Friday, June 28, 2013

NEW DATES - Animal Friends' Low-Cost Vaccine Clinics Continue

Keep your pet healthy and safe! Animal Friends will host 4 more clinics to offer low-cost vaccine, microchip and flea treatments for dogs and cats. The following clinics will be held at Animal Friends at 562 Camp Horne Road, Pittsburgh PA 15237:

Monday, July 22 - 1pm-3pm
Thursday, August 22 - 1pm-3pm
Thursday, September 5 - 1pm-3pm
Thursday, September 19 - 1pm-3pm

Rabies, distemper, Bordetella and FVRCP vaccines will be offered for $10 each. In addition to insuring your pet’s health, rabies vaccines are required by law.  All pets over three months of age must be vaccinated against rabies, with non-compliance resulting in $300 per day fines. 

Microchipping services will be provided for $20. Microchips are tiny chips, the size of a grain of rice, with a unique bar code. They are implanted under a pet’s skin and can be read with a scanner to identify your pet. Microchips can help reunite a lost pet with his or her family.

Flea treatments are offered for $5.

Dogs must be on a leash and cats must be in carriers.  Cash only please. No credit cards will be accepted.

Register today by calling 412.847.7029.  Spots are limited so call now!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Animal Friends Rescues and Provides Safe Haven to 62 Rescued Birds


Walk into Animal Friends today and the first thing you'll hear won't be the normal meows and happy howls. You'll discover a cacophony of cock-a-doodle-doos! (Click here to watch the news coverage, and you'll hear what we mean!)

Our shelter typically holds 250 dogs, cats and rabbits. But right now, Animal Friends’ Humane Officers are assisting in a federal investigation with the US Department of Agriculture.

As a result, our officers seized 52 chickens, 7 pigeons, 2 ducks and 1 peacock from neglect and unsanitary conditions in a suspected illegal slaughter operation. The animals found safe haven at Animal Friends on Monday night. 

Animal Friends has quickly mobilized to welcome these 62 new residents on top of the 250 currently in our care. It's all hands on deck as staff learn the basics of bird handling and care! 

The birds arrived dehydrated, covered with lice and in poor health. Sadly, one was dead on arrival and two more had to be humanely euthanized. 

Animal Friends' staff has been working hard to provide round-the-clock care to our rescued charges, who are currently living in oversized crates and clean hay. We believe that the birds, who have been happily digging and settling down to their quarters, are more comfortable now than they have ever been in their lives.

All of the rescued birds are being transferred to farm sanctuaries, including Hope Haven and Fluffyjean Fund, to live out their natural lives. 

A donation would go a long way to support us and our animals during this incredible and busy time. Click here to donate to Animal Friends right now!

Click here to see more photos on Animal Friends' Facebook!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Help! We're Moving and the Cat is Stressed

Guest Blogger: Chris Whyle, Behavior Wellness Coordinator

Question: Hey, guys!  I was wondering if you had any advice for an older cat who is stressed out about moving? We're in the process of packing and Zero, my 11 year old maine coon, is stressing about it. We've been giving her smaller amounts of treats more often, bringing her favorite beds into the room we're working on, paying lots of attention to her, etc., but she's definitely having a hard time with this much change. Anything else you can think of to comfort her? Any advice would be great appreciated.

Moving is one of the most stressful events a kitty will encounter in her life.  Cats love the familiar and become very uncomfortable with even the smallest of changes.

First, shield her from the big changes.  Keep her feeding, playtime, and litter scooping schedule as close to her normal routine as you can.  Extra one-on-one interactive playtime with you will take her mind off of the chaos of the move.  If you can, choose a room (it would be great if it was one of her faves) and set it up with her food and water bowls, litterbox, bed, cat furniture and toys, to give her an oasis of calm while the furniture is being moved from the rest of the house.  Place a radio playing soft, calming music in her room to mask the loud noises.  Spend as much time as you can with her, and keep your attitude positive!  If you are stressed, she will be too.  Place her open carrier in the room and routinely toss some treats, catnip, or her favorite toy into the carrier to create positive associations.  Place a DO NOT OPEN sign on the door so that no one inadvertently allows her to escape.  This will also prevent her from finding refuge in a moving box and being packed away—yikes, it has happened!

You weren’t specific as to how far away you are moving, and whether she will be driving with you or flying to her new home.  If it will be a long drive, you may want to consider purchasing a larger travel carrier that can accommodate a litter box.  This should be her home during the travel time.  If she doesn’t have a collar, purchase one and attach tags with your name, cell phone number, and new address on it.  She should wear this collar during the move and for about a month after, just in case she should escape from the carrier or the new home.

