You may be surprised to learn that I don’t write the headlines for my column. Unfortunately, the headline last week was inaccurate. It stated that Pasadena Humane will have our first float in the Rose Parade in 2024. The editors have issued a correction.
With respect to all past stewards of Pasadena Humane, I want to be sure to set the record straight for those who may not have seen the correction. This will be our first float in 20 years, not our first float ever.
In fact, the history between Pasadena Humane and the Tournament of Roses goes back more than a century.
In 1910, the Pasadena Humane Society’s “Animal Ambulance” proudly rode in the parade. According to the Jan. 1 evening edition of the Pasadena Star, our entry that year was “garlanded with smilax and further decorated with clusters of papyrus by members of the society who felt justly proud of the ambulance, having obtained it after much effort on their part.”
Just five years later in 1915, the Pasadena Humane Society took home third place in the historical floats section for a four-horse team.
A photo of our 1926 entry, donated by actor Hobart Bosworth, shows the Pasadena Humane Society’s float on Colorado Boulevard featuring a white horse symbolizing purity.
Pasadena Humane’s most recent float appeared in the 2003 parade, co-sponsored by Nutro Pet Food. The float commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA with images highlighting the organization’s past and present.
One of the images depicted animal control officer Lt. Nemesio Arteaga holding a dog. Lt. Arteaga is currently Pasadena Humane’s longest-serving employee and will celebrate his 27th anniversary with the organization next month. Now Chief Humane Officer, Lt. Arteaga will be back in person this year as one of our float riders, along with his dog Bowy, a Pasadena Humane alum.
Over the years, Pasadena Humane has been more than just a parade participant. Since 1996, our animal control officers have provided emergency services for the parade’s equestrian units.
The 1997 Rose Parade was especially memorable for Lt. Arteaga. He had begun his job as an animal control officer for Pasadena Humane just four days before the event.
That New Year’s Day, the roads were particularly slippery due to a combination of heavy rainfall and engine oil. Some of the horses participating in the parade lacked proper footwear, raising concerns about potential slips and falls.
In total, animal control officers had to intervene and safely transport eight horses from the parade route.
In addition to equine assistance and parade appearances, Pasadena Humane has enjoyed our associations with the Rose Court.
Two recent Rose Queens were Pasadena Humane volunteers. Vanessa Manjarrez (2012) and Victoria Castellanos (2016) both volunteered at the shelter as high school students. Last month, the entire Rose Court visited Pasadena Humane to volunteer.
Our Wiggle Waggle Wagon was at the Tournament House with adoptable dogs for the Rose Court tryouts in September. One of those dogs was fortunate to be adopted by the Tournament’s manager of member services.
The Tournament’s Executive Director/CEO, David Eads, adopted his pug, Bodhi, from Pasadena Humane 13 years ago. In January, Bodhi will be riding on our float, held by Beverly Marksbury, who is both past chair of Pasadena Humane and a Tournament of Roses member.
I’m thrilled to keep our long-lasting partnership, relationships and connections with the Tournament of Roses going with our 2024 float, “Feed the Love,” sponsored by Hill’s Pet Nutrition.
Please look for Lt. Arteaga, Bowy, Bodhi, my adopted dog, Sueshi, and me, along with other canine companions, our Hill’s partners, and Pasadena Humane volunteers on our float New Years Day!
Dia DuVernet is president and CEO of Pasadena Humane.
This blog post originally appeared as a column in the Pasadena Star-News on November 10, 2023.