Who Is Miss B?

Welcome! Thank you for stopping by and I hope that you will join the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society (http://www.wpahumane.org/), Lindsay Dill (http://lindsaycdill.zenfolio.com/missb) and myself in an effort to find MissB a permanent home.  You can help us by sharing this blog with your friends and family or a special someone you know who would love to meet MissB.
I’d like to describe my time with MissB in an effort to better introduce you to her as the wonderful dog she is.  Please take a few minutes and get to know MissB better.
Thank you,

Dr. Miguel Ortiz, DVM

Western PA Humane Society
ImageMissB was brought to the the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society (WPHS) around June 2013.  She has been there since. When you walk by her kennel at the Humane Society she may be sleeping, standing up barking or just being calm and getting to know you even if you don’t realize it.  When out of her kennel MissB is a very calm dog.  She can often be found in offices around the WPHS, napping on blankets or on a chair (though she will get off as soon as she is asked).  However, don’t be fooled; MissB has plenty of energy to go on long hikes and even a brisk jog. I got the pleasure of spending an entire day with MissB at my home. Let me tell you about it.
When I first brought MissB home I was not sure what to expect.  The first thing I did was start cooking dinner. MissB stood in the kitchen and watched me cooking. I am positive that her previous owners made a habit of giving her people food as she stood at attention waiting for her share. I did not give in to her big brown eyes and she never fussed. No barking. No annoying slobbering or invasion of my personal space. Though she was waiting for food she was not pushy about it.  I suspect with proper discipline she will lose this habit. After dinner we went for a nice twenty minute walk. I learned a few behaviors of MissB:Image
  • She is a very calm dog. I attempted to get her hyped up but I was not able to do so. Granted she does not know me very well, but she was very playful and never got out of control.
  • She likes to mark her territory with urine. On a walk she likes to stop several times to pee in small amounts. I can assure you this is not a medical condition. It is simply a natural behavior some dogs express.
  •  Though she can not be “face to face” with another dog she does not mind them if they are walking across the street or even walking towards her. Several times on our walk we encountered other dogs on the side walk.  She did not seem overly concerned with the other dogs around her as long as she did not come close enough to touch. I like to think of it as her ten foot radius personal space bubble.Image
  • We walked into a pet food store to meet an employee and her daughters. MissB was very polite and took treats nicely from both the adult and the children. I suspect she will be a great one dog household dog.
  • She likes to chase squirrels. If she sees a squirrel she wants to go after it, although she did not pull my arm out of socket. MissB is a strong dog and would best be walked with someone who can handle her infrequent pulling.
  • I am not sure why, but, sometimes she gets spooked by shadows, electric poles, cars etc. She basically stops dead in her tracks and will not walk forward even if you pull her. I have, however, realized that if you walk the opposite direction she will follow you and with something as simple as crossing the street or looping around the object we were able to continue our walk without much interruption.

MissB’s previous owners probably allowed her to sit and sleep on furniture. However, she is a very well mannered dog and will get off the couch or the bed as soon as she is asked to do so. At bed time MissB lied calmly on a set of blankets at the foot of my bed and rested peacefully. She got up a few times for a stretch and a drink of water.  She did not try to get on my bed, though I suspect that if I asked her to she would have.
When we woke up in the morning MissB was very patient waiting for her breakfast and for her morning walk. As I cooked breakfast she again would look at me but never begged for food and did not try to get into my trash, even when not supervised.
When it was time for her photo shoot MissB was ready for work! I was thoroughly impressed with how much discipline she has. I could ask her to sit in a certain spot in my house and she did so willingly. She didn’t even mind the camera in her face and the flashes going off.  I had her sit in front of a plate of dog treats which she would not touch or even look at unless I gave her one by hand. For a dog that has been in a kennel for so long she has an extreme amount of self discipline. 

ImageDuring our walk we visited a pet food store (http://animalnature.net/) where MissB met two girls around ten years of age. She also walked around a corner and was smacked in the face by a cat! I was extremely surprised at MissB’s reaction. She just walked away. I am not sure if that would always be the case but she got hit in the face and did nothing. She even stood near the cat in attention while we took some pictures.

After a stroll through the park and hanging out outside of a coffee shop for a while, we took a short car ride. MissB was very well behaved in the car. She was in the back seat and looked out the window as we drove.  When I got out of the car she moved to the uncovered front seats but moved to the back when asked to do so. When we finally got home she curled up in ball on a chair (which I allowed) and took a long nap.

