35 Wabash St. PO Box 8480, Pittsburgh, PA 15220

Volunteer Voices | Animal Advocates 2023 Appeal

It Takes a Village

We couldn’t exist without or volunteers, but it turns out they get something out of it too!

As a 100% volunteer run animal rescue organization, it’s not a stretch to say that our volunteers at the lifeblood of Animal Advocates. We wanted to reserve this space to recognize some of our amazing volunteers, and we hope encourage more people to join us in our mission to help vulnerable animals find homes.

Judy Graciano | Volunteer since 2010

I’m a rescue transport driver! I’ve been transporting animals since 2010 and absolutely love it.I like to drive, I love animals, and to know that I have a hand in saving these precious souls lives makes my heart sing! To me, it’s addicting! I have a few rescue animals at home, so I find the best way for me to help others, is to drive them! Working with transports you also meet some pretty awesome people too! I hope to continue helping drive for several more years, as it’s a huge passion of mine!

Wilma Stoeckle | volunteer Since 2020

I came at the time when my other volunteering positions would not allow volunteers in the facility due to COVID. I was so pleased to be able to have this opportunity with Animal Advocates. I have been a cat lover since I was a child. This opportunity has helped me so much, especially during those horrible days of isolation. I enjoy so much being with these wonderful cats and giving them the opportunity to find a new, good home. It is so rewarding when you have given the care and find out that a cat has been adopted. I love it, and sometimes saddened when a particular cat leaves, but I know that just makes more room at the facility for another lucky cat. I hope I can continue to do this for several more years.

Officer Christine Luffey | Partner since 2021

I have been a Pittsburgh Police Officer for the past 30 years. For the past 25 years, I have specialized in animal neglect and abuse cases.  Sadly, these cases are increasing in Pittsburgh.  In the past 2 years, I contacted Animal Advocates several times asking for help. A family that was evicted needed to surrender ownership of their two cats and dog.  Animal Advocates took in the two cats and eventually found them a home, and found a wonderful home for Gia, a pit bull  that likely would have been euthanized in a shelter.  

Lorraine Beu | Volunteer since 2017

When I retired, I found Animal Advocates. It was one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made. Being with the cats is my happy place, and seeing how well they are cared for and most importantly how much they are loved by the dedicated volunteers is wonderful to see. I love working with the shy and frightened cats and seeing how love and patience can show them how to trust again.

Kathy Strand | Volunteer since 2012

Taking care of the kitties at Animal Advocates is one of the most important things that I do.  It is very rewarding. When I arrive on Sunday mornings, I ask the kitties ” who wants kisses and hugs?”.  Sometimes I have takers!   We put on the radio and listen to Casey Casem  top 40 program from the 1980’s!  The kitties love it!  We sing too. Sometimes, on my shift, I have my work cut out for me, sometimes, not so much. Either way, I love taking care of these precious kitties. 

When I am done with all the cleaning, feeding and socializing, I feel such a sense of reward.  All the cats are safe, fed and happy!  When I leave the shelter, I say a prayer for all the cats and tell them all that I love them so very much. Animal Advocates is a wonderful organization with caring and knowledgeable volunteers that I have so much respect for.  They teach me things all the time. We have had so many positive changes through the years and the Thrift Shop has never been better. We have changed and helped the lives of so many precious cats and dogs and as a volunteer your life can be changed as well. 

The Scheller-Wolfs | Terri, Alan and Lauren | Cat Care Volunteers, Foster Parents and Adopters

We started volunteering with Animal Advocates about a decade ago because it was somewhere we could come as a family to help animals. We enjoy playing with and socializing the cats, looking around the shop, and knowing that this is a small thing we can do as a family to make the world just a little better. We have also fostered a host of cats and kittens — providing a temporary home for older cats with special needs, or for kittens until they can find their forever homes. It is a wonderful way to have kittens in our lives while not adopting everyone (as tempting as it is)!