Pet Tales: Saved from Sandy, but still in need

A dachshund-mix named Tinkerbelle shivered in the arms of a shelter volunteer. A pitbull looked frightened, head down and tail lowered, as another volunteer led the dog to a truck.

Pictures of those dogs were in the Post-Gazette as heavy rains from Hurricane Sandy pushed creeks and rivers to flood levels and 190 homeless dogs and cats were evacuated Monday from a shelter near Kittanning with an ironic name: Orphans of the Storm.

"It's a lot of stress on them, but they are all doing well," said assistant shelter manager Beth Ann Galbraith. The animals were moved to W.C. Crytzer Equipment because the staff was 95 percent certain the old, run-down shelter would flood. It usually does during heavy rains. They were 100 percent thrilled that Sandy didn't flood the shelter this week.

"We were lucky," Ms. Galbraith said Wednesday as nine staff members and dozens of volunteers started moving cats and dogs back to the shelter.

So they won't need to clean mud and flood debris, but they still need to clean. They could use donations of newspapers, paper towels and bleach -- "unscented, and no Ultra Clorox because that's too strong to use around animals," she said.

The shelter always needs lots of clay kitty litter, but not the kind that clumps; and dog and cat food, especially Iams and Purina products. Go to their Facebook page to view the wish list. Look at the shelter's page on Pet Finder to see pictures and biographies of adoptable pets, including Tinkerbelle, a cute, young female described as "very sweet."

This shelter has many small dogs and purebreds available for adoption, including a long-haired dachshund named Rascal, 2. This shelter always has young puppies and kittens, Ms. Galbraith said.

One little purebred dog got out of the shelter last Saturday, before the creek started rising. That would be Mugsy, a Shih Tzu. He went to the Vandergrift home of Alan Brzezinski and his wife, Denise.

"It broke my heart when I saw pictures of those dogs being evacuated," Ms. Fiorina-Brzezinski said. "I'm so happy we brought Mac home. That's what we named him."

The couple had been searching the Internet, looking for "a buddy" for Bailey, their 3-year-old female Shih Tzu. They saw Mugsey on Orphans of the Storm's Petfinder page, and on Oct. 20 the couple went to meet him, along with Bailey and their grandchildren Avery Nix, 3, Cole Nix, 8, and Cameron Wolverton, 10, because "good with children, good with dogs" was a family prerequisite for any adoption.

Mugsey was a stray brought to the shelter about a month ago. On Oct. 20, he was still being treated for a skin condition caused by a heavily matted coat and fleas. Last Saturday, he was good to go to his new home.

Mac has settled right in at his new home. He's smart, lovable and house-broken, going outside despite the heavy rain, which he is not wild about, Ms. Fiorina-Brzezinski said.

"He wears a pink sweater because they had to shave most of his hair." The family veterinarian says Mac is very healthy and is less than 3 years old.

There's a long waiting list of animals waiting to get into the shelter "because we do not euthanize healthy, adoptable animals to make room for more," Ms. Galbraith said.

Orphans of the Storm has been saving animals since 1969. "We are small and no-frills and we've always survived on a shoestring budget."

Times have been especially difficult in recent years, and this shelter could use an influx of cash. The mailing address is Box 838, Route 85 East, Kittanning, Pa. 16201. For further information, email or call 724-548-4520.

Pet olympics

Three Rivers Dock Dogs will dive into water, the Ohio Air Dogs will leap and fetch, and dachshunds will race during pet olympics at the Pittsburgh Pet Expo today and Sunday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.

Auditions will be held today from 2 to 5 p.m. for the Stupid Pet Tricks segment on "The Late Show With David Letterman."

Also, the Molyneaux Pet Casting Call from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. is looking for friendly pets to appear in carpet commercials. For each animal that auditions, $5 will be donated to Animal Friends.

For every clean, empty aluminum pet food can brought to the Cans for Pets recycling booth, 5 cents will be donated to the Animal Rescue League Shelter and Wildlife Center. One donation might win you free pet food for one year.

Expo hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors (55 and older), free for children under 12. Dogs and other pets are welcome.

Cat show

If you've never seen a sphynx cat, here's your chance. The hairless cats with the wrinkled skin and charming personalities will be at a cat show today and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at The Shoppes at Northway, 8000 McKnight Road, Ross.

The show is presented by Butler Cat Fanciers in conjunction with a club called Sphynx Without Borders and is sanctioned by Cat Fanciers of America.

Look for Maine coon cats, Siamese, Birman, Egyptian Mau, the ever-popular domestic short-hair and many other breeds. Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for children and seniors. Information:

Cancer walk

After a week of storm-induced rain, the sun will come out tomorrow, says the weatherman, so Sunday should be a good day for a 2-mile walk on the North Side. The third annual 2 Million Dogs Puppy Up! walk for cancer research starts at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, travels to the National Aviary and then returns to the shelter.

It's part of a national effort started by Luke Robinson who walked 2,000 miles from Austin, Texas, to Boston, with his two great Pyrenees to raise money for canine cancer research. Money has been donated to Tufts University, Colorado State University and Morris Animal Foundation's Canine Cancer Campaign.

Registration is $30 (no charge for children under 14) and starts at noon at 1101 Western Ave., Pittsburgh 15223. The walk starts at 2 p.m. At the aviary, there will be games and treats for dogs and people. Back at the shelter, there will be raffles, entertainment and adoptable dogs.

For further information click on "events" at or go to

Bowling against cancer

The Pittsburgh Chapter of The National Canine Cancer Foundation is hosting the first Pittsburgh Bark and Bowl on Friday from 7 to 10 p.m. at AMF Noble Manor Lanes, 2440 Noblestown Road, 15205. Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center is presenting the event.

Go to to sign up a team. Police officers with K9 dogs and veterinarians have already formed teams. The fundraising goal for each lane is $500, and teams usually have six members.

Don't bowl? The event is free and open to the public. Come to watch and meet the K9 dogs.

The national organization has raised more than $175,000 for canine cancer research in the past two years at Bark and Bowls. One of the beneficiaries has been the University of Pennsylvania veterinary school.

Pet Tales appears weekly in the Saturday Home & Garden section. Linda Wilson Fuoco: or 412-263-3064. First Published November 3, 2012 4:00 AM