Animal Friends hosts 'adoption reunion' at Twin Lakes Park in Greensburg
Alan Barnhart of Mt. Pleasant spent the first day of 2017 looking at dogs housed in the Animal Friends of Westmoreland County shelter in Youngwood, when a sizable pit bull mix walked up to him at the fence.
"I said, 'Sorry buddy, I can't pet you because I'm not allowed to put my fingers through the fence,'" Barnhart said.
The dog — then named "Beaver" for his propensity to chew through leashes — immediately grabbed a bone from his enclosure and slid it under the fence to Barnhart.
"I kicked it back, and we sat there playing hockey for a while," he said with a laugh.
The next day, Barnhart adopted "Beaver," renaming him Oscar.
"It was a great, great decision," he said. "I made a best friend."
Barnhart's is a common story, and it's one that adoptive owners shared with one another Saturday at the Animal Friends Adoption Reunion, held in Twin Lakes Park in Hempfield.
"We've adopted out so many animals over the years that it's nice to get them together and see how they're doing in their forever homes," said Animal Friends animal care manager Bethany Morse.
The organization has adopted out more than 3,000 animals since 2009, Morse said. That's an average rate of more than 300 per year.
David Kost of Harrison City brought his greyhound, Ayden, to the reunion along with Isabella, a terrier he adopted in early spring.
"We volunteer at the shelter, and we just wanted to see a lot of the dogs we've cared for over the last few years," Kost said.
Melissa Blystone of Greensburg said the annual reunion is a great chance to catch up with other owners.
"I've been here the past couple years, and we're out here all the time at the dog park," Blystone said as her adopted beagle, Luke, mingled with fellow canines.
Morse said she gets a sense of satisfaction from the reunions.
"It's just a nice chance to get everyone together and see how they're doing," she said.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.