Monday, December 23, 2013

Animal Friends Tops 10,000 Spay/Neuter Surgeries in 2013!

 We did it!

As part of an aggressive program to end pet overpopulation in Southwestern Pennsylvania, Animal Friends reached their goal to spay or neuter 10,000 pets in 2013.

On Thursday, December 19 – just 11 days shy of the end of the year – Animal Friends’ Low-Cost Spay/Neuter team completed the 10,000th surgery of the year! The lucky cat was Jackie, a young black female, brought in to be spayed by her caregiver Rebecca Lafferty. Lafferty found Jackie as a pregnant stray and brought her into her home so she could have a safe place to nurse and care for her kittens.


Jackie (black cat) and her kitten relaxing after their surgeries
Animal Friends knows that spay and neuter programs are the only way to proactively relieve the pet overpopulation problem in our region. In Allegheny County alone, conservative estimates show that 20,000 homeless animals are euthanized every year. The problem is simple: there are too many pets and not enough homes.


Rebecca gets a basket of cat treat and toys from our  
Low Cost Spay/Neuter Coordinator Carol Whaley

Early this year, the organization set a goal: To alter 10,000 pets in 2013. An unprecedented number for Animal Friends, but one that is made possible through an aggressive low-cost spay/neuter program which includes in-house clinics, a mobile surgical unit and strong partnerships with outside organizations and the city of Pittsburgh.


While Animal Friends is proud of its achievement, there’s still much more work to be done. The organization dreams of a day when pets are no longer needlessly euthanized in Southwestern Pennsylvania.


So Animal Friends will continue to bring affordable, high-quality surgeries to the pets in our region. And we’re prepared to step up our efforts even more.


Please join Animal Friends in celebrating this achievement. Sponsor a spay today! Visit www.ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org/donatenow to make a donation now! And together, our community can drive pet overpopulation out of Southwestern Pennsylvania…for good.

Animal Friends and Big Science Music present: The Healing Power of Pets



The healing power of the human-animal bond is nothing short of astounding.  Pet owners tend to have better psychological wellbeing and fewer minor health problems.  From lowering our blood pressure and reducing stress to enhancing self-esteem and empathy in our children, pets seem to carry that holiday spirit of compassion with them all year round.  There is so much we can learn from them and so much we can enjoy by allowing them to be a part of our lives!

One of the simplest ways animals enhance our lives is through the power of smiles.  Have you ever noticed how a child’s face immediately lights up at the sight of an adorable kitten?  What about a bed-ridden hospital patient who gets a visit from a therapy dog?  A simple smile changes your brain chemistry to put you in a better mood.  What better to make you smile after a long day at work than a wiggly-butt waiting for you when you arrive home?


If you’ve already got an animal companion, consider spreading some smiles.  Invite your neighbors over for coffee so they can receive some loving purrs from your cat.  Stop and visit with folks along the way next time you take your dog for a walk.  Share a silly video of your bunny getting into trouble with friends online.  The benefits of interacting with an animal are many, but just making us smile is one of the greatest gifts they give.


Part of our vision here at Animal Friends is to promote the human-animal bond and we hope you’ll ring in the New Year with as many smiles as possible.  We guarantee that bringing a new furry friend into your family will give you plenty of reasons to smile!

 


Click here to watch a great video by Big Science Music!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Animal Friends Shares the Love with Day Apollo Subaru and the ASPCA



Animal Friends recently hosted a two-day, multi-location event on December 13th and 14th through the ASPCA/Subaru Share the Love program.  This adoption extravaganza was successful in part due to additional shelters coming to Animal Friends including Greene County Humane Society and Four Footed Friends.  Animal Friends also had adoptable animals offsite at Day Apollo Subaru in Moon Township. 

Greene County Humane Society and Animal Friends have a strong relationship, as they often transfer many of their animals to us.  On average, Greene County brings hundreds of adoptable animals to our shelter.  For this event, they chose to highlight cats and brought 40 of them to showcase in our Outreach Center.  Throughout the event, Greene County successfully adopted four cats into forever homes.  At the conclusion of the weekend, Animal Friends was able to admit 31 of the cats brought in from Green County.  That means Green County Humane Society left with only eight cats!

Four Footed Friends also joined Animal Friends and Green County Humane Society on Saturday, December 14th.  They brought along four dogs and found a forever home for one!  For increased exposure and a better chance of adoption, Four Footed Friends transferred ownership of three dogs to Animal Friends at the conclusion of the event.

Interactive enrichment displays dotted the halls at Animal Friends and the retail store offered special incentives for event attendees’ donations.  Rabbit handlers mingled in the lobby with bunnies in slings, and dog handlers brought various shelter residents to greet visitors.  We also had adoptable foster dogs come to the shelter for public interaction. 

Animal Friends had successful adoptions onsite as well as offsite at Day Subaru in Moon Township.  We were able to have our Mobile Resource Center at Day Subaru which helped us show-off several of our adoptable cats and rabbits.  Many volunteers greeted car shoppers with available dogs and Day Subaru encouraged customers to come with their animals for photos with Santa.  Because of this we had one cat adoption offsite and brought potential adopters to the shelter.  Visitors to both Animal Friends and Day Subaru were challenged to “Stuff-a-Subaru” with donated supplies for Animal Friends residents and the Animal Friends’ Chow Wagon program.  

Through the combined efforts of Animal Friends, Day Apollo Subaru, Greene County Humane Society, and Four Footed Friends, 21 animals found their forever homes through the Share the Love Adoption Extravaganza.  Photos with Santa generated $95 for Animal Friends and an additional $82 was raised through general donations.

We can’t wait to have more events like this in the future! What a great way to help homeless pets in our region. Thanks to everyone who attended, donated and volunteered! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Animal Friends presents: Hellmuth: Special Working Cat for a Barn or Warehouse



EDIT: Hellmuth has found a home!  Thank you!


Hellmuth is a muscular, handsome cat who was rescued from life as a stray when he was a kitten. Now, he is a strapping young tomcat who has proven to be a friendly, loyal companion, but has never quite adapted to his current apartment life. 

He is a playful, adventurous spirit who would best succeed as a Working Cat. Click here for more information about working cats.   While he enjoys being petted, picked up and even cuddled, he is, first and foremost a bold and territorial soul. He would do well in a heated barn or warehouse, chasing off rodents. 

His owner loves him very much but knows that Hellmuth is very unhappy and unsuited for his current home in an apartment. He makes this known by spraying.

