Fall for Animals Festival raises money for rescue groups, shelters

October 12, 2018

Flier took his job seriously.

On Sunday, the calm, fawn-brown racing greyhound greeted visitors to the Three Rivers Greyhounds tent at one of the area’s largest pet fundraisers.

Flier and his handler, Joe Kubiak of Arnold, were among the more than 500 people and hundreds of their pets who took part in the two-day Fall for Animals Festival that wrapped up Sunday at Crooked Creek Horse Park.

Flier would lick the fingers of visitors if he was spoken to. Otherwise, he stood by quietly with Kubiak.

Kubiak said a lot of people stopped by to talk.

“I enjoy meeting people and introducing them to the dogs,” Kubiak said.

About 10,000 greyhounds are racing in West Virginia and Florida, said Three Rivers president Ruth Scheller of Shaler. Almost all of the dogs will have to be adopted when they can no longer race.

“We get a lot of exposure here, and the Fall for Animals group does a great job,” she said.

Each year the festival gets busier, Fall for Animals president Roni Wills said.

“This is our fourth year,” said Wills, a Ford City resident. “Our goal is to make money for rescues (groups) and sanctuaries.

“Without the fundraisers, rescues wouldn’t make it,” she said.

Saturday was a day for children’s games, a pet show and parade, and a blessing of the pets.

On Sunday, a red, white and blue 1970 AMC Rebel was arriving for the festival’s car show.

Ten nonprofit rescue groups from Armstrong, Westmoreland and Washington counties were represented.

Among them was from Orphans of the Storm, a no-kill shelter along Route 88 in Rayburn Township. It alone has at least 100 dogs and cats looking to be adopted.

Numerous rescue groups were meeting with people, introducing them to some of the strays.

“Delilah is a small, quiet Rottweiler mix who once roamed free and had two litters before she was taken to Orphans,” said volunteer Roseanne Phelps of Cowansville.

Groups for Siberian huskies and other breeds were getting donations and explaining how their animals can be adopted.

Pauline Bray of Harrison City helps to bring huskies, like 6-month-old Emmit, to animal rescue shelters and matches them to new owners.

Bray said some new owners don’t realize the obvious: The dogs won’t always stay adorable puppies.

Huskies, for example, will grow and need more exercise than perhaps some people understand.

“They are bred to run 50 to 100 miles a day,” she said, adding that they can become destructive if they are bored.

“They are a very smart breed, and if you can’t stay one step ahead of them they will take advantage of you,” Bray said.

Sue Szyklinski, president of Distinguished Doberman Rescue, of Moon Township, took part in the festival.

“For us, it’s community awareness,” she said.

Szylinski’s mother had her “Trendy Tails by Patsy” booth nearby.

Patsy Troutman was displaying dog coats she makes in Leechburg. She cuts out fabric and stitches the coats to fit small to large dogs.

Many of the coats are reversible, having a “safety orange” side.

Several other businesses offered their wares, too.

Alexis Pampeno, of Ford City, is one of the dog food and snack sellers.

Her business, Pampeno’s Paws, started a year ago after her 10-year-old dog suffered from allergies but she wanted to give him treats.

“I started making them for her and then others asked,” she said.

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