Pittsburgh on Four Legs: Wonderful Ways to Care for the Animals We Love
NOTot all towns have a dog-only ice cream parlour.
In fact, Salty Paws Pittsburgh – Lawrenceville’s place for pooches to get a frosted treat — is the premier pet ice cream parlor in Pennsylvania, according to owner Jessica Kury.
“I think people [here] are crazy about their dogs,” she says. She has worked with shelters in Detroit and Pittsburgh and says Steel City pet owners are clearly informed and visibly committed to their animal friends.
“People here are very passionate to fight for their animals,” she said. “Our local shelters have done an incredible job, and many of these little rescues have done an incredible job of educating people about the importance of training and exercise.”
It’s been a few years for pets. The ASPCA estimates that 23 million households added a dog or cat in the first year of the pandemic alone. Luckily for pets who find their forever home in Pittsburgh, the city offers more resources than ever to make life fulfilling and enjoyable for furry friends and their owners.
Like, for example, a glacier. Dogs make up the bulk of the clientele at Salty Paws Pittsburgh, a local micro-chain franchise, but Kury says all well-behaved, leashed pets are welcome. “We have a little cat section at the store,” she says, noting another somewhat unusual visitor: “I had a pet skunk who came the other day. She behaved very well and took very good care of us. »
The demand for pets has continued, as work-from-home arrangements continue, with some homes even becoming permanent workplaces. This has made more people consider making room for a pet, says Dan Rossi, the outgoing executive director of Human Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh (HARP). Luckily, these animals seem to be staying with their new owners.
“The big fear was that when things reopened in 2021, we would see a big comeback… We haven’t seen that here in Pittsburgh. Most of the other shelters across the country that I have connections with haven’t seen this either. According to the ASPCA, 87% of households that adopted a new pet during the pandemic had no intention of relocating.
In fact, the demand for new pets has exceeded the number of animals available at HARP’s two shelters; locally, says Rossi, the pandemic has actually seen a marked decrease in the number of people giving up on their pets, as the stay-at-home lifestyle has given people less reason to reconsider owning a pet.
HARP now brings pets from all over the country to find homes in Pittsburgh. “We have dozens of partners, regional and national, where we help shelters that don’t have the capacity.”
What made Pittsburgh a destination for pets in need of homes? “Things are a lot more personalized here in Pittsburgh,” Rossi says. “People know you; people know your pet.
“As I was driving today [a neighborhood crossing] guard… stood in the corner. There was a family there with their pet… the school custodian had treaty in her pocket, and she took them out to give them to the dog. Pittsburgh is such a friendly city, and it’s so accepting of pets at these levels.
Yet keeping a pet healthy and happy takes more than a loving home (and ice cream). Pet experts point out that, for dogs in particular, coaching is a must – especially with dogs who may have spent a year or more getting used to having humans around all the time.
Say It Once Dog Training, which won the 2021 Pittsburgh Magazine Best of the ‘Burgh award in the Pet Services category, was founded 10 years ago by Vinnie Somma. The company grew from one employee to over a dozen and expanded to include a franchise in North Carolina; another in Nashville is on the way
Somma says that while the number of pets finding forever homes is undoubtedly a good thing, the circumstances of the recent adoption boom may bring additional challenges. “The number of dogs with behavioral issues due to the pandemic will keep me in business for the next 10 to 20 years,” he says.
“We used our dogs as an emotional support system when they weren’t able to be,” he says, which has led to dogs who may have issues with separation anxiety when the humans leave the house – or, when guests return, guard their food or territory.
“It’s not that we’re teaching them anything wrong, it’s that we’re living with them inappropriately,” Somma says. “We don’t teach them anything. rules and structure because they are so cute.
Somma says that training dogs, whether from Say It Once or elsewhere, requires a commitment not on the part of the dog – pets, after all, are generally meant to please – but on the part of the owner.
“It’s super important for humans to be implied …If the human doesn’t know how to follow up, the dogs will go back to where they were.
In addition to training and exercise, regular veterinary care is obviously a must – from required vaccinations to annual check-ups to monitor weight and health. Veterinarians in the region are experiencing high demand due to the increase in new pets and wider staffing issues; this means owners need to plan ahead.
“If you know your pet’s vaccines are expiring… think about it a few months in advance,” Rossi says. “Give it plenty of time, knowing you might not get any [fast] appointment… People have to do a lot more pre-planning when it comes to animal care.
If you’re ready to commit, there are still plenty of animals out there looking for a good home.
“An animal takes time. It takes effort. People have to be prepared; people need intelligently think about which animal has meaning for their household,” says Rossi. “Start your search early and be patient; when the time is right and the right animal arrives, it will happen.