Column: Snuggle with your pet on Jan. 1 and cheer Pasadena Humane’s Rose Parade entry

Dog and handler on parade float

Lua, a dog available for adoption at Pasadena Humane, will ride on the organization’s entry in the 135th Rose Parade on Jan. 1. Lua visited the float at Rosemont Pavilion last week. Tom Ratanavaraha, her handler and longtime Pasadena Humane volunteer and float rider, took her aboard the “Feed the Love” float.

The final countdown to the 135th Rose Parade is here! On Monday, Jan. 1, Pasadena Humane’s 55-ft float, “Feed the Love,” sponsored by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, will be cruising down Colorado Blvd to the joy of millions of viewers throughout the world.

Our float aims to raise awareness about the importance of ending pet homelessness. We hope to inspire viewers to get involved by taking action: adopting, fostering, volunteering or donating to their favorite shelter.

The oversized, animated furry companions featured on “Feed the Love” are singing from their podiums and cat tree tops. Their hearts are bursting with love as they frolic, waggle their tails and wiggle their ears to attract the purr-fect place to call home.

The pets are primarily decorated with strawflower petals, great Ming and Spanish moss-uva, pampas and oat grasses, palm fibers and accents of poppy, sesame and onion seed.

The cat tree towers are decorated with green, yellow and lavender mums. The stacking cubes that serve both as a fun agility adventure and a nice nesting place to get cozy are decorated with a variety of vibrant mums, along with blue, pink and purple statice.

As spectacular as these floral creations are, the true stars of the float are likely to be a handful of very special pups representing the millions of dogs in shelters around the country. My adopted dog, Sueshi, will be joined by Pasadena Humane alums Bowy, Pepper and Bodhi.

If all goes according to plan, we will also have one dog who is available for adoption on the float. Her name is Lua and I’d like to tell you more about her.

Lua is the perfect representation of many of the “longer stay” shelter dogs at our shelter and other shelters around the country over the past year. She’s a well-mannered, middle-aged, large breed dog, who is likely overlooked due to her breed, age and size.

This loving pup first came to Pasadena Humane as a stray in 2022 and was quickly adopted into a wonderful home.

A year later, she found herself in another precarious situation. Lua’s adopter was no longer able to care for her. After a few months of unsuccessfully trying to privately find a new home for Lua, her adopter brought the sweet girl back to the shelter.

Lua quickly established herself as a staff and volunteer favorite. Due to her easy-going nature, she was regularly invited to go on foster field trips. Volunteers sang her praises. Their comments capture Lua’s true “good girl” nature:

“Lua seemed super laid back- sweet, affectionate special dog LOVE HER!”

“Such a bright, playful, loving, gentle giant! Would do well in any home :)”

“Very relaxed, enjoyed rolling on grass.”

“She’s excellent with people! And kids, very sweet and loving.”

Over the last month, Lua has benefited from a stay in a full-time foster home.

Lua’s foster mom describes her as “a super sweet dog” who loves belly rubs, squeaky toys and playing fetch. Lua is the queen of sweet puppy dog eyes, giving gentle nudges with her head for affection. She sleeps in bed with her foster mom every night, enjoying a regular bedtime snuggle routine.

Helping dogs like Lua find forever families is what our float is all about. I hope you’ll tune in to the 135th Rose Parade to see her take center stage.

To learn more about adopting Lua and our participation in the 2024 Rose Parade, visit


Dia DuVernet is president and CEO of Pasadena Humane.

This blog post originally appeared as a column in the Pasadena Star-News on December 29, 2023.