WPA Humane Society

This is an archive of the website of the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society (wpahumane.com). We at Pawgearlab try and preserve an archive of sites of humane societies that seem to have abandoned their websites or websites which can not be found under their former name.

About the WPA

Helping Pets & People Since 1874:

The mission of the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society is to provide the most comprehensive, compassionate and humane services to enhance the lives of companion animals for families and the community; to educate and to prevent the cruelty of all animals in the region we serve.

Open Door Information

Open door shelters will never turn away an animal in need.

There are thousands of animals who are given up every year. Sometimes people lose their jobs and can no longer afford to take care of their pets or have to move and cannot take their pets with them. Other times people experience life-changing events, such as a divorce or new baby, and have to surrender their furry friends. As more and more shelters become “limited access,” people have no other choice than to surrender their pets to an open-door shelter, that will never turn away a pet in need.

Because of the stigma that open-door shelters have, many people choose to make donations to limited access shelters, when, in-fact, it’s the open-door shelters who need the money the most. The Western PA Humane Society helps over 10,000 animals each and every year – which is a lot of mouths to feed and medications to administer.

(Former?) Locations:

North Shore
1101 Western Avenue
Pittsburgh PA 15233
(412) 321-4625

1680 Fallen Timber Road
Elizabeth PA 15037
(412) 751-2010


Their new website can be found here:


Adoption Angels

Past Featured Angels

Pumpkin Pie

pumpkin2Pumpkin Pie arrived at the Western PA Humane Society as a stray in rough shape in the Manchester Neighborhood on August 8th. After a medical examination, it was determined that he had a severe case of mange that covered his entire body. He also had severe bacterial and yeast skin infections which was the cause of his extreme hair loss. In addition to his poor skin condition, he had a proptosed third eyelid which is commonly known as Cherry Eye. The amazing thing about Pumpkin Pie is that even after enduring all of these medical hardships, his little Mastiff tail has never stopped wagging!


degaDega is an adorable Australian shepherd mix who arrived at the Western PA Humane Society in fair condition except for a visible limp. While waiting for a diagnosis on her leg injury, Dega’s road to adoption was hampered by a urinary tract infection and then contracting kennel cough. Poor Dega was sick for several weeks, but she always had enough energy to give her tail a wag when she recognized a friend! After finally being medically cleared, Dega underwent surgery to correct a cruciate tear in her left hind leg. This type of surgery is expensive and has a long recovery period! Thanks to her wonderful foster family, she remained in their home while she searched for her forever home, travelling back and forth on the weekends. Finally, the perfect adopters fell in love with her and she was adopted. Way to go, Dega!


sophiaSophia first arrived at the shelter in January 2012. Not only was she in poor condition herself, but she was also nursing 3 tiny kittens. Both Sophia and her kittens went to a foster home until they were healthy enough to be available for adoption. That is not where Sophia’s store ended, however. While her kittens were in good shape, Sophia had had a rough time. You might have noticed that her ears are deformed, which is suspected to be from old hematomas that were never attended to. And the poor girl only has 2 teeth remaining, one of which is broken but not painful and the other has mild gingival recession. It is no wonder that she loves her canned pureed cat food! Several weeks after being available for adoption, Sophia found her perfect adopters and went home!

Brighton (Cowley)

Brighton FullBrighton is a sweet little pup who stole the hearts of the staff at the Western PA Humane Society. She came to the shelter at just 3 months old, so under normal circumstances she would have been considered highly adoptable. But, Brighton’s journey would not be that easy. She arrived at the shelter with a broken leg; a break so severe that it needed surgery to properly heal. Now that she has had her surgery, she is comfortably recovering in a foster home. Now that Brighton has been medically cleared, she has been made available for adoption.


Meet our newest Adoption Angel Fund recipient, Lulu the Shih Tzu mix puppy. She was surrendered to us from people who purchased her in Ohio. She started acting ill in February, and they waited a month before realizing that they were unable to afford her much needed tests and medical care. Upon her arrival at the shelter on March 30th, our staff noticed that she was not behaving like a normal puppy. After a series of blood work, our medical team suggested that we take her to a specialist for more diagnostics, suspecting a possible liver shunt.

The specialist agreed with our medical staff, and Lulu was scheduled to have surgery to fix her portosystemic shunt and bladder stones. She had to stay at the veterinary hospital for several days on seizure watch. After she was released, she went directly into a loving foster home, where her health has slowly been improving. As a side effect of the surgery she developed a common condition called ascites, making her belly swell with fluids. After taking the time needed to heal, Lulu went home to a very lucky adopter. She now has other pup siblings and has been busy claiming her favorite places to curl up and be her cute little self.