 Hellmuth is a healthy, neutered 7-year-old cat who, after he gets to know you, will greet you with enthusiasm and head butts. He does not want to live with dogs or cats.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Baby Ready Pets Class Review


Hello! My husband and I participated in the Baby Ready Pets class back in July, and I just wanted to say thanks again for all the great info. We definitely felt like we had a good plan for introducing our newborn to our dog, Winston, and our two cats. 

Willow is 2 weeks old now and all the pets are doing great with her. The cats actually don't seem to notice her most of the time. Winston, on the other hand, is definitely curious, especially when Willow has a meltdown. :) 



We are continuing to stick to the information we learned in class - particularly the rule of never leaving our daughter unattended around the animals. We have also made a point to keep her elevated, which seems to encourage a lot more respect from Winston. We challenged him today by placing her on the floor for some supervised "tummy time." Winston did great - he sat and watched but made no attempt to interact with her. So proud of him!




Again, thanks so much for all of the info! We will definitely recommend the class to others in the area! 


Regards,

Rachel & Alex

Friday, December 6, 2013

Animal Friends presents: Santa's Little Helpers

Animal Friends had a recent visit from Santa who stopped by for our annual pet photos.  During a break, Santa walked through the adoption floor and saw several wonderful dogs who have not yet found their forever homes.  

Mistletoe (Glenda)


Santa proclaimed, “How could this be?  None of us are perfect, human and animal alike. We all have our little quirks and challenges.  But everyone deserves to be loved, safe and cherished in a forever home for the holidays!”.  

Christmas and Jingle Bell (Gia Marie and Gulliver)
He talked to these long term residents, cuddled with them, cried with them and found them to be wonderful companions who want nothing more than to be home for the holidays.  With a wink of his eye and a cheery “HO HO HO”, he declared that these special dogs should be honorary Christmas Elves. He also decreed that their names should be worthy of the holiday celebration of priceless pets and so Santa suggested Christmas, Jingle Bell and Mistletoe.
Please look for these special “Elves” throughout the kennel and ask to visit with them, or any of their furry friends, to make their dreams come true. Could your home be their forever home?  We will be glad to introduce you to these wonderful, truly “priceless pets”!  

Priceless Pet Adoptions for all pets over the age of 1 continue until December 31st.  Come and meet Christmas, Jingle Bell and Mistletoe today. 





Thursday, December 5, 2013

Animal Friends' Low-cost Vaccine and Microchip Clinics...Now Even More Low-Cost!





We understand that this time of year can stretch a lot of pocketbooks.  Gifts, decorations and parties can quickly eat up what little extra is left over after bills, rent, and groceries.

Making sure your pet is vaccinated and microchipped is usually not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the holidays but it can be this year. On Thursday, December 12th,  Rabies vaccines and microchip services will be 50% off. 

Microchips will be $10 and a Rabies vaccine is just $5.    In addition, anyone who has their pet spayed/neutered through Animal Friends' low-cost spay/neuter department during January and February 2014 will be reimbursed the cost of the vaccines received at the December 12th clinic!


What are you waiting for?  Call now to set up your appointment for Thursday, December 12th from 1p-3p.  Please call 412.847.7029 today.



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pet Adoption is PRICELESS at Animal Friends Beginning Nov. 29!



On what is traditionally known as the biggest shopping day of the year, Animal Friends invites you to do something that’s truly priceless. Don’t shop—adopt! at Animal Friends’ PRICELESS holiday adopt-a-thon beginning November 29.

If you’ve been considering pet adoption, Friday is the purrfect time to meet your soulmutt. From November 29 - December 31, Animal Friends will waive our donation request when you adopt a pet age 1 or older.

While Animal Friends typically requests $75 for dogs and cats and $60 for rabbits, we are waiving our adoption donation for all pets age 1 and up, through December 31. All pets are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and medically and behaviorally evaluated.

That Friday, you can join the retail frenzy, or you can save a life. Do something that’s truly priceless. Don’t shop—adopt! And make this a holiday season your family cherishes forever.

All adoption applications are thoroughly screened to ensure appropriate, loving and lifelong matches.

To learn more about Animal Friends or view adoptable pets, visit www.ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org.

Animal Friends is located at 562 Camp Horne Road in the North Hills, just 0.5 miles from Exit 8 off of I-279N. For details or directions, call 412.847.7000.

Happy Tails: Cindy Lou



Guest Blogger: Carolyn Amoroso


I met Cindy Lou when I volunteered at Animal Friends in Pittsburgh years ago. At first she was not eligible for adoption because she was being held for court. When I adopted her about a year later, Animal Friends estimated her age to be about 4 or 5 years old. I didn’t ask any details about her abuse because a big part of me was afraid to hear it. I knew this much: She had been used to fight. She had many, many battle scars, most in the front from her face down to her front paws. She had one on her shoulder that looked suspiciously like a cigar burn and a fracture in her foot that had never properly healed so it looked like a lump. Her foot was also deformed and facing to the side. The flaps of her ears had been torn off. It was obvious she had been bred too.

I was intimidated to take on a dog with such a past but we bonded right away. She was pure muscle when I got her but very afraid of everything and everyone. She enjoyed taking car rides but would begin to shake as soon as the car parked. I imagined the only place she probably went in a vehicle was to fight. If you told her “no” she would begin to shake very badly and I would then have to ensure her that it was ok and there was not further punishment. 




She was afraid to walk past houses. We lived on a street where there were some empty lots between our house and the next so she would happily walk the length of the empty land but would stop before reaching the house. One day I took her to a park and she was in heaven. She loved looking for trails to walk in the woods. Whenever we would approach another dog on a leash, Cindy Lou would become upset. She would stop in her tracks and want to go back the way we came to avoid the dog. I would make her stay in place and once the dog passed without incident; she would then begin to wag her tail and want to follow the dog as if she wanted to make friends. Once, a neighbor boy brought his Great Dane to our house while we were in the driveway washing cars. I put Cindy Lou in the car as a precaution and allowed the dog to approach the window. When he did, Cindy Lou began to show her teeth at the dog. I told Cindy Lou “no” and as usual she began to shake and I told her it was ok. She then sniffed the dog and became friends. I realized then that she didn’t “want” to be vicious; in the past it had been expected of her. 



I had Cindy Lou for the 5 remaining years of her life. She was a sweet, kind, gentle, loving dog that made me fall in love with the Pit Bull breed.  She was so smart. She seemed to have this magical affect on people, especially my ex-husband and myself. Cindy Lou was terrified of men but I knew that if she could warm up to any man, it would be my ex-husband. He tried to talk me out of getting her because he was afraid but she quickly won him over and the two fell in love with each other. Cindy Lou became very spoiled. Whenever I would look at Cindy Lou’s face and want to attack it with a hundred kisses, I just could not comprehend how someone else would look at that same face and do cruel things to her. To this day the thought brings me to tears.

