Animal Friends’ newest pets brought north ahead of Hurricane Dorian

Thursday, September 5, 2019 | 5:04 PM

Sid, Banana and Mr. Peanut made their way from Charleston, S.C., to Pittsburgh to escape Hurricane Dorian’s anticipated path.

Thanks to a partnership between the Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team (PAART) and Animal Friends, 10 dogs, five cats and two rabbits made their way from the Charleston Animal Society to Animal Friends, and are hoping to find their forever home in the Steel City.

“We were so happy to help,” said Kristy Pszenny, admissions and foster care coordinator at Animal Friends. “We love to support other shelters and we were so excited to meet all of the animals. They were just wonderful.”

Typically, Animal Friends only serves parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. However, when a disaster strikes, they’re more than happy to step up and help those in need.

“We all do this for the same reason. We all love animals and we want to help them as best as we can,” Pszenny said.

The two organizations have teamed up in the past to bring animals to Pittsburgh during other natural disasters, including hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Pszenny said.

The goal is to empty out shelters in the areas where devastation could strike, so that when a hurricane hits, the shelters have space to take in animals displaced by the storm.

The animals made their way to Pittsburgh in two trips on Sept. 2 and 3. Some were driven and others took a plane. PAART handles the transportation, Pszenny said.

Representatives from PAART could not be reached for comment.

The animals will go up for adoption through Animal Friends and can be found on their website,, when they’re ready for a permanent home.

The two rabbits are only two months old and will be placed in foster care until they can be spayed and neutered, which is usually around five or six months old.

Two of the cats already are available for adoption and another is on hold, while the final two cats from South Carolina will be spayed and neutered within the next week.

Only one of the dogs needs to be spayed.

The others already have taken part in doggie play groups and will be behaviorally evaluated starting Sept. 6 to ensure proper placement with the right family.

Pittsburgh’s new furry friends include Mr. Peanut, 2, a chihuahua-mix, weighing in at 19 pounds. Banana, a fairly young yellow and white lab mix, suffers from seizures and requires medication.

“He’s so wonderful and sweet,” Pszenny said.

Then there’s Sid, 1, a 52-pound Pit bull, with a “very expressive face.”

“He’s adorable,” Pszenny said.

The cats include Sebastian, a five-month-old orange tabby who had one of his back legs amputated four days before coming to Pittsburgh. He’s healing well and on hold for a possible adoption.

Hal, a five-month-old black cat, is waiting to be neutered.

“I think it’s an awesome opportunity for everybody,” Pszenny said.

Not only does this give people the chance to help those impacted by Hurricane Dorian, but it gives them a chance to rescue an animal at the same time, she said.

For those who can’t adopt, donations are being accepted on the facility’s website.