In the evening I decided to leave the house for about one hour.  MissB was put in a kennel in my bedroom while I was gone. She went into the kennel very calmly and did not bark as I was leaving the house. I also noticed that when I got home she was not barking nor did she bark when I walked into the house and made my way (purposefully slow) to her. Again she demonstrated to me her patience and maturity. That night she again slept at the foot of my bed.

It is my sincere hope that MissB finds a permanent home. She is an Imageextremely loving dog with lots of energy that she keeps under control. She can not live in a house with another dog as she does not like other dogs to be in her personal space.  If you have any further questions regarding MissB and her adoption please contact the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society at http://www.wpahumane.org/ or by phone: (412) 321-4625.

Thank you again for taking the time to get to know MissB and please consider passing her story along to your friends and family. It is my sincere hope that MissB will be adopted by a loving family and that her nights in a kennel are coming to a permanent end.


New Year – New Home – New Lease on Life. Monty Finds a Home!

Monty and his new mom

Monty gets one last treat from Donna before going home with his new mom!

By Donna Bucek, Director of Animal Services

Today is a great day for Monty – he is heading home! Gretchen Fieser, our Relationship Director, gave a talk in the North Hills this past December. Among other things, she spoke of Monty. In the audience, Monty’s new owner’s heart broke over his story. But she was not sure that she was ready for another animal having recently lost her poodle. The following  Sunday, she read Monty’s story in the Tribune Review and decided that she was the one who was going to give him the second chance he deserved.

She came and visited with Monty mid-December and both were smitten. She visits with Monty daily as he continued to heal and become acclimated to her. She is learning all about his quirks and preferences and she is perfectly fine with letting Monty just be Monty.

One little, limping, tangled mess of a dog  arrived at Western PA Humane Society but a beautiful and funny little guy gets his forever home today. My heart will break just a little, OK maybe a lot, as I say good-bye, and even though I have four dogs waiting for me at home, my house will be just a little lonely for the next few days. However, there is not a more satisfying feeling than saving a life and I would not trade my sadness for anything.

Congratulations Monty – you deserve it.

To read more about Monty or to view his videos, please visit http://www.wpahumane.org/monty.html.

Monty’s New ‘Do!

By Donna Bucek, Director of Animal Services

After a lengthy illness, most of us would just want to get a nice long bath and scrub the remains of the illness away; and Monty was no exception! A professional groomer and wonderful volunteer – Maura Mitchell – gave our Monty a morning of being a pampered pooch. He was bathed, groomed, and had a very nice long brushing session. Maura said Monty was a very good boy throughout his grooming visit (maybe he had a few in his past life).  We always want to thank our volunteers and the special work that they do for our animals – Monty is certainly grateful to Maura.Image

Watch this video as our matted “caterpillar” turns into a maltipoo “butterfly!” I have included with this video another trick of Monty’s: “Stealth Monty.” This is his favorite game when playing with the ball. (Can’t you just hear the theme from Jaws in the background?)

Monty has recovered from his bladder stone surgery and is adjusting to his new food. Monty did have a set back this weekend. I noticed that he was not coming out of his bed, not playing ball, and not being social. On Monday he was diagnosed with Giardia – an illness that has given him a very bad tummy ache and matches the symptoms we had been observing. Each day, Monty seems to get a little better- hopefully by the end of the week he will be back 100% to his playful self.

To make a gift to support Monty and the other 10,000 pets like him, please visit click here.

Monty’s Journey, Continued

By Donna Bucek, Director of Animal Services

Most dogs have it pretty easy in life and don’t ask for much – a roof over their heads, a bed to sleep on, food in their belly and some toys to pay with. But if you’ve been following Monty’s story, you know that he hasn’t been dealt a great hand in life.

You already know he came to us severely matted, dirty and couldn’t walk very well. Our veterinarian told us he also had osteoarthritis, a deformed rib cage and a luxating patella (floating kneecap).  While treating him for these and keeping an eye out for more possible issues, our staff noticed that there was blood in Monty’s urine. We tested it and received an inconclusive result. It was determined that he must be suffering from a urinary tract infection so he was immediately placed on antibiotics to give him some relief. After another day or two of no changes, we performed an X-ray which revealed a very large bladder stone. Veterinarians said Monty should have it removed immediately.

ImageI dreaded the idea of poor Monty having to undergo surgery, even though it was definitely needed. He is just so frail, and with so many other issues, I knew that there was a possibility of him not making it. With his surgery looming on the upcoming Monday, I decided to take him home to foster over the weekend. I wanted to make sure he experienced life outside of being matted and the shelter. I just wanted him to feel like he was a normal dog. (Be sure to watch the video of him playing outside in the grass with a ball).

