The first step in saving a dog in need is to bring it to a caring shelter. The second step is to find the dog a forever home. Dogs that are rescued by shelters are usually abused by their owners, or abandoned and living on the streets.

The shelter provides them with food and covers the basic needs, but the ultimate goal is to find a family that is willing to take care of them.

Dogs are not meant to live in a cage their whole life. They want freedom, happiness, and kids to play with in the backyard. Unfortunately, shelters can’t provide that.

And some dogs have to wait years until the right family arrives and takes them home. In the meantime, the shelter is their home and they rely on volunteers to create that sense of home for the dog while at the shelter. 

Sandy Barbabella, a volunteer at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, reads children’s books to cheer them up, and teaches them a few basic commands along the way.

She lost her dog more than a year and a half ago, and she dedicated her time to helping shelter dogs. She just wants to return the love her dog once gave to her.

Angus, her dog was by her side for the last 14 years.

“I enjoy it and probably get as much out of it as the dogs,” Barbabella told The Huffington Post.

“They are all my favorites. Sometimes I just stand with the dogs in holding, and tears run down my face thinking about how people can do such things to an animal.”

Western Pennsylvania Humane Society is a happier place with Sandy around.


“Volunteers like Sandy are one of the most important pieces when caring for pets in a shelter environment,” Western PA Humane Society Director Joy Braunstein said. “Our volunteers provide hours of interaction and play with all of the animals, from bunny romps to cat petting to the multiple walks our dogs need daily.”

“We welcome volunteers here at the shelter with open arms just as we welcome any animal who enters our doors,” Braunstein added. “We are so thankful to Sandy for her ongoing support of our pups. She has impacted so many lives through her time and her deep compassion.”

The shelter is giving them food, and Sandy is giving them hope. Almost every shelter dog has a sad story, and a pleasant human voice is all they need to keep waging their tails.

The picture of Sandy reading to an elderly pit bull went viral on Reddit. She became a hero and an internet sensation.

The world definitely needs more people like Sandy!

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