Friday, July 29, 2011

It's a catload! We're fully loaded with cats and kittens!

Guest Blogger: Siri Espy, Communications Team

Weather forecasts are often unreliable, but we can tell you there’s a 100% chance that it will be raining cats and kittens at Animal Friends this weekend.

  • Our adoption floor is a full house, with our kitty condos, free-roam rooms and play cages showcasing a catload of homeless but hopeful cats and kittens.

  • The holding area at Animal Friends is fully loaded with felines impatient to take a spot on the adoption floor.

  • Volunteer foster homes are meowing with kitties experiencing temporary TLC but ready for a forever home.

  • Since we’re out of space, dozens more catty critters we’ve rescued are boarded off-site.

  • And… we have a waiting list of cats depending on us to help them find a new start.

This is an ideal time to come and adopt. From cutie-pie kittens to senior citizens looking for a warm lap, we have the best friend you’re looking for – short-haired, long-haired, in any shade of soft, warm fur you can imagine.

This Sunday, July 31 from 1:00 to 4:00, we will be hosting our Beach Baby Kittens, a special event featuring music, summer snacks, ice-cold lemonade, and a special gift to go home with our bouncing (beach) balls of fur.

And since we know that the only thing better than one fantastic feline is two cuddly kitties, all our cats and kittens are Twice as Nice – only one adoption donation is requested to take home double the love.

Any time you adopt from Animal Friends, you’re accomplishing three important missions: providing a loving home to your own new furever feline, making space for us to take in another cat in need, and furring your own nest with the love that only a cat or kitten (or two) of your very own can bring!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Guest Blogger: Siri Espy, Communications Team

It’s nearly impossible to visit Animal Friends without stopping for some kitten-watching. Cages in the hallway as well as in the cat condos are filled with furry little bundles of love who are natural-born entertainers.

Short and long-haired boys and girls enjoy poking their little paws through the bars in the cages, greeting visitors and inviting them to play. Shoestrings are a real delight, and after a good romp, it’s time for a furry pile of kittens to curl up for a nap.

At Animal Friends, all of our cats, even our kittens, are twice as nice – which means that one donation covers two adoptions. Two kittens can also be twice as much fun, entertaining and wrestling with one another, and providing lots of laughs for the humans fortunate enough to watch. Looking for some fun? Come visit the kittens, and we’ll help you pick out just the right one – or two – to liven up your home!

And, we hope you'll join us this Sunday, July 31 for our Beach Baby Kittens Adopt-a-Thon! Come to Animal Friends from 11am-4pm for a beach party. As kitten season continues, many of the little tykes are returning from foster care in the hopes of finding their forever homes. You can welcome them back at this beach-themed event, complete with music, summer snacks, and ice-cold lemonade served up by our staff who will be on hand to answer questions. Each adopted kitten will go home with a special gift. And best of all, this is a Twice as Nice promotion, so the cost of one adoption covers two! Animal Friends is located at 562 Camp Horne Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15237.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Caring for the Aging Rabbit

Farrell, a 4-year-old rabbit who is available for adoption at Animal Friends.

Good news for bunnies! Pet rabbits are now living longer because of advances in veterinary care and the increased knowledge of their caretakers. It’s not uncommon anymore for a well-loved rabbit to live well past her tenth year.

Just as in humans, when a rabbit ages, changes occur and you will need to make adjustments in their care. As your rabbit leaves middle age behind, you will want to consider the following:

  • Diet –As she ages, your rabbit’s diet may need to be adjusted in order for her to maintain a healthy weight. Each rabbit has unique needs, and you may go through a period of trial and error before you find what works. For a rabbit that’s gaining weight, a reduction in pellets and increased exercise may be required. A rabbit that’s losing weight may need to have alfalfa introduced into her diet. In either case, offering fresh leafy greens and unlimited hay (timothy, oat, brome and orchard grass) is important to your rabbit’s overall health.