Dr. Ortiz, one of our shelter veterinarians, performed the surgery and removed a calcium oxalate stone. He said that due to its size, it must have been very uncomfortable for Monty, but he should feel better now. I took him home with me again that evening for his recovery. So far, he seems to be doing fine, running around playing with toys and even using his back leg better as it gains more muscle. I do worry that we might discover more medical issues, but I can’t dwell on what ifs.

I am a big Pink Floyd fan, and the song “Coming Back to Life,” often gets stuck in my head when I am watching Monty;

“Where were you when I was burned and broken

While the days slipped by from my window watching

Where were you when I was hurt and helpless,”

Luckily for Monty the Western PA Humane Society is here for him. While it is easy to just focus on Monty and his story, it is amazing to think that there are 10,000 other pets with stories that come through our doors every year. I’d like to think that Monty came into our lives to represent those other pets in need that come and go. Please, if you would like to make a gift to help us continue our work, visit www.wpahumane.org/monty.html.

Monty’s Arrival

By Donna Bucek, Director of Animal Services

I cannot tell you the story of Monty’s life for his first 8 years, but I can tell you his story since his arrival at the Western PA Humane Society as a stray. I first met Monty after I was called in to the Triage Room. My staff called me because I have experience working with severely matted pets. With all my experience of thousands of pets coming through our shelter, I absolutely could not tell what the dirty white mass was in front of me. At first glance, I thought he was a horribly matted angora rabbit and I did not know which end was the front and which end was the back.

Monty, covered in matsAs we began our mission of freeing this poor creature from his tomb of matted hair, feces, and other debris, Monty sat there, frozen. Then again, what else could he do? His foot pads had not touched the earth in what we assume was months and the smell of infection was throughout the room. He was surely in pain. You can view the video of his “revealing” by going to www.wpahumane.org/monty.html.

As I had more time to observe Monty’s condition, I could see that rock solid hair mats surrounded his legs and feet. As we started to remove the layers of solid fur, I can only explain his condition this way: it was as if someone put a cast on your arms and legs and every few days poured liquid down each cast. This would obviously irritate your skin and lead to infection. Monty’s skin and paws were urine scalded and infected. No area was left unaffected; he even had impacted stool (blocked by his fur) which made his hind end very sore and painful. Upon further examination from one of our veterinarians, we determined that Monty has severe left tarsal laxity as well as osteoarthritis. He was put on a pain medication regimen to make him feel more comfortable.

With all of this scary stuff happening, and staff coming and going with supplies, one would think that Monty would have to be sedated. Luckily for him and the veterinary technicians, Monty remained a trooper. The next day, however, freed from the mats, Monty was not a happy camper. I guess his months (maybe years) of neglect were about all he could take. He wanted no part of us going in and touching him. We used cat gloves to get him out and moved him to a cage in the office. For the next few days, we just said hello and gave him pets on his head. He was not at all happy about getting medicine for his many ailments.

One morning my emotions hit rock bottom as I spoke to Monty as part of our morning ritual, wondering if we were doing the right thing for him. He looked so sad, he didn’t like moving because his skin was sore, and he seemed to hold a grudge against the staff. I thought “well, we may have given him the best week of his life.” I told Monty that I needed a sign to tell us we were moving in the right direction. He just stayed in his bed, unmoving. Fifteen minutes later, those of us sitting in the office were SHOCKED when Monty jumped up and out of his bed, jumped out of the crate and ran to the door as if to say, “Okay everyone- let’s get a move on.”

Monty, after photoMonty kept up these kinds of positive interactions for a couple of days; however, he was still not sure of human touch. We had another minor setback when Monty chose to stay in his crate for several days in a row. He and I had a heart to heart again, making me wonder what in the world I was going to do with him. Was he comfortable, was he happy? The next day Monty came out of his bed again – and started PLAYING! He chased the toy balls and hoarded them back to his bed! He chased squeaky toys across the room! It was unbelievable to watch. We again sat in awe, but this time with tears in our eyes, as this dog that had such a hard beginning taught us not to give up.

We have established a morning routine; Monty waits in his crate when I arrive to work. I open the crate and Monty runs to the office door. Out the door we go, through the clinic offices, past the surgery wards, and then out to the fenced area (all without a leash). After he is finished being outside, Monty runs back into my office for his morning breakfast. Then we play ball before checking out different scenery, like visiting the Development and Education office.

