Animal Rescue League hosts the third annual Pup Crawl

The dog days of summer are here but that doesn’t mean you have to spend them cooped up with the AC. Dress up and go to a party with your dog instead.

The Third Annual Pittsburgh Pup Crawl is a joint fundraiser held by the Animal Rescue League, Animal Friends and the Humane Society. The party takes place at one of the coolest spots in town, the Roberto Clemente Bridge, Friday night.

“Last year, we had 180 dogs attend with their owners” said Mary Kennedy Withrow, community outreach coordinator for Animal Rescue League. “We invite everyone to come, the bridge is closed to traffic and the party extends the length of the bridge all the way to the corner of Federal Street at PNC Park.”

The bridge will be filled with vendors of all sorts. The Pet Bakery of Oakmont will have a selection of homemade pet treats like the Skinny Man Banana Carrot Cookies and Chicken Parmesan Pretzels. Shadyside pet store Petagogy will have items from their selection of premium and natural pet foods and supplies. Other vendors will have pet clothes, leashes and other functional and cute accessories.

“You don’t have to own a dog to participate. In fact, this event will be the best place to find out about pet ownership. Rescue groups will have adoptable dogs for you to meet including the following pit bull rescue groups Biggies Bullies, Hello Bully and The Proper Pit Bull.” You can also visit with volunteers from CARMAA, the Coalition to Adopt, Rehome and Match Abandoned Animals.

Ms. Withrow said one of the highlights of the event is the parade of dogs.“ At 9 p.m. all of the dogs walk over the Clemente Bridge from PNC park and back, then they circle around the ballpark.” Many owners dress up the dogs for the show and even the rescued dogs available for adoption will take a walk and show themselves off. Pet activities including mini-swimming pools, ice cube toy blocks and games.

Even though there is a lot of fun for everyone, the night is meant to raise money for the shelters which, at this time of year, deal with a number of drop-offs. “In the month of June, we took in 1,036 animals. Mostly kittens. Foster volunteers have been helping with the care and we would not be able to handle the influx of animals if the foster network did not exist. Every staff person here has kittens at home,” she said. Ms. Withrow also credits the local Petco and PetSmart stores for taking kittens to place. The three shelters combined place an average of 28,000 animals a year.

If cats are more your thing, you can sign up to be a foster home for small kittens as well. “Usually kittens are so small when they arrive that being in a shelter environment is not good for them, We like to get them to be at least 2.5 pounds and be 8 weeks old so we get them out as soon as possible. Fosters also help them by trying to find homes through their own network of friends.”

The shelters have a wishlist of items online that can be donated if that is your thing. “We need non-clumping litter, dog and cat food, treats. We love to have families come in and donate food and litter; it is a nice field trip for the kids. We make a big deal for the little ones and let them meet some of the animals.”

Admission to the event is $25 per dog in advance and $35 at the gate. Registration begins at 7:45 p.m. If you want to attend without your pet, admission is free. Entrance is on Federal Street at the Clemente Bridge and ALCO has donated free parking at Red Lot #6, which will be open at 6 p.m. for the event. Information, 412-345-7300 ext. 510.

Rosa Colucci can be reached at or 412-263-1634.

First Published July 10, 2014 12:00 AM