact, she continued her work as he cautiously moved closer. She thought she imagined it, but no, there it was. A cold wet nose brushed against her arm. She dared not move an inch. She threw a glance in his direction, and then, for just a few seconds, their eyes locked. It took everything in her to continue her work because she really wanted to jump up in celebration. For this was a tremendous step in the dog’s progress – progress that had taken weeks of patience. She knew this was something we could build on as we continued to patiently and persistently work with the S Dogs.

As more and more of the dogs began to slowly but surely step out of their comfort zones, we knew the real work was just beginning. We wanted them to understand what it was like to be a dog. Some hadn’t been outside in months because they were so terrified of being touched that collars and leashes simply had to wait. After walks could come playgroups, followed by meeting new friends and, eventually, going home.



The staff members and volunteers who had been working with them for months became the S Dogs’ closest friends. Forming a collaborative network of support, they shared in each of the dogs’ victories – big and small. “Saxon pawed me to keep petting him today!” “Sanderson took treats from my hand for the first time!” It was truly a team effort with one common goal.

Then the day came that some thought might never arrive. A family was interested in adopting one of the S Dogs. Word spread like wildfire. It was hard not to get hopes up because the end result was just too heartwarming not to dream about. And then it happened. Sal was the first of these special dogs to find a loving and understanding family to help him continue his journey.

Since then, more than 20 of the S Dogs have found homes, but there are still some who, more than a year after arriving at Animal Friends, we continue to work hard with each and every day. No matter how long it takes, we’ll continue to work with them tirelessly until they’re no longer in our care.

Interested in learning more about the S Dogs who are ready to find loving homes? Contact our Adoption team at 412.847.7002 or AdoptionInfo@ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org to set up a meet and greet today!

Adoptable dog, Sherlock.
Adoptable dog, Simon.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Home to Home Adoption Program: Hercules Mulligan


Hercules Mulligan is an affectionate and friendly 2-year-old Puggle who is looking for a loving home that can provide him with the time and attention he needs. This playful boy gets along with other animals and loves to go for walks and romp around at the dog park. He has received basic obedience training and has been working with an in-home trainer. He has a stubborn streak but just wants all of the attention of the people in his life.

This little guy is still figuring out the finer points of personal space and can be a little too generous with affectionate headbutts and kisses. He's working hard to overcome this, but would probably be a better fit for a home without small children. Hercules could benefit from having room to run around so he can get the exercise he needs.

After 8 months in his home, Hercules' family has learned how sweet of a pup he is, but they know he needs a family that is able to provide him with the space, supervision and training that he needs. This lovable guy is neutered, up-to-date on all of his vaccinations and is in great health. Now he just needs the right family to help him grow into the great dog really is!

If you can give Hercules the home he's looking for, contact Chris at 724.787.6212 or cmw.pittsburgh@gmail.com.
 
 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The "S Dogs" (part 2)


Read: The "S Dogs" (part 1)

Dozens of under-socialized dogs had made it through the doors at Animal Friends. So scared, they wouldn’t even make eye contact, it was clear they had never felt the loving touch of a human. They were filthy, trembling and some were in need of immediate medical attention.

One of the dogs, Scully, had a badly injured leg – likely an old fracture that never healed – that needed to be amputated. Serena, a timid and gentle girl, had an eye infection that had been left untreated for so long that her iris had fused to the cornea. These sweet dogs had been neglected for so long … until now.
 
One by one, each dog was treated by our Medical team. Topical medicine was administered to remove the fleas and ticks, followed by multiple treatments for those who had parasites. Some had giardia, others were dealing with ear infections. It was clear that these dogs had not seen a vet in a very long time … if at all.

While these deserving dogs had been rescued from their former “home,” their second chance was just beginning.

These neglected dogs didn’t trust people, but it was up to us to change that. We knew that classical conditioning and positive interactions would lay a solid foundation to slowly bring them out of their shells.

At Animal Friends, rescuing and rehabilitating animals, like Scully and Serena, takes a lot of time, energy and resources. And, no matter how long it takes – or what it costs – we know it’s worth every second … and every dollar. Right now, your dollar can go even further. Click here to have your donation matched!

 
At Animal Friends, every day is full of compassion. Visit ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org/31Days to turn your compassion into action. After all, it only takes one day to save a life.

 
 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Learning from Livey


When Livey arrived at Animal Friends more than 2 years ago, she began to earn a reputation. This beautiful cat with gorgeous green eyes and long gray fur was the subject of many rumors: “she is moody,” “she won’t sit on your lap,” “she only likes men,” “she hisses and swats if you try to pet her.” While there was some truth to these stories, Livey wasn’t a bad cat … she was simply misunderstood.
 