We have also found that he has a favorite treat- Natural Balance. He tries to solicit attention by putting his front paws on your legs while balancing with his leg and a half in the back. Monty also enjoys being in his crate. Even if another dog is in the there, he just crawls on in and rests with them!

I will continue to update our readers on Monty’s progress. He has several medical tests coming up that will determine a course of action for his recovery. Please feel free to visit www.wpahumane.org/monty.html to receive updates on his story. You can also make a gift to the Western PA Humane Society to help us continue to care for pets like Monty.        

WPHS Celebrates Senior Pet Month

With striking green eyes, long whiskers and a soft coat, Nico is obviously a good-looking kitty.  But this handsome feline has been waiting for his forever home for almost a month now.  Honestly, we cannot figure out why.  To be fair, Nico did come to us with a vision impairment (he is essentially blind).  But other than that, he is a normal kitty who wants someone to love him, and to love someone in return.

So why is Nico still here?  Our best guess is that it may have something to do with the age on the kennel card that hangs from his cage.  Since Nico was abandoned at the shelter, we had to estimate his age.  After taking a look, our veterinarians estimated this darling boy to be around 10 years old.  While kittens and young cats are quick to be adopted, often our animals in their senior years end up being in a shelter longer than their younger counterparts – simply for their age.

If you did not already know, November is “Adopt a Senior Pet” month.  If you have never thought about adopting an older pet – now is the time!  Nico is just one of the many animals at the WPHS who are in their “golden years.”

Like Sissy…

                                                       …. or Ram

… and Scamp!

With senior pets, there is no guess work that comes with these animals.  What you see is what you get.  The personality, health issues, quirks,  and behavior of each older animal is well documented and understood.  The truth is senior animals are who they are, and you know what you are walking into when you adopt one.  But they are just as loving and in need of a great home as younger animals. You just have to be willing to open your heart. Visit www.wpahumane.org  to see all of our senior pets waiting for their retirement home!

Local talent gives back to the Western PA Humane Society

ImageIf you’ve visited our clinic recently, you may have noticed some impressive artwork. Unique mosaic pieces, beautifully painted portraits, and original Pittsburgh-themed free drawn art work are all being featured in our clinic waiting room at the North Shore location. These artists are contributing so much more than stunning works of art for our clinic customers to enjoy; each of the three artists featured have made a commitment to donate a portion of their proceeds back to the Western PA Humane Society.

ImageArtist Steven Sadvary, a.k.a. Stevo, handcrafts exquisite mosaics from imported Italian tiles. These pieces can be commissioned in any shape, size, or style to characterize your four-legged BFF. Stevo helps our homeless animals here at the shelter by donating an astonishing 40% of his proceeds back to the WPHS. And that’s not all! Princess and Scooby were two senior black labs that came to the shelter together. The staff here realized that not only would it be difficult to find forever homes for them due to their age and coloring but also that the chances of keeping them together were slim. But then Stevo met the two lucky dogs and adopted them together! Today, Princess and Scooby are living out their days in bliss and enjoying each other’s companionship thanks to Stevo. For more information about Stevo’s work and his contact information visit www.stevosphere.com.Art-2

Also being featured at the WPHS are fantastic portraits rendered by local artist Diego Byrnes. The paintings that you see displayed in the clinic waiting room are for sale and Diego has generously committed to donating 30% of the proceeds from the sale of those paintings back to the humane society. He also accepts commissioned work and uses acrylic paints on a variety of surfaces including canvas and boards. Diego got involved with the humane society after he adopted Poppy from us two years ago…his first dog ever! He began featuring Poppy in his paintings and now this talented artist continues to support the WPHS through his art. To see paintings featuring Poppy and others visit www.diegobyrnes.com and you can ask Diego about his commissioned work at 814-244-5525 or at diego.m.byrnes@gmail.com.

The level of commitment that local artist Christopher Nix exhibits in his art is truly extraordinary. Some very unique ‘Pittsburgh-themed’ collages are available for sale in our gift shop and examples are on display in the clinic Imagewaiting room. These masterful pieces are drawn completely freehand and each piece takes three to four months to complete! Hours of research go into each of these collages before Chris even begins the drawing process. Once he does, he incorporates HUNDREDS of separate images to produce the final creation. These works of art are truly a wonder to behold. Chris says that he has been a dog lover his whole life and is very excited to give back to the WPHS through proceeds from his art. Currently, he and his wife have three four-legged family members; two golden retrievers and a chocolate lab. For more information about Chris and his incredible artwork please visit www.christopherscollages.com.

