Pet events: Watching and helping animals

Pittsburgh Pet Walk

As thousands of people race through Downtown this weekend for the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, four-legged runners will be heading to Point State Park for the Pittsburgh Pet Walk sponsored by Rachael Ray Nutrish.

Starting at noon Saturday, dogs and other pets will traverse a 1-mile course around the park. It’s $20 to enter, and you can pay that it right at the event.

All proceeds benefit Humane Animal Rescue, which has shelters in Homewood and the North Side and a wildlife rehabilitation center in Verona.

Awards will be given for best costume, cutest pet, and pets and people who look alike. There will be lawn games at the Nutrish tent and a dog-friendly social media photo area.

Celebrating kindness

“Be Kind to Animals Week” is Sunday through next Saturday. American Humane, the national nonprofit, says the observance that started in 1915 is the oldest commemorative week in U.S. history.

This year, American Humane is challenging 1 million people to go to to take the “Kindness Pledge.” The site asks people to do four things to protect and better the lives of animals, including 10 billion farm animals: 

• Look for humanely raised foods with the American Humane Certified seal.

• Adopt one of the 6 million to 8 million animals in shelters.

• Look for the “No Animals Were Harmed” credit on movies and television shows.

• Support zoos, aquariums and conservation centers that have the Humane Certified designation. 

Pittsburgh Zoo certified

The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is one of only 12 animal-keeping facilities to win the Humane Certified designation from American Humane. The organization’s humane conservation program started in June 2016.

AH spokesman Mark Stubis said the certification process starts with a lengthy pre-audit application of hundred of pages of documents outlining animal care policies and practices.  

American Humane sends an observation team that includes veterinarians, researchers, university professors and other experts. They’re looking for good health, good housing and “appropriate behaviors,” meaning behaviors that are natural for the animal in the wild.

Also considered are social interactions between animals and between animals and handlers, activity levels, staff knowledge and training and use of positive reinforcement in animal care and training programs.

Other Humane Certified facilities are: Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage in Las Vegas, Dolphin Quest in Hawaii and Bermuda, the San Antonio and Fort Worth zoos in Texas, Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, Ocean Parks in Hong Kong, Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo, Delphinus in Mexico, Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, and Vancouver Aquarium in Canada.

Go to for further information.

Talbots fundraiser

Shop at Talbots of Sewickley on Sunday and meet adoptable pets from Animal Advocates. Ten percent of pre-tax sales all day will benefit the organization, which is based in the West End. The store is at 400 Broad St., 15143. 

Kittanning orphans

Donors to the Orphans of the Storm shelter in Kittanning will get more bang for their buck if they donate on Thursday. That’s the Richard G. Snyder YMCA Campus and NexTier Bank’s Day of Giving, and the campaign will partially match donations of $20-$5,000. Checks only; cash donations will not be matched.

There are three ways to donate: checks can be hand-delivered to the bank at 222 Market St., Kittanning 16201 or to the shelter on Route 85; checks can be mailed with a May 11 postmark to Armstrong Day of Giving, Box 206, Kittanning 16201; or donations can be made through to

Africa animal adventure

Friday is the deadline to sign up for an Oct. 12-25 trip to South Africa with veterinarian Pilar Fish from the National Aviary on the North Side. The aviary’s director of veterinary medicine will offer unique insights about the birds and other wildlife. 

The trip will include a safari game drive in Kruger National Park, a visit to the oldest working ostrich farm in Oudtsoorn and a cable car ride over Cape Town. Costs start at $6,579 per person, double occupancy.

The trip is a partnership between the National Aviary and AAA Travel. Go to for more information. For questions or to book a reservation, call 1-800-354-8761.

Penguin events

Visit the National Aviary May 13 and 20 to show support for the pint-sized African penguins. They are thriving at the North Side facility but face extinction in their native habitat in our lifetime.

“Penguins, Penguins, Penguins!” events are 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on those dates. There will be games and crafts and live penguins to meet. The events are part of the regular admission fees.  

Overnight bird tour

There will be “spring warblers galore” at an overnight birding tour to Lake Erie’s Southwest shore, promises the National Aviary.

The tour departs from the North Side at 6 a.m. May 20 and returns the next day at 6 p.m. The first stop will be the Black Swamp Bird Observatory, an internationally important center for bird research, education and conservation. 

Rates for double occupancy start at $300 for Aviary members and $325 for non-members. Single occupancy is available. That rate includes transportation, lodging and four meals.

Register by email at or call 412-258-9463.