  • Mobility – Your rabbit might begin to have difficulty standing, walking and hopping. Often, mobility problems are due to arthritis which can result in stiffness and discomfort. A wide variety of treatment options are available that can help ease symptoms, including glucosamine, chondroitin, anti-inflammatory drugs and acupuncture. You may also need to adapt your rabbit’s environment to her changing needs. This could mean using a litter box with a cut-away side, making it easier for her to enter and exit the box. It could also mean using synthetic fleece in her habitat to help wick away moisture in the event of an accident.

  • Dental – It’s important to have routine dental checks throughout your rabbit’s life. Maintaining a diet rich in hay helps to wear down teeth naturally. But, despite our best efforts, once-perfect teeth can become misaligned and require some filing or trimming to prevent mouth discomfort.

  • Medical - Nothing can replace a visit to a rabbit-savvy vet to keep all systems in check. Baseline blood work to monitor organ function is important so comparisons can be made as the rabbit ages. The sooner we catch issues, the more easily they can be remedied or maintained.

As you care for your rabbit throughout her life, remember above all to cherish every moment with her!

Jinju deserves a second look.

Poor, shy Jinju hasn’t had the best of luck. This beautiful, fluffy gray and white girl, like many shy cats, tended to fade into the background in Animal Friends’ free-roam room, where bolder cats were more easily noticed. She was with us for nearly a year when she was adopted, much to the delight of the staff and volunteers who had come to love her.

Her new family thought she was a perfect pet, but their cat felt differently, objecting to her arrival by refusing to use the litter box. So Jinju, through no fault of her own, was returned to Animal Friends.

Jinju enjoys the company of other cats, and is a friendly and affectionate young lady when she gets comfortable in her surroundings. Sadly, she seems a bit depressed and withdrawn back at Animal Friends, having had a taste of the good life in a home of her own. She’s hoping to go home again soon – this time for good. Could that home be yours?

Jinju is spayed, microchipped and current on vaccines!

If you have questions or can help, contact:
Animal Friends' Adoption Department
412.847.7002 ext. 1
562 Camp Horne Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15237

Monday-Friday: 11:00 am - 7:00 pm
Saturday-Sunday: 10:00am - 5:00 pm

Or, apply for adoption online now!

To give a donation in honor of Jinju, visit:

Animal Friends Urges Pet Owners to Keep Pets Safe During the Heatwave

The dog days of summer have arrived! Play it cool by following some basic summer pet safety tips so your four-legged companions can enjoy those hot, lazy days along with you:

* NEVER leave your pet in a parked car! Even with the windows slightly open, temperatures can quickly reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit, leading to the animal suffering severe heat stroke or even death. Your pet is much safer staying at home on warm days. If you see an animal in distress in a parked car, call a humane officer or the police.

* Pets drink more water as the temperature rises, so be sure to always provide plenty of cool, clean water for your pet to drink. Check water dishes frequently and place them out of the rays of the sun. Affix the container in such a way that the water cannot be spilled.

* Outdoor animals must have shelter from summer sun and rain. A doghouse should be placed in an area of the yard that is shaded by trees or other buildings. Pennsylvania law requires the doghouse to be four-sided, with a good roof and floor. Steel barrels and metal doghouses are illegal shelters. Keep the area around the doghouse clean and sanitary. You should remove feces daily during the summer to reduce odor and flies.

* Heat stress and heat stroke pose serious summer threats to pets, especially very young, elderly or overweight animals. When the outside temperature is high, especially if it is humid, an animal can have problems maintaining his normal body temperature. Signs of severe heat stress include heavy panting, increased heart rate, glassy eyes, staggering walk, vomiting and diarrhea. You must cool an overheated pet immediately. Move the pet out of the sun and immerse him in cool water. Apply ice packs to the head, neck and chest and provide cool water for the pet to drink. Contact your veterinarian immediately.

* Many lawn care products can be toxic if ingested. Restrict your pets from treated areas and keep an eye out for chemically treated lawns when you and your dog are out for walks.

* Fleas are often a serious problem in the warm weather, especially for outside animals. Some animals are allergic to flea saliva, resulting in hair loss and scratching until their skin is raw. Flea bites can also cause anemia in young or sick pets. Fleas can be treated by sprays or with products available from veterinarians.