It is 10 years since she is gone and I still miss her so much. I wanted to share Cindy Lou’s story because I know there are others like her. Michael Vick’s dogs were assessed by professionals and though some were deemed too vicious, some have gone on to become very valuable and loving members of families. Over time, Cindy Lou’s fur grew, covering most of the scars. Though her emotional scars remained more obvious, she became more relaxed and trusting of us with time. We knew she would never be like a normal dog but I found great satisfaction in the little strides that she would make. A rescue dog (even one with a scary past) can make a great pet. People used to say to me that Cindy Lou was lucky to have me and I used to say no, I’m lucky to have her. Cindy Lou brought great joy to our lives and I will always be grateful to her for it.

And I have Animal Friends to thank for bringing her into my life.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Keeping the Animals We Love Safe This Holiday Season



The winter months and holiday season have arrived! The holidays can provide wonderful opportunities to stay close to home and bask the companionship of our pets. But, as the holidays are also a time for eating, drinking, decorating, and being merry, they can also pose unforeseen health hazards that could be a concern for household animals. Before you deck your halls with boughs of holly, check out these helpful hints to keep your pets safe, happy and healthy this season.

This time of year, many people adorn their houses with holiday plants including Christmas trees, holly and mistletoe. While keeping a Christmas tree is a beautiful and time-honored tradition, be aware of the risks they can pose to your pets. If you put up a Christmas tree, make sure that it is well secured. If you have a cat who climbs or a large dog with a “happy tail,” anchor the top of the tree to the wall using a strong cord or rope. 

Ornaments, candy canes, light bulbs and tinsel can also be potentially dangerous to pets. Not only can ingested objects cause intestinal blockage and abrasions, but glass ornaments can shatter and cut soft paw pads. Be sure to hang fragile or edible ornaments safely out of a curious pet’s reach. If you have a ball-crazy dog, hang glass balls high on the tree, or take them off altogether. Cats are notorious for playing with and consuming tinsel and ribbon, which can bunch up in their intestines like an accordion. Worse yet, tinsel can slice an animal’s intestines, which requires surgery to correct. Dogs, cats, and bunnies have also been known to nibble on strings of lights or electrical cords, which can cause electrocution. 

Be careful not to let your pet drink the water from the Christmas tree stand, which may contain preservatives, or sugar or aspirin additives to keep the tree looking fresh. These can cause gastrointestinal upset in pets. Keep in mind that some dogs (especially males!), may be inclined to break the rules of housetraining on a freshly cut tree—why else would anyone bring a tree into the house?

Many pets will ignore the Christmas tree, but if yours do not, then be sure to make the tree off-limits when you’re not home to supervise. Put a small decorative fence around the tree, or keep the tree in a room with a door that can be closed to limit a pet’s access to the room.

Other decorative holiday plants may look intriguing to your pets, but they can be toxic.  Mistletoe has the potential to cause cardiovascular problems. Both poinsettias and holly, if ingested, can cause illness including vomiting and diarrhea. Again, the best cure is prevention: keep all dangerous plants out of your pets’ reach.

Burning candles should also be closely watched when pets are around. Do not leave burning candles on coffee tables and other surfaces that your dog, cat or rabbit may jump onto. With one exuberant tail wag or swat of a paw, the flames or hot wax could quickly cause disaster. Position candles securely and away from curious faces and feet.

While most pet owners know that chocolate contains theobromide, a chemical that is fatally poisonous to dogs, many other favorite holiday foods can also can give your four-legged family members a tummy ache. Uncooked yeast dough can rise in the stomach and cause severe pain. Pets who have eaten bread dough may experience abdominal pain, bloat, vomiting, disorientation and depression. Since the breakdown product of rising dough is alcohol, it can also cause alcohol poisoning.

What if you don’t have a pet…yet? Through the years, movies, television and media have depicted happy children waking up on Christmas morning to find an adorable puppy or cuddly kitten wearing bow beneath the tree. In reality, many pets are abandoned after the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Animal Friends does not recommend giving pets as gifts for the holidays. Remember that the first few weeks of life in a new household are a critical and sometimes scary time for your new pet. If your family’s holiday celebrations involve travel, houseguests or long hours away from home, the holiday season would be the wrong time to acclimate a new pet to your home routine. If your family is planning to adopt a pet, come to Animal Friends to purchase all the supplies you’ll need. Then after the holidays have wound to a close, your loved ones can return to carefully select the perfect pet for their lifestyle. This will provide the happy new pet owners time to invest in their new lifelong commitment.

We’ve all heard the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”  This is especially true when it comes to our pets. 

On behalf of all of us at Animal Friends, Happy Holidays to you and your pets!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Champ - part Chihuahua, part charmer




Champ is a Chihuahua Mix. He is 7 years old, around 17lbs. and tan in color. He's a medium energy dog who loves to play, go for walks and be around other dogs. He is very sweet, gentle and loving. He is great around children and is housebroken. Champ is current on all vaccinations, he is neutered, and has recently had a dental cleaning. He is in great health. 

Last year Champ's owner died and he is looking for someone to give him the attention he deserves. 

Interested in Champ? Call John at 412-491-9362 or email him at JONNYVETTE@YAHOO.COM

Tails of a Foster Fur Mom: Nikki



Guest Blogger: Susan Gottfried

"Little girl, where is your OFF switch?"

It's not a question I often ask my foster kittens. In fact, to be honest, I don't think I've ever asked a kitten where its OFF switch is. Truly, I don't think they have them, although in Nikki's case, I sometimes wish she did. You know, like when she's trying to turn my sleeve into a chew toy. Or when she decides to lunge for my hair. All typical kitten behaviors and, in most cases, easily taught that this is undesirable behavior.

But Nikki's not a typical kitten. She's a hoot and a trip and a lot of fun and a dear and a doll, all rolled into one. She's also a thief – a thief of your heart.

You've been warned.

I've never met a kitten more people-centric. In fact, it is her love of humans that sent her to my house in the first place. I got a call: "Every time one of the staff walks past her, she sticks her paws out and mews at us. It's pathetic. Please. Take her home!"

