Edited by Rachel Jones | By Victoria Draovitch of the Greensburg Community Development Corporation | Photographs from Savannah Butler of Savvy Shots Photography | Special thanks to Susan Isola, Julie Freeman, and Rebecca Baker

Animals have an amazing ability to capture our hearts and teach life lessons that humans cannot. Their loyalty, unconditional love, and unique personalities are the reasons we make animals a part of our families. Unfortunately, too many of these beautiful beings find themselves without loving homes, whether it is due to neglect, abuse, or abandonment. Thankfully, we have animal shelters to help provide proper care and protection to these animals, and place them in their forever homes. Putting the adorable, adoptable souls at local shelters in the spotlight, we introduced them to students at Seton Hill University, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) at Seton Hill, and University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. Their visits taught the students the selflessness and compassion of animal shelters — and helped them make some new furry friends, too!   

Peter Finelli & Chelsea Kolodziej of Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) at Seton Hill visit Wayward Whiskers Animal Rescue

The Wayward Whiskers Animal Rescue team epitomizes dedication. Not having a shelter building, founder Katelynn Jones and her volunteers foster every cat and kitten that Wayward Whiskers rescues, providing veterinary care, nutrition, and socialization until the animals find permanent homes. This organization typically has about 100 cats in their foster home network. To date, the group has found homes for nearly 500 cats and has spayed and neutered over 600 cats. Wayward Whiskers Animal Rescue is extremely active in Westmoreland County, consistently partnering with local businesses for fundraisers like guest bartending nights at local restaurants, ice cream fundraisers with local shops, and promotional events with local pet stores. The involvement in the community and Wayward Whiskers’ constant push to secure funds for the organization truly show the intense dedication of Jones and her team. Wayward Whiskers Animal Rescue, facebook.com/waywardanimalrescue15601.

+ Meet some of Wayward whiskers’ cats and kittens at PetSmart in Greensburg on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 p.m., as well as Pet Valu in Latrobe. For more adoption opportunities, email waywardwhiskers15601@gmail.com.

“I get laughs when I tell others that my life coach has four legs. But the truth is, I’ve never seen an animal overanalyze anything the way we humans do. I love how they only live in the present. It’s inspiring.” — Peter Finelli, second year osteopathic medicine student at LECOM at Seton Hill

“I enjoy caring for animals in need of adoption. They are so full of compassion, and if I could, I would probably adopt all of them myself! There are few things that make me happier than seeing a long-time shelter pet get adopted into their forever home.” — Chelsea Kolodziej, second year osteopathic medicine student at LECOM at Seton Hill

LECOM at Seton Hill

During the last 25 years, LECOM has grown to become the largest and one of the most affordable medical colleges in the country. Students who attend LECOM at Seton Hill in Greensburg use the highly successful Problem-Based Learning curriculum that emphasizes patient-case-based, self-directed learning through small group interaction. Following the two-year pre-clinical curriculum, students benefit from valuable clinical training at Forbes Hospital in Monroeville, Conemaugh Health System in Johnstown, Uniontown Hospital in Uniontown, and other hospitals affiliated with LECOM. More than 10,000 LECOM physician, pharmacist, and dentist alumni are providing health care to patients across the U.S. For more information, visit lecom.edu.

Alexandra Gipson & Anna Graziano of Seton Hill University visit Action for Animals Humane Society

