Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Grooming and other "paw"istively great ideas for spring!

 Does the thought of spring put a "spring" in your step?  Perhaps sunny days and blooming flowers are something to look forward to but what about opening the windows, dusting the shelves and cleaning out those closets?  Fido surely needs a little sprucing up too.  Just don't have the time?  Let us do the work!

Twice per month, Animal Friends offers a Dogwash spa treatment for a $25 donation. Your pet receives a bath and blow dry in our freshly painted and redecorated (see?  We've been doing some Spring Cleaning too!) Grooming Center, their nails trimmed (if they let us!) and an ear cleaning. Unfortunately, we cannot provide trims or hair cuts. 

Appointments are scheduled every 1/2 hour, and each dog receives all the services that fit within the 1 hour window. Please stick around during your pet's appointment as we do not have space to keep your dog until you return. 

This monthly fundraiser brought in $5000 for Animal Friends last year, so all those dirty dogs added up! We're hoping for another successful season so please give us a call!  To add your name to our client list and check for available dates, please contact the retail store at 412-847-7022. Please bring your pet's vaccination record

Come to Animal Friends and leave the cleaning to us!  

PS- Sorry, we can't come wash your windows or cut your grass.  

Animal Friends' Home-To-Home Adoption Program Presents... Rollins!


   Rollins is a 4 year old male Great Dane mix.  He weights 78 pounds but still thinks he is a lap dog!  
   He has been a joy to our family for the past 4 years but with the birth of our child we can not give him the attention he deserves.  He is house trained and has been trained with the Gentle Leader.  We have no inhibitions leaving him out in the house during the day when we are at work; we have never come home to damaged furniture nor has he gone to the bathroom in the house.  
  It was very reassuring to find out how protective he is as demonstrated when someone tried to break into the house.  He can be anxious around new people and other dogs but he is not aggressive.  He is not appropriate for a family with children <14 years of age because he doesn't know how big and strong he is.  Again, he is not aggressive but he likes to play a lot.

   Rollins loves and needs to go on walks.  He has wonderful leash manners and therefore will not pull on the leash.  He equally enjoys playing with toys and cuddling on the couch.  If you give him a bone or Kong filled with peanut butter, he will easily occupy himself.  He never begs at the dinner table and knows how to "sit, stay, lay down, and stand."  
   He will wrestle and chase me when we play but he will stop immediately when told to.  Even when we are playing, he is gentle and doesn't get overexcited.  We are looking to find Rollins a home where he will be loved and given the attention he deserves.

If you can help, please contact Rick Joreitz at 717-215-1403.  

Animal Friends’ Pet-Assisted Therapy Program Serves Nursing Home Residents

By Katie Kurylo, Communications Assistant 

   Think of a time when you or a loved one were hospitalized or living in an assisted living center. Certain images and feelings come to mind like pain and illness, long hours, sleepless nights and stressful days. 

   Now picture the gentle presence of animal.

   Science is proving what we here at Animal Friends have known all along: that animals can be wonderful healers. 

   Animal Friends’ Pet-Assisted Therapy program brings the comforting presence of pets to residents of nursing homes, assisted living centers, veterans’ homes and hospitals. The contact encourages communication, socialization, independent movement for the immobile and memory stimulation. Since the program’s inception, trained volunteers and their animal sidekicks have visited over 100,000 people.  

   One of the many sites that Animal Friends’ volunteers visit is The Haven at North Hills. This assisted living community is home to a variety of residents, all with different needs.  But, as Life Enrichment Director Missy Brown found out, all of the residents enjoy when Animal Friends’ volunteers visit.

   “When the visits go up on our event calendar, all of our residents look forward to it,” said Brown. “The visits are wonderful and everyone is always very excited about the animals.”

   There was no Pet-Assisted Therapy program when Brown started working at The Haven. “I worked at Vincentian Nursing Home before I came to The Haven and they had a wonderful pet program there. I saw how beneficial it was to the residents and wanted to start something similar here,” she explains. 