I laughed, figuring she had simply been smart enough to recognize the shelter workers as the people with the power to take her home. But… no. This girl loves humans. On a few—very few—occasions over the past month, she's slept on me. She purrs as soon as you pick her up, or as soon as I let her out of the foster room in the mornings. I don't let all my fosters out, but Nikki made it clear from the first time I walked in and she walked out that one room wasn't enough to contain her.  We compromised by keeping her in for two weeks, time for her to grow big and strong and ready to meet Milo and Lucy, my permanent cats. 




I'm not sure my house is, either. She spends her time racing at top speed around the house, often chasing Milo and Lucy. They've figured out where she can't jump, and those are the "I've had enough" spots. Lately, my office has been on that list because as I've been trying to work, Nikki has taken to rolling through the nest of cords on the floor. Today, she managed to jump right on my surge protector so perfectly, she flipped it off. My computer was plugged in to that protector. You can figure out what happened. Personally, I'm still trying to figure out if I should laugh or cry. (Thankfully, I am a compulsive saver—a habit brought on by a preschooler who used to demand my attention by flipping the power switch on the computer itself.)

It's like living with the Tazmanian Devil from the Looney Tunes cartoons, only Nikki is black with a white splotch on her chest. I truly am not sure this kitten sleeps.

I'm taking her back in a few days; she's big enough now to find her forever home. Whoever takes a chance on this baby in constant motion is in for a lot of fun. She simply can't get enough of the humans around her (and she loves other cats, too). And I bet that whoever takes her home will find they can't get enough of her, either.

But if they find her OFF switch, I hope they let me know where it was hiding.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Third-Party Events Put the "fun" in Fundraise





By Kayla Seifert, Animal Friends Development Assistant            

Every year, Animal Friends is privileged to be the beneficiary of dozens of Third Party Events. These types of events are held by individuals and businesses outside of the Animal Friends’ organization that simply believe in our mission and want to hold a fundraiser to benefit our organization. These events vary greatly, consisting of everything from lemonade stands, jeans days at work, golf outings, and even our partnership with Hundred Acres Manor.

           A few weeks ago, Duquesne Law student Brendan Makarewicz decided to hold a third party event for Animal Friends. Influenced by his love of animals and his belief in the good work of Animal Friends, he planned and coordinated the Southside Bar Crawl.

            Bar Crawls are fun and unique events. The Event Coordinator approaches and asks if they would like to participate in the bar crawl. Patrons of the bar, then, can pay an admission fee to participate. The event holder can even find sponsors for their event to raise more money. In the end, a portion of all of these proceeds go to the cause the bar crawl is fundraising for. 


            Though the planning of a fundraiser of this size is often more work than meets the eye, Brendan was quite successful. He managed to recruit 13 bars on Carson Street to participate, including Double Wide Grille, which welcomes dogs on their patio. He also received a sponsorship from Miller Lite for the event. Brendan worked with Animal Friends to get the word out to the Animal Friends’ community through our website, Facebook page, and e-blasts. He also promoted the event at Duquesne University and set up a Youcaring webpage. Brendan even coordinated with CARMAA to promote his event at Dogtoberfest, an event they were holding downtown earlier the same day. 

            Animal Friends’ volunteers attended the Bar Crawl, along with one of our adoptable pups, to pass out flyers and spread the word about our programs and services. By doing this, not only did Animal Friends help bring in more participants, but we also were able to tell the public about our organization and give an adoptable dog a break from the kennel. It’s certainly a win-win situation!


            Though the weather was slightly rainy, the Southside Bar Crawl was a great success and brought in donations that will be used to further the mission of the organization. Brendan said that while hosting an event of this size was quite an undertaking, helping all of the animals in need was definitely worth the work.

            Animal Friends greatly appreciates all of the hard work that Brendan and all of our other Third Party Event holders, put into their fundraisers. These events are a great way for individuals and businesses alike to contribute to Animal Friends, both in holding these events and though attending the events as participants.

            If you would like to hold a Third Party Event of your own, you can fill out the Third Party Proposal Form on our website: http://www.thinkingoutsidethecage.org/site/c.elKWIeOUIhJ6H/b.8601859/k.9D3D/Third_Party_Event_Proposal/apps/fc/form.asp or email kseifert@thinkingoutsidethecage.org.

Understanding Your Pet’s Food: How to Read a Pet Food Label





By the staff at Petagogy

Walk into any pet supply store and you will see aisles of pet foods with eye-catching packaging showing fruits, veggies and quality proteins. Just like how you can’t judge a book by its cover, don’t fall for the glossy photos and fancy packaging; it’s what’s inside the bag that counts. Before trying any new pet food, be sure to turn the bag over and read the ingredient label to see if the food contains exactly what it is advertising.

The First Five Ingredients
The first five ingredients on a label are the most important when analyzing the quality of a pet food. Because ingredients are listed from highest content in the food to lowest, after the first five ingredients (some people say eight) the percentages of the remaining ingredients decrease dramatically. One of the most important rules of thumb is that a named protein should be at least one (preferably two) of the first five ingredients, and always the first ingredient. A named protein can include a named animal meal (i.e. chicken meal—check out our past blog, “What’s the Deal with Chicken Meal?”) but should not be ambiguous such as “animal fat” or “animal meal”––not naming the animal from which the protein is from is suspicious. The remaining four ingredients should be other sources of protein via named animal sources or whole ingredients, preferably low-glycemic ingredients such as lentils, sweet potatoes or peas.

Several Ingredients to Avoid
The list of most pet foods is too long to entirely dissect here, but there are some ingredients that you should be sure to avoid regardless of how far down they appear on the label.

·        Animal by-product. This ingredient is generally a rendered product of slaughterhouse waste and can include everything from beaks, hooves, feet and animals not fit for human consumption due to age or disease. 

·        Artificial Colors. Beyond making the kibble look more desirable to humans, artificial colors serve no purpose in our pet’s food except adding unnecessary chemicals.

Guaranteed Analysis
Every pet food label must state a guaranteed analysis of the minimum and maximum percentages of moisture, fiber, crude protein and crude fat. This analysis is a great way to determine if the food has enough protein, fiber or fat that is appropriate for your pet’s specific needs. Unfortunately, this label does not take into account the moisture content of the food, so reading it might be a bit misleading; frozen and canned foods contain more moisture than kibble or dehydrated food, making direct comparisons difficult. The best and most accurate way to compare pet foods is to compare the guaranteed analysis of the dry matter content only. To determine the percentage of dry matter content, subtract the moisture content from 100. Then, to determine the true protein amount, take the guaranteed protein percentage divided by the percentage of dry matter content and multiply that by 100.

