30 shelter animals get a sweet start to 2018 in Animal Friends' New Year's Rescue

A small red dog named Wendy tucked her skinny tail between her legs as she was led into the lobby of the Animal Friends shelter in Ohio Township. Initially frightened by the greetings and applause of more than 80 volunteers and dozens of staff, Wendy quickly warmed to the attention and wagged her tail.

Wendy and her almost-full-grown puppy left the Humane Society of Greene County on Friday as part of the Animal Friends New Year’s Rescue. The mom was given the name Cannoli and the female puppy was named Creme Brulee.


Thirty dogs, cats and rabbits were transferred from shelters where cages and kennels were full — in Erie, Green County and Greenbrier County, West Virginia.

This was the 21st year for the Animal Friends New Year’s Rescue, and each year the animal names have a theme. This year it’s “dessert” because “this is a sweet way to end the year,” said Cassandra Dixon, director of events and corporate giving.

At the end of each year, and throughout the year, Animal Friends takes in animals from around the region because “we have more resources and more foot traffic” which helps animals get adopted more quickly, said David Swisher, president and chief executive officer.

Also arriving from Greene County was a cute little long-haired blond dog and a sweet little terrier mix. They are now called Flan and Waffles.

New names for 14 cats from Greene County include Caramel, Ladylocks, Tiramisu and Torte.

Six rabbits from EARS — Erie Area Rabbit Society — made it out of the snow-inundated city. A white rabbit is now Cheesecake, and a black bunny is Beignet. Others were named Dumpling, Moonpie, Sundae and Cobbler.

After being greeted, photographed and named, the animals each had veterinary checkups and baths before moving to a quiet area for naps.

The New Year’s Rescue was the culmination of an adoption push that began Dec. 17. A total of 115 dogs, cats and rabbits have been brought to Animal Friends from “adoption partners” in a 300 mile radius.

Many were long-term shelter residents, including Jake, a big red coon hound who had been in the Indiana County Humane Society for over a year.

Daisy, a cattle dog mix, had been tied outside with no shelter. Picked up by a humane agent, she was in the Lawrence County Humane Society until last week.

Because she is sweet and friendly and walked nicely on a leash with volunteer Becky DiLucia of Sqirrel Hill, Daisy mixed and mingled with the New Year’s Rescue crowd.

In the last year animals have also been brought in from the Sable Kennels animal control in Allegheny County, Washington Area Humane Society, Fayette County Animal Control and Fayette Friends of Animals.

Linda Wilson Fuoco: lfuoco@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1953.

First Published December 29, 2017 3:56 PM