When you walk onto the premises of Action for Animals Humane Society, one of the first things you notice is a magnificent little castle. This castle was left over from what the grounds used to be: a miniature golf course. “When Action for Animals moved here, the construction crew wanted to tear that castle down,” says shelter manager Luann Hutcheson, “but I said, ‘Absolutely not. Castles are where dreams come true, and we are here to make dreams come true.’” Since 1983, Action for Animals has been sheltering and caring for the abused, abandoned, and stray animals of Westmoreland County. The 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, non-government funded, no-kill shelter keeps animals free from the threat of unwarranted euthanasia. It is governed by an all-volunteer board of directors, led by board president Rita Whiteman and executive director Maggie Martin. While they mostly care for dogs and cats, they also house rabbits and guinea pigs. Once, Action for Animals even had an alligator! Action for Animals’ beautiful facilities include Tigre Pavilion, a cage-less, open-air cattery; the Blessed’s Dog Park; and walking paths, private visitation rooms, and outdoor covered play areas. To maintain these tremendous facilities and care for the 150-plus animals housed at Action for Animals, the shelter must raise $1,700 each day. Action for Animals Humane Society, 386 State Route 217, Latrobe. facebook.com/ActionForAnimalsHS.afa.petfinder.com.

+ Meet Action for Animals Humane Society at the Carnival Walk at Twin Lakes Park on September 16!

“My family has rescued two dogs from shelters and both have been wonderful additions to our family. Hopefully, by seeing how loving the animals in these pictures are, people will be encouraged to go out and adopt a pet.” — Alexandra Gipson, Seton Hill University ’19, English major with a focus in creative writing

“As an animal lover, Action for Animals has a special place in my heart as well as in this community. We are all so grateful for the care that these animals are given here!” — Anna Graziano, Seton Hill University ’18, triple major in marketing, human resources, and entrepreneurship

Seton Hill University

Seton Hill University is a Catholic, liberal arts university that provides an inspirational setting for a distinctive education. Nowhere else can you benefit from more than 100 years of educational excellence in the liberal arts along with the best technology and resources available for teaching and learning. The 96 percent career/graduate school placement rate is the result of Seton Hill’s commitment to graduating students with an understanding of where they are headed, and giving them the knowledge, contacts, and resources to get there. For more information, visit setonhill.edu.

Zack Zimmerman & Jenna Coleman of University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg visit Animal Friends of Westmoreland

“Animal Friends Sanctuary, Coming Soon” reads a small sign on the windy Smiths Hill Road in Latrobe. This timid sign is an indicator of Candy Valentino Nelson’s grand plans on the horizon. Here, at 210 Smiths Hill Road, she will open Animal Friends Sanctuary of Westmoreland. The 62-acre farm will be able to rescue large animals like horses, donkeys, and cows, as well as smaller farm animals, including pigs, goats, sheep, and chickens. The Sanctuary also plans on inviting at-risk youth, children in foster homes, and children who have been abused or neglected to visit the farm to find safety and build trust as they relate to the stories of the abandoned animals who will seek refuge on the farm. A longtime animal activist, Nelson started Animal Friends of Westmoreland in 2006, and opened the Animal Friends of Westmoreland shelter in Youngwood, Pa, in 2009. This shelter rescues cats, dogs, and rabbits, housing about 70 animals. The life-saving work is done by only three paid staff members and an army of over 250 active volunteers, contributing over 20,000 man hours to the Animal Friends mission. Eventually, Nelson hopes to expand the Animal Friends Sanctuary to house the cats, dogs, and rabbits that the Animal Friends facility in Youngwood is unable to fit. Animal Friends of Westmoreland, 216 Depot St., Youngwood. animalfriendswestmoreland.org.

+ Animal Friends of Westmoreland will be hosting a Barnyard Ball at the Animal Sanctuary on October 20!

Pitt spirit gear provided by the Pitt Greensburg Campus Store, “your first Pitt stop.” greensburg.pitt.edu/campus-store.