All pets should be spayed or neutered, especially if they live outside. Each year, thousands of pets are euthanized because there are not enough homes for all of them. Call Animal Friends’ Low-Cost Spay/Neuter office at 1.800.SPAYPGH for information about low-cost spay/neuter services.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What To Do When Your Pet is Lost

Guest Blogger: Becky DiLucia

It takes just a split second. Someone opens a door or becomes distracted at exactly the wrong moment and the next thing you know, Fido or Fluffy is nowhere to be seen. No matter how or when it happens, the key is to act immediately to increase your chances of getting your pet back home to his or her loving family.

Talk to people living nearby. Let them know that your pet is lost, give them a thorough description and photo if possible and provide a phone number that will always be answered by someone.

Contact your local police department, animal control facility and all animal shelters in the area. Each municipality has their own facility for animal control and you can find a list of them on our Lost and Found web page. You should check with the facility DAILY and make sure that they have contact information for you. It is important that you know the holding period for dogs is 3 days and there is no holding period for cats. Unfortunately, unclaimed pets are euthanized.

You should also utilize the Internet whenever possible. Animal Friends has a “Lost and Found” page on our website and we are happy to post a photo and information about a lost pet. Additionally, there are several sites such as and Craig’s List where you can post information about a lost pet. Be sure to have someone check e-mails and postings on the sites regularly.

If your cat has wandered from home, chances are that she won’t go very far. Because of this, it is critical to let neighbors know that she could be hiding in any number of small spaces. You should ask them to check, or request permission to check, any space that looks large enough to shelter your cat, and even those that don’t look large enough. This would include areas under porches, sheds, basements that have unsecured openings to the outside, children’s playhouses and any other areas that could potentially provide a place for your cat to hide. If you do locate your cat, remember that she is likely to be very frightened and may lash out, even at Mom or Dad. Use food to lure her and try to avoid scaring her into bolting once again. Once you do catch her, it would be advisable to use a carrier to get her back home.

Dogs are apt to wander further than cats, and can actually cover quite a bit of territory. A people-oriented dog will often approach folks he sees in his travels which makes it easier for him to be caught. A dog who is scared of people is, unfortunately, much more difficult to catch and it may require a humane dog trap or two and lots of food to catch him. You will also be relying on sightings reported by people in the area to track him. This requires quite a bit of patience and dedication, but it can be done.

Creating a large, brightly colored, eye-catching flyer with a description of your pet, a photo and contact information is essential. This flyer should be posted and/or distributed in highly trafficked areas where your pet was most recently seen such as intersections. It is important to note that each municipality has different laws about the posting of signs and some will levy fines. If posting is not permitted in public areas, you should search for community bulletin boards which will allow such posting or ask business owners if they would be willing to display one of your flyers. Door to door distribution of flyers or handing out flyers on the street in the area where your pet was last seen is time-consuming and labor intensive, but it may be one of the only ways to get the word out to people.

In summary, get the word out to as many people as possible that your pet is missing, be sure to check all animal control facilities and shelters daily and be prepared to go and get your pet at a moment’s notice. Preventative measures you should take before disaster strikes include making sure your dog or cat has an updated identification tag and is microchipped. Both of these may help reunite you with your beloved pet and give your story a happy ending.

The Carrick Cats Still Need Help







Guest Blogger: Siri Espy, Animal Friends' Communications Team

Most of our friends followed the story of more than 60 cats rescued by Animal Friends from a home in Carrick that has since been condemned. Found in deplorable conditions, several of the cats did not survive, and many were in need of medical care. All were in need of a cleanup and a checkup.

Many of you came forward with financial support for our efforts, with costs totaling over $20,000, and we can’t thank you enough.

But now that the story is out of the headlines, we – and the cats we rescued – need your help again. Always full with a waiting list, Animal Friends is now bursting with cats in need of loving homes.Fortunately, the cats from the Carrick rescue – all given names beginning with W – are both people and cat-friendly, and will make great companions.

Despite their rough start, these cats are ready to go home and get a second chance at the care and attention they deserve.If you’ve been thinking of adopting, or have room for one more, now is the time to visit Animal Friends and bring home a new furry companion – or two.