   Brown has seen the positive changes that the pet-assisted therapy can make in the lives of the residents. She told the story of one particular resident that who not participate in the social programs offered at Haven. 
   “He would barely come out of his room, except to make a quick trip to our store to buy some candy,” Brown said. After a few visits with a Pet-Assisted Therapy dog, however, the resident has opened up, and is now more social with staff and comes to more programs. 

   “It really improves our resident’s health. The animals make them laugh, make them smile and remind them of their own pets. The animals really have a calming effect.  It’s a very positive experience for them,” Brown said.

   Paul Lang, 62, a resident at Haven, says that the visits “are a nice change in my day.” 

   “I’m a dog person and when you’re in an environment when you cannot keep a dog, it’s hard,” Lang said. “The visits make a huge difference in my day.”

Birdie, a Border Collie, is one of Lang’s favorite visitors. “She loves being petted on her belly. She’s a wonderful dog,” Lang said. 

   At Animal Friends, we believe that there is a place for our furry companions everywhere, and that places of healing are some of the places where we need them the most!  

If you'd like to learn more about our Pet-Assisted Therapy program, click here!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Animal Friends' 7th Annual Telethon a Barking Success!

By Maria Briski, Animal Friends' Communications Team

The morning of Saturday, March 24 may have been raining cats, dogs and bunnies, but that didn’t stop us from kicking off our 7th annual Telethon! Despite the showers, the Caryl Gates Gluck Resource Center was abuzz with activity from WTAE-TV’s news cameras, scores of volunteers and guests, and tail-wagging residents.

The day was jam packed with excitement – from the official announcement of our 40 acre(!) expansion (click here if you missed it!) to the unveiling of Megan Hart’s larger-than-life bulldog and kitty cakes.

And of course visitors got to see a glimpse of behind-the-scenes TV magic and some of Pittsburgh’s media glitterati in action. Adding to the fun were prize basket raffles, pet food giveaways, tasty cupcakes and a glamorous pet photo station.  We also extended a warm welcome to many of the people who help us so much throughout the year.

This was also a very special weekend for 30 residents who found forever homes!  Among those adopted was long-term resident Petite Minoo, a sweet black and white cat who lived with us for nearly two years.  Well-known among the Animal Friends staff, Petite’s farewell was a joyous occasion.  And in celebration of the Telethon, we’re ensuring that these joyous occasions continue with Gizmo’s Friend-a-Thon.  Through April 1, 2012 Gizmo Krenn (best friend of comedian Jim Krenn) is hosting a special adoption event in which pets aged two and older can be adopted for just $5!  Click here to have a laugh at the commercial!

This year’s Telethon raised an incredible $152,495 for our homeless animals.  This support means so much to the animals and assists in the continuation of our mission to ensure the well being of companion animals while ending overpopulation.  Thank you again to all of this year’s generous sponsors, dedicated volunteers, wonderful hosts and visitors.  See you next year!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Animal Friends' Home-To-Home Adoption Program Presents... Indi!

Indi is a terrier/chihuahua mix and will be 4 years old in October.  She is 25 lbs., light brown with white markings and the most adorable floppy ears.  She is a loving, wonderful girl that will be a lap dog if you let her and doesn't bark unless she gets really excited and her whole body lifts off the ground!  She is very friendly, loves peanut butter in her Kong, enjoys a good massage every once in a while and loves belly rubs.  

She gives lots of kisses and sits when told to.  She is crate trained, house trained and is chipped for identification.  When you meet her, you will see what a great personality she has and want to give her her forever home.  If you can help, write to Judith Krause at

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Animal Friends' Pets are Getting Ready to Be Stars!

Robert Downey, homeless resident at Animal Friends

By Jeff Geissler, Communications Assistant

You may have noticed that many of our shelter residents are named after celebrities. We think all the star treatment has gone to their heads a little, but that's okay, especially today, when we're getting ready to take over the airways on WTAE-TV from noon-4pm!

Indeed, the stars are beginning to dazzle in preparation for TODAY'S live broadcast.

Buddy Holly, and bright-eyed Lab / Cattle Dog mix, is polishing his guitar and cleaning his horned-rimmed glasses.

