Foster-to-Adopt program at Pasadena Humane got Tofu the dog together with his forever family

Tofu and Lucy

Tofu and Lucy, both Pasadena Humane alums, love going on adventures with their adopters, the Morenos. (Pasadena Humane)

I often hear from people who would love the chance to bring home a new pet for a few days before officially deciding to adopt. They want to have the opportunity to see how the pet fits into their household and they hope to form a special bond.

Many shelters, including Pasadena Humane, offer a perfect solution — trial adoption. Trial adoption — or Foster-to-Adopt, as our program is called — allows prospective adopters to take home select pets for a “test run.” If it’s a good match, the adoption is made official. If it’s not the right fit, the pet comes back to the shelter after enjoying a short home-stay.

At Pasadena Humane, our Foster-to-Adopt program focuses on the pets that need it most, our long-stay animals. For many of these pets, Foster-to-Adopt is the lifeline that results in a full-time loving home. One such dog is Tofu, a recent graduate of the Foster-to-Adopt program.

Tofu came to us as a scared but incredibly sweet stray. On intake, his short, all-white coat was dull and dirty. He wore a homemade harness covered in dirt and debris. Pockets of missing fur all around his face were likely due to an untreated skin infection. No one came forward to claim him.

Despite his sad condition, Tofu LOVED people. During his shelter medical exam, he was friendly and interactive with our veterinary team. We started treatment for his skin condition, and we were all hopeful he would quickly find a home.

But, the days soon turned into weeks. Tofu began to show signs of kennel stress during his extended shelter stay, yet he remained the most loving boy with our staff and volunteers. He never lost his sweet and friendly demeanor or his extra special appreciation for hot dog treats.

Nearly two months after Tofu arrived, the Moreno family came to the shelter looking for a companion for their seven-year-old dog, Lucy, whom they had adopted from Pasadena Humane right before the pandemic. The Morenos were cautious about bringing another dog into the family, knowing that Lucy could be selective at times.

“I didn’t want to encounter any incidents, potentially between two large dogs,” Tofu’s adopters shared. “I was the ‘if’ person. What if they don’t like each other? What if the other dog doesn’t adjust in our home? What if we can’t keep him/her? I don’t have the heart to return him/her back to the shelter.”

Our Foster-to-Adopt program offered the Morenos the opportunity to see if the dogs would get along without the pressure of immediately adopting.

“The minute we introduced Tofu and Lucy, we knew from their reaction that he was going to be a perfect brother for her,” the Morenos recalled. The family waited a couple of weeks to ensure the two dogs continued to be compatible and then made the adoption official.

By all indications, Tofu adores his new family. “Tofu is just a happy soul that brings so much happiness into our lives,” his adopters shared.

Tofu has continued to heal physically over the last few months. With loving care and LOTS of sunscreen and allergy medication, the missing fur on his face is starting to grow back. As an albino dog, Tofu is more prone to skin cancer and other ailments, so the proper care he’s now receiving with the Morenos is extremely important to keep him healthy.

Tofu found his ideal home thanks to our Foster-to-Adopt program which offers prospective adopters the opportunity to bring home select pets for a 14-day trial adoption. We provide the initial pet care supplies and the support needed along the way.

Participating pets are listed on our adoptable pets webpage. Learn more at

Dia DuVernet is president and CEO of Pasadena Humane.

This blog post originally appeared as a column in the Pasadena Star-News on August 26, 2022.