Sarah Shively of the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society cuddles with the cat, Victoria, who is now living in a new home.

Sarah Shively has stories about hundreds of dogs, cats, bunnies, guinea pigs and even snakes who have come to the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society in need of a home.

There was the gray elderly cat named “Victoria” who came to the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society as a stray. “She had a deformed leg,” said Sarah, who works as the assistant director of marketing and public relations for the organization. The vets determined that her leg had to be amputated.

Within weeks, Victoria was in a new home with two cats as brothers and a dog and fully adjusted to life with only three paws.

Then, there was the dog once named “Penny” who is living in a retirement home.

“She now spends her days bringing smiles and happiness to all of the residents.” she said.

Another dog named “Anne,” a beautiful chocolate brown lab mix, is now living at a men’s shelter where she “gets to enjoy the company of people all day and enrich the lives of so many.”

And, of course, there was the dog who came into the shelter with the name, “Japan.”

“She had a slew of medical issues and allergies when she arrived at the Western PA Humane Society,” Sarah said.

Japan was sent to a foster home where she received “a lot of love and medical attention” until she started feeling better.

“When she returned to the shelter to find her forever home, I realized I couldn’t live without her,”

Sarah said, explaining that she adopted Japan and changed her name to “Adora.”

The reason for the name? “She’s ADORA-bull,” Sarah said.

And Adora is now a certified therapy dog, representing the Western PA Humane Society throughout the Pittsburgh region.

“She’s a wonderful ambassador to show people how wonderful shelter dogs and pit bulls are.”

She said the organization each year opens its doors to over 7,600 pets and strives to “build relationships with people and their pets.”

Sarah said providing homes for animals in need and placing them in permanent homes is just one of the many functions of the Western PA Humane Society.

“Beyond matching people with their best friend for life, we offer a veterinary wellness clinic, training classes, conduct educational programs in schools and work effortlessly to keep pets in their homes.” she said.

Sarah could not part with the dog she has renamed “Adora” and he’s now hers.

When animals arrive at the Western PA Humane Society, they are spayed or neutered, evaluated to decide what type of home they will thrive in, and in some circumstances, provided extensive medical care. She said they are seeing a decline in the number of animals they shelter each year. “Hopefully this means that our spay and neuter services are working and that we are providing resources to help keep pets in their homes. ” she said.

Sarah said the organization functions solely on the money it is able to raise and she said the Covelli-owned Panera Bread restaurants have been a large supporter each year helping the organization raise thousands of dollars through the Panera Pup Walk and other initiatives.

Since 2011, Panera has raised or donated about $75,000 to the organization.

The annual Panera Pup Walk sees hundreds of pet owners and their pets spend the day together in downtown Pittsburgh at the waterfront.

“Panera Bread is such a wonderful, amazing supporter of the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, and we are so incredibly appreciative of all of their support” she said.

She said the restaurant also puts collection cans at the Panera Bread cash registers for one month for the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society.

“We have wonderful community support and that has allowed us to be an open door shelter. We leave our doors open and don’t turn away any animal in need. We rely on the kindness of the community to support us in continuing our mission.”

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