At Pasadena Humane, we are fortunate to have a beautiful shelter where our dedicated team of staff and volunteers provides top-notch care to our community’s homeless animals. But, by its very nature, a shelter can never replace a home.
We work as hard as we can to find new homes quickly for animals in our care, but we work just as hard to try to keep pets with their families and out of the shelter whenever possible.
Many pet owners come to us in crisis and in tears. They love their pets, but they are struggling to care for them. Our goal is to keep families whole by providing programs and services that prevent pet owners from having to make the gut-wrenching decision to surrender their pets.
It will come as no surprise that one of the biggest hurdles pet owners face today is the economy. According to the USDA, average annual grocery prices increased 11.4% between 2021 and 2022. And while inflation has slowed, food prices continue to rise this year.
The rising cost of groceries is not limited to human food. It’s estimated that pet food prices have gone up 45.5% on average compared to 2020. Pet supplies, services, and veterinary care have also increased in price, taking a toll on pet owners.
That’s one reason demand for our Helping Paws program has grown in recent years. Helping Paws was created in 2017 to connect pet owners to pet-retention programs and services.
One of the most popular services is our Pet Food Pantry, which provides food and supplies to pet guardians who need a helping hand.
Kristin and Gabriel Aleman joined our Pet Food Pantry this summer. The family applied to the program after experiencing a drastic change in their financial circumstances. They were looking for help with their beloved cats, Clyde and Jax
Clyde, an 11-year-old Maine Coon, is a certified emotional support cat. The 30-pound cat came into Kristin’s life when she found him as a stray many years ago. He was recently joined by 6-month-old Jax, rescued by the Aleman family as a tiny kitten.
We were more than happy to provide the Alemans with the resources they needed to keep Clyde and Jax at home. The family now receives dry and wet food, litter, flea treatments, and vaccinations through the Helping Paws program.
The Alemans are incredibly thankful that our organization supports them and other families. “We are forever grateful to Pasadena Humane’s Pet Food Pantry program and for what they do for their community. They strive to keep pets together with their families.”
The Helping Paws program welcomes residents in need from our animal control service area. After signing up, members can self-schedule food and supply pick-ups. Donations help to stock the Pet Food Pantry, and volunteers help to distribute the supplies.
In addition, this year we were grateful to receive two generous grants to help provide nutritious food for pets in need.
The Pasadena Community Foundation provided funds to purchase and distribute 12,560 pounds of dog and cat food, including wet food for pets that are not able to eat hard kibble. Also, the Grey Muzzle Foundation awarded $11,000 to Pasadena Humane for the purchase of specially formulated food for senior dogs in the program.
These funds help further our mission of leading the way toward a compassionate and caring community for all animals. We like nothing better than when pets are able to stay with the families who love them. That’s the most compassionate solution for both people and pets.
Dia DuVernet is president and CEO of Pasadena Humane.
This blog post originally appeared as a column in the Pasadena Star-News on September 30, 2023.