Among many a cute critter, Just Jack the rabbit was a star at Peters Township Public Library’s annual Animal Fair.

Natalie Shearer

Harry Funk/The Almanac

Natalie Shearer of Rabbit Wranglers with Just Jack

“We’ve had bunnies that have been adopted from Rabbit Wranglers as a result of this event,” Shannon Pauley, the event coordinator and head of the library’s youth services department, said. “So that’s kind of cool.”

Wranglers volunteer Natalie Shearer introduced those in attendance to the albino Just Jack and provided information about the Pittsburgh-based nonprofit she represents, which helps abused, neglected and abandoned rabbits find homes.

The organization was one of 10 represented during the Sept. 28 fair, which the library has hosted each year since 2013, with many guests deciding they wanted to make an adoption.

“Actually, I posted on social media about it today, and somebody said, ‘Oh, I adopted my dog there four years ago. This is a picture of my daughter and our dog,’” Pauley reported. “I’m very pro-rescue. So I love to see that.”

The event brings in people of all ages, she said.

“We’ll have senior citizen couples who are looking to adopt a cat or just want to see the animals that happen to be in the library today,” she said.

Joe Hirsch

Harry Funk/The Almanac

Getting into the day’s spirit is Joe Hirsch of Heart and Paws Ministry.

And, of course, there are the children:

“We do try to encourage kids to come, because we think it’s a good opportunity for children to be exposed to animals and to learn how to approach an animal.”

As is appropriate for a library, young visitors to the Animal Fair received the gift of reading material.

“But they have to work for it,” Pauley explained during the event. “They have a list of all the organizations that are here, and we encourage them to talk to the organizations to help work on their communication skills. They get stamped if they do that, and then they turn in their cards with all their stamps to get their free books.”

The fair started after then-library director Pier Lee asked the youth services department about hosting a pet-related event.

“One of our goals as a library, in general, is to partner with other organizations in the community,” Pauley said. “So I feel this is one of the best ongoing partnership programs we have.”

Along with Rabbit Wranglers, organizations participating this year were:

  • a no-kill shelter and sanctuary for dogs, cats and horses in Charters Township.
  • offering affordable wellness services and resources to pets and owners in need.
  • a Greene County nonprofit entity with the mission to ameliorate the suffering associated with cat overpopulation.
  • foster based animal rescue also in Greene County.
  • encouraging the spaying and neutering of felines.
  • affiliated with Christ United Methodist Church in Bethel Park and sponsoring services such as low-cost vaccine clinics, an annual pet fair, and grief counseling.
  • an all-volunteer nonprofit animal rescue and placement service founded in 1987.
  • a no-kill shelter in North Strabane Township providing safety and food for the orphaned and abused animals with the goal of placing them in loving homes.

Also, pet portrait artist Terri Herman of the Country Art Shed lent her talents to the proceedings.

As for rescuing animals for pets, Pauley has done so with two dogs.

So far.

“It’s hard for me not to go home with one, doing this,” she said about the Animal Fair.

Andrea Tomsic

Harry Funk/The Almanac

Andrea Tomsic of Angel Ridge Animal Rescue with Shiloh at Peters Township Public Library

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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