“I think that animal shelters are a great way for people to find a pet that fits their personality best. The workers and volunteers at the shelters can match you with an animal that will best match your lifestyle.” — Zack Zimmerman, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg ’18, criminal justice major and member of the Pitt-Greensburg baseball team

“All of the ladies at the Animal Friends of Westmoreland seemed to be very attentive and compassionate towards the animals, which in my opinion, should resonate with people looking to get a rescued pet from somewhere that truly cares.” — Jenna Coleman, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg ’18, communication major and Pitt-Greensburg Campus Store employee

University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg 

Founded in 1963, the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg is a publicly assisted, four-year, liberal arts college in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Pitt-Greensburg offers 29 baccalaureate degree programs, including new majors in nursing, health care management, public policy, and education, as well as 19 minors and five certificate programs. As part of the University of Pittsburgh system, Pitt-Greensburg offers the resources of a world-renowned university combined with the individualized and immersive experiences of a small liberal arts college. Creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit permeate the campus and extend into its many collaborative projects with the Westmoreland County community. For more information, visit greensburg.pitt.edu.

Restaurant Spotlight: Bar 9

If you’re looking for a trendy spot in Greensburg, Bar 9 is the place to go. When you enter this establishment, you are met with hip industrial décor and the sounds of today’s top hits. Bar 9’s drink menu is expansive, offering flavorful craft beer and a vast array of spirits. But Bar 9 is more than just a bar. Its full menu boasts everything from gourmet burgers and ahi tuna tacos, to comfort foods like lobster mac and cheese. Stop by on the weekends, too, when Bar 9 opens for lunch and fires up the grill for savory BBQ! Bar 9, 9 Mount Pleasant St., Greensburg. barninegbg.com.

House on the Block:  290 Lakewood Road, Unity Township — Listed at $649,900

Greeting guests with custom, wrought iron front doors, this pristine home makes a strong first impression. Four bedrooms, four full bathrooms, and one half-bathroom fill the elegant abode, while a white picket fence surrounds the nearly one-acre lawn and spacious stone patio. From the fully equipped kitchen, to the home theater room with a wet bar, this house makes everyone feel like they’re home! — Rachel Jones

For more information, contact Bonnie Rosenthal and Bernadette Deutsch of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services at 724.331.6032 and 412.558.7312. howardhanna.com.

Save the Date

Friday, September 8 | 6 p.m.
Thank Goodness Its Summer
Series Finale
@ The Palace Theatre

Tuesday, September 19 | 6 p.m.
All Saints Brewing Fundraiser
for Habitat for Humanity 
@ All Saints Brewing Company

Saturday, October 7-Sunday, October 8
Delmont Apple ‘N’ Arts Festival @ Shields Farm

Saturdays and Sundays, October 7-29
HallowBoo @ Idlewild Park

Monday, October 9-Sunday, October 15
Greensburg Craft Beer Week @ Various Locations
Presented by Tapped Brick Oven & Pour House, this celebration of craft beers will take place at various bars, restaurants, and businesses in the 15601 area. Events already slated for the week include Barrel Aged Beers & Cigars, Donut and Beer pairing, and Kegs and Eggs to coincide with Seton Hill Homecoming. For more information, visit greensburgcraftbeerweek.com. — Jessica Hickey of the Downtown Greensburg Project

Friday, October 13-Sunday, October 15
Fort Ligonier Days 2017@ Downtown Ligonier

Saturday, October 14 | 7 p.m.
The Clarks @ The Palace Theatre

Wednesday, October 18 | 6 p.m.
FashionFusion: Westmoreland Cultural Trust’s Fashion Show @ The Palace Theatre
The Annual Fashion Show supports the beautiful Palace Theatre with emcee Wendy Bell and local retailers displaying their latest trends on the runway. Local vendors, tasting stations, beauty bars, and shopping will be on site at the after-party’s merchant emporium.

Saturday, October 21 | 7:30-11 p.m.
Big Art Party @ The Westmoreland Museum of American Art

Tuesday, November 7 | 8 p.m.
Regina Spektor: A Special Solo Performance @ The Palace Theatre

The Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau is the most complete planning resource for finding great things to do, places to stay, sites to see, and stores to shop throughout the region. For the inside scoop on the best events and activities in Westmoreland County, visit LaurelHighlands.org.

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