Make sure kitty’s food, bowls, litter, treats, toys and medications are packed in a separate box and travel with you and your cat.  This will make it easier and quicker to set her up in her new room and will allow you fast access to any supplies you will need on the trip.

If she was an indoor-outdoor cat, this is a great opportunity to transition her to indoor life.  More information on this transition is available here.

Choose a small room in your new home to be her temporary safe haven.  In it place all of her familiar belongings, along with a couch cushion, bedspread, favorite piece of furniture, or something that contains her scent.  Since you will be busy setting up the rest of the house, some clothing of yours that contains your scent will be reassuring.  Again, try to keep feeding, playtime and litter scooping schedule on the old routine.  Give her places to hide—this new environment will be very scary for her!  A paper bag, moving box, her carrier placed in different corners of the room will give her access to hidey-places wherever she is in the room.  You’ll need some 15-minute breaks while setting up the house—take them with kitty.  If she’s hiding, lure her out with treats, catnip or an interactive toy.  If she remains in hiding, let her do so.  She needs to get used to her new environment at her own pace.  But keep giving her the opportunity to interact with you in a positive way.

This room should be her sanctuary for as long as she needs.  She’ll tell you when she’s ready to explore the rest of the house by venturing closer to the door, scratching at the door, or wanting to follow you out after a visit to her room.  Have patience!  After she ventures out, leave the door open in case she needs the security of this room.  Move furniture into this room slowly so as not to stress her out.

Once she is brave enough to explore the house, make sure all doors and windows are secure.  If she escapes from her new home she will not know where she is and may become lost—or may try to make it back to her old familiar stomping grounds.

With time, patience, and as much familiarity in routines as possible, kitty will accept her new home.  When you see her cheek-rubbing in her new abode the process has begun.  Available perches in sunny windows and familiar scents of the old furniture will ease the transition.  Above all, think positive!  And show her love every chance you get!

Monday, June 24, 2013

A new city, a new job, and a new butt: The tale of two journeys

Guest Blogger: Sarah Krut

A dream job for my husband took us and our two K-9 kids to Phoenix, AZ.  Shortly after arriving it became clear the pups had different opinions of the Valley of the Sun. Our little /Chi mix loved the 100 degree weather and I have to say I agreed with him. My heavy coated Gordon Setter mix, along with my husband, became more and more depressed as the temperature rose. It was clear this wouldn't last long, but how could we get back home? 

We decided after eight months enough was enough and in the car we went. We left everything we owned in Phoenix to head home and we figured we'd deal with it later. We traveled for five days not knowing where our next meal would come from or if we would find a safe place to sleep at night. It was a long and scary five days but we arrived home with  very excited family waiting for us. Now to get back to life as usual.

Being that both of my kids are Animal Friends alumni, working here was a no brainier. In my first few weeks I witnessed many things, both happy and sad, and really started to feel at home here. Then I met Frank. I walked past his cage and stopped dead in my tracks. All I could do was stare as my heart melted.

"He's got no butt!" I said to my husband later that evening. 

"What do you mean he's got no butt?" he questioned.  I didn't quite know how to explain it. You see, Frank had been on his own for a while. He didn't know where his next meal was coming from or if he'd find a safe place to sleep at night.  His body compensated for his poor diet by using up stored fat in unnecessary places, like his hind legs and butt. Frank was nothing but skin, bones, and a little hope. 

Frank is one of the sweetest dogs I've ever met (shhh, don't tell my kids I said that).  He is always happy and will be sure to let you know when he's ready for a potty break or stroll on the trail. 

As my plane touches down on the runway I can't help but think of Frank. I've just returned from shipping my belongings back home from Phoenix and this chapter of my life is coming to a close. In the weeks Frank has lived at Animal Friends he has started to regain his manly figure and is well on his way to recovery. This chapter in his life will soon be over too. We  persevered  when all seemed lost and have grown to be stronger, better versions of ourselves. I don't know where my path will lead, nor where Frank's will take him, but I am very happy to be back home in this new city, with a new job, and to see Frank's got a new butt.

Frank has been adopted since the writing of this blog and is now living happily ever after with his forever family.  To see other adoptable dogs, please check out

They call me the Clover Ninja...

