New leash on life

Animal Friends rescues 40 dogs, 1 cat slated for euthanasia


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At least one success story happened almost before the event had officially begun.

A hound-mix given the name Brookline was shown by TV cameras during Animal Friend's 12th Annual New Year's Eve Rescue, and before the event was over, she was already reunited with her family.

Shelter workers suspected she had people who loved her -- the dog was found at Triangle Animal Control in McKees Rocks wearing a Steelers bandana -- but they were assured when the family immediately showed up at the Ohio Township facility to reclaim her.

The dog had apparently gotten out of her yard in the past few days, said Jolene Miklas, director of communications for Animal Friends.

She was one of 40 dogs and one cat volunteers and workers with Animal Friends rescued from nearby facilities yesterday. The animals were named after Pittsburgh neighborhoods in honor of the city's 250th anniversary.

"They were all slated to be euthanized [yesterday]," Ms. Miklas said. "That's why we do it, to let people know this happens every day."

The animals that were rescued were taken to the Animal Friends facility, where they were groomed and given veterinary care. Those who need it will be spayed and neutered before being put up for adoption.

"They're all exhausted after their big day," Ms. Miklas said.

The dogs were resting in their suite, she said, with Milk-Bones.

Animal Friends does a big push at the end of the year to increase adoptions to make room in some of its 250 spots for the animals gathered in the New Year's Eve Rescue.

This year was the no-kill shelter's best ever, with 2,500 adoptions, Ms. Miklas said.

One dog that's still around from last year's rescue, though, is Errol Flynn (last year's theme was movie stars). The medium-sized, beagle-pointer mix was adopted once, but his new family couldn't get past some of his baggage, Ms. Miklas said.

So, Errol has been with a foster family for a while, where he is learning his manners and social skills with other dogs.

"He was very terrified of being handled on his backside, and had possibly been thrown down basement stairs," said Mary Papik, his foster mother.

But after working with him for six months, she said those issues are resolved.

"He is now a wonderful, playful beagle-pointer mix," she said, noting that he does well with handling and is now able to go up and down stairs.

"He absolutely is ready to be adopted."

Pictures of Errol and other animals up for adoption can be seen at the Animal Friends' Web site: www.thinkingoutsidethecage.org.

Animal Friends is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. tomorrow, and over the weekend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The animals brought in as part of the New Year's Eve Rescue will be available for adoption starting on Saturday.


Paula Reed Ward can be reached at pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620.


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