Youngwood’s Hospaws merges with similar program for care of pets in human medical emergencies

Oct. 22—Hospaws is winding down operations, but the Youngwood-based organization’s mission of providing temporary foster homes or assistance to pets whose owners need medical attention will continue, the agency said. President Valerie Hoegel.

Many of the nonprofit’s volunteers and foster homes will work with a similar program run by Paws Across Pittsburgh, and all pets entrusted to Hospaws beginning Jan. 1 will be automatically transferred to the emergency animal program. short term of this group.

Closing Hospaws and merging with the SAFE program will mean a larger network of foster homes to help pet owners. The service provided by Hospaws will continue to be available locally, just under a different name, Hoegel said.

“I just think it will be a better way to help more people,” she said.

Since Hospaws was founded in 2014, hundreds of pets have been taken in by volunteers or

otherwise cared for while their owners were receiving medical treatment. The organization has helped keep pets with their owners at no cost by preventing animals from being released if an owner does not have a sitter. Animals and owners are reunited after medical situations such as a hospital stay or a procedure.

“I love doing it,” Hoegel said. “I love being able to help these people. You make a lot of friends.”

But fundraising has been difficult over the past two years, a problem many nonprofits have faced. By closing Hospaws, the group will no longer have the costs and can combine

efforts with Paws Across Pittsburgh.

“I really think it will be a good thing,” she said. “It’s sad to see him go,” but the move will allow both groups to have greater reach.

Many Hospaws foster homes apply to volunteer with the SAFE program.

“Most of us will still be involved,” Hoegel said.

The last day for admissions through Hospaws will be October 31. Anyone in need of short-term emergency foster care can complete a request at pawsacrosspittsburgh.com/safe. Contact information for Paws Across Pittsburgh is available at this link.

There are animals in Hospaws foster homes that are available for adoption. Details of these animals will be posted on the facebook.com/Hospaws Facebook group page.

Renatta Signorini is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Renatta by email at [email protected] or via Twitter.

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