In February, Animal Friends began participating in Jackson Galaxy’s Cat Pawsitive initiative which was developed to reduce stress in cats who are overwhelmed by a shelter environment. The program works by associating positive behaviors with a clicking sound followed by a reward such as a treat or affection. But since Livey showed little interested in attention or treats, it was difficult to reward her for friendly interactions.
 
Those who knew her best saw the potential for Livey to grow into a friendly and outgoing cat, she just needed to be given the right opportunity. So, Livey was moved to a small free-roam room where she could seek attention on her own terms. If she chose to interact with guests, she was offered a click and a reward. The choice to interact with people was completely hers. Over time, Livey learned to enjoy being petted, having her ears scratched and even curling up on a lap for a cuddle.
 
Livey taught us that animals communicate their fears to us in different ways, but we don’t always understand. Once we understood what Livey had been telling us, her transformation began. And, now there is more truth to the rumors you hear about this sweet girl: “she greets visitors at the door,” “she’ll curl up and knead your lap,” “she likes hanging out with her female friends,” “she’ll give you a little head butt when she’s ready to be petted.”

Now, the only thing Livey needs is a loving family to call her own.
At Animal Friends, every day is full of compassion. Visit ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org/31Days to turn your compassion into action. After all, it only takes one day to change a life.
 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Breeding Change


A few months ago we met a man named Gary who lived in Pittsburgh’s North Side with his Shih Tzu, Sam. We introduced him to our Animal Friends for Life program, which focuses on specific communities in need of free services. Since Sam was behind on his vaccinations and hadn’t been neutered, we encouraged Gary to take advantage of the program. He was not interested in the idea of having Sam neutered, fearing that it would change his behavior and personality. So each time we saw him, we were able to teach him more about the many benefits of having his beloved pet neutered and hope that he would reconsider.

After some time, Gary agreed to have Sam neutered and vaccinated. In the following days, we picked up Sam and brought him to Animal Friends for his exam and surgery. We quickly realized that we were lucky to meet Gary when we did. Sam was cryptorchid, meaning that one testicle had not descended, putting him at a much higher risk of cancer.

Once he had recovered from surgery, we brought Sam back to his home. As we walked toward Gary’s front door, we met Nancy, one of his neighbors. She had seen us with Gary’s dog and was curious about who we were and what we were doing. It wasn’t long before we learned that Nancy wasn’t just a neighbor – she was a Shih Tzu breeder and had sold Sam to Gary.

As it turns out, Nancy had four dogs of her own. With no access to an affordable clinic, they had never seen a veterinarian. We told Nancy about the importance of spaying and neutering and explained that breeding could have a negative effect on the health and well-being of her dogs. Although she loved them dearly, these dogs were not just pets to her – they were her livelihood.

About a month and several conversations later, Nancy finally agreed to have her dogs spayed and neutered. After our compassionate staff performed the spays, neuters, exams and blood tests we learned that these sweet pups were in need of much more than routine surgery. One of them was suffering from severe periodontal disease, a bacterial infection of the mouth. During surgery, another was found to have numerous cysts on her uterus and ovaries. Nancy’s decision to allow us to spay and neuter her dogs could have quite literally saved their lives.

We started Animal Friends for Life not just as a way to provide affordable and accessible wellness services, but to inform underserved communities about how to keep their companion animals healthy. By giving Gary information and resources, we were able to make certain that Sam was healthy. And, by helping Gary, we met Nancy and helped her pets continue to live long, healthy and happy lives, too!

At Animal Friends, every day is full of compassion. Visit ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org/31Days to turn your compassion into action. After all, it only takes one day to alter a life.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Squiggy's Journey



Filthy from nose to tail and dangerously thin, Squiggy was rescued from a garage with four other dogs by our Humane Investigations team in 2013. She was incredibly sweet – despite the deplorable living conditions she was found in. Squiggy put on weight and slowly but surely regained her strength before finding a loving home.

Several years went by before Squiggy found her way back to Animal Friends. Her devoted owner had been battling health problems and – despite his best efforts – simply couldn’t give her the care she needed any longer. Devastated, he returned an 11-year-old Squiggy to Animal Friends.

Shortly after she returned, we discovered several masses on Squiggy’s head and neck. Tests confirmed that they were mast cell tumors, a product of a common, and potentially, aggressive type of skin cancer. Days later, she underwent surgery and the tumors were successfully removed.



Having fully recovered from her surgery, Squiggy is now cancer free and looking for a loving home to enjoy the rest of her days. This beautiful girl has truly become a staff and volunteer favorite at Animal Friends and after all she has been through, needs a family that will give her all the love she deserves.

From our Humane Police Officers and Medical team to our Admissions and Adoption Counselors and everywhere in between, Squiggy was given a second chance at a happy life thanks to the compassionate care of so many people. Now, she just needs someone to help her continue her story.

