First published in the Jan.13 print issue of the Pasadena Outlook.
Starting out the new year, it’s time to run with the big dogs.
With a motto of “the bigger they are, the more love they give,” the Pasadena Humane Society is partnering with Best Friends Animal Society for the “Live Large — Adopt a Big Dog” campaign to rally residents to adopt or foster large dogs.
Adoption fees for dogs weighing more than 40 pounds will be waived during the campaign from Jan. 15-31. Typically, adoption fees for dogs six months and older cost $150, which includes spay or neuter services, vaccines and a microchip.
Across California shelters, larger dogs are filling capacity and often are the last animals to be adopted, said Pasadena Humane Society President/CEO Dia DuVernet. The reasons for that vary, she added, from landlords not allowing large pets under lease agreements to a general shortage in housing and people preferring smaller animals for smaller spaces. With the eviction moratorium now lifted, there are also people who cannot bring their dogs to temporary housing.
“Whatever the reason, we are having a lot of larger dogs relinquished and fewer people willing to take them,” DuVernet said. “We have more than 30 big dogs in our care right now. We would love for each of them to find the new home they deserve. Big dogs bring a lot of love and can make great family pets.”
The animal welfare group currently has 31 large dogs up for adoption.
Since the pandemic, Pasadena Humane has taken multiple measures to reduce human contact within its walls, including requiring appointments for those interested in adoption. This allows for a more personal adoption experience and also cuts down on noise within the kennels, which in turn allows the animals more rest and less stress, DuVernet said.
“We are applying many of the lessons we learned during the pandemic to create a better experience for the animals in our care and for our visitors,” she said. “There is no doubt in my mind that the animals were the biggest winners during the pandemic.”
For those still wishing to browse the dogs in person, there continue to be visiting hours to the kennels on Saturday, from 2-5 p.m., and on Sundays, 3-5 p.m.
“For a while we had to modify those services and the hours, but we’ve been returning to more normal operations. However, the increase of COVID cases may impact that,” she added, suggesting that visitors call or preview the website for updates.
During the past two pandemic years, the Pasadena Humane Society has operated as an essential business, although it’s had to “reimagine” some of the public services, such as vaccine and spay clinics and dog training classes. They’ve also been impacted by reduced staff due to illness, DuVernet noted, but they’ve tried to pivot where they can, offering training courses online and one on one. The mobile adoption events are also slowly resuming, and the nonprofit organization now relies on a steady team of foster volunteers. This keeps animals happy in homes and creates a healthy biography of what foster parents observe in an animal, DuVernet added.
Pasadena Humane also kept up all of its animal control services in neighboring cities. Last month, the organization rescued more than 50 cats and kittens from a local home. The “Christmas Cats,” as they were nicknamed, were found living in unsanitary conditions inside and in a crawl space underneath the house. In a two-day operation, animal control officers and staff worked to remove the cats, which suffered symptoms of upper respiratory and ear infections. With veterinary care and supervision, the cats were nursed back to health and adopted out.
“Our staff has been phenomenal and flexible in accommodating all the constant changes, but it has been exhausting. I think we would all say it’s been one of the most challenging in all of our work lives. It’s been the most challenging even for us in our personal lives,” she noted. “But while it’s been tough to stay on top of all the changes required by COVID and in our operations, I think we’ll come out of this stronger.”
For more information on the “Live Large” campaign or to preview animals, as well as make an adoption appointment, visit pasadenahumane.org/adopt.