Emma came to WPHS after being hit by a car. This sweet girl had extensive injuries to her rear leg and had to be taken to a specialty surgeon to have it repaired. After a 2+ hour long surgery, she had a plate and 12 screws to mend her severe break. Emma also tested positive for heartworm, so the road ahead of her is a long one. She is now recovering in a foster home where she can take the time to heal from not only her break, but her heartworm as well.


Our newest featured Adoption Angel is Pepper, the adorable 2 year old yellow lab. Pepper was brought to the Western PA Humane Society in April. He was ready to be made available for adoption when the staff noticed that he was favoring his rear leg. Radiographs showed that he had osteophytes in his rear right stifle joint. These can be caused by chronic inflammation. In Pepper’s case, this was caused by either degenerative joint disease (DJD) or a cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) rupture. As soon as it could be scheduled, Pepper had surgery on the joint in question so that he could regain full use and prevent further injury. He has since been recovering in a loving foster home. Every day seems to bring more comfort and mobility, and his shining personality it really coming through!


panamaPanama found his way to the Western PA Humane Society thanks to his own “engine-uity.” A kind driver stopped on the West End Bridge after spotting him injured on the side of the road. Before the driver could grab him, he hopped right into her car’s engine. Seeing that he was in a “safe” area, the driver quickly drive over the our North Shore shelter where she and one of our employees coaxed the poor injured Panama out of the engine and into our medical team’s hands. Our veterinarians determined that Panama was suffering from a fractured jaw and a few cuts and scrapes around his face. He was taken to PVSEC, where they wired his jaw so that is could properly mend. His foster mother diligently administered numerous pain medications until he was healed and finally adopted.

Basic Education

The basic level course is the foundation for dog manners, learning dog language and building a relationship with your dog.

Puppy Preschool

Age appropriate: 8 weeks to 18 weeks (on the 1st day of class)
Prerequisite: 1st series of vaccinations (minimum)

Learning is so much FUN! A small portion of the class is supervised playtime with instructions on suitable social skills. After recess, you and your pup will discover the basic skills – leash walking, come when called, sit, down and much more. Throughout the course, your instructor provides positive training advice for common puppy behaviors – in addition to advice on topics such as the best dog food. You’ll be amazed how much you and your pup will learn.

Teen Time

Age appropriate: 19 weeks to 10 months
Prerequisite: Vaccinations appropriate for age

Look at your pup’s behavior and recognize it for what it is – canine teenagers! Similar to human teens, your pup will want to break the rules, test your patience and seem to forgotten what he/she has learned. Don’t worry – This course is designed to teach (or review) the basic exercises of sit & stay, walking nicely on a leash, recalls (come when called) and loads more. Your instructor will coach you through the teenage phase. Ultimately, the gradual build up of training will result in a successful relationship between you and your dog.

Small Dog Basics

Age appropriate: 6 months and older
Prerequisite: Vaccinations appropriate for age

It’s a small dog world after all! This course is perfect for teacup to toy size dogs that want to learn manners. Lessons include sit, lie down, stay, recall & walk on a leash (for as far as their little legs will carry them). Your instructor will supply helpful hints and methods on teaching your petite pal. This course caters to dogs less than 30 pounds.

Adult Basic I

Age appropriate: 11 months and older
Prerequisite: Vaccinations appropriate for age

Whether your pup’s all grown up or an adult dog has just moved in, this course is ideal for connecting with your pet. This course targets skills such as heeling, loose leash walking, sit/stay, lie down/stay and reliable recall. Your instructor will help you solve any mysteries about your adult dog’s behavior. You will be surprised about your mature dog’s appetite for learning!

Bashful to Brave

Age appropriate: 6 months and older
Prerequisite: Vaccinations appropriate for age

Does your dog bark at, cower or get nervous when meeting new people? Does your dog view the world as a scary place? With this course, you will understand canine communication and how to safely build your pup’s confidence and self-esteem. Using a variety of positive methods and exercises, your dog will grow from bashful to brave.

Bully Breed – Adult Basic

Age appropriate: 11 months and older
Prerequisite: Vaccinations appropriate for age; MUST be spayed or neutered

This course is exclusive for you and your beloved bully breed! You and your dog will create a trusting relationship along with developing appropriate doggie manners. This is the first step in working your bully towards canine good citizenship. In addition to positive training methods, your instructor will discuss how dogs learn, proper training equipment (but also the best dog carriers and crates), owner responsibilities and much more.

Advanced Education

Once your dog has graduated from the basics, consider moving on to advanced level. These activities are the next step for you and your dog to mastering skills and teamwork.

