Animal Friends Academy

Like its adult counterpart Animal Friends University (AFU), Animal Friends Academy (AFA) is home to exciting educational opportunities all about pets! Designed with young learners, future pet owners and tomorrow’s animal professionals in mind, AFA offers a growing list of hands-on classes and workshops during out-of-school hours. Signing up for an AFA experience will nurture the animal lover in every child, while providing opportunities to connect with peers, learn how to be an animal caregiver or even brainstorm solutions for a humane and compassionate world.

“Pets” Badge Day for Brownie Troops

Troops of animal-loving Brownies are invited to Animal Friends to complete steps towards earning the “Pets” Badge. (The troop leaders will provide the actual “Pets” Badge. We will provide an Animal Friends’ fun patch.) Detailed steps outlined below.

Date: Sunday, October 22    Register

Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 

Tuition: $15 per Brownie 

Reservation Guidelines

  • This event is not appropriate for Brownies/chaperones who are allergic to or afraid of dogs, cats, or rabbits.
  • Our staff photographer may be taking photos at the event. Troop leaders should make troop parents aware of Animal Friends’ policy* regarding event photos. *Please be aware that your entrance to Animal Friends at this event serves as your voluntary agreement to appear onscreen or in print as part of this or any other related media or promotions, in perpetuity.
  • Complete payment must be received to secure a troop reservation. Once a payment has been made, additional scouts may not be added to a troop’s headcount.
  • Refunds will be made for scouts who cannot attend if requests for refunds are made to Donna Klingelhofer by the refund deadline listed below.
  • Reservation deadline: Thursday, October 19 by 5:00 p.m.
  • Refund request deadline: Tuesday, October 17 by 5:00 p.m.
  • If you have questions about this event, please email Donna at

At the Event

  • Space is limited. No Daisies, Junior Girl Scouts or siblings may attend.
  • Each group should have at least two chaperones but no more than four.
  • Parking is limited. Please carpool.
  • Check-in will be held between 9:40-9:55 a.m. Troops arriving before 9:40 a.m. are asked to please wait in their vehicles until staff can welcome you into the center.

Step 1: Find out what kind of care different pets need.  Our day will begin by examining our own needs as human beings to provide the foundation for a deeper understanding and connection with our animal friends.  Scouts will then be given the opportunity to witness first-hand what our animal residents need by going on a tour of our facility.  Upon conclusion of the tour, scouts will discover and discuss the needs of pets through a rousing game of “Animal Friends Bingo!” (*Note: we will not be playing the “pet bingo game” as we do not house six of the pictured animals.  However, scouts will be able to answer all relevant questions relating to dogs, cats, and rabbits by the end of our time together, allowing them to play the game with their troops at one of their meetings afterwards.) 

Step 2: Keep a pet comfy.  Scouts will be assigned one of the three core animals (dogs, cats, and rabbits) that we serve at AF, will review what they observed during the tour, and will work together to design and create a safe, comfortable sleeping space for their assigned animals.   

Step 3: Help a pet stay healthy and safe.  Scouts will learn about grooming needs of dogs, cats, and rabbits.  How often do they need to be brushed?  Do they need to be bathed?  Why do some pets need to have their fur cut?  Scouts will learn the answers to these questions as well as special care tips. 

Step 4: Make a pet feel loved.  Scouts will learn about animal communication and how our pets can tell us how they’re feeling using body language.  After a few rounds of “pet language charades”, scouts will learn how the concept of “consent” applies to the ways in which we should interact with our animal companions.  At that point, scouts will be able to practice what they’ve learned through visiting with one of our Therapets! 

Step 5: Feed a pet.  Scouts will be asked to design a feeding plan and budget for their assigned pets, before going on a mock shopping trip to fulfill the nutritional needs of their companion animals.   

Here Comes Santa Paws: Art Fur Animals 

For All Ages: Create toys that are both pet-safe and creative for dogs, cats, and even rabbits in this seasonal workshop! While doing so, learn about the importance of enrichment activities for our animal companions at home. The toys you create can be taken home for the pets in your life, or donated to the shelter residents of Animal Friends! Teaching Artist: Lindsay Woge

Date: Saturday, December 9   Register

Time: 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Location: Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Arts Education Center, 807 Liberty Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Tuition: $25 per family (up to 6)

To learn more about arts-education opportunities at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, visit:


For learners in grades 3, 4, or 5 in the 2023/2024 school year

Young people who want to make the world a better place for pets and people will have the opportunity to connect with each other and with a variety of artistic tools and techniques, under the guidance of a professional teaching artist.  Do you want to help to end pet homelessness?  Do you want to enrich the lives of dogs, cats, and rabbits?  Do you want to make a difference while experimenting with new artforms?  With support from Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Education Department, ChangeMakers is an opportunity to “think outside the cage” while answering real-world questions with creative and innovative ideas and plenty of animal encounters.  Sign up for one session or both!  Become a ChangeMaker and make what matters!

Session One

Date: Saturday, Please check back for future session!

Time: 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Tuition: $30 per child/session

Session Two

Date: Saturday, Please check back for future session!

Time: 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Tuition: $30 per child/session

To learn more about arts-education opportunities at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, visit: