On October 15th, locals gathered in the Spirit of Pittsburgh Ballroom at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center hoping to leave their own personal “footprint” in animal advocacy work for our city.  Guests joined the Animal Rescue League Shelter & Wildlife Center (ARL) and some of their adoptable and educational animals for the 17th Annual Paw Prints Gala.  Proceeds will benefit the ARL mission to care for and find permanent, loving homes for companion animals and to rehabilitate wild animals native to Pennsylvania.

The event, chaired by Cindy Berger, kicked off at 5:30 pm a VIP reception.  “It is such a great honor to serve as chair for the 17th Annual Paw Prints,” said Cindy.  “This is an evening that celebrates and shows support for the amazing work that the Animal Rescue League and Wildlife Center does each and every day.  The ARL board, staff, and volunteers work diligently to provide shelter and provide forever homes for animals in need.  Our community and city are stronger because of their tireless efforts.”

This year has been a busy one for the ARL who has boasted a record year in terms of providing their services.  More than 23,000 animals received services so far in 2016 with more than 6,500 animals finding a permanent home and more than 3,500 wild animals receiving treatment.  The ARL clinic has also preformed close to 6,000 spay and neuter surgeries. The organization remains committed to educating the public on the interests and unknown behaviors of the animals they serve as well.  To date, over 9,000 children have attended one of the ARL’s Education programs.

All of the mission work is the reason why the ARL had outgrown their present location in Larimer.  In July of 2015 they broke ground on a 4-acre site in the 6900 block of Hamilton Avenue of Homewood.  The new facility will occupy a 35,000 square foot “footprint “of its own– nearly twice the size of their current shelter.  ARL initiated a Forever Home Capital Campaign Project to ensure the building of this state-of-the-art center became a reality.

“This year’s gala is a celebration of the Animal Rescue League Shelter and Wildlife Center and its dedicated staff, volunteers and donors to our Forever Home Campaign who have turned the dream of a new shelter and resource center into a reality.” said ARL Executive Director, Dan Rossi.  “An event of this magnitude would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors and supporters who have given generously. We would like to thank especially our event chair, staff, and volunteers who have worked diligently to organize Paw Prints this year.”

Guests of the Paw Prints Gala enjoyed chance and silent auctions, tapas stations and entertainment by Good Guys Band.

Highlights of the evening also included Special Recognition of Ground and Hounds Coffee Company, who remains committed to using their fair trade organic coffee to support no kill rescue organizations providing safe-havens for pups between homes.  Twenty percent of all purchases from Western PA go directly to the animals at Animal Rescue League.  By November of this year, Grounds & Hounds estimates that their donations will have reached $2,500 in total to ARL.

“We are honored and grateful to work with, and support, an organization making such an incredible impact on animal welfare,” said Jordan Karcher, Founder & CEO Grounds & Hounds Coffee Company.  “Dan Rossi and the ARL team have embraced our concept, our mission, and our coffee from day one, and we are excited to return the support with our first Rescue Center cafe installment in the amazing new facility. While we may not be able to change the world for every pup in a single day, we believe that together we can change the world for a pup every single day!”