This article is part of our Road Trip for Good series with the incredible humans behind the popular 2 Traveling Dogs! Each week they will share their adventure in a new state, and their pups, Peanut Butter Brickle and Digby Pancake, will pick their favorite “Marked Territories.” Each state will highlight one special rescue organization that is doing fantastic work to help the dog community. For more detailed coverage, be sure to visit 2TravelingDogs.com!
With so much to explore, see and do, the great state of Pennsylvania has a whole lot to offer for traveling with your dog. Whether it’s taking in the quiet beauty of the countryside, rediscovering history or exploring the many outdoor options available, Pennsylvania will exceed you and your dog’s expectations.
Before you head out on a tour of Pennsylvania with your dog, consider adopting a new travel companion from a small shelter called Strayhaven located in Greenville, Pennsylvania. Why? Not only will you be making a difference for a fortunate rescue dog, but you will be helping the that community too in rehabilitation efforts for prison inmates, and that’s a win-win situation for all.
Brickle and Digby’s Paw-Picked Pennsylvania Rescue: Strayhaven Animal Shelter, Greenville, Pennsylvania
If you are an animal rescuer, you likely have a thankless job with late nights, hard work and countless tears. Every shelter and community has different struggles, yet the volunteers, workers and board members we have met on our trip across the country this year are more than happy and excited to do what they do. It was no different when we met Alison Kuder from Strayhaven Animal Shelter who is proud to serve on their board. It was a very hot and humid day in Pennsylvania to say the least. But for Alison, it was her chance to talk about the shelter she loves so much. We started by asking her a few questions for our latest edition of “Stop Hounding Me” to tell us about the shelter she loves so much.
As Alison mentions in the video, Strayhaven has a shelter program called C.A.R.E., which entails a partnership with a local state prison. They send about 6-7 dogs at a time to the prison to be trained in basic obedience, where they will live with an inmate 24/7 for 6-8 weeks. They do their best to have homes lined up for each dog before they graduate so the transition to their new forever homes is seamless and they retain all that they learned much easier. According to Alison, they have had a lot of success with this program and it really helps with their adoption numbers. The trainer they have hired to run the program works with the inmates and the dogs at the prison about once or twice a week. Not only do the dogs get socialization, but it helps with the inmates’ rehabilitation as well! What a special place Strayhaven is!
But you may be wondering as we were, have they had any success with this program? The shelter explains their many success stories. “We’ve adopted out 150-200 dogs and cats every year for the past three years. We average 129 dogs per year, 54 cats per year, 183 animals total per year. At least two former inmates have gone on to become professional dog trainers, with one of them founding Matt’s Mutts University! His demo dog is a former graduate of the training program as well. At least one C.A.R.E. graduate dog went on to become a therapy dog and visits the elderly in nursing homes, and I hear back from the adopters now and then about several of the former graduates who have adjusted well to their new homes. Brother and sister beagles, formerly known as Juno and Jaime, both went to training and learned some basic obedience that allowed them to become a perfect companion for their special needs human brother. Socks joined a pack of five (including another former C.A.R.E. graduate, Diesel), and Socks formed a special bond with her adopter’s older sister, who has health troubles.
Most of the stories are not especially dramatic, but every single one is special, from the shy Fannie who failed the program but met her new mom at the prison, to Althea (still available for adoption!) who went from a complete Wild Child to a (still hyper!) well-mannered young dog. The C.A.R.E. program started when officials at SCI-Mercer contacted the shelter to set up a mutually beneficial training program. The inmates get job training, and the trained dogs are more likely to be adopted. (The adoption rate is almost 100%!) There are several similar programs throughout the state correctional facilities, including a similar program in Albion. Most of the dogs go to the program because they have lingered at the shelter or because they have minor behavioral programs, so it is a great opportunity for them to learn the skills needed to succeed in a new home.”
Find out how to help by donating, checking out their wishlist and see how you can help by volunteering or adopting. Strayhaven taught us that by making a difference for homeless animals, you are making a difference for people as well. And we thank Alison for caring enough to reach out to us, making the long drive with her two Strayhaven rescue dogs, and for bring beautiful Gerda, a 7 year old girl, as seen on our video.
After you have adopted a well-trained travel dog companion from Stayhaven Animal Shelter, head out for a Brickle and Digby’s approved tour of Pennysylvania!
In McKean County, you will find an impressive, unique excursion with your dog. The Kinzua Bridge State Park offers visitors with two legs or four the opportunity to walk the Kinzua Bridge skywalk. Definitely a walk back in time, you will enjoy a vantage point of Pennsylvania like no other. Make sure to walk to the end of the skywalk to step onto a glass, see-through floor to see views all the way down. Built in 1882, this bridge was hit by a tornado in 2003, and this is the only part that remains. Leashed dogs are welcome on the skywalk and trails. This is a walk you will never forget.
Festivals are big in Pennsylvania. Every region of this state is proud of its heritage in different ways. Your well-socialized dog would love to join you in the celebrations. From the Tionesta Indian Festival to the the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival and even the Firefly Festival, check to see what festivals are in the area you are visiting. Mingle with the locals, sample fresh food and join in the fun with your dog.
Located in Oil City, head to Oil Creek State Park to catch a train with your dog! The Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad operates an excursion train from June to October. Take a short ride or the full 26 mile round trip. A nostalgic feel with impressive views, your dog will enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of Pennsylvania. Dogs must pay for a ticket and remain with you on the train at all times. Check their website for fares and schedules.
Big Pocono State Park in Tannersville is rugged and scenic, but not all dogs can enjoy strenuous hikes. Take your senior dog on a paved, scenic drive that encircles the mountaintop and provides a wonderful view of Pennsylvania!
Schuylkill River Trail, Philadelphia’s most popular trail, follows the Schuylkill River from Center City to Oakes for 27 miles, eventually making its way to Valley Forge! You can even begin and end your walk through history behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art where it winds along the beautiful river. Your dog must be leashed.
You can only get to truly know Pennsylvania by being outdoors. Campers with two legs and four come to the Tionesta Recreation Area Campground to enjoy the forested area just below the Tionesta Dam. A true, Pennsylvania treat located in Tionesta, this is an area with a long history. The Seneca Indian tribe named this area “where the water separates the land.” Surrounding public areas include the Allegheny National Forest, Cooks Forest State Park, Cornplanter and Clear Creek State Forests. Pitch a tent or bring your RV and stay while.
When you think of food in Pennsylvania, Philly Cheese Steak is likely to come to mind! According to Philadelphia’s official tourism site, Pat Olivieri invented the cheesesteak in the 1930s! But how can you make it dog-friendly? For our version, we have left off much of the extra fat, bread and onions of course. Of course, you may want to make one for yourself too.
Be sure to check 2 Traveling Dog’s pupcoming schedule to see if Brickle and Digby will be in your neighborhood!
Next stop…West Virginia!