At Animal Friends, every day is full of compassion. Visit ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org/31Days to turn your compassion into action. After all, it only takes one day to save a life.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Ollie Finds His Family

By Elliott Enzo, Ollie's Adopter
At just 3 months old, Ollie and his litter mate were brought to Animal Friends after they had accidentally been caught in a humane raccoon trap. Since he hadn’t experienced human interaction and was extremely shy and fearful, Ollie went to spend some time in a foster home where he would learn to trust people. After 6 months of a lot of love and socialization in the foster home, Ollie returned to Animal Friends in search of a very special family who would be patient and understanding of his needs. And, then, well we’ll let his adopter Elliott take it from here.

“To understand why I adopted Ollie, you must first know about my other cat, Blinkn who was 3 months old when I adopted her. She was nearly feral and her skittish nature had made it difficult for her to connect with potential adopters. When I first met her, I sat back and waited. Miraculously, she slowly approached me, put both front paws on my chest and meowed. Right then, I knew that I’d be the one to give her the home she needed.

“It took time and patience for Blinkn to grow to trust me, but slowly and surely over the years her bravery and confidence grew. Blinkn grew up with another friendly and outgoing cat in the apartment and it wasn’t until after he left us that I noticed how much she had benefited from his presence. Once he was gone, I knew I had to find a friend for her.



“I visited Animal Friends and explained my situation to an Adoption Counselor. I was looking for the same connection I had made with Blinkn 7 years earlier. We walked past a room where three cats were sharing a space – Ollie was one of them. Our eyes met – and just as Blinkn had reached out and put her paws on me – I felt that same connection with Ollie.

“I spent some time in the room, I knew Ollie was very fearful so I just hung out and softly talked to him for a while. I noticed that one of the other cats in the room was very nurturing to Ollie and also friendly toward me. I was able to pet her and Ollie cautiously followed her lead. Astonishingly, Ollie began to purr as I petted him. I knew that Ollie would be the perfect companion for me and Blinkn – and just as importantly, we were the right family for him.

“Ollie came home with me the next day. I was pleased to see him respect Blinkn’s boundaries and noticed that he was comforted by her presence. Now, they play together, sleep together, share nuzzles and Ollie will even touch noses with me. We’ve bonded as a family and it’s clear that Ollie is happy here. Just as importantly, Blinkn has benefited from having another cat in the house again. I’m so grateful to Animal Friends for helping to bring the three of us together.”

At Animal Friends, every day is full of compassion. Visit ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org/31Days to turn your compassion into action. After all, it only takes one day to improve a life.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The "S Dogs" (part 1)



Anxious yips and whines seemed to fill every bit of space in our Admissions hallway. Crates upon crates upon crates filled with terrified dogs lined the walls. Staff and volunteers hurriedly went to work getting each dog … Severus, Sherlock, Saber, Sunday, Sage … checked out as they entered our collaborative network of care.

Each of these Collie mixes … Saxon, Sharon, Seger, Shea, Sergio … had been rescued as the result of a case that our Humane Police Officers had been working on for nearly a decade. Dozens of dogs had been living on a property without adequate food, water or shelter. Their “home” was reminiscent of a junkyard. They … Sally, Shiloh, Sasha, Sonny … lived under broken-down cars, among trash and in their own waste. They received barely enough human interaction to survive.



They were so scared they were almost catatonic … Sheldon, Sedona, Salvatore, Scully … some needed immediate medical attention … Selena, Seneca, Sydney, Sanford, Shelly, Sargent … and were rushed to receive emergency care. Many were so fearful they wouldn’t even allow as much as the gentle touch of a compassionate staff or volunteer. We so badly wanted them to understand that they were finally safe, cared for and, most importantly, loved.

It was no easy task to get these pups to Animal Friends, but after more than 12 hours of working together, a team of staff and volunteers returned to our Resource Center. They were filthy, sunburnt and exhausted, yet overjoyed that these dogs would finally get a fresh start. Even after a full day of scouring the dilapidated property, there were still dogs in need of rescue. Over the next few months, our team returned to the property and one by one, brought back … Sean, Simon, Sierra, Steffan, Salem, Silas, Sanderson, Silchas … the remaining eight.



In all, 38 canines, lovingly dubbed the “S Dogs,” … September, Salma, Saturday, Sloane, Sal, Serena … were now in our care and ready to begin their second chance. At the time, physically getting them to Animal Friends seemed like the biggest hurdle we’d need to overcome. But had we known exactly what was ahead, we would have simply recognized that this was just the first step on the S Dogs’ long road to recovery …

Click here to read The "S Dogs" (part 2).

At Animal Friends, every day is full of compassion. Visit ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org/31Days to turn your compassion into action. After all, it only takes one day to save a life.