YOUNGWOOD, Pa. — After seeing dogs and cats dropped off at the local shelter because their owner was going to the hospital, a woman says she had to do something. Her actions are making us Proud to be from Pittsburgh.
Valerie Hoegel created the nonprofit Hospaws six years ago after seeing multiple dogs and cats surrendered to the local shelter. The group provides temporary homes to animals whose owners are in the hospital, a rehab facility, or need help with in-home care throughout our area.
“These animals are heartbroken, and their owners are heartbroken, and that’s not fair,” said Hoegel. “They shouldn’t have to find another life just because they are going to be sick for a little while.”
Jennifer Herbert, of Greensburg, says her dogs are her family. “If something happened to me or my husband, please make sure my dogs are okay.”
Herbert was hospitalized for two months and needed help caring for her six dogs. Hospaws was there for her.
Hoegel says many of the owners can't afford to board and would be forced to give up their pets. While the group's mission is to reunite pets and owners, sometimes that doesn't happen.
"40% of the time something happens, where they go into a nursing home or move in with family and can't take the pets, or they pass away, and we have the pets, and then we have to start looking for new homes for them," said Hoegel.
Hospaws runs solely on volunteers and only donations. Hoegel says the best part of what they do comes down to reuniting pets with their owners.
“There is nothing better than an owner and their pet being reunited after 12 weeks,” said Hoegel. "We just need people to know we’re out there. We’re out there if people need us, but we can’t do it without volunteers and foster homes. "
Hospaws is making us Proud to be From Pittsburgh.
You can learn about fostering, or even adopt some of the cats and dogs whose owners can’t care for them anymore on Saturday, March 7, 2020, at 11 a.m. It will be at their new location in Youngwood at 304 Depot Street. Find out more at this link. https://www.facebook.com/Hospaws/
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