Guest Blogger: Ann Ensminger, Director of Animal Wellness

It was1:00 in the morning, and I was sitting up with my foster bunny, Cerulean, worrying that she had not eaten that day that as she should have.  This is a pretty significant concern as prior to her coming into my home for foster care she had been in “bunny ICU” twice and had been seen by no less than 6 different veterinarians.  Animal Friends had already done so much for her, and although she was not yet out of the woods, it was now my job to help her continue to thrive while under my close watch and care.  I had offered her everything, including things that she typically would eat enthusiastically--dandelion greens, parsley, banana, canned pumpkin, alfalfa hay and more.  Nothing seemed to be appealing to her, and I was becoming more and more concerned. 

I thought of one last option...CLOVER!  The veterinary staff who took care of Cerulean while she was in ICU reported that she loved fresh clover.  And, well, you can’t buy clover at Giant Eagle.  So...what’s a foster mama to do?  Get her scissors and go to her neighbor’s front yard, of course! 

Picture it...1:00 AM, in the dark, in my jammies and with my scissors in hand -- I triggered my neighbors’ motion activated porch light and scoured their front yard for clover.  Thankfully, and to my surprise, I was able to harvest a decent crop! 

While cautiously optimistic, I offered Cerulean a freshly picked and rinsed handful of clover.  Success!!  Freshly picked “organically home grown” clover did the trick.  Cerulean eagerly ate every last leaf, blossom, and stem.  What a relief!  I was so relieved, in fact, that I posted the following on my Facebook page:

I think, no...I know, that I have the best next door neighbors in the whole wide world! I didn't even think twice about it being 1 AM, and with my scissors in tow, denuding their front lawn of clover for my sick foster bunny. If she doesn't eat, she may end up being hospitalized again, and this was my last resort for finding food she would eat. Hooray for my neighbors and their life-saving crop of clover!

In retrospect, my posting may have been a little over the top.  And, I must also add that my best friend of 30 years and her family serendipitously live next door, so they already know that I do some non-traditional things to help an animal in need.  In fact, several days later, I got a phone call:  “Hey--I’m going to mow the front you need any more clover before I do?”  I was not home at the time, and thanked my neighbor for the call and told him to go ahead and mow.  When I came home, it was so heartwarming to see that he had carefully mowed around all of the little clover patches in the yard!  Without a doubt, I do indeed have the best neighbors in the world! 

I’m sure that all of the animal lovers out there understand and recognize the lengths we sometimes go to to help the animals entrusted to our care.  And now, all out of the love for my foster bunny, they call me the Clover Ninja!  This is a title I am proud to bear! 

(Cerulean remains in foster care and is under close monitoring of Animal Friends’ Director of Veterinary Medicine.  While she is not yet ready to be made available for adoption, she does continue to thrive and has gained 11 ounces since going into foster care.  Her diagnosis is still open at this time, meaning that we don’t know exactly what has caused her medical challenges.  We hope that she will overcome these challenges and we are committed to helping her to do so.  If they are insurmountable, we know that she was indeed loved, spoiled, and had the opportunity to live in a home.)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Volunteering at PetCo South!

Guest Blogger: Kathy Poulton, Volunteer

I am a volunteer Adoption Counselor at Animal Friends’ offsite location at Petco South, and I love it!

I connect with like-minded people who want to make a difference in the world by actually doing something to make our world a better place. Taking action to help homeless cats find secure, permanent homes is quite rewarding and means a lot individually as well as to the group of volunteers.

Meeting all the new feline faces that come into our adoption room is quite exciting. I learn about their individual personalities and needs. We believe that each one has value and is worthy of our efforts to re-home them.

I have volunteered for a variety of causes in my lifetime but this experience gives me so much in return. There is such value in caring for our homeless pets and attempting to turn their lives around....with every adoption comes a feeling of "all's right with the world!"

I made a difference in their lives and enjoy knowledge that they are making a difference in their new human families’ lives. I highly recommend volunteering to see and feel what it is like to make a difference in this world. You can make new furry animal friends as well as human ones too!

Animal Friends has volunteer opportunities for a wide variety of interests! Learn more by visiting

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lost Dogs to be Rescued! Animal Friends' Liberation Day, July 9


On Tuesday, July 9, Animal Friends will hold the 16th annual “Liberation Day Rescue" to offer a second chance to lost and unclaimed dogs who are slated to be euthanized at animal control facilities.

Because of loud noises and outdoor activities, more dogs are lost around the Fourth of July than any other time of year. Those who are not claimed from animal control facilities are euthanized.

Animal Friends’ goal is to rescue as many as possible and remind the public that simple measures--tagging, licensing and microchipping--can help keep your dog safe. 

