Tuesday, November 17, 2015

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

Adoptable black cat Felix

We know that black cats make wonderful pets. Read on for some serious (and not-so serious) reasons to adopt a black cat today!

1. You can't tell if they're dirty and their teeth always look white.
2. A black cat is a great accessory to any outfit - they go with everything!
3. Black is very slimming - holding your cat will make you look extra slender (important with the holidays coming up!)
4. Save time on date night!  You won't need the lint brush on your little black dress.
5. Black cats are the most fun to play hide and seek with. The difficultly gets turned up to 11.
6. They have a "black belt" in cuddling.
7. In most cultures, a black cat in your home brings good luck!
8. They always win for best dressed.
9. They make you look beyond the surface to find true love and beauty.

but most importantly...

10. They are the least likely to be adopted and need your love the most!

Celebrate Black Cat Day today and every day and adopt a black cat today. Check out all of our adoptable black cats on our website then come to visit them.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Animal Friends' Year-End Campaign

Dear Friend,

If you know Animal Friends, you know that spaying/neutering pets is at the heart of our organization. For more than 20 years, we’ve been compassionately and proactively fighting pet overpopulation. For far too long, too many pets have been unnecessarily euthanized in our region. At Animal Friends, we still firmly believe that euthanizing pets is never the solution to pet overpopulation.

To truly stem the tide of pet overpopulation, spay/neuter services need to be accessible and affordable to everyone – no matter their level of income. But that’s only part of combatting this crisis in our region. We need to ensure these services are accessible to the communities that need them most.

Our Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Program is making incredible strides in many of Pittsburgh’s underserved communities. Our staff has been hitting the ground, knocking on doors and getting to know the residents of these neighborhoods to better understand what they need and how we can help.

I’d like to share a story with you that was passed along by our Director of Clinic Services, Carol …

“Earlier this fall, we were visiting a neighborhood east of the city. We got wind that this neighborhood needed help caring for the area feral cats. They were reproducing at an alarming rate and some were even being hit on the road by cars. They didn’t know what to do, so they turned to Animal Friends.

When we visited the neighborhood we immediately saw what they meant – nearly two dozen filthy, starved cats and kittens roamed the street. It was overwhelming. And, it seemed that all of these felines were visiting one specific house – Miss Sylvia’s.

Miss Sylvia is an elderly widow, perhaps in her 80s. She lives alone and suffers from Alzheimer’s. She is a mother to children that have grown and moved away. And more recently, Miss Sylvia became a caregiver to more than two dozen cats.

To Miss Sylvia, these cats are so much more than just animals that need food and shelter.Several times a day, neighbors spot her padding onto her porch in her slippers to feed them.

There on her porch is where Miss Sylvia spends her waking hours. Through snowfalls and thunderstorms, she’s there cooing and talking with her animal friends. It’s clear these cats are the reason for her to get up in the morning.

And if that isn’t sweet enough, Miss Sylvia also selflessly shares the food from her own plate.Some days the cats get spaghetti and meatballs, other times, chicken. But never cat food,she couldn’t afford it.

We ventured to Miss Sylvia’s house. With pink plastic curlers in her hair, she answered the door. We tried to find out how much food she needed to care for the cats but she politely refused and humbly wouldn’t admit to feeding the cats. So we did what we could and left some cat food with her.

Not only did we need to get the colony’s population under control, we needed to help Miss Sylvia. So we started by successfully trapping the 20 cats from her yard who were then spayed/neutered and vaccinated at Animal Friends. After they recovered, they were returned to their home. To Miss Sylvia.

But it won’t stop there. She still needs our help. Miss Sylvia needs the proper tools and resources to better care for her beloved cats. So we’ll keep trying, and eventually, we’ll get her everything she needs.”

The Animal Friends’ staff left with a full vehicle – and even fuller hearts. It’s from hearing stories like these that make me so proud and so thankful for them. At Animal Friends, it’s this compassion that truly sets us apart.

Animal Friends commits nearly $1 million of our annual budget to keep spay/neuter affordable and accessible to low-income families – like Miss Sylvia. But we can’t fight the pet overpopulation crisis alone. To be a true resource to pet owners and communities, we need your help.

There is no better time than now to invest in spay/neuter. To keep our clinics running through the end of the year, we need to raise $250,000. Together, with you, we can make a difference in the lives of pets and people in our region. Together, we can end pet overpopulation.

Kind supporters, like you, are our reasons to be thankful this holiday season. 