For example, a can of Fromm Shredded Pork Entrée for dogs has a moisture content of 79.5% (max) and a protein of 8% (min). The true protein content is 39%:

Dry Matter Content = 100% – 79.5% (moisture content) = 20.5%
Protein Content = 8% (the guaranteed protein) ÷ 20.5% X 100 = 39%


Both plant and animal ingredients have protein, and the guaranteed analysis does not differentiate between them, making it doubly important to look closely at the list of ingredients to try and figure out the main source of protein.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to analyzing pet foods (ingredient sourcing and manufacturing processes also make a huge difference in pet food quality), but hopefully you now have the tools to begin assessing the quality of different products. There are plenty of resources available online and local, independent stores that specialize in healthy, natural and safe pet food and supplies--such as Petagogy!--can work with you individually to ensure you’re making the best choice for your furkids.



Petagogy (pronounced pet-uh-go-jee) specializes in premium and natural pet foods, treats and supplies. Petagogy is located at 5880 Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm and Sunday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Learn more at www.petagogypgh.com.


Can Any Pet be a Baby-Ready Pet? Animal Friends Offers Baby-Ready Pets Classes



By Kristy Locklin

My cat, Hobbes, is a biter, as evidenced by my scarred appendages.

Throughout my pregnancy, he eyeballed my belly and licked his lips in anticipation of tasting young, supple flesh.

I bypassed the children's book "Pat the Cat" because I didn’t want to give my daughter the impression that she could actually touch our cat. But, banning all feline-themed literature didn't seem like a reasonable thing to do. So I consulted the experts at Animal Friends.

Each month, volunteers Ron and Mary Papik present "Baby-Ready Pets!" a free workshop that gives expectant moms and dads tips on preparing their critters for the new arrival.

The couple uses information provided by the Humane Society of the United States, as well as their own personal experiences –they're parents and pet owners—to ease fears and anxieties about bringing home baby.

Panky, an Animal Friends resident, served as a demonstration dog. When Mary pressed “play” on a boombox, the sound of a crying infant filled the room. Panky's ears perked up, he cocked his head to the side and began sniffing the colicky device. The Papiks encouraged the class to download baby sounds off the Internet and play them in the nursery to desensitize the animal to the strange noises.

Before little Sarah arrived, I logged onto www.beprepared.net/tools_cryingbaby.html and cranked the speakers to full volume. Hobbes—who gets freaked out by a ringing doorbell —looked up for a moment then went back to licking himself.

I took that as a good sign.

Practicing safe interactions between animal and infant is important, Ron and Mary said, so I put some baby lotion on my hands to get Hobbes used to the smell. He hissed and backed away like a vampire from a clove of garlic. I keep Sarah slathered in the cream to keep the furry bloodsucker at bay.

Once, he nipped at my ankle while I was dancing around the room with Sarah singing “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” I'm not sure if his aggressiveness was caused by jealousy or my awful Axl Rose impression.

The Papiks urged me to praise, pet and reward Hobbes. This way, he'll view the baby as some sort of wonderful, Meow Mix-dispensing goddess instead of a foul-smelling attention-stealer.

Over the course of the 90-minute workshop, I learned many things —the importance of constant supervision, how to keep the cat from jumping in the crib, etc. —but the handout on feline body postures is what really caught my eye.

The page boasts sketches of cats in various emotional states —neutral, alert, playful, fearful, agitated and aggressive. Even after eight years of co-habitation, I still can't read Hobbes' body language. I posted the flier on our refrigerator. I want my daughter to learn these signs and grow up to be a responsible pet owner. Hopefully, she can teach me a thing or two and I will no longer be Hobbes' favorite chew toy.

Animal Friends’ Baby-Ready Pets Class is offered regularly, with upcoming classes on October 15, November 20 and December 18. Seating is limited and registration is required, so visit the Animal Friends University page to secure your spot. This class is for people only, so please leave your pets at home.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Your Donation Will Be MATCHED!


Thanks to steadfast supporters Bob and Janine Fragasso!

From November 1 through the end of the year, your donation to Animal Friends’ Low-Cost Spay/Neuter (LCSN) program will save even more lives, thanks to a matching gift from our good friends Bob and Janine Fragasso.

We couldn’t be more grateful. Because, Let’s face it. Fundraising for spay and neuter programming isn’t an easy sell. It isn’t cute and fuzzy. But it is critical.

And if we, as a community, are truly committed to putting an end to needless euthanasia, we have to take action. We can’t be fooled into believing that we can adopt our way out of pet overpopulation. We have to stem the tide at the source.

And that’s just what an extraordinarily generous challenge from Bob and Janine will allow us to do. They have pledged to give fifty cents for every dollar donated to Animal Friends’ LCSN program, up to $50,000, from November 1 - December 31.

Bob explains, “We decided to step up to offer this funding challenge because spaying and neutering companion animals and feral cat colonies is the only way that we can eventually control overpopulation and thereby eliminate thousands of unwarranted animal euthanasia each year in our region. Animal Friends is a nationally recognized animal and human welfare organization and now it is accepting the challenge to eliminate those unnecessary deaths. Euthanasia of companion animals is a legitimate issue for all caring humans, but it also extends to quality of life and public health concerns that impact all of our citizens. We invite others to join in the successful effort now ongoing at Animal Friends and make us spend all of our matching money by contributing now.”

Animal Friends has always been this region’s leader in animal welfare – consistently raising the bar on how we collectively care for and value our animal companions. Animal Friends’ Chief Operating Officer, Kathleen Beaver, states, “We were the first to offer progressive low cost spay/neuter in this region. We were the first to take a stand against traditional, status-quo animal sheltering by opening a true companion animal resource center. We were the first to put a mobile spay/neuter clinic on the road serving struggling pet owners and rural shelters who had no other options. And since 1994, we have altered over 100,000 animals! At Animal Friends, we have the experience, we have the highly skilled staff and veterinarians, and most importantly, we have the passion to save lives.”

We need your help to maximize this challenge set by Bob and Janine. If our donors come forward, Animal Friends will raise $150,000 for the lifesaving LCSN program. To make your donation, log on to http://www.ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org beginning November 1.


