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Mountain Echo

Online newspaper of Altoona Area High School in Altoona, Pennsylvania
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The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

Staying Pawsitive

Students, Teachers Help Provide for Humane Society
Todd Consiglio
Paws Up! Knox goes on a car ride with Todd Consiglio. Knox is in a foster to adopt home.

On Dec. 31, Central PA Humane Society and Bedford County Humane Society rescued 96 dogs, eight cats and a turtle from a home in Bedford. The animals were left in questionable conditions leaving many of them with opened wounds and infections.

To help, several local businesses have been donating some of their profits to their local humane societies to assist with the costs of materials needed for housing the animals and medical expenses. The humane societies have been asking for donations of dog food, blankets, towels, cleaning supplies, durable large and extra-large harnesses, leashes, collars and office supplies, along with monetary donations. 

U.S. Hotel Tavern is one of several businesses supporting the Humane Society through donations. 

“We’re donated 10% of our sales to the Humane Society from January 9-11. We really enjoy giving back to our community, and we support the Humane Society so it was the perfect opportunity,” marketing coordinator Ally Radeled said.

Several people felt that helping the dogs was a very important thing to do, after hearing about the situation. Both Humane Societies had dozens of volunteers in the upcoming days. 

“My mom brought it up to me the night before Jan. 1, I was planning on going on a hike with my own dog but that night, I decided to go help the ones in need at that moment. I chose to help them because I was in a rough spot myself, and I thought it would be best to help the animals that needed it instead of wallowing,” junior Jessika Ferguson said. 

When the dogs saw the volunteers coming in, they were excited to see new people and finally be in the care and good hands they needed. 

“They were so excited to see people. Another part was to see them acting like a dog, barking, tail wagging, the normal dog things. They didn’t have good human interactions before they were rescued from the home,” Ferguson said. 

Teacher Todd Consiglio is fostering one of the Bernese Mountain Dogs from PAWS who was rescued from the home.

“They gave him a name at the PAWS center in State College. This month, they were naming all the dogs after bands, so he was Floyd after Pink Floyd. So we changed it from Floyd to Knox. We decided to get him while we were in Knoxville, so we named him Knox,” Consiglio said. 

Consiglio has always had at least two dogs, but he only had one for a short amount of time due to putting down their older dog. 

“We’ve always had two dogs. We lost one of our dogs in July to congestive heart failure. His brother was a little bit lonely, so we decided to get another dog,” Consiglio said.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are known to be easy to train, as they are quick learners. 

“He’s been pretty good, he’s figuring things out pretty quickly. He’s very even tempered and very friendly. He’s only had two accidents in the house, but other than that, he’s pretty house-broken. He’s learned to sit and stay. He seems to be pretty sharp. I think a lot of it is his breed,” Consiglio said.

Consiglio had done research on different dog breeds, and when the news broke about the dogs in Bedford, it seemed like a good fit. 

“We had done research on the Bernese because we were looking for a dog that was more laid back. Our other dog is a beagle, so we’re trying to get him calmed down and balance it out. The Bernese seemed to be a good fit. Knox is 87 lbs right now, and I’m sure he’ll be over 100 lbs in the next year or so,” Consiglio said. 

Due to Knox’s background, Consiglio has had to work with him a little more. Knox was afraid of a lot of different things but has come around over the course of 10 days. 

“He wasn’t used to having to be house trained. He wasn’t really crazy about steps, and he was scared to go into other rooms and through different doors. I don’t know what he went through before, but he was apprehensive and scared, but after a couple days he started to come around quickly. In 10 days, he came around. He’s always pretty happy. He’s not skittish or scared like he used to be. We’re happy to have him, and to have taken him from the situation that he came from,” Consiglio said.  

The dogs were left in conditions that made it difficult for their survival and for volunteers and employees to help them get back to the health they should be at. Volunteers had options when helping such as bathing the dogs, cleaning the kennels, walking them, doing laundry, sorting donations and socializing the dogs. 

“They were not malnourished, like I would have expected. They were covered in feces and matted. They were definitely scared and nervous, they did not understand what was happening.  The large dogs were the worst, they were the most covered and matted with feces. The shelter had everything under control and organized. They were gathering evidence to prosecute the hoarders, and they continued to evaluate the animals and get them adopted out. I had the opportunity to bathe the dogs,” Ferguson said.

The animals have continued to be in care with the Humane Societies and other places helping. Several have been given to ‘Foster to Adopt’ homes and others are waiting to find their “Furever” homes.

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About the Contributor
Ash Carini, Reporter
Hey! I'm Ash! This is my second year on staff. My interests are photography, music, running, and drawing. My biggest goal for after I graduate is going to the Air Force. Besides being involved with Mountain Echo, I am a distance runner on the track team, I do silks, I am on the yearbook staff and I am in student council. I am excited to be on the Mountain Echo staff this year,and I can't wait to see what it brings me to:)

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