Photo Credit: Koen van Weel/AFP/Getty Images

Pets may be special members of the family and if there is a need to acquire a pet, then a pet shelter may be the perfect place. There are pet shelters in the Pittsburgh region and qualified staff to send you in the right direction. There is more to experience than just adopting a pet. Many pet shelters offer training programs and special events that may be useful in deciding if the pet is a good match. Families and individuals may browse the shelters to have the opportunity to view the pets and experience their demeanor and appearance.

Animal Friends
Caryl Gates Gluck Resource Center
562 Camp Horne Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15237
(412) 847-7000

The comfortable confines of the Animal Friends facility is the perfect place to find a pet and the trained, professional staff will help with any questions or concerns. Visitors may browse along the corridors and find a well-maintained pet shelter. But, it is more than that as there are training and obedience classes, therapy and a wellness program that promotes exemplary care for the pets. Animal Friends has been serving families and pets for many years, and being nationally known brings a feeling of respect and confidence for adopting a pet. The ability to handle the pets and experience their demeanor make for a relaxing atmosphere and a chance to see if the pet may be compatible part of the family.

Gentle Ben’s Giant Breed Rescue
Zelienople, PA 16063
(412) 841-2590

If you looking for a large breed dog, then Gentle Ben’s Giant Breed Rescue is the place to adopt a pet. Families are kept up to date with emails and photos to ensure the health and safety of the pet. Private owners, a husband and wife, take in the dogs and then the pets are given top-notch medical care. Gentle Ben’s main interest is to find a match that suits both family and pet. The owners know everything about the dog, and they invite potential adopters into their home for an application process to witness if there is an appropriate blending between adopter and dog. There is a Facebook page with accompanying photos and comments that complete the owners’ love of their dogs and the special care and commitment experienced in their home.

Western Pennsylvania Humane Society
1101 Western Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15233
(412) 321-4625

The Western Pennsylvania Humane Society has opened its doors for pets who need care and medical attention. There are many people who aren’t able to maintain that care and that means thousands of pets may receive professional help from a dedicated staff. Included in that process are several levels of classes to learn a training regimen and a progressive approach for any behavior problems that may occur. The staff meets with potential adopters to outline the proper procedure to adopt and discuss all of the information about the pet. Finding that compatibility is of utmost importance to WPHS, and that match continues well after the adoption with the exemplary services that are offered.

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Animal Rescue League Shelter & Wildlife Center
6926 Hamilton Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15208
(412) 345-7300

Pets in need of help and care are always welcome at the Animal Rescue League. In 2013, there were thousands of animals that were treated and then sent to homes instead of wandering through neighborhoods in pain or in distress. This is a viable testimony that the Animal Rescue League loves and cares for all animals and wildlife. The adoption and training procedures are handled by a devoted staff that will work diligently with anyone who is in need of a pet or companion. There are available services for the pets to help with emergencies or habitual care.

White Oak Animal Safe Haven
2295 Lincoln Way
White Oak, PA 15131
(412) 672-8901

The cozy confines of the White Oak Animal Safe Haven has found homes for thousands of pets, which is operated on a volunteer basis. There is a need for donations, which is a vital aspect of maintaining appropriate care, and when pets are brought to the facility, the proper health documents must be provided to the shelter. The opportunity to experience the sharing process with the pets is available from its Facebook page and the timeless efforts of the volunteers in feeding, attention and loving care make an easy transition to adopt any of the precious animals. Even though the pets are in a temporary situation, the main ingredient for success is to find a home that matches the love between owner and pet.

Related: Dog-Friendliest Work Places In Pittsburgh

Gerry Cernicky is a retired health and physical education teacher with 36 years of experience. He is a former teacher of the year and a sports writer for the Vandergrift News. He delivers podcasts, and maintains a website and blog. He currently resides in Pittsburgh. His work can be found at