The Western PA Humane Society deeply appreciates the support shown by these local artist and we look forward to their continued success.

A Very Special Friend of Mine

As humans, we take so many beauties of the earth for granted; the beautiful sunset at the end of a long day, a stunning piece of art in a museum, the vibrant green rolling hills of a meadow. Can you imagine if all of that was slowly taken away from you until all that was left was shadows and silhouettes? All of the noises, movements and sights that you once recognized and understood would suddenly become scary and confusing. Most people would take this in the negative light and choose to avoid the world by maintaining most of their life in their own comfortable home.

There is a good friend of mine who has unfortunately faced this saddening obstacle and is looking for someone who spend his life with.  I promised that I would help him find the perfect match, so here I am! Now, let me take a moment to tell you a little about this very special friend of mine.

He has a striking, muscular build that is sure to make any woman weak at the knees. His stunning black hair is soft and shiny. His favorite thing in the entire world is to snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie. This man doesn’t care what movie you want to watch, he just wants to be sitting right next to you. His dark brown eyes, could literally make you melt and when you look into his them, all you can see is love and devotion. He currently resides at 1101 Western Ave, but is hoping to move with his new special love soon.Jasper2

My friends name is Jasper, which is of Persian origin and means treasurer which is exactly what he will do. He will treasure the devotion that you will give him and remind each and every day how much he loves you!

Alright, so if you haven’t figured it out, Jasper is a dog…but a very awesome one at that! Jasper is just such a special guy, who unfortunately has some sight impairment. We aren’t sure if he was born blind or if it came later in his young life. What we do know though, is that he sure doesn’t let it get him down!  Jasper is a young boy who has so much life to live and love to give. He is committed and dedicated and will love you until the end of time if you will only give him a chance. Please, don’t feel sorry for Jasper because he doesn’t feel sorry for himself. Instead, help us to find Jasper a new forever home to call his own!

Take a moment to come to the Western PA Humane Society to meet Jasper and create a special bond with an extraordinary man!


To learn more about Jasper and more adoptable pets at the Western PA Humane Society, visit www.wpahumane.org.

Written By: Sarah Shively

The Silver Lining to a Busy Intake Season

By Allison Caldwell, Relationships Department

While everyone loves a holiday, those days leading up to those dates can be hard for us here at the Western PA Humane Society. While others are prepping for their 4th of July barbeque, we are seeing an influx of animals being surrendered to our shelter. Since Monday, more than 120 animals have been surrendered to our North Shore shelter alone. Having so many animals come through our doors can be really hard. However, that is the reason we are an open door shelter – so that no animal is ever without a place to live.

Today while wallowing in the large number of animals we have taken on, I stopped to look at our “Forever Homes…Found” photo album on the WPHS Facebook page. I will tell you, it was the perfect way to lift my spirits. To see some of the alumni we have helped find forever homes for is the perfect way to make it through a Wednesday! Below is a random sampling of pictures of some of our former residents. Have a very happy 4th of July (and make sure to give your pet an extra hug)!

Some of Our Alum

Patiently Waiting.

We see a lot of unique dogs every day, but with a protruding yellow tooth and a definite under bite, Snaggle has a look all his own.  The 8-year-old Cocker Spaniel mix came to our shelter as a stray at the beginning of March.  In no time at all our staff and volunteers fell in love with the adorable dog.  However, finding Snaggle the perfect home took a little bit of time. 

Last week, after months of waiting patiently, a couple came in looking to adopt a dog.  It was not long before Snaggle’s look and sweet demeanor caught their attention.  After a meet and greet with their other WPHS alumni pooch to seal the deal, Snaggle had found his new family!Image
In Snaggle’s case, it took a few months to find his perfect forever home.  We would love to say his case is rare.  However right now we have several animals that have been waiting for months to find their happy ending.  It can be heartbreaking to see deserving animals be passed over day after day, waiting for their turn.  Often animals are overlooked for age, color, or breed.  Dogs that have spent too much time in a kennel can start to bark a lot.  Cats that have been sitting in a cage for months can become shy and hide.  But their behavior in the shelter is not always an indication of what they would be like in a home.

Like Snaggle, each animal at the WPHS is special and unique, and we cannot wait to find them a forever home.  Take a look below at a collage of some of our long-term residents.  They are all amazing animals waiting to be part of a new family!  Could one of them be the right fit for you?
To learn more about some of our long term residents…visit www.wpahumane.org!