Remember that when adopting two cats, the adoption donation for the second is waived. By adopting one cat, you’ll save two, making room for us to continue to shelter homeless cats, whether they come to us one at a time or by the dozens.

We’ll hope to see you soon!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pen Pal Correspondence from our Alum, Atticus the Cat

Atticus, a blind cat adopted from Animal Friends, has done a great job of keeping us posted on his adventures, although his mom, Katie Tontala, tells us she’s afraid he’s getting lazy – she had to stay after him to write this!

I got a job!!!

Last Saturday, mom told me we were going on our first pet therapy visit to a nursing home. But first, I had to get spiffed up. She brushed me from head to tail and made sure I didn’t have any “stuff” on me (which I usually collect from raiding the closets and snooping under the sofa). Then she put me in my new harness and I climbed in my carrier.

When we got there, about 20 people were sitting in a big room just waiting for me. I felt so special! Mom told them how I was found alone and ended up at Animal Friends. She also explained why I had to have surgery to have my eyes removed and the great job Animal Friends did to save my life. A lot of people asked questions about how I got around without bumping into things and mom explained about how I use my whiskers and sense of hearing and smell. They thought I was awfully smart!

Mom took me from person to person and asked if they wanted to pet me. And boy, did they ever! I didn’t get a chance to count, but I swear I must have gotten a million pets. Some gave me kisses and some gave me treats, and all of them were really, really nice to me. A lot of them told me stories about the cats they had in the past.

One lady was extra nice, so I just sat right down beside her on the couch and put my head on her lap for while. I had a great time and it was fun to explore a new place and meet new people. Even though the hugs and kisses were great, I felt even better because I know I made them happy. When we were ready to leave, Mom asked them if they would like me to visit again some other time and they all said “YES!”

When I got home, Mom said she was so proud of me, and gave me a humongous hug and kiss. She said she was so lucky to have me. Then I went upstairs to my chair and fell asleep with a big smile on my face. It was one of the best days ever.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The party's over (we hope!) for the residents of our beach room!

Guest Blogger: Siri Espy, Animal Friends' Communications Team

Most of us are reluctant to see a beach vacation come to an end. But for a special group of Animal Friends residents, it’s definitely time to go home.

The four residents of our Beach Room are cats who have been with us too long. Hippie, Helix, Hamster and Hampton came to us in January from a home where there were too many cats and not enough love and attention. As a result, they are very happy with other cats, but slow to warm up to people.

These brave kitties have come a long way, and are no longer terrified when humans enter their room. But they will require a quiet, patient home where they can come around at their own pace. A home with one or more other cats would be ideal – they would love the companionship and would be great pals for the family’s felines!

If you have room in your heart and your home for a kitty – or two – who’s waiting for love and patience, check out these gorgeous felines in their video (click here!) or stop by for a visit. Hippie, Helix, Hamster and Hampton can have their bags packed for home in no time!

Animal Friends' Home to Home Adoption Program Presents... Roscoe!

Animal Friends is pleased to offer an alternative adoption option: the Home-to-Home placement program (H2H). The H2H placement program was designed for those individuals and families who, finding it necessary to give up their beloved pets for adoption, want to take a more active role in the adoption process.

Roscoe is an orange tabby with his color blended with a luxuriant white. He weighs about 10 pounds and is also 3 years old.

In football terms, Sam is a tailback rushing for the goal line, while Roscoe is more the quarterback, looking down-field and analyzing the play. Hence, Roscoe seems to be much smarter, is a bit more reserved, observes more and seems a bit more careful. But Roscoe also loves being petted, purrs contentedly, comes often when called and loves to play with his brother and other toys.

If you can help, contact Rene and Bob at 412.657.7981 or!

Animal Friends' Home to Home Adoption Program Presents... Sam!

Animal Friends is pleased to offer an alternative adoption option: the Home-to-Home placement program (H2H). The H2H placement program was designed for those individuals and families who, finding it necessary to give up their beloved pets for adoption, want to take a more active role in the adoption process.