On July 9, rescued dogs will be named, vaccinated, bathed and groomed at Animal Friends.

In honor of Animal Friends' 70th anniversary, each of the rescued dogs will be given a 70's-themed name. (Think: lava lamps and disco balls!) 

Pending any necessary evaluation, the dogs will be spayed or neutered and readied for adoption into loving families beginning July 15.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013
The first wave of dogs will arrive at Animal Friends at around 9:00am.

Animal Friends
562 Camp Horne Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15237
(Exit 8 off I-279N)

Animal Friends, volunteers and rescued dogs

Friday, June 7, 2013

Ten was Adopted, and we Can Tell!

By Jeff Geissler, Communications Assistant

Ten found his forever home, so I can finally get some work done.

Ten, who was the tenth cat rescued by our wonderful volunteer Diane Friske, is the most playful 2-year-old tabby you’ll ever meet. He’s cute beyond words, and he knows it. That is why he gets away with so many devilish antics.

I first met the little fella when I was making a video about him. He kept batting at balls, jumping on furniture, and frantically frolicking while I tired to capture his character. He was not a cooperative model.

He was our office assistant once. Let’s just say his office etiquette was a little unprofessional. He mistook my hand as it rolled the computer mouse as an interactive toy.

Our graphic designer Suaz, who obviously relies on good eyesight for her job, had her eyeglasses pulled off her smiling face by the mischievous little monster

Our Special Events Coordinator Christy was trying to make a business phone call, but Ten insisted on pawing the phone buttons and chewing her hair.

And every time we tried to get back to work, Ten would roll over onto his back and blink his gorgeous green eyes surrounded by his charming tiger stripes.

Ten didn’t know the line between work and play. But then again, cats are not known for being the most diligent and reliable workers.

So maybe we can all learn from his playful paws, and not be so darn serious about work, or life.

Happy Friday!

Click here to meet the cats who haven’t been adopted yet. We’re waiving the $75 adoption donation for all cats age 2+ through June 30!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Animal Friends Hosts $10 Rabies Vaccine Clinics

In order to protect pets and people, Animal Friends is once again hosting a series of low-cost Rabies Vaccine Clinics throughout the area this summer.

Animal Friends reminds all pet owners that rabies is a serious yet preventable disease.  Pet vaccines will be available for just $10 each at the following clinics:

McKEESPORT | Sunday, June 16, 2013 | 11:00 am - 1:00 pm | McKeesport Fire Hall on Eden Park Boulevard

PENN HILLS | Sunday, July 7, 2013 | 11:00 am - 1:00 pm | Public Works Garage, 6600 Leechburg Road

MT. OLIVER | Sunday, July 28, 2013 | 11:00 am - 1:00 pm | Hook & Ladder Co., 120 Brownsville Road

FOREST HILLS | Sunday, August 11, 2013 | 11:00 am - 1:00 pm | Forest Hills Fire Department, 2071 Ardmore Blvd.

MILLVALE | Sunday, September 15, 2012 | 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm | Christ Lutheran Church, 910 North Avenue

All dogs and cats three months of age and over will be vaccinated on a first-come, first-served basis.  For safety reasons, all dogs must be on leashes and all cats in carriers. 

State law requires that all pets over three months of age must be vaccinated against rabies, with non-compliance resulting in $300 per day fines.

Rabies is a disease transmitted by the saliva of an infected animal, which enters the central nervous system and causes a brain infection. It is most commonly spread through a bite from an infected dog, cat, raccoon, fox, skunk, or bat. Left untreated, it is usually fatal.

In animals, rabies can take two forms: “furious” and “paralytic.” The “furious” form includes aggression, excessive vocalization, dilated pupils, difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite, restlessness, and/or biting at objects and other animals. The “paralytic” form includes decreased activity, lack of coordination and weakness of the hind legs. As the disease progresses, the animal’s lower jaw may drop, and it may drool, be unable to swallow, become paralyzed and die. Some animals may show no symptoms at all and simply die.

Once humans develop symptoms, the disease is almost always fatal, so it’s important to seek treatment immediately if you think you’ve been exposed to rabies.  Early symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat and feeling tired. When the virus moves to the brain, the person may act nervous, confused and upset.

Animal Friends encourages pet owners to protect their pets from rabies by keeping them in the house or under their supervision at all times. If you notice an animal in your yard that is behaving in an aggressive, erratic manner, report the incident to your local police or animal control agency, as it could be showing signs of rabies infection.

For more information about Animal Friends’ rabies clinics, call 412.847.7076 or visit