Robert Downey, a distinguished Doberman Pinscher who thinks he's the Iron Man, has called The Brat Pack to tell them to watch the show. He also promised to be on his best behavior.

Eastwood, a gorgous black cat, is acting very good, and certainly not bad or ugly.

Pacino, another wonderful black cat, is taking time off from his "family business" to join the televised event.

And Greta Garbo, a classy black and white bunny, keeps opening her mouth, but you can't hear what she's saying. She's silent, positively stunning, and obviously excited.

So watch these celebrities and all thier pals TODAY from noon - 4pm on WTAE-TV! 

Visit to learn more! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Working at Animal Friends: My Dream Come True

By Beth Mauder, Adoption Counselor for Animal Friends

This morning a gentleman visiting the shelter asked me jokingly, "So, you get paid to do this?" 

His question made me think about all the experiences I have had over my almost 20 years with Animal Friends.

I have been able to start each day anxious to see what the day will bring me. Some days are awesome. Some days are very hard. Even on the rare occasion we lose the fight to rehabilitate and find a home for one of our furry charges, I believe that animals live in the moment. I believe they knew they were well loved and cared for in the time that we had them.

One animal that really sticks out in my memory was Melba, a severely emaciated red Chow with a distinctive crooked tooth. I met her back when Animal Friends was located in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. I walked her to the shelter from Penn Animal Hospital, where she had been boarded. It took me over an hour and a half to make the 5-block walk because she was so frail and slow. But, in time, I watched her gain weight and thrive with the care and the love she received at Animal Friends.

I also remember the day Melba went to her new home. Her owners made sure to stop by and update me with her progress. They loved and cared for her for nearly 10 years and stopped back to let us know when Melba had crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

I remember the first time I chased a loose cat with a flashlight around the back alleys of the Strip District, wondering, "How safe is this? What am I thinking?"  

I also remember chasing over 30 semi-feral cats that Kathy Hecker, our Humane Officer, had rescued from a car. They all looked alike and it took quite awhile to figure out exactly how many cats we had and if we had accidentally named the same cat twice.

I remember Duke, the big old Lab who carried his teddy bear everywhere he went.

I remember Lucy the cat, who lived in our office (and sometimes hung out under my desk) and was the only one who was allowed to sleep in our CEO’s office! I also remember that people who bought t-shirts at this time always took home a little something extra (a bit of Lucy's fur) because her favorite place to nap was in the t-shirt bin. 

Lucy, in Animal Friends' former lobby, 2003

I remember bottle feeding my first “baby,” taking my first dog through behavior classes at Animal Friends and adopting my first cat…who was feral.

“Yes. I do get paid to do this,” I was able to answer with a smile. You don’t get memories like these working in an office.  What more could I ask for?

Monday, March 19, 2012

In loving memory...Buddy


   We adopted Buddy in 2000 from Animal Friends soon after buying our home.  My husband and I were already a three cat family, but wanted a dog as well once we had the yard and home for him to run and play.  
   We fell in love with big Buddy boy the moment we saw him.  He was about 2 years old and had been in several homes already.  He had a "Marmaduke" look to him that just made you love all 65 pounds of him!   I loved the fact that he was an older dog that was already house-trained, but was concerned about whether or not he would get along with the cats.   After speaking to an adoption counselor we were told we could take Buddy home, but we wanted to wait until the following day.  We had to go home and talk to the cats about it so they would be prepared, you know!  Plus, we wanted to have a bed, bowls and leash ready for our new family member when he came in the door. 

   We returned to Animal Friends to adopt him the next morning and Buddy was introduced to our three cats on his leash at home.  Although the cats weren't so sure about him at first they warmed up quickly. One of our cats rubbed against him and he just sniffed at her and let her be.  It was going to work!!  He was a big boy with a kind heart - always wanting to please you.   He must have been smacked on the nose as a puppy because his sense of smell was never very good and he only came down into the basement with us a few times over the years, so he must have had a bad experience with being in a basement in his young years, but he was a good boy!

