Volunteering with #NutrishPets


Rachael Ray Nutrish has sponsored this post, but all opinions are my own.

Recently I had a wonderful opportunity to volunteer at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society in Pittsburgh. As part of an annual brand trip sponsored by Nutrish, I joined other influencers to enjoy a day of activities in the Steel City.

The Western Pennsylvania Humane Society is the city’s oldest shelter and animal welfare agency. For over 140 years, they have provided open door admission for the homeless–first for women and children along with draft horses, later for domesticated animals. Today over 14,000 animals come through its doors every year, some remaining for an extended stay until they find their perfect forever home.


We first met Jack, a seven-year-old owner surrendered mixed breed. Sarah Shively, Program Manager of Internal Events and Obedience Training, told us about the shelter’s training program–all using positive reinforcement techniques. Along with training shelter dogs, the Society also offers training classes up through CGI and therapy dog training levels as well as veterinary services.

Our group next visited the animal areas of the shelter–all super clean, odor-free, and well-maintained. The dogs are housed in indoor runs separated by glass blocks, great for giving them natural light and letting them know there’s a dog next door but keeping them from face-to-face interaction. The room was quiet and really a joy to visit.


Dogs share the shelter with many other animals including over 200 cats plus bunnies (and even a pet mouse during our visit!) Watch for more on the cat adoption program on our CatTipper site!

Soon we were headed off for a dog walk. The group was divided up to visit different parts of the city and to walk different dogs. I went to Mount Washington to walk two-year-old Ace. Also an owner surrender, Ace is a great dog–and one, I’m happy to say, has already found a forever home since our trip!


Our day of volunteering at such a wonderful shelter was such a great activity for the Nutrish influencers–and appropriate since, after all, a portion of Nutrish proceeds go to Rachael’s Rescue®, which was created to help animals in need. To date, over $14 million has been donated. This money has gone toward food, medical supplies and treatments for these unfortunate animals.

Our Stay at Pet-Friendly Kimpton


Our group stayed at the pet-friendly Hotel Monaco, a Kimpton Hotel. Like other Kimpton properties, it accepts dogs of all sizes and breeds! There’s no missing that it’s pet-friendly…just check out the Great Dane (the state dog of Pennsylvania) standing watch at the front door.

Meal Time!


Since this was a celebration of Nutrish, the pet food line of cookbook author and TV chef Rachael Ray, naturally we enjoyed some great food! Along with a super dinner at Meat & Potatoes (where Rachael Ray herself dined in Pittsburgh), we had a really memorable final dinner and cooking class at the Enrico Biscotti Company. The bakery and cafe, which looked like it was right out of the Italian countryside, was the setting for the class where we learned how to make pizza in a wood-fired oven and, even more importantly, discovered the history of pizza and how bakers have been at the heart of society since its earliest days.

It was an important lesson that food itself is the tie that binds us all. The day, from volunteering to pulling pizza dough, reminded me of a Rachael Ray quote I once read:

Good food and a warm kitchen are what makes a house a home.

Thanks to Nutrish’s good food and generous donations, thousands of dogs sleep every night in shelters with a full belly while they wait for that warm kitchen to call their own.

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About Paris Permenter & John Bigley

Paris Permenter and John Bigley are the award-winning authors of over 30 pet and travel books as well as the founders and publishers of CatTipper and DogTipper.

  • SGilbert

    Sounds like you had a great time. How wonderful Ace found a forever home. I have a Rachael Ray cookbook. I love it!

    • It was such a fun trip, and Ace’s adoption was the icing on the cake!!

  • catchatcaren

    So sorry I missed this one, I can tell it was extra special!! Great re-cap!!!!!

    • We missed you, Caren! It was a super fun trip!

      • catchatcaren

        Missed all of you too!!!!!! I can tell it was not only a blast, but super special!