Friday, October 25, 2013

In Memory Of: Dr. Dawn Marcus



It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of Animal Friends Volunteer and Pet Assisted Therapy advocate, Dawn Marcus, MD.  Dr. Marcus was  a diplomat of the American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry and a professor in the Anesthesiology Department at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She authored over 100 articles on chronic pain and headache, gave training sessions and was an invited lecturer nationally and internationally.  Dr. Marcus was the author and principal investigator of numerous studies related to chronic pain.  She was the author of 17 books and was a dedicated physician.  Dr. Marcus had a keen understanding of the strength and true healing power of the human-animal bond.  Through her 2008 book, Fit as Fido, Follow Your Dog to Better Health (iUniverse 2008).  Dr. Marcus encouraged us to use our relationship with our dog to improve our general health.


However, at Animal Friends, she was known as “Wheatie and Toby’s Mom”.  Since 2007, Dawn (to those who knew her) was an extraordinary volunteer in the pet therapy program.  With either one or both of her cherished Wheaton Terriers, she made regular visits to UPMC Presbyterian and Montefiore Hospitals, the Hillman Cancer Center and many other venues.  She loved to join in on the special holiday therapy visits especially with the Vincentian Sisters of Charity.  Here, Dawn made certain that each Sister received a small gift from Wheatie. Such was the level of her generosity.


Moreover, Dawn exemplified the power of the human-animal bond.  She often spoke that in her very early days of visiting with Wheatie, she was skeptical about what she was experiencing.  She very quickly came to understand the small miracles that were happening when patients and her pets connected.  A published author, Dawn often wrote of the simple connections that Wheatie or Toby would make, usually when it was felt that no one was looking.  The nonchalant scratch of Wheatie’s ear from a doctor, busily reading, standing next to them in an elevator;  the brush to the head from the reach of a fragile wheel-chair bound patient who wanted to pet the dog; or the obvious physical relief shown by hospital staff so happy to see the canines and have a furry break in their busy day.  Meaningful connections made in silence. 


Dawn liked to refer to herself as “Toby and Wheatie’s  Chauffer”. She chuckled that her biggest role in the therapy job was “getting the dogs where they need to be.”  But she was even more than that, she was an advocate for their work.  In 2011, Dawn conducted and published  a groundbreaking study, Animal-Assisted Therapy at an Outpatient Pain Management Clinic. (Marcus,et al, Pain Medicine, 2012).  This study evaluated the effects of therapy dog visits at an outpatient pain management facility (compared with time spent in a waiting room). Data analyzed from 295 therapy dog visits (patients, family/friends and medical staff) showed significant reduction in pain and emotional distress for chronic pain patients and improvements in emotional distress and feelings of well-being in family and friends accompanying patients to appointments as well as clinic staff.  The study provided valuable, measurable data and served as the model for which the new Animal Friends, “Therapets”, program is based.


Dawn enjoyed coming to Animal Friends.  She loved to participate in our training program, and on-site therapy visits.  Most recently, she agreed to serve on the Peer Review Committee to oversee the successful implementation of the UPMC grant for the Therapets program. 


Dawn was witty, intelligent, fun-loving, generous and a genuine delight.  She will be deeply missed.


In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Canine Support Team’s Pawz for Wounded Veterans, P.O. Box 891767, Temecula, CA 92589-1767 or www.caninesupportteams.org. Arrangements by Simons Funeral Home, Inc.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Happy Tails: Trinity!



It is an honor to have volunteered and adopted with Animal Friends over the years.

As a 93-year-old widower, the true value of my relationship with Animal Friends has been the love and companionship I have received from the dogs I have adopted. Recently after the death of my beloved wife of 65 years and my 12-year-old adopted dog Dusty; I decided to adopt again (even at my age).

With the help of Animal Friends; this past February – I was able to adopt a beautiful and sweet 8-year-old Lab mix named Trinity. Wow!  What a dog!

Thank you, Animal Friends.  You not only saved Trinity but you saved a 93-year-old widower.

Sincerely,

James Brown

Friday, October 18, 2013

Microchipping Can Save Your Pet's Life

Microchips can help reunite lost pets with their families. If you adopted your pet from Animal Friends or another local shelter, your pet is already microchipped. If you didn’t, talk to your vet about microchipping today!

Microchips are a tiny chip, the size of a grain of rice, with a unique bar code. It is implanted under a pet’s skin and can be read with a scanner. When a lost pet shows up at an animal shelter, animal control facility or veterinarian’s office, most places will first scan the pet to look for a microchip, which can quickly identify the pet’s owner.

After microchipping your pet, submit your pet’s bar code number with your contact information to the company that provided the chip.               
 

Microchips are not painful. During the procedure, the pet feels a fast prick--similar to a vaccination.

Remember that microchips are not foolproof. If you move or get a new phone number, you must remember to update your pet’s listing in the manufacturer’s directory.

Microchips will  last the life of your pet. Be sure that your pet wears ID tags too!


Animal Friends Offers Free Straw for Cold Outdoor Pets



 NOTE: We've received another shipment of straw!  This shipment was delivered on December 5th and is ready to be picked-up.  We will post another update if this delivery runs out.

If you need straw for your animals in a greater quantity than what is available through the Straw Drop program, please contact local feed stores, such as Best Feeds, which has bedding straw for sale.

In preparation for plummeting temperatures, Animal Friends is once again offering free bags of straw to anyone who cares for outdoor pets or feral cats.

We urge pet owners to make their pets part of the family and keep them inside their homes. Dogs, cats and domestic rabbits are social animals, and just like humans, they suffer without interaction and companionship. We offer many programs, including behavior training and low cost spay/neuter services, that may help overcome issues that sometimes prompt a pet owner’s decision to house a pet outside.

However, recognizing the reality that many pets do live outside, Animal Friends urges those pet owners to keep their pets safe (as well as obey the law!) by ensuring that outdoor pets have access to proper food, drinkable water and warm, dry shelters. 

Because blankets, towels and pillows will get wet and freeze, straw is the best insulation against the cold and wet winter. You can pick up free bags of straw at Animal Friends during our normal operating hours (11am – 7pm Monday through Friday and 10am-5pm on Saturdays and Sundays).

Please take extra care to keep your pets safe this winter. A car mat or rug should be used as a flap over a doghouse door to keep the inside free of wind, snow and rain. If you are in need of a dog house, please contact Animal Friends to inquire about availability.

Extra care should also be taken to provide unfrozen water in not-metallic bowls and extra food at all times during cold weather.

In addition, you should frequently check your pet's paws, ears and tail for signs of frostbite--a very common occurrence. If you suspect frostbite, your pet will need to see a veterinarian immediately. Also be mindful of salt and other snow-melting chemicals that can injure their paw pads.

For more information, call 412.847.7000.Animal Friends is located at 562 Camp Horne Road in the North Hills, just 0.5 miles west of Exit 8 off I-279.