   Buddy lived a great life in our house.  Always rolling with the changes – we’ve added three children into our home through the years.  It’s true that when our first child came home from the hospital it was tough for him even though my husband had brought home a blanket from the baby for Buddy to check out.   He adjusted and our daughter even crawled for the first time… towards Buddy (not us).  Buddy was gentle with the kids even though he towered over them for the first 2-3 years of their lives!  When Buddy was three, we fostered an American Pit Bull Terrior, Medea, in our home that was found wondering the streets in Oakland and Buddy got along with her wonderfully!  Medea was under a year old and was fabulous with the cats and kept Buddy in the best shape he was ever in with all their playing!  Once Medea was spayed and back up to a healthy weight we found her a home and Buddy once again adjusted to being an only dog.

   When our oldest child started school five years ago, I quit my job to stay home with the kids.  Buddy loved us being home with him in his golden years.  It meant more trips outside, time to lay in the sun in the middle of the day when it was nice out – life was good! 

   A cancerous growth was discovered in the back of Buddy’s mouth and throat in the spring of 2011.  It had grown quickly and would have been major surgery with a poor quality of life afterwards which most likely would have included being fed through a tube.  We couldn’t see our boy trying to adjust to that at 13 years old, so we loved him and cared for him until it was obvious he was ready to go.  We had him put to sleep on May 7, 2011. 

   Thank you, Animal Friends, for taking in and caring for Buddy through several adoptions until we found him and brought him home for good!  Our big boy is greatly missed in our home. 

The Kail Family
Brentwood, PA

Get Ready to Bid in Animal Friends’ Online Auction!

Animal Friends is hosting an Online Auction in conjunction with its Telethon, which airs from noon until 4 pm on Saturday, March 24th on WTAE-TV.   An eclectic mix of items will be available on Facebook and eBay, with all proceeds benefitting the programs and homeless residents of Animal Friends

Some of the tempting choices awaiting your bids are:
  • A Pittsburgh Penguins jersey autographed by Marc Andre Fleury
  • A football autographed by Brett Keisel
  • A 7-night stay at St. James’s Club Resort and Villas on the Caribbean paradise of Antigua
  • Artworks from local and national artists
  • A luxury pet bed
  • Deluxe gift baskets for the dog or cat lovers in your life
  • A kayaking adventure from Venture Outdoors
  • Getaway packages
  • And much, much more!

Bidding begins at 1pm on Sunday, March 18 and closes at 1pm on Wednesday, March 28.
Check out our eBay auction by clicking here. Check out our Facebook auction by clicking here! 

Call (412) 847-7000, or visit for more information.

My Dog Inspired Me to Change the World…at Animal Friends!

Allie with one of her favorite toys

By Katie Kurylo, Communications Assistant for Animal Friends

Every little kid dreams about adopting a dog.  My younger brother, Sam, and I were no different. However, many years passed without a pet, as my mother was severely allergic to all kinds of animals (cats and dogs alike).  I had a fish once but he wasn’t very fun to play with. 

Shortly after I graduated college, there were rumbles in the Kurylo household about getting a dog. I was so excited. After an extensive search and much reading and note taking, we decided a Greyhound would be the best kind of dog for us.  A laid back, “40-mile-per-hour couch potato” fit right into my family’s energy level and, while not truly hypoallergenic, the Greyhound’s short coat would be easy on my mother’s allergies.

I remember the day we brought Allergo (Allie for short) home.  It was Memorial Day weekend and we found out that weekend she was afraid of fireworks.  She spent most of the weekend trembling in a corner in our living room, too frightened do to much else than pant and drool.  This whole dog thing wasn’t working out, we thought.  What if we can’t handle this?  Will she ever not be scared?  She won’t even go outside!  But, everything worked out in the end though and she has been a happy member of our family for nearly two years.

I’ve always been an animal lover but I never really understood how important it is to rescue or adopt pets.  Sadly, there are many cases of animal abuse at Greyhound race tracks and some of the dogs end up being euthanized after their racing careers end.  Having Allie greet me every night when I come home reminds me of how many other animals there are that do not have homes or a family to love them. 

