By: Heather Lang

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — If you love animals, then it’s a day to celebrate, and maybe even save a furry life.

April 30 marks National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day.

If you’re looking for some companionship, there are plenty of dogs, cats, rabbits and more at shelters locally and nationally that need good homes. Places to get treats, pats on the head, and play fetch.

That’s why a local hotel is launching a new initiative to get more pets out of shelters and into homes.

“These dogs need you, they need you to take them out of their situation,” says Shadyside Inn owner Jon Plesset, “and I promise you, when you take that dog home, it’s going to change your life.”

Plesset also happens to be the co-founder of the Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team, so he knows a lot about rescuing animals.

In honor of National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, Plesset’s Shadyside Inn is starting it’s new pet adoption program.

The hotel, which has pet-friendly suites and a dog park, is giving guests that qualify after a five-night stay, a credit towards adopting from a shelter near them.

“Why couldn’t I somehow convince my hotel guests to help us adopt animals? So, come stay at the Shadyside Inn for five nights, and I’m going to pay for the adoption of an animal anywhere in the country for you,” Plesset says.

To find out how to participate in the program, visit the Shadyside Inn’s website at this link.

But Plesset’s National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day good news doesn’t end there. The animal rescue group which he co-founded, PAART, is soon going to be able to do much bigger rescue missions.

That’s because the Rachael Ray Foundation is making the largest donation in PAART’s history. With the record-setting gift, PAART is getting a larger plane.

Their new Mahindra Airvan GA 8 will allow them to rescue three times as many animals as they can now.

“That’s always been a barrier to us growing, is the size of our airplane,” said Plesset. “So right now, we can get between 10-20 animals, a safe number in our airplane; and this new airplane, we’re going to be at 40 animals. So it’s a quantum leap on the air side for our team.”

Since its inception, PAART has helped rescue more than 7,000 animals by flying or driving them to safety. And, now, they’ll be able to help so many more.

So why not help make room for those animals by adopting one from a shelter today. Like Plesset says, they need you, a loving hand, a best friend, a warm place to rest their head at night.

National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day is the perfect occasion to make the leap.

“There are so many animals right now in a shelter,” Plesset said. “They are waiting for people like you, people like me to come and rescue them. Either rescue them by doing what PAART does, by doing what Shadyside Inn is doing, or just show up at your shelter.”

Stay tuned animal lovers for more Furry Tails! You can follow me on Twitter at @HeatherLang24