Column: Counting the ways that Pasadena Humane is more than ‘just a shelter’

Dogs and their people enjoying a stroll around the Rose Bowl at Pasadena Humane’s Wiggle Waggle Walk and Run. This year’s event place on Sunday, April 21. Registration is now open.

It’s hard to believe that I’m coming up on my fifth anniversary as president and CEO of Pasadena Humane. The world was a different place when I joined this beloved institution in 2019.

While our shelter has undergone many changes over the last five years, one thing has remained constant — our commitment to serving the animals and people in our community.

Pet adoption may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of your local animal shelter or perhaps it’s animal control and lost-pet reunification.

Maybe you’ve always considered becoming a Pasadena Humane volunteer in your free time — many local animal lovers do. In 2023, our 1,500 volunteers logged more than 116,000 service hours, equivalent to 60 full-time employees!

Pasadena Humane is so much more than a shelter. We are a resource center providing essential services and education to people and pets alike. While we never turn away an animal in need, our goal is to keep pets in their loving homes and out of the shelter whenever possible.

This week I want to share five ways we support and engage with the community that may come as a surprise.

Pet training

Pasadena Humane offers a wide variety of training classes for dogs of all ages. The classes help reinforce the bond between people and their pets while teaching owners how to motivate and communicate with their dogs in a fun and positive way.

Training is an important part of caring for a pet. It helps reduce problem behaviors that may strain the human-canine relationship or, even worse, lead to shelter surrender.

Pet food pantry

To help pet owners who need assistance, Pasadena Humane has a pet food pantry. This surrender-prevention service keeps pets with their families and out of the shelter during times of financial hardship.

Last year we distributed almost 200,000 meals to pets in our service area. In addition to food, we also provide basic supplies like cat litter, flea preventative treatments, pee pads, collars, leashes and bowls.

Kids programs

Teaching kids to humanely care for animals fosters compassion and empathy from a young age.

Our “Kids for Animals” programs provide an excellent way for children of all ages to get involved with animals through onsite learning, volunteerism, at-home service projects, birthday parties and other activities.

Registration for our popular summer camp will open later in February. It features expanded programming for more age groups.

Adult learning

We offer a variety of opportunities for people to learn a new skill or deepen their knowledge about animals.

On February 9, one of our wildlife staff members, a certified California naturalist, leads a birding nature walk at Hahamongna Watershed Park.

On March 24, we host workshops with Hannah Shaw, aka “Kitten Lady,” on caring for kittens and community cats at our first in-person “Kitten Shower” since 2019.

Community events

Thousands of people come together each year to support animals at our fun and engaging events.

The 26th annual “Wiggle Waggle Walk & Run” takes place on April 21 at Brookside Park in Pasadena. Attendees, accompanied by  canine companions, have a choice to walk, jog or run around the iconic Rose Bowl Stadium.

In addition, the park hosts a festival with vendor booths, food trucks, demonstrations, an agility course, a dog costume contest and other activities. Early bird registration is currently open now for those interested in joining us! Register to attend, or donate if you can’t attend, here:

Pasadena Humane is co-hosting our first “Barks and Brews” on March 10 at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia.

To learn more about these events and the many ways we are more than a shelter, visit


Dia DuVernet is president and CEO of Pasadena Humane.

This blog post originally appeared as a column in the Pasadena Star-News on February 2, 2024.