World Rabies Day: Awareness is the Best Defense against Rabies


The world joins together for World Rabies Day on September 28th to raise awareness and understanding about the importance of rabies prevention. 

Rabies is the oldest and deadliest disease known to mankind, and Animal Friends is supporting this initiative.

Led by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control and supported by numerous human and animal health organizations worldwide, World Rabies Day is a unique campaign that brings together hundreds of thousands of people across the world.

Included in those people are the secondary students who participate in Animal Friends’ annual World Rabies Day videoconference to learn about rabies, both domestically and internationally.

In 2013, students from the Parkway West Career and Technical Center (Oakdale, Pennsylvania); Beaver County Career and Technical Center (Monaca, Pennsylvania); Lindsay Holy Family School (Lindsay, Nebraska) and National Dali School (Dali City, Taichung, Taiwan) took part in the event, titled “Rabies: Understand It to Delete It.” The students asked questions of the guest speakers: Dr. Erin Moore, DVM, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Animal Heath, and Dr. Louise Taylor of the Global Alliance for Rabies Control.

“It was interesting to hear from students in Taiwan about how their country is currently fighting their first rabies cases in 50 years,” said Dana Schultz, Education Coordinator at Animal Friends.

 



Rabies and Children

The aim of World Rabies Day is to spread the word that rabies is a preventable disease that still kills 55,000 people needlessly each year, half of which are children under the age of 151.

“Rabies is primarily a disease of children, who are particularly at risk from this terrible disease, due to their close contact with dogs, the major global source,” said Dr. Debbie Briggs, Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Rabies Control. 

“Children are more likely to suffer multiple bites and scratches to the face and head, both of which carry a higher risk of contracting rabies. Children are often unaware of the danger that dogs transmit rabies and may not tell their parents when a bite, lick, or scratch has occurred from an infected animal,” said Dr. Briggs.

Rabies is Preventable

Rabies is a viral disease that can be transmitted to animals and humans. The disease is usually transmitted by a bite, but exposure may also occur through contamination of broken skin or mucous membranes with saliva from an infected animal.

Once neurological symptoms of the disease develop, rabies is fatal to both animals and humans. The good news is that rabies is easily preventable. 

“Vaccination prior to possible exposure is a crucial part of health management of domestic animals, and is the single most important factor in rabies prevention,” said Dr. Briggs.

Animal Friends is pleased to offer periodic low-cost rabies vaccination clinics to the public.

Rabies prevention starts with the animal owner. Protect yourself, your pet and your community by taking animals to be vaccinated. Avoid stray animals and wildlife. 

If you are bitten, wash bite wounds with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately. 

If your pet is bitten, consult your veterinarian immediately. Prompt and appropriate treatment after being bitten and before the disease develops can stop rabies infection and/or prevent the disease in humans and animals.

The World Rabies Day initiative also raises money for rabies prevention and control projects. 

“Through the World Rabies Day campaign we continue to engage all the major stakeholders associated with rabies to take action,” said Dr. Briggs.  “We invite everyone to join the team that is Making Rabies History!” 


More information about World Rabies Day can be found at http://www.rabiesalliance.org




More information about the videoconference can be found at http://www.ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org/WorldRabiesDay

More information about the low-cost rabies clinics can be found at
http://www.ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org/lowcostclinic


References:
 1 WHO.  Human and Animal Rabies, Rabies: A neglected zoonotic disease.  Available at: http://www.who.int/rabies/en/.  Accessed on July 23, 2008.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Perlora is redefining the dog house!



Our friends at Perlora have rounded up Pittsburgh’s finest designers, architects, and builders to create designer dwellings for our four-legged friends. Join Perlora and Animal Friends on October 24 for a live auction to benefit our animals. Attendees will have the opportunity to bid on one of a kind doggie-digs and cat hideaways, learn about adoption services from Animal Friends, browse local vendors and veterinarians, and enjoy a catered reception alongside very special guests from the shelter! Their goal is to raise $15,000 that will be used help Animal Friends deliver outreach, education, and therapeutic programming.



TICKETS ARE LIMITED, SO ACT NOW TO RESERVE YOUR SPOT!

visit: Perlora-Barkitecture.eventbrite.com



TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DESIGNERS

visit: modernliving.perlora.com



Catch A Sneak Peak at Oxford Center

Visit a sampling of our Barkitecture submissions at Oxford Center in Downtown Pittsburgh! Structures will be on display until October 21.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Chow Wagon: Santa's Sack of Toys Needs Filled!





It's never too early to start your holiday shopping and what better way to give back this holiday season than with Animal Friend's Chow Wagon program.

Chow Wagon was born on April 16, 2007 to provide assistance for people and their pets.  Today, this pet food bank is currently partnering with 22 community food pantries and one Meals on Wheels group. The Chow Wagon supplies pet food and treats to these groups on a monthly basis. During the holidays, we like to treat the families that need our services with a new toy for their furry family member.  




Our Chow Wagon is planning to deliver 23 colorful sacks stuffed full with brand new cat, dog and bunny toys to our food pantries this fall and we need your help! 




Donations of new cat, dog and rabbit toys can be brought to the shelter during regular business hours and put in the chest in the lobby.  We’ll take stuffed toys, jingle balls, chew ropes, squeaky mice, wood chews and willow balls, Kongs, Nylabones and more!  Make this holiday a little brighter for a pet in need.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Digestive Solutions: Soothing Your Pet’s Problem Tummy



By the staff at Petagogy

We all hear about digestive problems that commonly occur in humans, but did you know that similar digestive issues can also plague your furkids? Digestive problems in cats and dogs can present in so many different ways, from the occasional soft stool to unexplained chronic fatigue. A healthy digestive system contributes to our pets’ overall health, immunity and nutrition absorption. No matter how high quality your pet’s food is, if your dog or cat’s digestive system does not work as it should the vitamins and minerals in your pet’s food will not provide the maximum benefit to their overall health. Several supplements are available to help improve your pet’s digestive system:

Pre- and Probiotics
Everyone – including our pets – has bacteria in their digestive system. The “good” bacteria that populate digestive tracts promote a healthy digestive system and reduce the growth of harmful bacteria. A decrease in beneficial bacteria – through taking antibiotics or due to immune problems, among other reasons – can lead to digestive problems. Taking probiotics – which are live, “good” bacteria – may help replace the lost beneficial bacteria, aiding digestion.