Sometimes, I can see a little bit of Allie in the dogs here at Animal Friends.  Maybe it’s the way they pounce on a toy or the way they greet volunteers with a big sloppy kiss.  It’s those small similarities that drive me to write more biographies for our animals, design a better flyer or write a more compelling article.

I think the situation is best summed up by a card we received from the rescue organization we worked with shortly after we adopted Allie. It said, “You might not be able change the world for all Greyhounds, but for one Greyhound, you changed the world.” 

My family changed the world for Allie and I truly believe I am changing the world for the animals here at Animal Friends.

You change the world for our animals, too! Click here to learn more about volunteering, or click here to view our job opps! 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Being the Paparazzi at Animal Friends

By Jeff Geissler, Communications Assistant 

Ozzy Osborne, Lauren Bacall, Loretta Swit, and being "The Paparazzi.” What do they have to do with Animal Friends’ blog today? This might be a stretch, but stick with me.

I changed my career path when I started my job as Communications Assistant here at Animal Friends last spring. For about 17 years before that, I worked as a newspaper photographer in many awesome spots around the country.

During those treasured years I had the incredible opportunity to meet and photograph many celebrities. Some I met one-on-one for a portrait session. Others may have just been at an event I was covering.

Today, I have the outstanding privilege of being the cat photographer for our fabulous felines. And, I can honestly say–from  experience—that our resident cats act like celebrities.

Ozzy Osborne was a true gentleman, and very gracious and friendly. And when I lifted my camera to start taking shots, his wild-side came out…with all kinds of twist, contortions, and tongue-related expressions - mixed in with a few R-rated words.

Now let’s take my good buddy Ladybug. I couldn't keep this homeless cat off the camera lens, all rub-a-dubby and cheeky on the glass. And she has this deep, captivating, growling meow that would make any heavy metal singer jealous.


Lauren Bacall hails from the golden age of cinema. When I met her, she was proper, refined, gorgeous and confident. I don't think her straight back or shoulders slumped a millimeter during our photo shoot. And her eyes, WOW!

Now I get to photograph Wirlybird, a lady who jumps to her paws when a gentleman, or gentlelady, enters the room. She has striking green eyes, silvery fur and perfect posture. She's dashing and poised without being smug.


Now things get a little touchy. I met Loretta Swit from the classic TV show MASH. She has done wonders for animals. But when I met her for a photo shoot, well, she was a bit controlling. If I came in to close, she threw up her hands and demanded I step back. No hard feelings—she’s just particular and doesn't like the close-up.

A few of our residents have this particular aversion to the close-ups (I'm looking at you Topeka and Ithaca). They'll let me take the photo, but from a safe, but not as flattering, distance. I guess they don't realize just how beautiful they are.



The paparazzi comparison and my final thoughts? Those are for the next blog. I want you to comment on what I've said so far. Am I using the camera as a way of exhibiting Anthropomorphism? (Confession: I just looked that word up on Wikipedia)  Or does Animal Friends just have amazing cats?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ant needs a home!

Little black Ant had a very rough start in life. Animal Friends’ humane officers rescued Ant with 47 other cats from a house in Garfield.  Many of the cats, Ant included, were diagnosed with FIV, an immuno suppressant disease that affects only cats.  In addition to being FIV positive, severe neglect, lack of medical attention and a terrible eye infection left Ant visually impaired. But don't think that slows her down!  Ant gets around just fine, avoiding most obstacles as if she could see them clear as day.

Ant is a youngster at 11 months old.  She currently shares her space with 8 other cats from her previous home. She enjoys attention, but because she does not see well she is often head shy when someone approaches her to pet her.  Although, if you are patient, she will warm to you and let you pet her. She is often seen lounging on top of the cat tree, looking out the window and watching everything pass her by.  She would be most comfortable living with one of her housemates or another FIV positive cat. Could you be the one to give Ant a chance to thrive?

Want to meet Ant? Ask one of the adoption counselors!