In appreciation,

David J. Swisher
President & Chief Executive Officer
AnimalFriends Resource Center
562 Camp Horne Road | Pittsburgh, PA 15237
412.847.7000 | ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thanksgiving Day Treats for your Dog

We’re always on the lookout for fun activities to share with you and we found a great one from our friends at the Outer Banks SPCA, located in North Carolina.(https://www.facebook.com/obxspca)

Last Thanksgiving, their shelter dogs celebrated by digging into these festive food bowls! Volunteers and kids had so much fun putting them together that the North Carolina agency has been serving up this Thanksgiving Day feast for two years and counting. Freezing the bowls allows advance preparation—and as a bonus, makes mealtime last longer for the animals.

 Share photos if you do this for your dogs on Thanksgiving!  We'd love to see!

Special thanks to ASPCA and the Outer Banks SPCA for this recipe.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Happy Tail: Havoc

In honor of Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, we would like to share a wonderful success story of a shelter dogs who found his forever home!  Here is an awesome success story that demonstrates the love and compassion that shelter animals are capable of!

Many of us can relate to having a house full of four-legged family members, just like Dawn and Mark Lubbart. They are avid Animal Friends supporters, having adopted from us multiple times. Thirteen years ago they adopted their first dog, Thor, who quickly became the love of their lives. 

Next they added Cyclops, a wonderful puppy who unfortunately developed seizures. Without missing a beat, Dawn and Mark worked with him and bonded closely with their poor baby boy. After many trials and errors, they figured it out and Cyclops has been seizure-free for quite some time!

In May of 2015, a month after having to send their beloved Thor over the Rainbow Bridge, this wonderful couple decided to adopt again. After spending over three hours with Eric, an Animal Friends' Adoption Counselor, Dawn and Mark fell in love with Havoc, then named Elliot, and decided to welcome him into their loving home. 

Havoc was extremely fearful at the shelter but has since made incredible improvements, with the help of this loving parents and furry sibling. We are so grateful for people like Dawn and Mark who give shelter animals the fighting chance they deserve. They have been rewarded with a lifetime of love and we look forward to helping them in the future should they decide to adopt again!

Animal Friends is Providing Treats, Not Tricks, for Residents

In light of the Halloween season, Animal Friends is again providing some not-so-spooky enrichment for its shelter residents based on this ghoulish holiday. Our eerily creative Animal Enrichment Specialist, Suzanne Denk, cooked up a “Halloween Enriched Environment Trail” for our shelter dogs this past weekend!

The first stop on the trail was a pool of leaves, with hidden tasty treats, requiring dogs to use their noses to find them. Another scent game included sealed boxes with holes to tempt canine noses. Fresh hay, herbs and apple cinnamon air fresheners were hidden inside the boxes.

Spooky hanging obstacles (pool noodles) were used as a confidence builder for our shyer shelter residents (you can also stick treats in the hollow end of the pool noodle to entice shy dogs to approach).

Many made a quick stop at the festive Jack-o-Lantern duck pond and then it was on to the final stop of the trail – The Magic Potion Cheese Tree. Treats were stuck to the tree with a bit of cheese for the dog to sniff out and find. 

The goal of enrichment is to provide a daily environment that is varied and stimulating and to allow the animals to engage in natural behaviors. Enrichment activities that engage all of the animals’ senses are beneficial to their physical and behavioral health. The activities provide opportunities to think and to explore space – therefore providing a sense of control to shelter animals. More importantly, stimulating their brains reduces stress and is fun!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

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

James writes about Stubbie: He is 8 yrs. old but still very young at heart. His name came from him being the runt of the litter, who later grew to actually be bigger than his siblings. 

He loves to play as well as being a lap-cat. With the passing of my mother, I am looking for a good home to send him to. He is house trained for a litter box. I can't keep him due to family allergies.

If you can help Stubbie find a forever home, please contact James at Jguiddy@kaier.net.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Pumpkin Hay Bags for Bunnies: A Spooky Enrichment Treat!

By: Suzanne Denk, Animal Enrichment Specialist

Remember paper bag pumpkins from preschool?  A brown lunch bag filled with hay provides an enriching way to provide a rabbit with some of his daily portion of hay.  

  • Simply fill the lunch bag with hay.  A treat or a few pellets can be added.
  • Twist the top of the bag into a pumpkin stem. 
  • Wrap raffia around the stem.  Wrap the loose end of the raffia in as you wrap.  Leave loose ends as leafy tendrils!
  • A Jack-O-Lantern smiling face is optional!