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!


Angus’ Journey at the Shelter Continued

Some of our readers may remember a pup named Angus, whose story was told in a recent WPHS blog post.  It documented his journey from a frightened feral puppy who arrived at the shelter in January 2013, to an adoptable dog (the previous post can be read here).  We have been hoping to update his story since that post, and today we are proud to say there is a happy ending to Angus’ story.Angus and His New Parents

After our blog post, Angus traveled to Misty Pines to spend time with owner Jeff Woods and his amazing team of trainers.  Over the years, Misty Pines has hosted several WPHS dogs, training them while they are kenneled there and promoting their adoption.  Angus was a special case though, because he was the least trained dog that they have worked with.  Even though his progress was slow, it allowed Angus to experience things he hadn’t before, such as using agility equipment.

Angus and Joy Saying GoodbyeDuring his stay at Misty Pines, Angus was made available for adoption on our website.  Potential adopters were encouraged to visit him at Misty Pines, where they could see him outside of a kennel environment.  Angus, according to Jeff Woods, was very popular and his adorable face on the website and blog post generated a lot of interest. After several interviews and meet and greets, Angus found his forever home! His new mom and dad are excited to see him come out of his shell, and he even has a new doggie-brother named Hunter! The Western PA Humane Society staff and volunteers are so grateful to Angus’ new family, and he left with some hugs and a few tears of joy!

If you would like to make a contribution to the Western PA Humane Society to support pets like Angus, please visit www.wpahumane.org/waystogive.html.

Making the Commitment to Our Pets in Need: Angus’ Story

In the middle of January 2013, a litter of feral puppies were surrendered to the Western PA Humane Society. The person who brought them said they had found them under their porch.  The puppies were approximately 5 months old, and were lab and shepherd mixes.  The staff at WPHS decided to invest in these puppies’ futures, and find the right training and foster homes to make them “adoptable.”  This was not a very easy task, since the puppies feared eye contact from people and were by no means house trained.  Staff even reached out to several trainers, who said that feral puppies that old were a lost cause. The staff made a commitment that it would exhaust all options to ensure that these puppies would have the best outcome possible.  It took several weeks in foster homes before they could be brought back to the shelter to then be assessed.  There have been some amazing breakthroughs, but also some heart breaks.

Angus, the only chocolate-colored pup, has been one of our successes thus far, and the pup who has spent the most time interacting with shelter staff.  He spends most of his time in offices, where the staff can get him acclimated to things that he will be encountering on the outside, and forming bonds with him that we didn’t think were possible.  Most recently, Angus went home for the weekend with our Lost and Found Manager, Joy Kealey. Joy has dogs and a cat of her own, and a nice big fenced in yard- Angus’ dream home!

Angus Share with Skyler

Angus Share with Skyler

Joy was so excited about the progress that she saw with Angus in her home, and documented all of Angus’ experiences and his reactions to the home environment.  He made claim to a spot on the couch, but made sure to leave plenty of room for the owner of that couch- Joy’s pup Skyler.  He also met Joy’s husband for the first time, and allowed him to gently rub his neck and chest.  This was a huge step for Angus, who just weeks before would shy away from someone reaching out their hand. Angus also got to experience being in a fenced in yard off-leash.  His nose was going the whole time and he played and frolicked with the other dogs.  He seemed to enjoy himself immensely, but still came to Joy when she called to him and always kept her in his sight.  This is very important, since we originally thought he was only social around other dogs; not trusting the humans in the room.

Angus in the Yard

Angus in the Yard

We can only hope that Angus’ progress continues exponentially.  His future adoption will be a much celebrated feet, since so much time and effort has been put into his growth in the past 4 months.  It is quite amazing to look into his eyes now and to see a questioning look back, not a quick run back to a corner to hide.  Angus will be lucky to count himself as another success of the Western PA Humane Society’s staff and volunteers.  If you wish to donate to support the care of Angus and other pets in need like him, please  visit www.wpahumane.org/waystogive.html.

Changing Lives!


Hello Friends…

As the sun rises, I wake on my soft blanket to a smiling face, gentle head pets and a “Good Morning, Gretta!”. After my morning stretches and a tasty breakfast, I venture outside into the crisp morning air. A kind human enjoys some snuggles, pets and a nice walk with me before returning me to my room at the shelter and taking the next dog out. This has been my daily schedule since February 13th when I was found wandering alone in New Castle and brought to the Western PA Humane Society.

I am quite the popular girl here at WPHS, and my friends think I’m a perfect reminder of why even more people should give us a hand (or a paw.) In just 4 days, my human friends will join together and run in the 2013 Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon. They have worked so incredibly hard to raise money for the animals here at the Western PA Humane Society who are waiting for their forever homes.

Many of our runners are the same people I count on every day, from the staff who dedicate their lives to find loving homes for animals like me, to the volunteers who always make sure we have daily walks and extra snuggles.

These people are truly amazing- they save lives like mine every day. Now they need your help! Please visit our Pittsburgh Marathon fundraising page and consider donating, whether it be to a specific runner or the WPHS team! If you can’t spare any money right now, you can help by passing my plea to anyone that you think is able.

The 2012 Pittsburgh Marathon raised over $56,000 for the homeless animals here at WPHS. Lets work together to help them raise even more in 2013! 


Let’s help them to help us!

Love & Snuggles,

Gretta Beans