Sam is a gray tabby with beautiful tiger stripes and white paws and chest. He weighs about 11 pounds and is 3 years old.

Sam is a petter's dream. He wallows in contentment, purrs loudly and will take pets on his head and ears as long as you want to give them. He especially loves his belly rubbed and will fall on his back, paws in the air, head laid back in invitation. He is also inquisitive, loving to explore nooks and crannies; and loves to play and tussle with his brother, Roscoe. They will chase each other throughout the house, play hide and seek with each other, and play-fight.

If you can help, contact Rene and Bob at 412.657.7981 or!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

32 Lost Dogs Rescued Through Animal Friends' Liberation Day

July 7, 2011: This morning, 32 lost and unclaimed dogs faced euthanasia at local animal control facilities. Now, thanks to Animal Friends, each of those dogs has been vaccinated, groomed, given a full check-up and tucked into bed!

Today, Animal Friends held the fourth annual “Liberation Day” rescue to offer a second chance to lost dogs who were slated to be euthanized at animal control. Animal Friends partnered with Triangle Animal Control, Ferree Kennels, Hoffman Kennels and Secreet Animal Control. And, due to a dire need at a sister shelter, Greene County Humane Society, Animal Friends admitted 6 of their dogs who otherwise would not have survived.

Because of loud noises and outdoor activities, more dogs are lost around the Fourth of July than any other time of year. Animal Friends’ goal was to rescue as many as possible and remind the public that simple measures like tagging and licensing your dog can save his or her life.

The rescued dogs were named by residents of the Southwestern Veterans Center and include a 2-year-old Beagle named Maggie, a Jack Russel Terrier named Lucky S., a Boxer named Queenie, a Lab named Mickey and more.

Pending any necessary evaluation, the dogs will be spayed or neutered and readied for adoption into loving families beginning July 9.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Animal Friends’ Bark in the Park: El Grande Fiesta! On August 21

Hola! Join Animal Friends and WDVE Radio’s Jim Krenn at Bark in the Park: El Grande Fiesta on August 21!

Bring your perro (that’s dog in Spanish!) to Bark in the Park, a pledge walk and party, on Sunday, August 21 at 9am at North Park’s South Ridge Loop.

The fun is brought to you by VCA Animal Hospitals and includes games, food, agility, a pet vendor fair, kids’ area, dog walk and more. Treat your dog to a canine massage, smile and say “queso” at at our pup-arazzi photo booth and splash in the mini agua park. You might even meet your match in our pet adoption area!

Especiale this year: La Parade de Chihuahuas (a Parade for Chihuahuas…and Chihuahua-ish dogs!) at 11am! Costumes are encouraged but not mandatory for the parade.

Participants are encouraged to raise money from friends and family who want to sponsor their walk. You can even set up a personal pledge page on our website. Teams are also welcome.

Register online now by clicking here! Walkers age 16 and up can register for $25 or $30 (includes a t-shirt); kids 15 and under are free. All proceeds benefit Animal Friends’ residents.

Hasta luego! (See you soon!)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy July 4!

We would like to wish all of you a very happy Independence Day! Hopefully you'll be able to enjoy the weather and spend time with family and friends.

Please remember to keep your pets safe during your festivities. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
  • Be sure to keep toxic foods out of reach of your pets — especially chocolate, onions, tomatoes, avocados, and grapes.
  • Keep in mind that fireworks may scare your pets, so be considerate of this very common animal phobia. Your dog or cat may chew on leftover pieces from fireworks, so make sure you clean them up. Pets can also be burned by fireworks if they get to close to them.
  • Never give your pets alcohol, and don't give them food from your picnic or barbecue. Cooked bones from meat can splinter and seriously injure or kill your pet. Better to be safe than sorry.
  • Boy, it's hot out! Now imagine yourself with a fur coat on! Always have plenty of water available to your pets so they don't become dehydrated.
  • Before you let your pets around the party area, do a safety check. Make sure your pet won't be able to get into the citronella candles, insect repellent, toys with small parts, etc.

Photo credit:

We hope you have a happy, safe, and great day celebrating our wonderful country!