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Obituary Stories

Caring for animals was lifelong pursuit

Jeff Himler
| Tuesday, July 3, 2018, 11:00 p.m.

Rebecca Jones never met an animal she didn't like — except, maybe, a snake.

Animals, particularly dogs, were a constant part of her life — at her home in Westmoreland City, which she shared with two pet canines and a cat, and in her tailor-made job as a trainer for PetSmart.

“She loved being there for the animals,” said her longtime partner, Kenneth Teamann of North Versailles. ”She always liked the shelter dogs, the dogs in need. She always wanted to look after the underdog.”

She used a gentle training approach that focused on hand motions and treating pooches to rewards, Teamann said. It was a method that worked equally well for her clients' pets and for her own beloved dogs — pit bull Allie and shepherd mix Maggie.

“They were so obedient. She took them everywhere she went,” he said. That included accompanying the couple on a three-seater jet ski during regular excursions to lakes in surrounding states.

“We would have sunglasses on, even the dogs, and life preservers,” he said. “It was fun.”

Rebecca Jones of Westmoreland City died Sunday, July 1, 2018, after a battle with cancer.

Born Nov. 4, 1956, in North Versailles, she was a daughter of Jean (Agatucci) Noel and the late Harvey L. Noel. She was 61.

Ms. Jones earned a photography degree from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh before joining the staff at PetSmart, where she remained for more than a decade. “She didn't like handling snakes, but she had no problem with anything else — including fish and spiders,” Teamann said.

She briefly ran her own pet-sitting service. Her skills with dogs were recognized when a Maltese she'd helped to train took first place in American Kennel Club trials.

Ms. Jones enjoyed dressing herself and her pets in costume for Halloween.

“She loved Halloween,” Teamann said. “It was her most favorite holiday of all.

“People would come from miles around to look at her house. She had all kinds of decorations for Halloween.”

When her health permitted, she enjoyed a trip to Key West, Fla., and swam with dolphins there.

In addition to her partner and her mother, Ms. Jones is survived by two daughters, Brandy Jones Stroschin of White Oak and Ricki Jones of Monroeville; a granddaughter; and four siblings.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at James F. Kutch Funeral Homes and Crematory, 433 Lincoln Highway, East McKeesport.

Memorial contributions may be made to Monroeville Animal Shelter, 200 Starr Drive, Monroeville, PA 15146.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622, jhimler@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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