Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Resale Shop Benefits Homeless Dogs and Cats

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Resale Shop Benefits Homeless Dogs and Cats

Article excerpt

Clarice lounges on the windowsill, sunning herself and sizing up customers, deciding which ones she will greet. The tortoiseshell cat is the official shop cat at the Animal Advocates Thrift Shoppe, but her job is temporary.

Clarice is the latest in a long line of shop cats at the West End store at 35 Wabash St. Sooner or later, each of the cats is adopted into what rescuers like to call a "fur-ever home." Then the next cat moves in to the store.

Animal Advocates, a nonprofit, has been taking in homeless cats and dogs for 30 years. Since 1993, the store has been the group's steadiest fundraiser. It's in a two-story red brick townhouse, which the organization owns.

Currently, 40 dogs and cats are in the care of volunteer foster families, and another 15 "AdvoCats" live on the second floor of the townhouse, above the thrift shop - sometimes called the resale shop.

Animal Advocates is run by volunteers, including 30 members who foster dogs and cats in their own residences, 14 who take care of the cats on the second floor and about seven people who run the shop.

"If we had more shop volunteers, we could be open more than three hours a day," said Linda Marino of Mt. Lebanon, vice president of Animal Advocates.

"We're always looking for more foster homes," said Patricia Murphy of Elliott, president. There is always a waiting list of dogs and cats that need help, but Animal Advocates cannot take in more animals until the current ones are adopted.

The thrift shop is charming, and regular customers know that it looks different every time you go there.

"People come from all over," Ms. Murphy said. "We are a destination. The shop is very active."

The first room features glassware, ceramics, collectibles and home decorations, many themed to the holidays, and a glass display case filled with jewelry. A second room has donated clothes, including $10 suits and a woman's blue formal gown for $15. …

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