If your pet is having tummy troubles, but there’s no reason to believe her digestive bacteria has been compromised, adding a prebiotic is a good first step to help promote a healthy digestive system. A prebiotic is a special form of fiber that acts as food for the bacteria already living in your pet’s gut. Just as humans introduce these healthy bacterias through supplements and foods like yogurt, adding prebiotics to your pet’s diet can support the growth of bacteria in your pet’s digestive system, which in turn aids in digestion and keeps the bad bacteria in your pet’s intestines down to an acceptable level. In Clover OptaGest prebiotic blend, Holistic Blend’s Probiotic and Animal Essential’s Plant Enzyme and Probiotic are some of our favorite supplements.

Goat’s Milk
Raw goat’s milk has many of the same benefits as breast milk. Goat’s milk is highly digestible and has a large number of nutritional benefits with naturally occurring minerals and vitamins. Because it’s so highly digestible, it is a great supplement for pets that are lactose intolerant or have compromised digestive systems and cannot tolerate other forms of supplementation. Goat’s milk is also a natural acid buffer; many studies suggest it is actually a more effective antacid then nonprescription antacid drugs. We LOVE Answers Additional Raw Goat’s Milk for Dogs and Cats.

Pumpkin
Pumpkin is a common and easy-to-find supplement for fixing isolated digestives issues. Adding pumpkin to your pet’s meals can help loose stool problems, upset stomachs, constipation, diarrhea, and is great when transitioning your pet to a new food. Pumpkin is rich in many vitamins, fiber and minerals, and also helps promote healthy energy use during the digestion process. Pumpkin contains soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps eliminate waste from the body and absorbs water to slow digestion and aid in nutrient absorption. Insoluble fiber is considered a gut-healthy fiber that adds bulk to your pet’s diet, helping to eliminate or reduce constipation. Adding a spoonful to your pet’s meal provides many digestive benefits—the suggested serving size is 1 tablespoon per 10 lbs of weight as a daily food supplement. 100% Pure Organic Pumpkin from Nummy Tum-Tum is our favorite.

Coconut Oil
Virgin coconut oil is about 50% lauric acid, of which the only other abundant source found in nature is in human breast milk. The fats in coconut oil are similar to fats in mother's milk and have similar nutritional effects. When ingested, coconut oil has been known to improve digestion and nutrient absorption, as well as alleviate digestive disorders like Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers and colitis. The bonus: it’s also great for skin and coat and immune health.

The recommended amount to give your pets is 1 teaspoon per 10 lbs of body weight, or 1 tablespoon per 30 lbs of body weight. Too much coconut oil can actually damage your pet’s pancreas, so it’s best to give it in small doses (about a quarter of the recommended amount), gradually building up your pet’s tolerance overtime. Any virgin coconut oil from health food stores can be fed to pets, but we love CocoTherapy’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil and Chips.





Petagogy (pronounced pet-uh-go-jee) specializes in premium and natural pet foods, treats and supplies. Petagogy is located at 5880 Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm and Sunday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Learn more at www.petagogypgh.com.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Spay/Neuter Services are FREE for City Residents!




City of Pittsburgh residents, there’s still limited time to have your pet spayed or neutered…for FREE!


Animal Friends is grateful to partner with the City of Pittsburgh to make this important initiative possible.


All eligible pet owners or caregivers must prove they are city residents by showing two bills with a valid city address and a driver's license, or equivalent form of identification with a valid city address. If you are seeking services for feral cats, the cat colony must be located inside the city limits.


Up to five animals per household are eligible for free surgeries. All pets must be up-to-date on vaccinations. 


Ready? Call 412.255.2036! Visit here for more information. Or, if you’ve already altered your pet, spay it forward! Use the form on this page to underwrite a spay/neuter surgery for a pet.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Direct Axis is a Friend to Animal Friends

Imagine you’re watching a movie and the story is starting to get intense! The actors are delivering lines with feeling. Then, suddenly, music swells…your heart aches as the song fills the scene.  Before you know it, the music sweeps you away and the moment is drenched with emotion.

Good graphic design is like the soundrack to a movie. When you read a story about one of Animal Friends’ rescued animals, our graphic designers use photos, colors and images to convey emotion that puts you right inside the story. A talented graphic designer can turn a simple document into an experience that moves our donors to action.



When it comes to raising money and awareness for our animals, we count on a talented team. So, for more than a decade, Animal Friends has worked with the experts at Direct Axis to create effective mailings and brochures. You probably know their work -- this Pittsburgh-based firm provides the design for our flagship newspaper, the Petsburgh Press, as well as our direct mail pieces and annual Black Tie & Tails program. Direct Axis also creates websites, catalogs, brochures and more.

Jolene Miklas, Animal Friends’ Director of Communications, says, “They really ‘get us!’ The team at Direct Axis works hard to learn our brand, our mission, and our goals. This is immediately evident in the campaigns they create for us. Best of all, their staff is incredibly professional and fun to work with. I love brainstorming with them.”

Direct Axis has been a great friend to Animal Friends, and their creative mailers have helped us raise over a million dollars in the past decade.

Animal Friends wholeheartedly recommends the team at Direct Axis. To learn more about how they can help you or your business, visit direct-axis.net, call 1.800.849.3056 or write to dano@direct-axis.net.



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Minne for Mayor!

Linda Dickerson is a superb marketing professional and fundraiser who finds unique ways to support charities throughout the region. She is also well known for her talents and charitable work.  So it’s no surprise her dog, Minne (named for the city of Minneapolis) takes after her! Minne, age 3, is a Bichon Frise and is no stranger to helping those in need.  Minne even raises money for charities from his birthday parties!

This year, Linda and Minne raised money for Animal Friends’ Bark in the Dark event. They launched a unique and fun campaign to be the top fundraisers: "Minne For Mayor". 

While Minne is not actually running for government office, Ms. Dickerson crafted the campaign in hopes that Minne could be the top fundraiser for the Aug. 24 Animal Friends event, Bark In The Dark. Everywhere that she and Minne went, they passed out Minne for Mayor buttons and asked people to support the dog with donations to Bark in the Dark for Animal Friends. 





“Minne is delighted to raise money for all of his furry friends who aren't as lucky as he and who don't have furever homes,” said Linda.

Through the support of friends, family and supporters of Minne and Animal Friends, they secured the top fundraiser spot. Next year, Minne will be the Bark in the Dark coverdog -- on the brochure, posters and T-shirts at next year's event.

While Bark in the Dark isn’t for another year, you can support Animal Friends today by donating at www.ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org/DonateNow or become a volunteer.  And don’t forget to keep an eye out for Minne!