Renovations are unveiled at Youngwood animal shelter
Since Animal Friends of Westmoreland Inc. was established three years ago, more than 700 homeless, abandoned and abused cats and dogs have been adopted from the Youngwood-based, nonprofit organization.
On Saturday, volunteers, board members and benefactors of the self-sustaining, no-kill facility at 216 Depot St. in the borough held a ceremony to officially mark its completion following significant renovations.
“We've accomplished so much,” said Franny Petras of Greensburg, a shelter volunteer. “There's been so much work done.”
Those who attended the event were invited to tour the building that boasts a new paint job, roof, driveway and fenced-in play yard.
Champagne and hors d'oeuvres were served and the organization's president and chief executive officer, Candy Nelson, gave a speech recognizing the completed renovations.
“Six years ago, we held our first fundraiser, and now look where we are,” Nelson said. “It has been an honor and a pleasure to have the support of such kind, hard-working people.”
Nelson acknowledged two volunteers she said were deserving of special recognition — her father, Greensburg's Clay Schoaf, who she said was always available to lend a hand, and Irwin's Mike Harhai, who she said gave so much of his time and talent in renovating the shelter.
The improvements to the facility were funded by donations from animal lovers and proceeds from volunteer fundraising efforts, Petras said.
Additional improvements include new signage throughout the facility, decorative murals and pictures on the walls, new doors and a new, meet-and-greet area for potential pet adopters to interact with the animals.
In that area, individuals who are considering pet adoption can watch the animals interacting on a television to gauge their temperament and behavior, said shelter board member Danna Schwartzmiller of Youngwood.
The shelter opened in October 2009, when staff and volunteers began seeking homes for the numerous stray and abandoned animals in the area.
The building, however, was a constant work in progress and, until last week, was never considered completed.
“I think even people who haven't been here in the last week are going to notice huge differences,” said shelter Manager Robin Stewart of North Huntingdon. “All the improvements are very noticeable.”
And all the hard work by those at Animal Friends of Westmoreland is for the animals, Petras said.
“Each one has a story,” she added, “and there are certain ones that just really touch your heart.”
Cami DiBattista is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.