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 me, visit:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Animal Friends' Home-To-Home Adoption Program Presents...Fresca!

Consistent with her breed, Fresca, a nine-year-old Siberian husky, is very energetic and loves to run, thus she cannot be off a lead.  While we have not been able to attend to her as much recently, she has always enjoyed runs with us (up to about five miles), particularly in the colder weather.  While she can be energetic, she is settling down a bit as she gets older and spends plenty of time lounging around the house or watching the world go by from the front porch.  She is able to listen to commands and follows them most of the time, though she can be stubborn when she wants to be.  She rarely barks except when she is trying to get our attention to be let outside or back inside.  She is housebroken and has rarely had any accidents in the house, except for the rare occasion when we have allowed her to have people food and it has ended up not agreeing with her.  Being a husky, she has a lot of fur and sheds year round, with particularly heavy times of shedding at the beginning and end of summer; she needs to be brushed and/or groomed regularly to control the volume of fur that is shed.  We have taken her to various dog parks on occasion and she gets along well with other dogs that she has been “introduced” to, but she will not back down from an aggressive dog if she encounters one.  Fresca has not had any incidents with people, particularly small children; however, new owners would ideally be a family without young children.  Additionally, she is typically a good passenger in the car.

If you can help, please contact Nathan or Megan Troxell at 412.720.8473 or email

Friday, March 2, 2012

Animal Friends' Home-To-Home Adoption Program Presents... Nickels and Guinness!

My wife and I have a rapidly growing family and just cant find the time to give our two dogs the love and attention they need anymore.  Because they have been apart of our lives for so long we cant bring ourselves to just drop them off at a shelter so we are hoping that the Animal Friends Home to Home program will help us find a new home for each of them.  They are completely up to date with all of their shots.  So with that being said I’d like to introduce you to Nickels and Guinness. 

Nickels is a neutered 8 year old black Labradoodle.  I’ve had Nickels since 2005 when he was about 9 months old  when I adopted him from a family up in Wexford (apparently the wife was allergic to Labradoodles…go figure).  Although he was a pretty big “puppy” at 65 lbs, his seemingly unending energy and affection won our hearts immediately.  Today he tips the scales at around 95 lbs and although is approaching 8 this May you would never it as he still has enough energy to keep up with anybody.  We know he won't work out well with other “non-dog” pets in the house but will get along fine with other dogs.  He’s also amazing with children and people of all ages (even small babies and toddlers as my daughter is 2). I take him to the dog park regularly so he has no trouble making new friends.  He’s house broken and is OK with being indoors most of the day as long as you make it up to him with a nice long walk when you get home.  He’s extremely healthy having only fed him Purina dry dog food but also enjoys the occasional raw hide. 

Guinness (or Guinni as my daughter likes to call him) has been with us since January 2009 when we rescued him from the Humane Society as a neutered 8 week old 11 lb Rot/Boxer mix puppy.  Today Guinness has outgrown his big brother and has reached a top weight of 99 lbs.  He’s in extremely good shape, LOVES to play and is very affectionate, as he will soak you with kisses and shove his head under your arm to be petted.  He’s also great with babies and children (my daughter likes to ride him like a pony and he loves it!) and like Nickels, gets along extremely well with other dogs.  I would not recommend putting him in a home that has cats and other non-canine members. He’s been on the same diet as Nickels only having Purina dry dog food but will pretty much eat anything you put in front of him.  He’s also completely house broken and out of the “chewing” puppy stage. 

They can go together or separate, it doesn’t matter to us as long as they both find new owners that can give them all the love and attention they deserve.  As part of the screening process, I am not asking for a rehoming fee but a quick home visit is required prior to adoption.  Finally, I’m also offering a “lifetime” guarantee on both of these guys.  So if you take one or both into your home and for ANY reason you change your mind at ANY time even YEARS down the road I will gladly take them back off your hands and find them new homes with absolutely no questions asked (I’m actually begging you that you do this as they deserve better then just being cast aside in a shelter). 

Feel free to call me anytime at 412-403-3059 (or email at if you would like to see if either one would be a good fit for your family.