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North Hills Monthly

Donate to Local Animal Shelters for a Tail-Wagging Reward

Nov 30, 2015 06:14PM ● By Clare Heekin Lynch
“Their stockings were hung on the cages with care, in the hope that Santa Paws soon would be there.”

While shelter volunteers would love to see every homeless animal snuggled up in a warm house this holiday season, they would also appreciate knowing that those who remain in shelters haven’t been forgotten in the hustle and bustle of gift giving. Below, you’ll find wish lists from several animal shelters from around the region.

At West Deer Dog Shelter (, volunteer shelter manager Barb Pasquale is immensely grateful for any donations they receive. “We’re not your typical shelter because we are a small, no-kill dog shelter owned by the township, so we are not the first place that people think of when it comes to donating,” she explained. The shelter is in need of the following items, which may be dropped off at the shelter located behind the township building:
  • Paper towels
  • Tall kitchen garbage bags
  • Iams® ground canned food for a special-needs dog
  • Purina One® lamb and rice (dry)
  • Full mattress covers with zippers
For Hope Haven Farm (, a nonprofit farm animal sanctuary that rescues neglected pigs, goats, sheep and poultry, every donation is critical and goes directly to the animals’ care. “When people donate, it means they have compassion for the animals, and it warms our hearts,” said founder Karen Phillips, VMD. Items on their list include:
  • Gift cards to gas stations, local hardware and feed stores
  • Postage stamps, envelopes, printing paper, printer ink cartridges
  • empty beer and soda cans (sell to scrap yard)
  • canned cat food (for the barn cats)
Shannon Tremblay, director of communications for Animal Friends, is happy to share that all of their animals have made the ‘nice list’ this year as they wait patiently for their ‘furever’ homes! The shelter’s complete wish list may be found under the Donate Now tab of their website (, as well as in their onsite retail store. A couple of immediate needs include:
  • Alpo® and Purina® canned dog and Friskies® pâté cat food
  • 3’x5’ commercial-sturdy, rubber-cleated indoor/outdoor mats for dog playgroups
  • Cat toys (not made with fur)
  • Lightweight fleece blankets
Animal Rescue League Shelter & Wildlife Center (ARL) development director Cathy Oskin welcomes all donations, both traditional and nontraditional. “Not only are food and toys important for our animals, but anything that will offer stimulation and sensory enrichment will help keep their boredom at bay,” she said. Sensory enrichment stimulates the animal’s senses: visual, hearing, touch, taste and smell, and it encourages them to assess their environment by promoting natural behaviors like exploration, scent marking, licking and rolling. Staff members sprinkle sweet scents of cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, nutmeg or coriander on the blankets and beds of the animals to invigorate them, and lavender or chamomile to help calm them.

While the ARL helps provide permanent, loving homes for all kinds of companion animals, their Wildlife Center is also the only center in the region which rehabilitates wild animals native to Pennsylvania that have been harmed or displaced by encounters with man. A complete list of wish items is available at, but a short donation list includes:
  • Blankets and towels
  • Purina® brand foods
  • Enrichment items (toys for dogs and cats)
  • Soothing classical music on CDs (for quiet time)
  • Aromatherapy stimulants
  • Rock salt for the shelter
Other shelters in the area who could benefit from donations include the Western PA Humane Society and the Butler Humane Society, so be sure to call or visit their websites for more information.

And, as always, tax-deductible gifts are welcomed by all shelters and rescues, as the money will help ensure that many homeless animals receive the medical care they need. So, be an elf and drop by the shelters with your gifts today.