This was a big week for me. I personally rescued two animals in one day. And I don’t mean I adopted two animals in one day (because my husband would probably have something to say about that!). I mean I intervened in immediate life-threatening situations.
The first was a small bird that found itself trapped in an upstairs outdoor corridor at Pasadena Humane. Although the bird could have easily flown out to join other birds by taking a turn into one of the open archways, it was instead flying back and forth in the narrow hallway, bashing itself against light fixtures and walls.
With the help of a colleague who quickly found a cloth for me, I was able to gently pick up the stunned bird and release it into the open air where it immediately rejoined its flock.
Later in the day, my husband and I were driving out of our neighborhood when we saw a dog running wildly in the middle of a busy intersection. We pulled over. The dog ran into a yard, only to dash back into the intersection in front of oncoming traffic.
I shouted loudly for the cars to stop, then approached the dog who ran up the driveway to a nearby house. I followed the dog and was able to contain him on the front porch by standing on the stairs and blocking his exit.
A neighbor came out and verified that the house where we were standing was indeed where the dog lived, but the owners were not home…which explained why no one had responded to my frantic ringing of the doorbell.
The dog was terrified and skittish. My husband and I tried to strategize how we might get him into the backyard without a leash.
Averting my eyes so as not to threaten the dog, I was able to move onto the porch next to him with my arms at my sides. He sniffed and then licked my hand, so I petted him gently. Surprisingly, the front door swung open when my arm brushed against it.
The dog ran inside, but the door did not latch and couldn’t be secured without a key to turn the deadbolt. Luckily, the double doors had handles. With the help of my husband, who found a sturdy stick in the yard, we passed the stick through the handles, preventing the dog from being able to escape.
A little later, we stopped by the house on our way home to ensure the owners had returned, and everyone was safe.
While these types of rescue activities are typically the purview of our Animal Control Officers, it was rewarding to be able to do my part in some hands-on lifesaving as a good Samaritan, albeit a well-informed Samaritan.
There are many ways that pet owners and concerned citizens can help keep animals safe, prevent pets from going stray, and reunite lost pets and “orphaned” wildlife with their families.
June is National Pet Preparedness Month, so I thought we could start with this obvious safety tip: always close and lock doors and windows before you leave pets alone in the house. Not only does this keep your pets from going stray, it also helps prevent unwanted intruders from entering your home.
Be sure pets are microchipped and wearing collars with tags. Also, include pets in your emergency safety plans and with summer approaching, remember to protect pets from the heat.
Our shelter is full of animals in need of loving homes. If you would like to add a new pet to your family, now is the perfect time.
Mark your calendar for our Free Adoption Day event, next Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. June 17. Learn more at pasadenahumane.org
Dia DuVernet is president and CEO of Pasadena Humane.
This blog post originally appeared as a column in the Pasadena Star-News on June 9, 2023.