Advanced Puppy/Adult

Age appropriate: 5 months and older
Prerequisite: Puppy Preschool, Teen Time, Adult Basic or Small Dog Basic

Since you were having so much fun … continue to learn more! This course turns loose lead walking into heeling, extends your dogs stays, practices calming exercises and politely greeting strangers. This is the 2nd step for your puppy that is on the pathway to canine good citizenship.

Advanced Bully Breed

Age appropriate: 11 months and older
Prerequisite: Adult Basic – Level 1 or Bully Breed Basic – Level I

Don’t stop now … let’s bring out the best in your bully! This course will fine tune heeling, increase duration and distance in a stay position, practice reliable recalls and plenty more. This is the 2nd step towards achieving bully breed ambassadorship.

Super Dog

Age appropriate: 6 months and older
Prerequisite: Advanced Puppy

It’s a sit! It’s a stay! It’s Super Dog! Step three in our puppy series prepares you for AKC Canine Good Citizen testing. This class builds your pup’s confidence by exposing them to wheelchairs, crutches, elevators and other objects. Since practice makes perfect, you and your pooch will sharpen the basics of good behaviors. Also, this class beneficial for progressing to Adult Basic – Level 2 or CGC/TDI courses.

Most classes offer the opportunity to take the Canine Good Citizen test (for additional cost).

Volunteer FAQ

Is there an age requirement for volunteering at the Western PA Humane Society?

Yes. The minimum age for volunteering with our animals is 12. Children between the ages of 12 and 15 may volunteer with cats and/or rabbits if accompanied by a parent or guardian who directly supervises animal interaction. Both the child and the parent must attend a New Volunteer Orientation. We do not accept volunteers under the age of 12.

Is there a minimum commitment of hours required to volunteer?

Yes. We ask for a minimum commitment of two hours a week for a minimum period of six months.

Do I need to schedule my volunteer hours?

Dog Walkers, Cat Cuddlers, and Bunny Buddies do not need to schedule volunteer hours; and are welcome to interact with our animals any time from 7am until close of business that day.  We are open seven days a week for volunteering.  Departmental Opportunities (e.g. operator positions, surgical instrument pack wrappers) and volunteers attending Off-site Events  require a pre-arranged schedule.

Am I limited to interacting with one type of animal?

No. There is a separate New Volunteer Orientation for each type of shelter animal – dogs, cats, and rabbits – and attending each orientation qualifies you for interacting with that particular animal.

Do you accept donations?

Yes, we accept donations, especially toys or other equipment (that is in good shape), like dog beds, pet carriers, cat trees and cat beds, but also cat litter and still sealed cat food.

I need to fulfill volunteer service hours for school. Can I complete these hours at the Western PA Humane Society?

Yes. You may volunteer as a Dog Walker, Cat Cuddler, or Bunny Buddy if you agree to meet the minimum hours commitment listed in our volunteer requirements section. If you only need to complete a few hours, we have non-animal-handling opportunities available that will fulfill your requirement.

I need to fulfill Court-Ordered Community Service Hours. Are there opportunities available at the Western PA Humane Society?

Yes.  We have some supervised Community Service opportunities that would fulfill court-mandated requirements. Handling our animals IS NOT an accepted form of community service.  Not all community service applicants will be granted admission into the program.

A group of students needs to complete a special project. Is there anything we can do for the Western PA Humane Society?

Yes. Although we cannot accommodate groups of students to participate in hands-on animal activities, many groups have held food drives and other collections to benefit the animals at our shelter. Other ideas include Car Washes and other fund-raisers to collect money for our shelter residents, making blankets for our cat cages or home-made dog biscuits for our shelter canines. You may visit our Wish List to get more ideas. We occasionally have painting projects, planting projects and other projects that can accommodate a group as well. Visit our Youth Programs and Tours page for more information about school groups.

I have a special-needs client who wishes to volunteer. What are the requirements for special-needs individuals?

If the special needs of an individual would present a health or safety risk to the individual or to our animals or if the individual is not able to learn and put into practice health and safety protocols, it is required that the individual be accompanied by a job coach or social services worker who will directly supervise the individual’s interaction with our animals. Please contact us to discuss which opportunities would be safe and what sort of supervision will be required.

How do I foster an animal?

Foster volunteers do not need to attend a New Volunteer Orientation. A separate Foster Application is required to become a foster parent; and specific guidelines are discussed each time we send an animal into foster. The foster application, as well as the list of foster requirements, is available on our foster page or you may pick that information up at the Western PA Humane Society.

Can I volunteer at the Western PA Humane Society in a non-animal handling capacity? 

Yes. Our most popular opportunities are Dog Walking, Cat Cuddling, and Bunny Buddying, but we have many more opportunities available for those that wish to donate professional, administrative and clerical services to our organization.  If this sounds like the right opportunity for you, please complete a Helpful Hands volunteer application.

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